This article interrogates the cultural politics of a series of storytelling performances in Jerusalem in light of an ongoing “revival” of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish heritage in Israel. An examination of performers’ on-stage narratives and interactions reveals three discursive approaches to defining authentic Jerusalem culture through descriptions of “old-time” lifeways: emphasizing the city’s cosmopolitan past; challenging contemporary social hierarchies in Israel via jabs at “Ashkenazim” and idealization of Sephardi culture; and through claims of underlying Jewish unity.
Randall, Yafiah Katherine. Sufism and Jewish-Muslim Relations. The Derekh Avraham Order in Israel. New York: Routledge, 2016.
In Israel there are Jews and Muslims who practice Sufism together. The Sufi’ activities that they take part in together create pathways of engagement between two faith traditions in a geographical area beset by conflict.
Sufism and Jewish Muslim Relationsinvestigates this practice of Sufism among Jews and Muslims in Israel and examines their potential to contribute to peace in the area. It is an original approach to the study of reconciliation, situating the activities of groups that are not explicitly acting for peace within the wider context of grass-roots peace initiatives. The author conducted in-depth interviews with those practicing Sufism in Israel, and these are both collected in an appendix and used throughout the work to analyse the approaches of individuals to Sufism and the challenges they face. It finds that participants understand encounters between Muslim and Jewish mystics in the medieval Middle East as a common heritage to Jews and Muslims practising Sufism together today, and it explores how those of different faiths see no dissonance in the adoption of Sufi practices to pursue a path of spiritual progression.
The first examination of the Derekh Avraham Jewish-Sufi Order, this is a valuable resource for students and scholars of Sufi studies, as well as those interested in Jewish-Muslim relations.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Procedure and Contexts of the Research
2 Contexts of the Investigation
3 Historical Encounters of Jewish and Islamic Mysticism: precedents of Contemporary Practice in Israel
Part 2: Reading the Field Narratives
4 The Derekh Avraham/Tariqat Ibrahimiyya and its Contemporary Re-emergence in Israel
5 Beshara: Lovers of Ibn Arabi
6 Embracing the Sufi Path and the Dissemination of Knowledge
7 Jewish and Muslim Peacemakers
Part 3: Conclusion
8 The Other Voice
YAFIAH KATHERINE RANDALL received her PhD at the University of Winchester. She combines academic research into Jewish-Muslim relations focusing on Sufism with grass-roots action for interreligious understanding and conflict transformation.