Cover image for A global community : the Jews from Aleppo, Syria
A global community : the Jews from Aleppo, Syria
Zenner, Walter P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Detroit : Wayne State University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
233 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS135.S95 Z46 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Jews from Aleppo, Syria, and their descendants compose a remarkable but little-known community that has spread throughout the world during the past two centuries, adapting to myriad social settings from Kobe to Buenos Aires. A Global Community is the first comprehensive scholarly interpretation of the historical experience of this unusual community in Syria and in the other places to which Aleppan Jewry have immigrated. Walter P. Zenner points to the social, economic, and cultural links that the various Syrian Jewish communities have made for the unique persistence of community throughout the diaspora. He places special emphasis in the communities in Israel and the United States but also studies the communities in England and Latin America. He utilizes rabbinical responsas, travelers' writings, secondary sources, interviews, and oral histories to provide a unique look into this Middle Eastern Jewish community for those interested in Ashkenazic as well as Sephardic Judaism.

Author Notes

Walter Zenner is a professor of anthropology and Judaic studies at the University at Albany, SUNY. He is the author of Jewish Societies in the Middle East: Community, Culture, and Authority (University Press of America, 1982), Urban Life: Readings in Urban Anthropology (Waveland Press, 1996), Persistence and Flexibility: Anthropological Perspectives on the American Jewish Experience (SUNY, 1988), and Minorities in the Middle: A Cross Cultural Analysis (SUNY, 1991)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Summarizing some 40 years of research, this volume is a comprehensive cultural-historical investigation of the widely dispersed Syrian Jewish community. Despite his seemingly ambitious scope, Zenner successfully conveys the breadth of the Syrian Jewish diaspora--modes of subsistence, community, efforts to integrate into local society while thwarting assimilation, connections among the communities of the diaspora and with the remnant in Syria proper, sociopolitical roles imposed on Syrian Jews by nationalism and secularization, and consideration of the acculturation of US Syrian Jewish culture into the greater American Sfardic and Ashkenazic communities. Included is a useful review of the literature on Syrian Jewry and a comprehensive bibliography. One limitation is the absence of a detailed description of Syrian Jewish culture, religious practice, mechanics of social interaction, values, and worldview that makes Syrian Jewish identity distinctive and interesting. Despite this caveat, this clearly written book is the most important study to date in any language on Syrian Jewry and an essential acquisition for any library with holdings on Jews, the Middle East, history, or anthropology. The limited usage of technical jargon makes this study readily accessible to general readers and above. L. D. Loeb; University of Utah