The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage

$9.99

Taught throughout the Ivy League and at universities nationwide, and endorsed by notables including Black Panther leader Angela Davis, this anthology was published two decades ago, as a ground-breaking work in women’s, Middle Eastern, and Jewish literature; and it received strong reviews in indie and mainstream media alike. Anthology contributors possess the refreshing lens of those on the edge, insiders and outsiders to many different worlds. Pushed and pulled by the strong currents of today’s identity politics, they remain steadfast and refuse to be defined as “other” or “less than” by any of the communities to which they belong. As such, their stories sweep readers into a surprising journey of discovery – with each essay unveiling the rich, multi-colored texture of identities commonly portrayed as one-dimensional or black & white. Pre-order now and receive 20% off, by putting “KHAZZOOMerch” in the coupon field at checkout. Better yet, become a KHAZZOOM Patreon member, and receive 40% off all pre-orders!

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Endorsements

The rich and complex experience of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish women cannot be captured in a single article or story. I am heartened that Ms. Khazzoom has edited an anthology which begins to address this complexity. The Flying Camel helps provide the broader perspective that is needed in all Jewish courses, a perspective that many of my colleagues seek.

Irena Klepfisz
Associate Professor of Women’s Studies
Barnard College-Columbia University
New York, NY

There is no question that The Flying Camel fills a gap in the available literature on the intersections between gender, ethnicity, nationality, and religion. I know of no such book of first-person, experiential accounts by Jewish women of color; the very idea of the book complicates the notion of “the Jewish community” in interesting and useful ways. This book is a useful undergraduate teaching tool for Women’s Studies courses, Ethnic Studies courses, Judaic Studies courses, and for Sociology courses that deal with the complexity of collective and individual identities.

Joshua Gamson
Associate Professor of Sociology
Yale University
New Haven, CT

There is no question that a more thoughtful view of the role of North African and Middle Eastern Jews, particularly those of the women, is crucial to an understanding of many issues relating to Middle Eastern society and history, and The Flying Camel is a most valuable contribution.

Lawrence Rosen
Professor of Anthropology
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

The Flying Camel provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on an unjustly neglected identity and to see it through the eyes of those who have lived it. It is certainly true that the lives of Jewish women from the Arabic-speaking world are unknown to too many in our society and that our understanding of questions of Arab, Jewish, and American identities are diminished by our ignorance. I find this book useful in the courses I teach on questions of identity and ethics in the contemporary world.

Kwame Anthony Appiah
Professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

As the interest in Jewish Women’s Studies continues to grow, we become more sensitive to the gaps in our knowledge. It is imperative that we include in our understanding of the field the historic and contemporary experience of the full range of Jewish women. Loolwa Khazzoom’s book fills in an area which is often overlooked and thus provides ample material both for those engaged in the academic study of the field and for the large group of non-academic interested readers.

Professor Anne Lapidus Lerner
Director of Jewish Women’s Studies
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
New York, NY

The Flying Camel is a truly innovative and original contribution; there is no other book dealing with this topic in the literature on Women’s Studies.

Lila Braine
Professor of Psychology

Barnard College-Columbia University
New York, NY

I am impressed by the wide spectrum of writers and issues in The Flying Camel. This insightful and rich volume contributes significantly to the current knowledge about women in modern Arab societies.

Yoram Meital
Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Ben-Gurion University
Beer-Sheva, ISRAEL

I strongly support the publication of The Flying Camel. This anthology is desperately needed by those of us who teach courses within Jewish Studies and within Women Studies.  While we have a selection of texts on white Ashkenazi women, we do not have a single anthology on North African and Middle Eastern Jewish women.  As a result, Sephardic and Mizrahi women are almost always rendered invisible within the university curriculum.  At best, they make a very token appearance.  Ms. Khazzoom’s book will make an important contribution towards rectifying this serious omission.

Shelly Tenenbaum
Chair of Department of Sociology
Clark University
Worcester, MA

For too long, the overlapping movements for Jewish and feminist visibility have ignored North African and Middle Eastern Jewish women, but Loolwa Khazzoom’s new anthology challenges that posture of exclusion. Especially now, it is urgent that activists concerned with both Jewish survival and female empowerment hear the voices of women whose traditions and experiences are not those of hegemonically represented Eastern European Judaism. In The Flying Camel, contributors challenge notions of Western “Jewish culture.” They also have much to say to the men of their own communities and to anyone who identifies with the struggle of being an exoticized “other.” The anthology is a much-needed letter from women who cross ethnic and gendered borders in their daily lives as Jews. And the book is an enormous asset at a moment when American scholars and media seek authentic representation of Middle Eastern women’s issues.

Margaret O’Neal
Assistant Professor of Psychology

East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

The Flying Camel fills an important curriculum gap in Anthropology and Gender Studies. It is particularly timely now, as questions regarding the culturally prescribed rules and variations in practice by Middle Eastern women is most relevant. I teach courses in Gender Studies and find a book on this topic most helpful.

Janet Chernela
Professor of Anthropology

Florida International University
Miami, FL

The Flying Camel is a useful addition to those texts on ethnic and religious diversity available to professors teaching courses with a cultural diversity component. The chapters are both compelling and accessible to an undergraduate audience, and describe the experiences of individuals with whose backgrounds many will be unfamiliar. This book can be used for courses in Sociology, Women’s Studies, Racial and Ethnic Minorities, World Cultures, and Cultural Diversity.

Bonnie J. Morris
Professor of Women’s Studies

George Washington University
Washington, D.C.

I have long felt the need for such a book as The Flying Camel, and for a representation of the voices and perspectives within it.

Leila Ahmed
Professor of Women’s Studies in Religion
Harvard Divinity School
Cambridge, MA

The Flying Camel illuminates the ethnic diversity among Jewish women and explores the misconceptions that many Americans (and others) have regarding the Jewish population and the Middle East conflict, e.g., that there cannot be an overlap between Arabs and Jews. The trend today is for Women’s Studies curricula to become increasingly diverse and international in scope, and therefore I think that the book would be of interest to many faculty teaching women’s studies courses. The collection also is very timely. It clearly counters the stereotypes of Arabs that have been so unfortunately fueled by the recent tragic events, and brings more understanding of the complexity of the Middle East conflict.

Jill M. Bystydzienski
Director of Women’s Studies
Professor of Sociology
Iowa State University
Ames, IA

The Flying Camel fills a gap in three separate academic areas – Women’s Studies, Jewish Studies, and Multicultural Studies. I will speak to the area of Women’s Studies, since that is the area in which I teach: First, there is not enough literature or knowledge about Jewish women in general. Second, for those of us who teach in the Northeast, Jewish women are often a large percentage of our students. I have usually about 50% Jewish women in my “Women’s Lives” class. Third, and perhaps most important, this book will offer something that does not exist now – a recognition that not all Jewish women are from European backgrounds. There is a real need for a multicultural analysis of Jewish people and therefore also Jewish women. This book offers just that analysis.

Beyond the needs of Women’s Studies, I think that in this moment in time, a multicultural analysis of Jewish people, including Jewish people from African and Middle Eastern backgrounds, is crucial. What happened on 9/11 has finally taught us that we need to learn more about the world outside of the U.S.A., and the Middle East violence has taught us that we need to understand more fully the problems in that area. This book breaks down the falsely constructed duality between Arab and Jew and offers us a more complex and complete picture of identity in that region.

Judith Barker
Professor of Sociology
Ithaca College
Ithaca, NY

The Flying Camel explores Jewish identities in all of their varieties and complexities. Through critical essays and creative narratives, readers are introduced to deeply emotional identity searches and long-held cultural practices. The collection is not only timely, dovetailing with multicultural efforts in our communities and in our universities, but also necessary. For Jewish Studies instructors who wish to introduce their students to the continued struggles of and range of voices among the Jewish people, this text should be a requirement; for Women’s Studies instructors who wish to diversify stories about and by women of the East, this collection is equally essential. This text cuts across many academic fields in honestly and openly confronting issues of identity, gender, and social isolation.

Miriamne Ara Krummel
Assistant Professor

Department of English
University of Dayton

It is most exciting to learn that there is a book which deals with the North African Jewish women’s experience, which has been ignored until now. It is a necessary addition to any study of Jewish culture, and especially the lives of women.

Aliza Keddem, Ph.D.
Professor of Human Sciences
Marylhurst University
Marylhurst, Oregon

I am interested in this book for my course, ‘Women in the Modern Middle East.’

Joel Beinin
Professor of History
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

The Women’s Studies Program and Religion Department at Temple University find The Flying Camel of great importance in teaching courses in “International Women’s Writing” and “Women, Religion and Society.”

Rebecca Alpert
Associate Professor of Religion and Women’s Studies
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA

The Flying Camel is a powerful anthology of creative works by North African and Middle Eastern Jewish women whose voices have rarely been heard either in the United States or in Israel. These women embody the “impossible”: They are Jewish and Arab, feminist and lesbian, women of color, and indigenous to North Africa and the Middle East. Their stories of struggle and sacrifice give us reason to hope that in this time of terrible suffering and war, peace and justice may continue to be our twin aspirations. This book could not be more timely, and is of great benefit to those of us teaching in Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies programs.

Bettina Aptheker
Professor of Women’s Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA

While there is a great deal of literature on Jewish women, very little of this work specifically addresses the experiences, perspectives, and issues of Jewish women of color. The Flying Camel is timely and offers a much-needed discussion of diversity within Jewish culture and among Jewish women. The insights that it providea on the Arab-Israeli conflict are especially important, given the on-going tensions and violence in the Middle East. The book is useful for Women’s Studies as well as Jewish Studies classes and fills a void in the study of Gender and Jewish Culture.

Janet Jacobs
Professor of Women’s Studies
University of Colorado
Bolder, Colorado

The Flying Camel is an important contribution to the literature about women’s lives and voices. Ms. Khazzoom does a great job of compiling the voices of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish women. This book shows a part of Judaism that is virtually unknown to most people, including Jews.

Diane Kholos Wysocki
Director of Women’s Studies
Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Kearney, NE

Loolwa Khazzoom has compiled a captivating collection of first-person accounts that makes us alternately cry for and celebrate the all-but-forgotten Jewish women of Africa and the Middle East and their American descendants. Stories of adventure, loss, degradation, courage, and personal triumph provide insight into the fascinating mix of Moslem and Jewish culture and its collision with contemporary American values. At this time in our history, we as Americans are starting to wake up to the world around us, especially to the plight of women in the Middle East. Khazzoom’s work makes a fine contribution toward lifting the veil from our own eyes.

Carrie Yang Costello
American Sociological Association Council Member
Race/Gender/Class Division
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI

“Today, good teaching and scholarship demand that the diverse voices of women be heard and represented first hand. I am therefore always on the lookout for books like The Flying Camel that provide these voices, along with a commentary that reflects current trends in scholarship.”

Becky R. Lee
Assistant Professor of Humanities and Women’s Studies
York University
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

A provocative collection that attempts to untangle complicated webs of anti-Semitism, racism, and misogyny, The Flying Camel test tes

Reviews

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