Anahnu Tannaiot (We Are Reciters): South, Central, West Asian, and North African Jewish Women's Voices as Resistance in Art, Music, and Writing

dc.contributorBenjamin, Mara
dc.contributorHashmi, Sohail
dc.contributor.advisorRemmler, Karen
dc.contributor.authorZylali, Mirushe
dc.description.abstractThis thesis analyzes modes of expression that form the “voice” of SCWANA (South, Central, West Asian, and North African) Jewish women. By expanding the definition of voice, my study engages with multiple modalities which SCWANA Jewish women use to create work about their experiences. There have been several waves of Jewish exodus from South, Central, and West Asia, North Africa, and the Balkans. Each chapter discusses the development of SCWANA Jewish women’s voices in multiple contexts, noting the ways in which travel and geography influence their experiences and expression. My first chapter will examine the development of musiḳah Mizraḥit as a result of mass migration to Israel. My second chapter will investigate the subsequent creation of Mizraḥi as a disenfranchised class (as opposed to a rite/prayer order) and review SCWANA/Mizraḥi activist movements in Israel and abroad. Finally, I will interpret these histories via a lens of women’s experiences in their communities, ultimately seeking out modes which form a literal and figural “voice.” The findings of this review suggest that there is no one way in which SCWANA/Mizraḥi women use their voices in pursuit of self-imaging, imagining, and healing from structures of antisemitism (in the case of their former states in SCWANA; and other states in which Jews have a minority status) and Orientalism/racism (in the case of Israel, the United States, and France). Ultimately, music is a consistent thread in these processes, even as melodies evolve and change, with ‘canonical’ liturgical tunes (including piyyutim) drawing inspiration from the world around these singers. I also engage with questions regarding the inclusivity of ‘Mizraḥi’ as a label, in order to examine the origins of the term and investigate how SCWANA and (some) Balkan Jewish women have reclaimed this term, while others have not.en_US
dc.subjectjewish peopleen_US
dc.subjectsefaradi jewsen_US
dc.subjectsephardi jewsen_US
dc.subjectmizrahi jewsen_US
dc.subjectmizrahi feminismen_US
dc.titleAnahnu Tannaiot (We Are Reciters): South, Central, West Asian, and North African Jewish Women's Voices as Resistance in Art, Music, and Writingen_US
mhc.institutionMount Holyoke College


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