Return to Casablanca: Jews, Muslims, and an Israeli Anthropologist by André Levy
In this book, Israeli anthropologist André Levy returns to his birthplace in Casablanca to provide a deeply nuanced and compelling study of the relationships between Moroccan Jews and Muslims there. Ranging over a century of history—from the Jewish Enlightenment and the impending colonialism of the late nineteenth century to today’s modern Arab state—Levy paints a rich portrait of two communities pressed together, of the tremendous mobility that has characterized the past century, and of the paradoxes that complicate the cultural identities of the present.
Levy visits a host of sites and historical figures to assemble a compelling history of social change, while seamlessly interweaving his study with personal accounts of his returns to his homeland. Central to this story is the massive migration of Jews out of Morocco. Levy traces the institutional and social changes such migrations cause for those who choose to stay, introducing the concept of “contraction” to depict the way Jews deal with the ramifications of their demographic dwindling. Turning his attention outward from Morocco, he goes on to explore the greater complexities of the Jewish diaspora and the essential paradox at the heart of his adventure—leaving Israel to return home.