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

Intercultural Mediators: Women Organizers of Henna Rituals of Yemenite Jews in Israel
Rachel Sharaby
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ashkelon Academic College and
Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Department, Bar-Ilan University


This article is dedicated to women who conduct henna rituals that became very common among Yemenite-Jewish young couples in Israel. Based on the interviews and observations of these rituals, I conclude that their organizers consciously and unconsciously play the role of intercultural mediators. They mediate between past and present, between tradition and modernity, between Israeli culture and Yemenite culture, between the cultures of different ethnic groups, and between the younger and older generations. They view this syncretic process as necessary for preserving the traditional ritual following its transfer to the new social context.

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