Summoning spirits in Egypt: Jewish women and spiritualism in early twentieth-century cairo

Samuel Glauber-Zimra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

A rare account of Jewish women's spiritualist activity is preserved in R. Aaron Mendel Hakohen's Haneshamah vehakadish (1921), an early-twentieth-century Hebrew religious treatise on the soul and the afterlife. The anonymous women depicted in it held regular séances in the company of their families in their Cairo home, in which they utilized a planchette, a popular spirit communication device, in order to contact the departed. This article presents and analyzes Hakohen's account, considering his role as a literary intermediary relating the women's communication with the dead, the activities of the Cairo circle in comparison to broader spiritualist practice, and the place of spiritualist doctrine within Hakohen's theology of the afterlife. A full translation of the account into English is presented in the Appendix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-45
Number of pages21
JournalNashim
Issue number38
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • General Arts and Humanities

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