The Impact of Culture and Cultures Upon Jewish Customs and Rituals
This book discusses the development of practices associated with customs and artifacts used in Jewish ceremonies when viewed from the vantage of anthropological studies. It can also function as a guide to practical halakhah. The author examines topics such as Torah Scrolls, ceremonial use of fire, Purim customs, the festival of Shavuot, magic and superstition. This investigation, at times, compares some Jewish observances with the wider cultural observances or notions of the broader, gentile societies in which Jews were located when these customs originated. It is found that the time and location of a practice’s origin is often critical to appreciating a shared context. In all cases the Jewish practice becomes reinterpreted within a specifically Jewish narrative and legal structure.
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