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Lamentations of Women from Yemen: Text between Voice and Movement / טקסט בין קול לתנועה: קינות נשים מתימן

ורד מדר and Vered Madar
Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore / מחקרי ירושלים בפולקלור יהודי
כרך כג‎ (תשס"ה), pp. 89-118
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23358518
Page Count: 30
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Lamentations of Women from Yemen: Text between Voice and Movement / טקסט בין קול לתנועה: קינות נשים מתימן
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Abstract

This article presents the findings of research undertaken between 1999—2002 among women from Yemen who immigrated to Israel and continue to perform lamentations for the dead. The article defines and proves that women's lamentations belong to the genre of oral poetry, by placing the texts in the context of the study of the poetry of Yemenite women. The status of the voice is examined in these lamentations along with the various dimensions that empower the meaning of the texts and their expression. It is presented as being central to the fulfillment of the therapeutic function of the text. The article also examines the physical aspects of singing the lamentations and proposes their performance as a physical act, one that compliments other aspects of the meaning. The article presents other aspects of the significance of the text, the mediation between the living and the dead and the uniqueness of gender in its performance. Hence the suggestion of a feminine alternative to experiencing life and death, making it possible to cope with the meeting between the two. Finally, there are two examples of women's lamentations which were recorded and translated from the Yemenite language. These texts portray the main characteristics commonly repeated in the lamentations and serve as pertinent examples of the materials discussed.

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