ABSTRACT. Pilgrimage, whether religious or secular, is experiencing resurgence around the world. This research deals with the phenomenon of pilgrimage to the graves of saintly Jews in Israel. Its aim is to analyze the characteristics of Jewish pilgrims to holy grave sites in Israel at the present time, and to assess the phenomenon of pilgrimage. This includes the motives for pilgrimage, activities during the pilgrimage, and the influence of tourism on it. The methods used include questionnaires at four different sites, interviews with the pilgrims, observations in situ, and participant observation. The findings show that the visitor population ranged widely from very religious orthodox pilgrims, through "traditional" pilgrim-tourists to secular tourists. The features of present-day pilgrims can be represented on a scale that may be described as secular versus spiritual, and tourism versus pilgrimage. This typology also offers a model for the development of the pilgrimage sites. The survey findings highlight the increasing convergence of old-fashioned pilgrimage and current tourism, which have much in common. Additionally, this research emphasizes the expanding nexus of holy sites, society, politics, ideology, and culture.
Pilgrimage is a well-known phenomenon and exists in all religions worldwide, but is especially prominent in Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Judaism (Morinis 1992; Stoddard and Morinis 1997). Pilgrimage is defined as "a journey resulting from religious causes, externally to a holy site, and internally for spiritual purposes and internal understanding" (Barber 1993, 1) or as a journey undertaken by a person in search of holiness, truth, and the sacred (Vukoni'c 1996).
Pilgrimage is an interdisciplinary field, studied in recent years by diverse researchers such as historians, theologians, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and geographers. Pilgrimages require spatial movements and thus involve the geographic concern with distance and its effect on behavior. In contrast to the distance decay functions that apply to most human movement in which interaction between close places tends to be much greater than that between widely separated places, travel to pilgrimage sites may be expressed by contrasting spatial relationships (Ostrerrieth 1997; Stoddard and Morinis 1997).
Geographic studies of pilgrimages and holy places have covered substantial ground in the last three decades. Through their focus on the spatial dimensions of pilgrimage, geographers have demonstrated a more thorough understanding of the phenomenon (Bhardwaj 1997). In addition to studying the effects of total distance on movement, geographers often examine specific routes taken by pilgrims, the catchment areas of pilgrims, and the hierarchical nature of different sites. (Stoddard and Morinis 1997). In recent years, researchers have developed classifications of different kinds of pilgrimages and holy places, examined their distribution, and analyzed their development over time (Bhardwaj 1997). For example, the multidisciplinary inventory project carried out in Europe by the Nolans presents information for about 6,150 Christian holy places in sixteen Western European countries and interprets the various dimensions of contemporary European pilgrimage (Nolan and Nolan 1989). Bowman's (1991) study of Jerusalem compared the pilgrimage experience and behavior of Greek Orthodox Catholics and Protestants, and Rinschede (1992) developed a typology of tourist uses of pilgrimage sites.
To make comparisons among the many forms of religious journeys, Stoddard (1997) claims that scholars need both an acceptable definition of the phenomenon and a workable classification scheme that reveals significant differences. He has offered three potential criteria that possess the greatest discriminatory power for a geographic classification: length of journey, pilgrimage route, and frequency of pilgrimage. Other criteria are location of pilgrimage destination, importance of pilgrimage places and motivation of pilgrims (Stoddard 1997).
Rinschede (1997) claims that geographical aspects of pilgrimage can be studied at different levels: pilgrimage to individual places, pilgrimage within countries and cultural regions, and pilgrimage on a worldwide basis. Each of these levels has its own characteristics and emphasizes and demands specific methods of investigation and presentation. By dealing with several places, comparisons and generalizations about pilgrimage are possible. In fact, the most useful studies are the ones that have comparable data that can be investigated under standardized conditions (Rinschede 1997).
Post, Pieper, and Van Uden (1998) have researched Dutch Christian pilgrims. Their research is part of a series of survey articles into religious popular culture published in European and specifically German ethnological circles in the past years. A subsequent characteristic of recent developments is the fact that researchers are beginning to give full weight to the historical, regional-geographical, and social context. For instance, pilgrimage is no longer dealt with from a universal perspective but is placed in historically and empirically delimited time and place contexts (Post, Pieper, and Van Uden 1998).
A survey of the relevant literature also reveals a meager body of scholarship devoted to theories of pilgrimage. An exception is Eliade's (1969; 1985) concept of the "centre of the world" through which passes the axis mundi (the world's axis), providing a plausible context for a theory of pilgrimage. From the perspective of Eliade's concept, a pilgrimage is a religiously motivated journey to the center of the world itself or to one of its homologous representations. By contrast, in the Turner's (1969) concept of the location of the pilgrimage centers, the remoteness of sites gains theoretical significance. Turner and Turner (1969) also argue that pilgrimages typically involve a stage of liminality, resembling that in which novices find themselves in the transitory stage between two established social statuses.
Cohen (1992) portrays a typology of pilgrimage centers in terms of the relative emphasis on each of these tendencies. He distinguishes two polar types of pilgrimage centers: the formal and the popular. Formal centers are those in which the serious and sublime religious activities are primarily stressed. The rituals at such centers are highly formalized and decorous, and conducted in accordance with orthodox precepts. The pilgrim's principal motive for journeying to such centers is to perform a fundamental religious obligation. The principal pilgrimage centers of a religion, often constituting the apex of a pilgrimage system, come closest to this type of center; the Ka'aba of Mecca, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome are important contemporary examples of this type. Popular centers are those in which folklorist activities are of greater importance, even taking precedence over the more serious and sublime activities. The pilgrim's principal motive for the pilgrimage, if not just a pretext for recreation or entertainment, is typically a personal request or the fulfillment of a vow. Requests are often simple and concrete, such as the desire for success in business or luck in life and love, and supplications for good health or healing are the most common ones. Indeed, popular centers, rather than formal ones, often acquire a reputation in fulfilling requests and giving succor to individual worshippers.
Cohen's (1992) research on tourist and pilgrim activities at sites in Thailand maintains that pilgrimage and tourism differ in terms of the direction of the journey undertaken. The "pilgrim" and the "pilgrim-tourist" peregrinate toward their sociocultural center, while the "traveler" and the "traveler-tourist" move in the opposite direction. This distinction applies particularly to journeys to formal pilgrimage centers. However, journeys to popular pilgrimage centers, which are typically "centers out there," will often be marked by a mixture of features characteristic of both pilgrimage and tourism.
The polar typology of formal and popular pilgrimage centers defines the end points of a continuum along which given pilgrimage centers can be located. A case study of Jewish pilgrimage centers is used in this article to illustrate the applicability and usefulness of this concept. While this presentation is not exhaustive, a variety of centers can be located along the continuum, indicating the distinctive significance of each within the Jewish sociocultural realm.
THE PILGRIMAGE-TOURISM CONNECTION
Superficial relationships between tourists and pilgrims have been acknowledged for several decades by medievalists and historians of tourism (Smith 1992), and more recently have been subject to further research (Vukoni'c 1996). However, the nature of the link between pilgrimage and tourism requires further research (Olsen and Timothy 2002).
Smith (1992) claims that in its current usage, the term pilgrimage connotes a religious journey, but its derivation from the Latin peregrinus allows broader interpretations, including foreigner, wanderer, exile, and traveler, as well as newcomer and stranger. The term tourist also has Latin origins, from tornus--an individual who makes a circuitous journey, usually for pleasure, and returns to the starting point. The contemporary use of the terms, identifying the pilgrim as a religious traveler and the tourist as a vacationer, is a culturally constructed polarity that veils the traveler's motives.
The Turners have claimed that a tourist is half a pilgrim if a pilgrim is half a tourist (Turner and Turner 1978). Smith (1992) identifies tourism and pilgrimage as opposite end points on a continuum of travel. The polarities on the pilgrimage-tourism axis are labeled "sacred" and "secular;" in between lay almost infinite possible sacred-secular combinations, with the central area now generally termed religious tourism. These positions reflect the manifold and changing motivations of the traveler, whose interests and activities may switch from tourism to pilgrimage and vice versa, even without the individual being aware of the change. Jackowski and Smith (1992) use the term knowledge-based tourism as synonymous with religious tourism. Most researchers identify religious tourism with the individual's quest for shrines and locales where, in lieu of piety, the visitor seeks to experience the sense of identity with sites of historical and cultural meaning (Nolan and Nolan 1989). Contemporary research deals with the complicated relationship between pilgrimage and tourism, including its economic, political, social, psychological, and emotional aspects (Eade 1992; Rinschede 1992; Eade and Sallnow 1991).
The nature of the tourist experience has received much attention from tourism research (Cohen 1979, 1998; MacCannell 1973; Turner and Turner 1969, 1978). MacCannell (1973) was the first to claim that it is a quest for the authentic, and that it presents the pilgrimage of modern man. The tourist is perceived as a pilgrim in the current modern secular world.
Cohen (1979) proposed a typology of tourist experiences. It is based on the place and significance of tourists' experience in their total worldview, their relationship to a perceived center and the location of that center in relation to the society in which the tourist lives. Cohen (1979, 180) holds that the tourist cannot be described as a "general type" so he distinguishes several tourist experiences that will help in understanding the phenomenon of pilgrimage. Five main modes are defined, representing a spectrum from the tourist's experience as a traveler in pursuit of mere pleasure to that of the modern pilgrim in quest of meaning at someone else's center. Cohen (1979, 183) identifies these as the recreational, diversionary, experiential, experimental, and existential modes. Cohen claims that tourists traveling in the existential mode are analogous to pilgrims. Both are fully committed to an elective spiritual center, external to the mainstream of their native society and culture, because they feel that the only meaningful "real" life is at the center.
Still other research indicates that the difference between old-fashioned pilgrimage and tourism is narrowing (Bilu 1998). Numerous similarities exist and the word pilgrimage is widely used in both religious and secular contexts. For example, visits to war graves or the graves and residences of celebrities like Elvis Presley's mansion and grave in Memphis, Tennessee are increasingly referred to as pilgrimages (Reader and Walter 1993).
JEWISH PILGRIMAGE SITES IN ISRAEL
Despite the interest in the theoretical dimensions of religious tourism, only a few studies of Jewish travel and the role that pilgrimage plays in Judaism today have appeared (Ben-Ari and Bilu 1987, 1997; Bilu 1998; Epstein 1995; Goldberg 1997; Levy 1997; Sasson 2002; Weingrod 1990). Therefore, the subject of Jewish pilgrimage tourism represents an emerging research theme.
The Jewish religion is focused on the importance of Jerusalem. The city has several important holy sites, of which the Western Wall (Hakotel Hama'aravi) is the most important (Coleman and Elsner 1995). Today, visits by Jewish pilgrims to the Western Wall are usually associated with praying, swearing oaths (nedarim), making requests, and placing notes (supplications) between the stones of the Wall to enhance the chances of the wishes materializing. Jerusalem, and in particular the Western Wall, is a formal pilgrimage center par excellence. The site is spatially and symbolically central. Other holy sites that could be classified in this category but which are less important and less accessible than the Western Wall are Rachel's Grave near Bethlehem, the burial place of the Matriarch Rachel, and the Cave of Machpela in Hebron.
After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Galilee in general, and more specifically Safed, a city in upper Galilee, became the main Jewish center. During Mishnaic and Talmudic times (from the first to the fifth century) many rabbis and sages (Tanna'im and Amora'im) settled there. Galilee became an important Jewish center at that time, a place of sages and poets, and Safed and Tiberias became two of the four holy cities of the Jews. Nowadays holy sites from this historical period include the burial places of holy people (Kivrey tsaddikim) who have become important in Jewish tradition because of a general belief in their holy powers. Since the 1970s these sacred sites have been developed more intensely. One of the main influencing factors in the emergence of these sites as noted by Weingrod (1990) and Ben-Ari and Bilu (1987) was the new immigrations of North African Jews who came to Israel in the 1950s. They brought with them to Israel the popular Muslim tradition of ziara, visiting the holy graves of holy people. This paper deals with pilgrims to these pilgrimage centers.
THE RESEARCH AREA
Four holy graves that have become pilgrimage sites were analyzed during this study. They include the graves of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, Yonatan Ben Uziel, Ha'ari in Tsfat, and the Cave of the Idra-Raba (Fig. 1). The grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai (Fig. 2) is one of the most important graves in Israel. It is located on the slopes of Mt. Meron (1,200 m). The Ministry of Religions estimates that 2,000,000 visits are paid to the site every year (Ben-Shimon 2004). Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai was a famous rabbi who lived in the era of the Tannaim (scholars of the Mishnah during the Roman period), after the destruction of the Second Temple. He is traditionally attributed with the authorship of the Zohar--The Brightness, the chief work of the Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism according to Orthodox Judaism. See Figures 3 and 4.
The grave of Yonatan Ben Uziel (Fig. 5) is located near Safed and has become one of the main Jewish pilgrimage sites in Israel in the past decade. Yonatan Ben Uziel was one of the greatest sages of the Talmud and was so committed to his Torah studies that he never married, claiming that learning was his only occupation. Nowadays it is estimated by the Ministry of Tourism that tens thousand of people who have had difficulty bearing children or finding marriage partners visit the shrine to pray.
The grave of Ha'ari is located in the cemetery of Tsfat (Safed). Yitzchak Luria is the real name of Ha'ari, which is an acronym. Luria was born in Jerusalem in 1534 and had a tremendous impact on the Tsfat community of his day, and subsequently, on the entire Jewish community. His teachings profoundly influenced the Hasidic movement a century later. Many of the customs he introduced are now practiced throughout the Jewish world. Nowadays it is estimated by the Ministry of Tourism that tens thousand of people visit the tomb to pray. See Figure 6.
The Cave of the Idra-Raba--the small cave--is located near the main road between Tsfat and Meron. The tradition of the Kabala believes that the meetings of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai and his students took place here long ago. A small building was built here in 1955, but there is no other development and only a few people visit this marginal site. This site is, however, a typical example of the many small sites in the Galilee.
These four sites were selected to provide a range of characteristics or features (see Table 1). For example, a site was classified as "small" if it received fewer than 10,000 visitors per year; "medium" if between 10,000 and 1,000,000 people visited it, and "large" if visited by more than 1,000,000 people per year. The level of development at the site was also considered. A high level includes much infrastructure development and services at the approach to the site and at the site itself. In contrast, a low degree of development would mean that few changes were made in the past decades. All four sites were also distinguished based on their location in an urban landscape or in an open, rural landscape. The geographic location of each site within the Galilee was also considered. A "central" site is one located in the center of the holy area of holy graves near Safed, while a "peripheral" site is marginal to them.
A structured questionnaire was distributed to all the visitors at three of the four selected holy sites. The questionnaire focused on the pilgrims' expression of beliefs, feelings, motivations, behavior, and experiences and comprised both open- and close-ended questions. The first part of the questionnaire elicited the pilgrims' personal details and characteristics such as age, sex, origin, socioeconomic status, and religious affiliation. The second part asked about their visit to the site: their motivations for the pilgrimage, their activities, length of their stay in Galilee and at the site, their behavior at the site, and the tourist context of their visit. The questionnaires were distributed on weekdays: one day every month from March through June 2004. This period did not include holidays, festivals days or Rosh Hodesh (the Jewish Religious Celebration of the First Day of each Hebrew Month) because they have unique and different patterns of pilgrimage activity. Between thirty-five and forty questionnaires were completed at each site during the four days of field work. All the visitors who agreed to participate were sampled. It is estimated that about three-quarters of all requests responded positively and as a result 145 questionnaires were completed. The data was analyzed quantitatively with simple descriptive statistics, and qualitatively. To analyze the phenomenon from other points of view, interviews were also held with the staff of the organized tours to the sites, tour leaders, and employees of the Ministry of Religion in charge of the sites. In addition to the questionnaires, observations in situ were conducted in order to identify the pilgrim behavior modes.
At the site of the Idra-Raba participation observation was used instead of a questionnaire. The reason is that hardly any visitors were found at the site during the research time. Only one organized tour was carried out during the research time and its participants were observed for fifteen hours (from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 a.m.) on the date of Lag Ba'omer. The observations were made during an organized group tour from Haifa, Tiberias, and Zefat to the site of the Idra-Raba. The observation focused on the motives, behavior, attitudes, and expectations of the participants.
It should be noted that observations at the different sites were made between the years 1995-2004 and that about 100 small pilot studies of thirty participants were conducted at various sites in Israel during these years, to learn about the phenomena, to estimate the willingness of the visitors to answer questions relating to their beliefs and practices, and to help design the final questionnaire. As there is no written information concerning the general population which visits the site, a nonrepresentative sample was chosen. It may well be that for further research other types of samples will be used.
TYPOLOGIES OF PILGRIMS
The pilgrims' age curve shows that 60% of the visitors are aged between twenty-one and forty years. Only 18% of all pilgrims range between the ages of forty-one and fifty, 9% are between the ages of fifty-one and sixty. One person is older than sixty-one, and 12% are younger than twenty. This finding points to the relative youth of the pilgrims, which differs from the data in other case studies in Christianity and Judaism. Another contradiction to the literature involves the equal number of men and women present at the sites, which differs from findings in other religions such as Christianity, where the female sex predominates (Collins-Kreiner, Kliot, Mansfeld, and Sagi 2006).
The research findings showed that each site had its "catchment area," referring to the visitor's place of origin and its distance from the site. The power of attraction of the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai proved to be international (26% of all visitors) and national (47%), while most of the visitors arriving at Rabbi Yonatan Ben Oziel's grave were from the northern part of Israel (57%), and from other parts of the country (31%). The grave of Ha'ari is mainly a local attraction, with 49% of all visitors coming from the local village, less than twenty kilometers away. The site of the Idra-Raba provided an interesting case study as all the visitors were from the regional catchment area.
Most of the visits to the sites were classified as religiously motivated. Reasons given were "to get to know the holy person," "to strengthen my belief," "to understand things from my heart," and "to petition the holy person." Most of the motivation was personal, strongly tied to religion. An interesting finding was the existence of a specific motive for visiting each grave. The chief reason for visiting the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was a wish to pray at the site. The two main reasons as given for visiting the site of Rabbi Yonatan Ben Oziel were a wish to pray and to request marriage and fertility. At the site of Ha'ari the main reason was sanctification and purification. The main reason for visiting Idra-Raba was to gain energy and to sustain mental development. The reasons mentioned for visiting the sites were described very differently by the visitors even though they all had the common feature of a search for a meaning. For example, visitors mentioned: "a wish to visit my roots," cultural reasons, curiosity, a desire "to learn about myself," educational reasons, and self-improvement. The diverse reasons given by the participants remind us that these graves are also cultural heritage sites, not only religious sites. All the visitors had at least heard of the holy personality before arriving at the site, but their knowledge was minimal and religiously based. Specifically, their knowledge derived from stories heard as children, from their traditions, and mainly oral tales. Only three people indicated that they consulted a guidebook before coming, and none used the Internet for obtaining any kind of information about their visit.
The activity at the site accorded with the motivation for the visit. The most common activity was prayer. Ritual bathing at the site of Ha'ari was conducted with prayer, while at the site of Rabbi Yonatan Ben Oziel the visit included other activities such as resting, eating, enjoying the view, and watching others--activities attesting that this is also a tourist site, not just a religious one. Most of the visitors went to sites other than the holy grave and participated in different activities, the most popular being hiking. They primarily visited nature reserves but also participated in other activities such as eating out, sightseeing, and visiting tourist attractions. No connection was found between their religious affiliation and their tendency to visit a tourist attraction. About half of the visitors indicated a need for religious information about the site itself and about other graves in the area. Only 15% of all visitors indicated that they would be interested in information on the surrounding area, such as places to visit, rest, eat, and enjoy.
The pilgrims were asked to describe their religious affiliation if any, and to describe themselves as secular, traditional, very orthodox, or religious, or whether they would choose a different description (Fig. 7). All four groups of visitors were found to participate in the pilgrimage: traditional visitors (28%), secular (23%), very orthodox Jews (20%), and religious (18%). A few people preferred to describe themselves differently, not by any of the conventional appellations. One woman described herself as "... a believing secular woman." Another visitor simply stated, "I am a servant of God", while another said, "I do not classify myself."
Their choice was based on their own understanding of these descriptions and there was no attempt to influence the interviewees. This self-description is very important for a grasp of the connection and the continuum between pilgrims and tourists. An interesting connection emerged between one's self-image and socioeconomic status. Those who defined themselves as "very orthodox" and a "pilgrim" tended to describe themselves as belonging to a low socioeconomic group, while those who described themselves as "secular" and as a "tourist" tended to depict themselves as belonging to a high socioeconomic group. All this seems to indicate that the better the economic status of the pilgrim, at least in his or her own perception, the more likely he or she was to describe himself or herself as a tourist.
The parameter of religious affiliation, if any, proved the most important for the purpose of the analysis. Culture-specific terminology was used in order to give more meaning to the pilgrimage. The current Jewish typology of Hiloneim (nonreligious or secular), Masortiem (traditional), Dateim (religious) and Haredim (very orthodox) is used to explain the four types of pilgrims. Parameters such as age, socioeconomic status, place of origin, gender, and affiliation (Sephardim or Ashkenazim) were found to have less influence on the pilgrims' characteristics.
VERY ORTHODOX JEWS (HAREDIM)
Because these visitors to the holy graves are there solely for religious reasons to pray and make supplications there, they may be classified as "pure" pilgrims. Their visit is usually combined with visits to other graves in the area. One type of the very religious group consisted of Hasidic youths ranging in age from seventeen to twenty years old and traveling in pairs or groups, usually on organized tours or hitchhiking excursions. These are young males who spend their free time visiting different sites in Israel, especially graves of saintly personages. In the interviews it was ascertained that they came mainly from Jerusalem and Bnei Brak (largely populated by ultraorthodox), but there were others from all over Israel. Their visit was marked by excitement and enthusiasm, and one particular group of Hasidic youths reported traveling at night, hitchhiking from one grave to the other. Another type of group included orthodox Jewish women traveling alone or with a close friend or relative. They typically bring with them prayers relating to marriage, health, or fertility. There were also orthodox family groups on a family tour that included visiting different graves in the area. Some very orthodox Jews traveled to the holy graves as part of an "official pilgrimage," that is, organized tours of fifty or more people arranged by different religious organizations. These tour buses travel from site to site, and prayers are recited at each location.
SECULAR VISITORS (HILONEIM)
Organized groups of secular men and women visiting holy graves were found to be very common. The participants are mainly middle-aged people of medium to high socioeconomic status. The visit is usually organized by travel agencies or other recreational groups. Each group has a local leader who specializes in spiritual tours to holy sites. Among these visitors, the motivation for visiting varied from curiosity, interest, and a wish to see cultural phenomena, to a search for a different meaning of life. The tour is sometimes organized at night to add some mystery to it. Although these tours usually involve spiritualism and mysticism, they may be classified as part of heritage tourism, which has lately become popular worldwide and includes people who travel to sites for a variety of reasons, including nostalgia for the past, the development of identity in terms of place and self, discovering family roots and improving awareness and understanding of historical events and places--which necessarily involve components of history, patriotism, and nationalism (Olsen and Timothy 2002). Tours consisting entirely of secular women have proved popular in recent times. These tour participants are usually of high socioeconomic status (Moshe 2004). Some small tour groups also attend the grave sites to make specific requests to the holy figure, even though they are secular. In addition, secular individuals may happen to visit the graves on rare occasions, as part of a hiking itinerary in the area or simply out of curiosity.
TRADITIONAL AND RELIGIOUS VISITORS
(MASORTEIM AND DATEIM)
The main reason for the visit of traditional believers stems from their belief in the holy persons themselves, and in what they can offer them. Most traditional visitors are women of all ages from all over Israel, usually from a low to medium socioeconomic background. Most of them are of Sephardic origin, and many usually visit as part of an organized group. They typically ask for fertility, health, marriage, or some other personal need. These women place their supplications on the gravestone of the holy person, light candles, and tie colored cloths on the branches of a "wishing tree" in order to have their wishes granted.
It is important to note the only a smallest group (18%) of the visitors described themselves as religious people. The phenomenon as a whole was found to be more traditional and popular than religious, and will be discussed further below.
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
A typology of sites was compiled according to their stage of development and character. It is based upon the observations, questionnaires, and interviews made at the site during the years 1995-2004. The classification uses Sasson's (2002) and Cohen's (1992) typologies and is divided into three stages: a spontaneous-popular stage, a semi-formal stage, and a formal stage. The development of the different sites is contingent on two elements--from above by diverse official bodies, and from below by the people themselves.
The site of the Idra Raba was found to be at the first spontaneous stage. At this stage, the holy site and its surrounding facilities are undergoing a process of development while at the same time its existence becomes known by word of mouth. This draws a small but steady flow of people. At this time there is no formal body that manages the site or provides an interpretation of historical or religious issues connected with it.
The grave of Ha'ari was found to be in the next stage of the model, the semi-formal stage, where the grave of Rabbi Yonatan Ben Oziel can be located. In this stage, activity increases, and the sites gain recognition by religious institutions, government organizations, and such official bodies as the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism. The site grows rapidly and its physical development keeps pace with this growth. Private enterprise is usually involved in the initial development of the site. An entrepreneur builds the basic infrastructure required to accommodate the growing number of visitors. In the case of Rabbi Yonatan Ben Oziel's grave a woman named Venecia came to this site in 1980 and began to care for the site and develop it. As the number of visitors to the site increased it attracted the attention of the local authorities who became involved in the site's management. In this way, the site gained formal recognition. The research findings showed that most of the visitors arriving at Rabbi Yonatan Ben Oziel's grave were from the northern part of Israel (57%) and from other parts of the country (31%) and not from the local community.
In the case of Rabbi Yonatan Ben Oziel's grave, recognition was won in the 1990s and after this a special road was built to the grave. Signposts started to appear and weekly prayers were organized officially at the site by different groups. In time the site grew in size, extending far beyond the original small grave, and a sidewalk and a large candle-lighting furnace were constructed. A grave-cover cloth was also donated. The location attained greater public awareness as it developed, and today the site is prepared for thousands of visitors.
The grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai is at the third and highest level of development, meaning that it enjoys formal recognition by the Israeli establishment. At this level, a site is under the control of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and is eligible for certain services just like any other government site. The research findings showed that the power of attraction of the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai proved to be international (26% of all visitors) and national (47%).
THE TOURISM-PILGRIMAGE AXIS
One of the main findings relates to the existence of a continuum, as proposed by Smith (1992), and with which the different groups can be represented (see Table 2). At one end are the pilgrims, orthodox Jews who visit the sites out of religious belief. Their main activity is praying. At the opposite end of the scale are tourists (so-called spiritual or heritage tourists) whose motivations are curiosity, cultural interest, and searching for new meanings to life. Between these extremes are the traditional visitors. These are closer to the orthodox, believing in the power of the tsaddik (holy person) and his helpful advice. Yet this belief on the part of the traditional visitor does not stem from religious faith but from a personal outlook. This is borne out by the fact that these visitors tend to make specific requests rather than offer formal prayers.
The difference may be observed in the customs and behavior of the different groups. Whereas the pilgrims pray and the secular visitors just visit, the mid-scale group takes part in many local folklore activities such as lighting candles, placing supplications and notes, and buying souvenirs such as holy water, pictures of the tsaddik, candles, greetings, pamphlets, amulets against the evil eye, and more. The differences noted in the visitors' attitudes to the sites were found to depend mainly on their religious affiliation, not on their age, origin, socioeconomic status, self-perception, sex, or other factors. The location of each pilgrim on the scale is personal and subjective, and between the extremes lie almost infinite number of sacred-secular combinations.
The existence of this scale reinforces the emerging connection between tourism and pilgrimage presented earlier in the article (Smith 1992). Any discrepancy between old-fashioned pilgrimage to the graves and today's tourism is hard to discern, and it is becoming impossible to differentiate pilgrims from tourists. Both kinds are motivated to undergo an experience that will add meaning to their life. They leave their periphery in order to find a center that will offer them a stronger belief and a new world. It is important to note that the groups are not homogeneous and comprise different types of people. For example, the secular group is highly diverse, ranging from those who go out of curiosity to those in quest of a meaning, hence they are closer to the pilgrimage pole of the scale, which is shown here.
The research findings about the common search for meaning which exists in pilgrims and pilgrim-tourists confirms Cohen's (1979) typology of several tourist modes and reasserts the complex connection between tourism and pilgrimage. Based on the findings presented here, I propose the following typology of pilgrims. Existential pilgrims are people whose experiences are characterized by the existential mode. They are orthodox Jews who see their pilgrimage as a religious experience. The experience of their visits will seldom have recreational, diversionary elements, though they will feel that mentally and spiritually the trip had restorative effects. Experiential existential pilgrims are secular visitors, who in addition to their existential mode of experiences, also have an experiential mode which stresses the quest of meaning outside the confines of one's own society and is motivated by the search for authentic experiences. Tourist pilgrims are mostly traditional visitors with a combination of modes of experience in which the most dominant one is the experiential mode with, perhaps, small doses of diversionary and recreational experiences. They will add elements of tourism which are directly related to leisure activities. Hardly any tourists, namely people who were looking for recreational and diversionary tourist experiences, will visit these holy graves. The institutional organizational framework is different, as are the motivations.
A connection was found between the characteristics of the participants and a site's stage of development. There is also a clear connection between the sites' development stage and their catchment area. At the spontaneous stage of development, religion, folk beliefs, and customs mix. Different market segments of visitors go to the sites and coexist. This occurs even though the reasons for visiting and the activities at the site are totally different. Each site is believed to have its own special qualities. These pilgrimage sites fill the need for supernatural or spiritual comfort.
The features of present-day pilgrims have been represented on a scale, which has been described as stretching from the secular to the spiritual, and from tourism to pilgrimage. The questionnaires, interviews, and observations used as research methods allowed a brief look into pilgrimage and its ties to tourism. The connection between pilgrimage and tourism emerges as a result of this analysis. This research project indicates that the difference between old-fashioned pilgrims and tourists is narrowing, while numerous points of similarity are emerging. This paper offers a point of departure for other studies in Judaism or tourism as well as other contexts and religions in today's modern world.
The work was supported by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture (New York).
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Noga Collins-Kreiner is Lecturer in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel.