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09-12-30 Epilogue by Joseph Zernik for "Nouvelles d'Hebron" byYitzhaq Shami s

09-12-30 Epilogue by Joseph Zernik for "Nouvelles d'Hebron" byYitzhaq Shami s



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Epilogue for the French Edition of stories by Shami- an early modern middle eastern writer.
Epilogue for the French Edition of stories by Shami- an early modern middle eastern writer.

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Published by: Human Rights Alert, NGO on Dec 31, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Dr Z
Joseph Zernik, DMD, PhDPO Box 526, La Verne, CA 91750; fax: 801 998-0917; email: jz12345@earthlink.ne
Hebron Stories
Yitzhaq Shami (1988-1949)
Edited by Moshe Lazar and Joseph Zernik, with Introduction by Arnold Band, 2000.
Nouvelles d'Hebron by Yitzhaq Shami (1888-1949) 
Edited by Joseph Zernik. with Introduction by Arnold Band
Labor et Fides, Geneve, Switzerland, 2006 
Copied below is the epilogue from the French edition.
Hebron - end of 19th century 
Yitzhaq Shami (1888-1949)
Yitzhaq Shami, born in Hebron and a native Arabic speaker, was an early Modern Hebrew writer and anearly Middle Eastern Enlightenment figure. He studied in Hebron under one of the prominent rabbinicalauthorities of his generation, Rabbi Medini a teacher of law, ethics, and Kabala. However, in his teensShami was caught by the ideals of the Enlightenment, and by seventeen he left the religious academy and joined a secular teachers seminary in Jerusalem, committing himself to the revival of the Hebrew language.In his youth Shami was deeply impacted by the writing of Jirji Zaidan (1861-1914) leader of the ArabAwakening (Nahdah). Shami advocated Zaidan’s call for unity of the Moslem world and for unity of 
Digitally signedbyJoseph HZernik DN:cn=Joseph HZernik,o,ou,
email=jz12345@earthlink.net,c=USLocation:LaVerne,CaliforniaDate:2009.12.3016:24:03 -08'00'
December 30, 2009
Religion and Enlightenment. But Zaidan’s most important contribution, according to Shami, was the callfor examination of the historic variations in the relationships between Islam and the State. A century later,these calls still need to be heeded.Shamis position regarding organized religion both Jewish and Moslem - was complex and multi-faceted.His first story, The Barren Wife, published while he was still in his teens, decried the treatment of Jewishwomen by Halachic law. Protest of the treatment of women in both Moslem and Jewish traditionalcommunities was a recurring theme in his works. But Kabalistic and Sufi motives appeared in Shamiswriting and personal correspondence throughout his life.The pilgrimage from the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron to the Tomb of Moses in the Judean desert nearJericho provides the backdrop for Vengeance of the Fathers. Abraham and Moses are the two centralprophets of the Jewish religion, and the revelations to Ibrahim Khalil Allah (Gods Beloved) and MusaKalim Allah (Gods Interlocutor) are likewise central in the Quran forming the basis for the revelation tothe Prophet Muhammad. These two holy tombs, with Jerusalem-al-Quds in between, also formed the axisof Moslem devotion in Palestine.The revelation to Moses is the theme of the Sufi hymn included Vengeance of the Fathers. And themanifestations revealed to Abraham are associated with the vengeful, jealous Almighty alluded in thenovellas title and ending. Therefore, this novella and Shami’s work as a whole artfully preserved voicesand images of Moslem and Jewish way of life and local religious rites in Ottoman Palestine long sincevanished with the advent of Modern times. But Shamis writing showed no nostalgia he was a self proclaimedanti-Orientalist, coining the Hebrew term for Orientalists in 1912.Instead, Shami’s stories sounded a doomsday prophecy and opposition to zealous veneration of holy tombsand holy sites, foretold the violence and bloodshed that soon enveloped his homeland, and called for social justice. In all of these Shami echoed biblical prophets from neighboring towns in Judea, like Amos andMicah.Implied in the title of Vengeance of the Fathers was also a macabre variation on the Blessing of the Fathersone of the oldest and most central blessings in the Jewish prayer book. Rather than a source of blessing,the Patriarch Abraham through religious zealotry could become a source of perpetual violence andbloodshed to his descendents and followers Christians, Moslems, and Jews.

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