The Jews of Andhra Pradesh: Contesting Caste and Religion in South India

Hardcover | June 10, 2013

byYulia Egorova, Shahid Perwez

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This is the first book devoted to the Bene Ephraim - a group of former untouchables in Andhra Pradesh who have claimed Jewish identity for themselves. Why would a community adopt Jewish identity as a social liberation strategy? What does it mean to be Jewish in the twenty-first century?Egorova and Perwez address these questions by focusing on this group in India whose unique circumstances provide a new perspective on communities claiming the status of the Lost Tribes of Israel. The authors' research involved a year of ethnographic fieldwork conducted among the Bene Ephraim, tenyears of communication with community leaders, analysis of oral and written narratives of the community, and in-depth interviews with the Bene Ephraim, their neighbors, and members of different Jewish communities and organizations in India, Israel, and the US who have come into contact with thisgroup. Presenting the fascinating story of this Indian community and situating it in its wider political and social context, they show how the example of the Bene Ephraim can shed light on such topical issues as the caste system and social mobility in India, the conflict in the Middle East, therhetoric of the "war on terror", public understandings of what it means to be Jewish, and debates surrounding the Law of Return in Israel. This is not only the first book devoted to the Bene Ephraim, but one of very few detailed ethnographies of emerging Jewish and Lost Tribes communities - a topic that is attracting attention among both academic and wider audiences

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From the Publisher

This is the first book devoted to the Bene Ephraim - a group of former untouchables in Andhra Pradesh who have claimed Jewish identity for themselves. Why would a community adopt Jewish identity as a social liberation strategy? What does it mean to be Jewish in the twenty-first century?Egorova and Perwez address these questions by foc...

Yulia Egorova is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Durham University. Her research interests include anthropology of Jewish communities and the relationship between science and religion. She is the author of Jews and India: perceptions and image, and a co-author (with Tudor Parfitt) of Genetics, mass media and identity: A Case Study...

other books by Yulia Egorova

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 10, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199929211

ISBN - 13:9780199929214

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction2. Re-discovering the past of Jewish Dalits3. The Bene Ephraim between Judaism(s)4. All of Us5. The Children of Israel6. The Other Bene Ephraim7. ConclusionBibliographyNotesIndex