Volume 13, 2008 : Between Tradition and Modernity : The Plurality of Jewish Customs and Rituals

Rite of Passage in a Transition Community:
Premarital Rituals among Jews of the Caucasus

Rachel Sharaby
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ashkelon Academic College and
Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Department, Bar-Ilan University


This article discusses rites of passage in three social settings: in the traditional Jewish community in the Caucasus, in the same community that underwent modernization processes during Soviet times, and in the community of immigrants from the Caucasus to Israel since the 1970's. The article concludes that many changes took place in the ritual system of the Caucasian Jewish community, but its basic characteristics have been preserved to a great extent. A liminal combination of "both here and there" has been created, which enables it to express its different identities and to preserve its unique culture as a minority both in the Caucasus and in Israel.

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