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Shabazī in Tel Aviv

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Chapter Summary

In this poem, father's modest home improvements and prayerful supplications are the very essence of Hebrew labor, thus offering an ironic perspective on a Zionist sacred cow. The intermingling of secular Zionist motifs with religious themes recurs often in Sulami's poetry. This has the effect of drawing attention to the charged theological baggage that such terms possess. In this poem, even the everyday modern Hebrew word "work" connotes sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem. This technique, which, in effect, reclaims the religious valences of terms employed in Zionist discourse, appears in the work of all of the poets surveyed in this chapter. This poem portrays a sharp split between the messianic expectations of the immigrants, as expressed in the singing of Shabazian poetry, and the profane reality of Israel. Medinah includes an interesting Hebrew neologism in this poem, the verb leshabez, literally "to Shabazi"..

Keywords: Hebrew labor; jerusalem; medinah; Shabazi; Zionist sacred cow

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