Aesthetics of Sorrow: The Wailing Culture of Yemenite Jewish by Tova Gamliel

By Tova Gamliel

The time period "wailing culture" contains an array of women’s behaviors and ideology following the dying of a member in their ethnic staff and is general of Jewish lifestyles in Yemeni tradition. crucial to the perform is wailing itself—a exact inventive style that mixes speech with sobbing into relocating lyrical poetry that explores the that means of dying and loss. In Aesthetics of Sorrow: The Wailing tradition of Yemenite Jewish ladies, Tova Gamliel decodes the cultural and mental meanings of this custom in an ethnography in line with her anthropological learn between Yemenite Jewish groups in Israel in 2001–2003.

Based on participant-observervation in houses of the bereaved and on twenty-four in-depth interviews with wailing men and women, Gamliel illuminates wailing tradition point by means of point: via the circles within which the task occurs; the distinctive parts of pastime that belong to girls; and the huge social, historic, and spiritual context that surrounds those internal circles. She discusses the most subject matters that outline the wailing tradition (including the ancient origins of women’s wailing as a rule and of Yemenite Jewish wailing in particular), the features of wailing as a creative style, and the wailer as a symbolic variety. She additionally explores the position of wailing in demise rituals, as a healing services endowed with designated affective mechanisms, as an erotic functionality, as a livelihood, and as a trademark of the Jewish exile. after all, she considers wailing on the intersection of culture and modernity and examines the examine of wailing as a real methodological challenge.

Gamliel brings a delicate eye to the vanishing perform of wailing, which has been mostly unexamined by way of students and should be strange to many outdoor of the center East. Her interdisciplinary viewpoint and her specialize in a uniquely woman immigrant cultural perform will make this research interesting studying for students of anthropology, gender, folklore, psychology, functionality, philosophy, and sociology.

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Additional resources for Aesthetics of Sorrow: The Wailing Culture of Yemenite Jewish Women

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This proves to be the case if we contemplate the waning of a tradition from a process perspective—something that happens over time—and not in view of the finality of its outcome. This reading of the matter construes Yemenite Jewish wailing as a tradition that has a long-term expectancy of decline. Yes, Jewish women from Yemen have been wailing less and less since they immigrated to Israel, but only in recent years has the practice been ceasing. Whether or not I state that the era of this tradition will end after a fifty-six-year period of decline, the possibility that the decline per se has a life and form of its own, which should be contemplated as something of interest and importance, should not be belittled.

The categories are sorted in accordance with a model comprising four arenas of identity in which the self and the Other meet. This split presentation sheds light on the voice that the wailer works through—a representative dialogic of others, living and dead—and the gift that her wailing lyrics award to members of the community. The principal finding here is the ability of wailing to respond to a range of psychological and social needs at times of death. Chapter 4, “The Performance Stage,” describes wailing from the vantage point of the stage on which it is performed.

By the end of the encounter, the power of interaction in the descriptive, cultural, and theoretical dialogue made such a strong impression that wailing came to light in a rather different way. The dialogic point of view from which I performed my observations inspired these practitioners of intellectual tourism to ask about themselves as well and to wonder, not without sadness, about the disappearance of wailing before Israel could get familiar with it. What remains for me is to hope that you will gain this welcome form of inspiration from here on as you read this book.

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