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The Making of Modern Saints: Manufactured Charisma and the Abu-Hatseiras of Israel

Yoram Bilu and Eyal Ben-Ari
American Ethnologist
Vol. 19, No. 4, Imagining Identities: Nation, Culture, and the Past (Nov., 1992), pp. 672-687
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/644913
Page Count: 16
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The Making of Modern Saints: Manufactured Charisma and the Abu-Hatseiras of Israel
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Abstract

In this article we analyze the sanctification of two figures in contemporary Israel. The two figures--Baba Sali and his son Baba Baruch--belong to the Abu-Hatseira family, which many Jews of North African origin perceive to possess lineage or clan charisma. We use the analytical metaphor of "manufactured" charisma in order to explore the ways in which such present-day means as the media (written and broadcast), industry, and various state structures have been used to create a particular public image of these men. We suggest that in order to understand their sanctification, one must also examine the North African idiom of saint worship as well as certain assumptions about legitimate public action that underlie contemporary Israeli culture. [charisma, lineage charisma, manufactured charisma, Israel, public culture]

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