Two Thousand Years of Jewish Life in Morocco

Haim Zafrani, Author . Ktav $39.50 (327p) ISBN 978-0-88125-748-9

This history by a leading scholar on Moroccan Jewry is less a book than a collection of notes, observations and statistics, some of them enlightening, a few fascinating, but all presented as a mélange with so little attempt at organization that it's often unclear whether Zafrani is discussing present-day Morocco or some earlier historical period. This lack of clarity is exacerbated by a penchant for shifting tenses and his overreliance on the passive voice. It's difficult to determine whether Zafrani is writing for a general readership or for an academic audience . On the one hand, there are no citations or attributions beyond the occasional footnote. On the other hand, Zafrani assumes a familiarity with his subject matter that renders much of the book inaccessible to readers with only a passing familiarity with Moroccan Jews. We are told, for example, as a casual aside, that "the wondrous exploits and fabulous tales which misrepresent the history of the Kahena and star that Judeo-Berber queen and 'priestess' who fiercely resisted the Arab invasion of the Maghreb must be relegated to the realm of legend." There is also material whose inclusion in a book dedicated to Moroccan Jews seems arbitrary. B&w photos. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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