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Egypt's indigenous Jewish population comprised Arabic-speaking Rabbanite and Karaite Jews, some of whom had been in the country since the early Islamic era. Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 took refuge in Egypt, and their numbers were augmented in the mid-nineteenth century by Sephardic immigrants. Originally welcomed elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire, these Spanish Jews came to Egypt seeking economic opportunity in the era of Suez Canal construction and the cotton boom. The late nineteenth century brought Ashkenazi Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. The different groups formed a heterogeneous community of cosmopolitan hybrids, which was both an element of strength and a factor in its eventual demise. The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry examines the history of the Egyptian Jewish community after 1948, focusing on three major areas: the life of the majority of the community, which remained in Egypt from the 1948 Arab-Israell War until the aftermath of the 1956 Suez/Sinai War; the dispersion and reestablishment of Egyptian Jewish communities in the United states, France, and Israel; and contested memories of Jewish life in Egypt since President Anwar al-Sadat's visit to Jerusalem in 1977. Beinin argues that the experiences of Egyptian Jews cannot be adequately accounted for by either Egyptian nationalist or Zionist narratives. Fusing history, ethnography, literary analysis, and autobiography, Joel Beinin conducts an interdisciplinary investigation into identity, dispersion, and the retrieval of identity that is relevant for anyone interested in Egypt, the Jewish diaspora, or the formation of cultures and identities.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9789774248900
ISBN-10: 9774248902
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 150mm x 22mm)
Pages: 342
Imprint: The American University in Cairo Press
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Publish Date: 28-Feb-2005
Country of Publication: Egypt

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Author Biography - Joel Beinin

Joel Beinin is professor of Middle East history at Stanford University. His latest book is Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East (2001). In 2001-02 he was president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.

Books By Author Joel Beinin

Workers and Thieves by Joel Beinin

Workers and Thieves

Paperback, November 2015
Egypt by Joel Beinin


Paperback, October 2009
Struggle for Sovereignty by Joel Beinin

The Struggle for Sovereignty

Paperback, January 2006
Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East by Joel Beinin

Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East

Paperback, September 2001