Abstract. This paper deals with Jewish pilgrimage sites in Israel. The research analyzes the characteristics of Jewish holy sites in present-day Israel, in terms of the fundamental concepts introduced into the study of pilgrimage by Turner (1969; 1973), Turner and Turner (1978), and Cohen (1992). The paper concentrates on a critique of the Turners' concept of the location of the pilgrimage centers, following which the connection between pilgrimage and tourism emerges. The method used includes observation of different Jewish holy sites in Israel and interviewing pilgrims to these sites. The study develops a continuum along which characteristic features of the sites can be rated. The dimensions of the continuum are described in terms of formality versus popularity, peripherality versus centrality, and tourism versus pilgrimage. The continuum links increased formality in ritual with central sites and decreased formality with peripheral sites, which also have elements of tourism, folklore, and secularism. The study of Jewish holy sites indicates significant disparities with the location of pilgrimage centers that were claimed by the Turners to be typically marginal and peripheral to sociopolitical centers.
This paper deals with Jewish pilgrimage sites in Israel. Specifically, the research purpose is to reexamine one of the main concepts of the Turners' theory of the ritual process, which is the location of the pilgrimage centers, typically said to be marginal and peripheral to sociopolitical centers. Following this examination, the connection between pilgrimage and tourism will emerge. Pilgrimage is a well-known phenomenon in culture and is found in each of the main religions in the world: Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity (Reader and Walter 1993). 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). In the current literature, there was found to be a high level of uniformity between the pilgrims' beliefs and sites among the different religions. Thus, it is possible to view pilgrimage as an independent phenomenon that cuts across religions and cultures with uniform patterns and concepts.
Pilgrimage is a cultural phenomenon, which has attracted the attention of cultural geographers. Cultural geographers have long tried to define their object of study. They have done this first by referring, at least implicitly, to culture as superorganic and, more recently; by theorizing culture as a terrain, realm, level, domain, medium, or system of signification. The power of culture resides in its ability to be used to describe, label, or carve out activities (such as pilgrimage) into entities, so that they can be named an attribute of a people (Mitchell 1995). Pilgrimage can be seen as part of the subdiscipline of "Geography of Religions" or "Religious Geography," which investigates the connections between culture and the land with a special emphasis on the religious component (Sopher 1967). Pilgrimage is definitely an interdisciplinary field and in recent years, researchers from many disciplines--history, theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology; and geography--have studied it. Thus, Sopher (1967) synthesized the state of research in the geography of religions. Turner (1969; 1973) and Turner and Turner (1978) investigated behavioral aspects of pilgrimage. Nolan and Nolan (1989) studied the location and characteristics of pilgrimage to Christian holy sites in Europe. Eade and Sallnow (1991) advocated adopting an integrated view of pilgrimage. Carmichael et al. (1994) focused on "Holy Geography and Topography." Cohen (1992), Smith (1989; 1992), and other researchers studied the complex ties between tourism and pilgrimage.
The Location of Pilgrimage Sites
Turner (1969; 1973), and Turner and Turner (1978), introduced several new fundamental ideas into the study of pilgrimage, which led the study of the phenomenon in an entirely new direction. One of the Turners' fundamental ideas was that pilgrimage centers are typically located out there. This peripherality is both geographical-locational and cultural; the sites are marginal to population centers, and indeed to the sociopolitical centers of society. These peripheral centers are often located beyond a stretch of wilderness or some other uninhabited territory; in the "chaos" surrounding the ordered "cosmicized" social world. Nevertheless, because it is a focus, the pilgrimage center is a paradoxical conceptualization that emerges as a "center out there" (Turner 1973; Turner and Turner 1978).
A survey of relevant literature before the Turners' work reveals a meager body of theories about pilgrimages. An exception is Eliade's (1969, 1985) concept of the "'center of the world" through which passes the axis mundi, 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. For the individual pilgrim, that center may also be remote, in the sense that he or she lives at a distance from it, but this remoteness is, in Eliade's interpretation, only locational-geographical and has no theoretical significance. In contrast, in the Turners' concept of the location of the pilgrimage centers, this remoteness gains theoretical significance in three respects (Cohen 1992):
The remoteness expresses the separateness of the sacred cultural-religious center from the everyday sociopolitical center. This emphasizes the supremacy of the unifying all-human spiritual values over the divisive and dividing values of everyday life.
The remoteness separates the center from the territory of any particular constituent group of society. Its peripherality to all therefore makes it into a center for everyone.
The remoteness enables the individual pilgrim to undergo a spiritual transformation on ascent, from the nearby profane sphere of daily life into the remote sacred sphere of the center.
Therefore, according to Cohen (1992), the Turners, in a sense, reverse the basic orientational directions of Eliade's conception, which puts the pilgrimage center typically at the center of the world, while the believer ordinarily lives in its periphery. According to the Turners, the pilgrimage center itself is essentially peripheral, its very geographical and cultural peripherality being a precondition of its centrality.
This fundamental idea of the Turners has been submitted only to limited systematic comparative empirical study Cohen (1992), who tested the Turners' concepts by observing pilgrims at four types of Thai Buddhist shrines, found significant disparities. Turner was aware of the fact that there are some pilgrimage centers that cannot be seen as peripheral; they are located at the sociopolitical center. Although he tends to ascribe this to a kind of "ecological transition," once remote, marginal centers, through growing popularity and importance attracted immigrants and were thus transformed into major sociopolitical centers (Turner 1973). But not all pilgrimage centers that also serve as sociopolitical centers have emerged in the "ecological transition" way that Turner describes.
Like many other seminal thinkers in sociology and anthropology, Turner was in quest of universals in social life, and pilgrimage served to illustrate these universals. His attention was thus directed to the common characteristics of pilgrimage phenomena, with a consequent disregard for differences among them. However, although he refers to a broad range of specific pilgrimages, his generalizations about developed pilgrimage systems are drawn primarily from Christian, specifically Catholic, examples. Nevertheless, in accordance with his principal goal, he did not take systematic account of the impact of the Christian context on the specific configuration of the phenomena under study (Cohen 1992).
Christian pilgrimages are, however, an insufficient point of departure for generalizations. In the Christian, and specifically the Catholic civilization orbit, there exists an institutionalized separation between the political and religious authority of the Pope and the profane authority of the Emperor. Such a separation precluded the political center from becoming concomitantly a religious one. This probably facilitated the emergence of leading religious pilgrimage centers in areas peripheral to the society's sociopolitical center. Arguably, therefore, the location of the pilgrimage center "out there," a general necessity in the Turners' analysis, is particularly prominent in Christianity, where it is facilitated by the institutional separation between the religious and the political domains. Where these two domains are not separated, a principal condition for the separation between the two types of centers will be absent. Such a separation might not always occur, especially in religions in which a close relationship exists between the political and the religious domains as in the Eastern religions, Hinduism, and Buddhism (Cohen 1992), or as in Judaism today. Under such conditions, the principal pilgrimages will take place to a politico-religious center, which is the "center of the world."
A general but comparative theory of pilgrimages will thus have to postulate the existence of a continuum, the poles that are defined by the contesting conceptualizations of Eliade and Turner. Where the sociopolitical center is also the religious center, a conception based on Eliade's approach will apply. Where the sociopolitical center is not also the religious center, a conception based on the Turners' approach would be appropriate. It should be stressed, however, that even where the Turners' approach holds, as in Christianity, major pilgrimage centers such as Rome are so prominent that they can hardly be referred to as "out there." Hence Rome and Lourdes cannot be seen as "peripheral" to the same degree, or lumped together in the same category. This argument leads to the last consideration necessary for a comparative theory of pilgrimages: the existence of different types of pilgrimage centers within the same religion or society.
True enough, Turner (1973) recognizes the existence, within each world religion, of differences among sites, but does not make any further topological distinctions. Additional consideration, however, is highly relevant. Turner's primary interest was in popular religion, rather than its more intellectual and theological aspects. As a result, he sought to demonstrate the experience of "celebration" in folk festivals, particularly those at highly popular pilgrimage centers, which combine the sublimeness of the religious experience with folklorist exuberance. Sublimity and folklorist exuberance, however, are differently stressed at the various pilgrimage centers within the confines of a universal religion.
Accordingly, Cohen (1992) portrays a typology of pilgrimage centers that can be construed in terms of the relative emphasis on each of these tendencies. Specifically, he proposes distinguishing 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 emphasized; the rituals at such centers are highly formalized and decorous, and conducted in accordance with orthodox precepts. Though folklorist elements are not absent, they play a secondary role, and are even sometimes suppressed by the authorities. The pilgrims' principal motive for journeying to such centers is to perform a fundamental religious obligation, to gain religious merit, to make a vow, or to improve their chances of salvation. 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 in Rome are important contemporary examples of this type.
Popular centers are those in which folklorist activities are of greater importance, even talcing precedence over the more serious and sublime activities. The rituals at such centers are less formalized and less decorous, and conducted in accordance with little local traditions. The pilgrims' 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: 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. The secondary pilgrimage centers of a religion and particularly the more peripheral, smaller ones, come closest to this type. Formal and popular centers differ in the degree of their peripherality: the formal will be less peripheral, in Turner's sense, than the latter. In particular, in religions where an institutional separation of the political from the religious domain does not exist, the formal centers will tend to be central but the popular ones will tend to be peripheral. Only these latter ones will correspond to the Turners' "center out there" (Cohen 1992).
The Pilgrimage-Tourism Connection
A different vein of theoretical thought made a statement about the close connection that exists between pilgrimage to holy sites in the past and contemporary tourism (Kaplan and Bar-On 1991). This is a link that must be understood as a basis for further research. Such superficial relationships between tourists and pilgrims have been acknowledged for several decades by medieval scholars and by tourism historians (Smith 1992) and have been a subject of further research in recent years (Vukonic 1996). In its current usage, the term "pilgrimage" connotes a religious journey, but its Latin derivation from 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, and means 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 motives of the travelers (Smith 1992).
Tourism has been defined as an activity dependent on three operative elements: discretionary income, leisure time, and social sanctions permissive of travel; pilgrimage also requires these (Smith 1989). The Turners have claimed that a tourist is half a pilgrim, if a pilgrim is half a tourist (Turner and Turner 1978), and others such as Graburn (1989) link tourism to the pleasure periphery and describe tourism as a "sacred journey" in which the individual escapes from the secular everyday world to the land of play.
Smith (1992) identifies tourism and pilgrimage as opposite endpoints on a continuum of travel (Fig. 1). The polarities on the pilgrimage-tourism axis are labeled as sacred vs. secular, and between the extremities lie almost infinite possible sacred-secular combinations, with the central area (C) now generally termed "religious tourism." These positions reflect the multiple and changing motivations of the traveler, whose interests and activities may switch from tourist to pilgrim 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 visitors seek 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 the economic, political, social, psychological, emotional, and other aspects. Representative of this research are Eade's (1992) article, which describes the interaction between pilgrims and tourists at Lourdes; Rinschede (1992), who develops a typology of tourist uses of pilgrimage sites; and the Nolans (1989; 1992), who introduced a three-tier typology of sites. Many attempts are being made to point out that the difference between old-fashioned pilgrimage and tourism is narrowing (Bilu 1991). Numerous points of similarity are emerging, and the word pilgrimage itself is widely used in broad and secular contexts, such as for visits to war graves or the graves and places of popular figures, such as Elvis Presley's tomb in Memphis (Reader and Walter 1993).
Cohen (1992) argues 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 in regard 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 in Israel is used in this study 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 Israel-Jewish sociocultural realm.
Research Aims and Methodology
Observing different types of Jewish holy sites in Israel tests the location concept in the Turners' theory. The main hypothesis of this study was that increased formality in ritual would be found within central sites, and less formality within peripheral sites, which will also have many more tourist, folklore, and secular characteristics than the central sites. It was expected that significant disparities with classic Turner examples would be identified.
There are only a few studies of Jewish pilgrimages in Israel (Ben-Ari and Bilu 1987, 1997; Bilu 1993; Goldberg 1997; Weingrod 1990), or out of Israel (Levy 1997). Though these are important in themselves, they deal with specific centers, and do not relate to the broader issues discussed earlier. This study is based on a field survey of 15 representative pilgrimage centers in Israel (Fig. 2). All the sites covered in this study are defined as pilgrimage sites, based on the Jewish tradition. The field study included observations and interviews with pilgrims in the years 1995-97.
Six indicators were analyzed and tested at each of the sites. These were: the motive for visits to the site, the existence of a celebration (Hillula), the presence of commercial facilities, the periodicity of the sites, the visitors' origin, and the estimated number of visitors to each site annually. The indicators are used to determine the relative location of a center on the continuum of formality versus centrality and to present the different types of Jewish pilgrimage centers, from the principal formal pilgrimage center of Jerusalem to the several peripheral popular centers, and to understand the characteristics of Jewish sites in Israel.
The Motive for Visits to the Center
Although it was expected that there was a uniform motive for visiting the different centers, it was found not to be so. A visit may be motivated by a wish to recite a formal pilgrimage prayer from a siddur (a prayer book) or by a quest for religious merit or vows (neder), an obligation of the individual to God. Moreover, some individuals merely approach the center with a concrete and specific request such as for good luck at work or in marriage, or a wish to be married, to have children, or for good health. Such requests are usually directed to specific Jewish persons (tsaddikim), either living or dead, who are believed to possess extraordinary powers. When the request is fulfilled, an offering of candies is usually made at the pilgrimage site.
Based on former studies, such as Cohen's work in Thailand in 1992, it is assumed in this study that a quest for merit, or a specific formal prayer being said at pilgrimages, would predominate only at major formal pilgrimage centers, whereas requests for specific, private, and personal help would prevail at peripheral popular pilgrimage centers.
The Existence of a Celebration (Hillula)
It was assumed that the existence of a celebration (hillula) related to a religious figure would be absent in major formal pilgrimage centers, but present in the peripheral, popular ones. The hillula is an annual celebration commemorating the anniversary of the death of the holy figure (tsaddik). In some cases, these hillulot (p1.) may become foci of mass pilgrimages, with pilgrims far exceeding the population of the local community in numbers (Ben-Ari and Bilu 1987). It is expected that these hillulot would take place in popular and remote sites and not in the formal sites because of their special folksy and informal nature.
The Presence of Commercial Facilities
The presence of markets, stalls, fairs, and beggars at the sites and other commercial facilities or entertainment activities adjoining pilgrimage centers signify their popular and folk character. Hence it was assumed that they are absent at formal centers, but present at the popular ones.
The Periodicity of Sites
It was assumed that the date on which a site was established would have a greater impact on its tendency to be formal or popular. Thus, older sites would be located at the sociocultural and geographical center, while the more recent sites would be located in the sociocultural and geographical periphery. It is also assumed that the established sites would be more formal than the newer ones, which would have many more popular characteristics.
The Origin of the Visitors
It was hypothesized that incoming tourism (i.e., pilgrims from outside Israel) would predominate only at major formal pilgrimage centers, whereas domestic tourism (pilgrims from Israel) would predominate at peripheral popular pilgrimage centers. In addition, it was assumed that the more peripheral the site, the lower its attractive power and the closer to the site the geographical origin of the visitors. As a result, in very remote and peripheral sites, most of the visitors would be from the same region or even from the nearest village.
Number of Visitors
Specifically, the total number of visitors would be much larger at major formal pilgrimage centers than at peripheral popular pilgrimage centers. It was assumed that fewer visitors would attend as the site is remote and peripheral.
Jewish Pilgrimage Sites in Israel
Formal Religious Pilgrimage Centers
The Jewish religion is focused around the importance of Jerusalem, the religious capital of the ancient kingdom of Israel and the capital of the modern State of Israel. Jerusalem is the unforgettable and unchangeable center and symbol of the Jewish people. Jerusalem contains several important holy sites, of which the Western Wall (Hakotel Hama'aravi)--the remains of the outer wall of the Second Temple (Bet Hamikdash)--is the most important. Jerusalem was also the capital of the Judean and Israeli kingdoms in biblical times and remained the national, religious, and spiritual center of the Jewish nation throughout the generations. It is the political center of present-day Israel (Vilnay 1963; Michelson, Milner and Salomon 1996). Tourists from all over the world and from Israel itself come to Jerusalem in order to tour the city and its ancient sites; tourism to Jerusalem includes business tourists and holiday makers as well as Christian and Muslim pilgrims and religious tourists.
Three times a year during the three "foot festivals" (shloshet haregalim)--Tabernacles (Succoth), Passover (Pesah), and at Pentecost (Shavuot)--a prayer used to take place at the Temple. These festivals refer to the ancient custom of ascending to Jerusalem, and in ancient times, Jewish pilgrims came to Jerusalem from all over the country or abroad on foot. Nowadays, a formal "priestly blessing" (birkat kohanim) is said at the Western Wall in memory of the former pilgrimage. A multitude of people assembles and prays from the early hours of the morning in front of the Wall. This pilgrimage is only a remnant of the biblical injunction in the Bible because the Temple no longer exists, and the pilgrimage today is only a custom upheld in order to symbolize the old pilgrimage. However, this religious and formal prayer differs radically from the folklorist celebrations (hillulot) that other holy sites hold once a year, and will be described later.
Today, visits of Jewish pilgrims to the Western Wall are usually associated with either praying, making vows (nedarim), asking for requests, or putting notes (supplications) between the stones of the Wall to enhance the chances of the wishes materializing. Devotions at the Western Wall are normally conducted in a stylized format. Men and women are separated by a partition and are modestly dressed; the men all have covered heads.
In contradistinction to popular sites, the devotions are not followed by popular folk activities such as offering sweets, lighting candies, or wearing special ribbons or badges for good luck. Probably unique among the holy sites, the site of the Western Wall itself is not surrounded by shops, hawkers, and peddlers, selling everything from articles for religious offering to food and clothing.
Jerusalem, and in particular the Western Wall, is a formal pilgrimage center par excellence. The site is spatially and symbolically central. It is certainly a "center" that is not "out there"; rather it is located at the very center of the society, the national capital. There, the locus of the principal Jewish pilgrimage does not fit the Turners' concept.
Other holy sites that could be classified in this category, but less important and less accessible than the Western Wall, are Rachel's Tomb near Beth-Lehem, 7 km. south of Jerusalem, the burial place of the matriarch Rachel, and the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, 36 km. south of Jerusalem, where the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are believed to be buried. These sites have similar characteristics to Jerusalem, but with less strength and importance; the motives for visits to them are mostly formal, there are no hillulot, the sites are long established, located near the center (Jerusalem), and there are no commercial facilities. These Jewish sites also suffer from security problems because of their location before 1994 in a controversial political area, the West Bank, and their location today within the Palestinian Authority. As a result, they cannot function as central sites.
Major Peripheral Pilgrimage Centers
After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Galilee in general and more specifically Safed, a city in the upper Galilee, became the main Jewish center. During Mishnaic and Talmudic times, (the first to the fifth century) many rabbis and sages (Tanna'im and Amora'im) settled there. New lunar months (Roshei Hodashim) were announced there. Tiberias, on the shore of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), was also an important spiritual center and the Sanhedrin (an assembly of 71 ordained scholars, which was both supreme court and legislature) moved there from Jerusalem. The Galilee became an important Jewish center at that time, a place of sages and poets; Safed and Tiberias became two of the four holy cities of the Jews.
Today holy sites from this historical period are the burial places of pious people (tsaddikim), who became important in Jewish tradition because of a general belief in their holy powers. The location of these sites today is peripheral, but when they were established they were located in the religious centers. As a result, they could be seen as the formal pilgrimage centers of the past, and as the major peripheral pilgrimage centers of today. Though in contemporary Israel, there is only one formal politico-religious center, Jerusalem, several of the Galilee sites became important pilgrimage centers when Jerusalem could not function because of the Roman conquest and the politico-religious center moved to Galilee. Even though they have ceased to be seats of political power, they continued as pilgrimage sites until today. By losing their political-religious function, they became peripheral over time. They may be seen, when looked upon from the present sociopolitical center, as peripheral "centers out there," but they were not established as such, in contrast to the minor pilgrimage centers.
The most important of these major peripheral centers in Israel is the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai, on Mount Meron, near Safed. Shimon Bar-Yochai lived in the second century and preached against the Romans, hiding from them for 13 years in a cave. He is believed to have written the Zohar (The Book of Splendor), the most important book of Jewish mysticism (Levy 1997), and to have performed miracles. Pilgrims visit the site throughout the year, but especially on the festival of Lag Ba'omer (the 33rd day after Passover), which is the main celebration day of the site. It is estimated by the Ministry of Religious Affairs that there are 250,000 visitors to the site on that single day (about 5% of all Israeli citizens) and about a million and a half visitors throughout the whole year. The site is a major attraction of domestic tourism in Israel, including all segments of Jewish society in Israel. The site has a celebration (hillula) of its own; people come from all over the country and abroad to participate. Near the tomb there are several shops; the number of beggars, stalls, and refreshment facilities increase close to the celebration day. This setting bestows a popular character to visits to the site.
There are other examples of major peripherally sited pilgrimage centers of a popular character: Rabbi Yonatan Ben-Oziel's Tomb is near Safed. He lived 60 years before the destruction of the Second Temple and was a well-known student of the Bible. Today, his tomb is associated with the matching of couples (zivugim), and people come from all over the country to pray and to fulfill their wishes. Rabbi Meir Ba'al Hanes's Tomb is near Tiberias; he lived in the second century CE and was the most famous Rabbi of his generation, well known because of his knowledge of the Bible and his ability to perform miracles. Nowadays a celebration (hillula) takes place during the festival of Passover. Rabbi Akiva's Tomb is in Tiberias. He was the most famous of all the Tanna'im (a special group of teachers in the first centuries who worked on the Talmud); people continue to make pilgrimage to his tomb. A hillula takes place every Yom Kippur evening. Hony Hameagel's Tomb is near Hatzor Haglilit in the Galilee; he was believed to be able to influence rainfall and lived in the first century. Pilgrims come to his tomb in order to pray and to make personal requests. Rabbi Yehuda Bar-Elaee's Tomb is near Safed; he lived in the second century, and is well known today for his ability to help with financial problems (Vilnay 1963; Michelson, Milner and Salomon 1996).
Most of these sites, if not all, are located in the peripheral areas. The Ministry of Religious Affairs estimates that tens of thousands of visitors visit each site annually. At these sites, religion, folk beliefs, and customs mix freely. Each site is believed to have its own special properties, and pilgrims come to pray and to ask for personal requests or blessings (bracha), to help with economic problems, marriage, health, and fertility. People also come in order to meet family, friends, or other people, and to eat, talk, or even dance. At other sites, there are also collection boxes where worshippers can donate to the site.
Minor Peripheral Pilgrimage Centers
In contrast to the centers already discussed, the peripheral pilgrimage centers were marginal from their inception and remain so. These sites come closest to the popular pole of the typology. They are "centers out there," whose origins are typically unrelated to any political or religious center. In them, Judaism, folk beliefs, and customs mix freely. They have a folklorist character, even though they are related to a holy figure who is often believed to possess considerable power and the ability to perform miracles. The principal motive of the visits is usually a request for a blessing (bracha) from the spirit of the Holy Saint (tsaddik). The specific and concrete nature of such requests is best exemplified by the widespread belief that it is in the power of the holy figure to bring luck and help to the worshipper.
Since the 1970s new sacred sites for Jewish saints have been established or "discovered" in several Israeli development towns. Several studies such as those of Weingrod (1990) and Ben-Ari and Bilu (1987) have tried to reflect on the reasons for this kind of new and peripheral sites and found that the sociocultural and political characteristics of Israeli society, and the new immigrations of North African Jews in the 1950s influenced the emergence of these sites.
These centers, therefore, among all the pilgrimage centers of Israel, come closest to the Turners' concept of pilgrimage centers. About ten such minor centers can be found throughout the country and their number is growing Most have only a limited hinterland, but some are popular throughout the whole country and enjoy a large number of visitors throughout the year, especially on Jewish holidays and during their own hillulot, which are marked by the gathering at the grave of the saint on the anniversary of his death.
The most popular site is the Tomb of the Baba Sail in Netivoth, in the Negev, in southern Israel. The Baba Sali is not from the far-off past but a recent figure who died only 15 years ago. This site attracts a steady flow of visitors arriving individually or in groups, mostly from the Negev region but also from the rest of the country, with few from outside Israel. Visitors are particularly numerous during holidays; the site celebration (hillulat-ha-Baba-Sali) takes place in April, on the anniversary of the Rabbi's death. There are 50,000 visitors to the site at the Hillula (estimates by Israel police). While many make a pilgrimage specifically to the site, others enter the tomb as part of a visit to the area, or even in the course of visiting family or friends nearby.
On the celebration day, an open market extending for a few hundred meters, selling all kinds of goods, is located at the entrance to the site. There are religious goods such as candlesticks, pictures of the Baba Sali, holy books, holy water, red wrist ribbons for luck, and everyday goods such as food and clothing. In 1996 a stall for minor gambling games like target shooting was observed. In addition to the usual customs of praying, lighting candles, donating money; and offering sweets, it is also usual to take part in a large communal meal (mangal), and to sing, dance, and celebrate.
Another pilgrimage site in this category is Rabbi Chayim Chouri's Tomb in Beer-Sheva. He was a well-known figure in Morocco and his tomb has been a place of pilgrimage mostly for North African Jews since he died in 1957. A celebration attended by more than 20,000 people has taken place every year on the anniversary of his death (Weingrod 1990).
A different kind of site is the shrine devoted to the famous Moroccan tsaddik, Rabbi David U'moshe in Safed, who is believed to have been transported from the Moroccan Atlas mountains to his new shrine in Northern Israel, where thousands of believers now light candles and pray for the Tsaddik's intervention in matters of health or good fortune (Ben-Ari and Bilu 1987). The tomb of Rabbi Rahamim Malul in Yavne, whose remains were reinterred in Israel from Morocco in July 1996 (Saban 1996), is another good example of this category of sites. All of these sites are located in the peripheral areas.
New facilities, such as organized places for lighting candles, parking lots, signboards, areas for visitors, and even synagogues have been built around these sites (Ben-Ari and Bilu 1987). The sites have also become centers for local and regional politics that have an impact on Israeli national politics (Weingrod 1990). New sites continue to emerge in Israel, motivated by sentimental feelings, political and economic reasons, and personal and national motivations (Bilu 1991). Good examples of such are the Rabbi David U'moshe Shrine in Safed, and the Pinto Family Tomb in Kiryat Malahi. The question that should be asked is, what is their legitimacy and how long will they survive?
This paper has examined the universality of the Turners' concept of the pilgrimage center as a peripheral "center out there." It has been argued that the Turners' concept is culture-bound. Turner, in his search for the universal structure of pilgrimage, disregarded the differential institutional context created by the religious conceptions by which a given pilgrimage center is constituted. Specifically, it was argued that the Turners' preoccupation with Christian pilgrimages led them to disregard situations in which the principal religious and political centers are fused. As a result, the main pilgrimage center will be central rather than peripheral, thus corresponding to Eliade's concept of the "center of the world" rather than to the Turners' concept of the "center out there."
This is particularly true of Judaism, in which religious and political centers are fused, even though they are institutionally distinct. This fusion has been demonstrated in the Israeli case study, in which Jerusalem is presently the only politico-religious center that is a "central" pilgrimage center, rather than a "center out there." This paper confirms an important distinction made in Cohen's (1992) work, between the existence of formal and popular pilgrimage centers. It was expected that only the latter, but not the former, would manifest the folklorist qualities of celebration that play such an important role in the Turners' concept of pilgrimage.
This study has focused only on the main sites from each category, while the numbers are much greater than mentioned above. A variety of indicators were used to distinguish the difference between the formal and popular centers. These included the absence or presence of markets and fairs, the existence of a celebration (hillula) related to the center, the origin and number of visitors, the period in which the site emerged, and the dominant motivation of the pilgrim's visit to the center: a general religious vow, fulfilling a religious injunction (mitzvah), or seeking the concrete magical power of a saint (tsaddik) at the center It was expected that the quest for merit would predominate in pilgrimages to the formal center while the request for a specific blessing (bracha) of a specific figure will be dominant at the popular centers.
Although no systematic study of the various pilgrimage centers in Israel was conducted, the available information, derived from direct observations and interviews and from a variety of published and unpublished materials, by and large bore out the expectations that the principal pilgrimage center in Jerusalem is also the most formal one. The degree of formality declines roughly with the importance of the center: major peripheral centers are presently less formal and more folklorist than the formal ones, but of a less folksy character than the minor ones, and the differences between sites were unequivocally demonstrated by most of the indicators used.
The study was conducted as a means of comparison with Cohen's (1992) research of holy sites in Thailand. Similarities emerged in the two studies with regard to the commercial and tourist nature of many of the sites, in the location of sites and in the behavior of the pilgrims. The similarities reinforce the fact that the main pilgrimage center will be central rather than peripheral in different religions. This finding corresponds with Eliade's concept of the "center of the world" rather than with the Turners' concept of the "center out there." But, there are also significant differences between Cohen's work in Thailand and this work, for there are distinguishing indicators that exist only in Judaism and not in Buddhism, and vice versa. For example, the indicator of the distance between the holy figure and the believer that exists in Buddhist formal sites, does not exist in Judaism; the worshipper can get as close to the holy figure and its tomb as he wishes.
Following the critique of the Turners' concept of the location of pilgrimage centers, the connection between pilgrimage and tourism emerges. Although this paper has not focused mainly on this relationship, some of the implications of this issue should be elucidated. On one empirical level, this study indicates a change in the relative significance of pilgrimage and tourism in visits to Jewish pilgrimage centers. With the development of modern tourism, both domestic and foreign, some of the traditional festivals at popular pilgrimage centers tend to become highly commercialized. These fairs are becoming "happenings" that have a political, cultural, social, and tourism nature and an utterly secular character unconnected to any religious center. Thus, Jewish hillulot as a whole undergo secularization, and their tourist character is strengthened at the expense of the religious (Weingrod 1990).
This study also has some wider implications for the theoretical relationship between pilgrimage and tourism. The differentiation made in the past between pilgrims and tourists in terms of the direction of their respective journeys was found to be true in this study. The pilgrim was traveling toward the sociocultural center of his or her society while the tourist was traveling away from it, toward the periphery. However, when the individual's destination is not a pilgrimage center of his religion, he would be classified as a traveler-tourist. If this is the case, then Jewish visitors motivated by religious motives to a central pilgrimage center such as Jerusalem will be defined as pilgrims; on the other hand, Jewish visitors to a remote peripheral pilgrimage center, such as the Baba-Sali's Tomb, will generally be pilgrim-tourists. Foreign non-Jewish visitors to the same place, however, would be traveler-tourists. The difference is not merely one of classification. Rather, the attitudes and demeanor of the two kinds of visitors will be wholly different, and so probably will be the meaning and consequences of the respective visits for themselves and for their destination.
Aside from the reasons that the Turners mentioned about the symbolic importance of remoteness, we can note some very practical reasons for this remoteness in the new Jewish sites. These remote sites are located where the immigrants of the 1950s were settled in the periphery of Israel, and this is where they established their holy sites. These are also the places where there is a predominance of former North African population in Israel today. Moreover, the religious authorities do not always encourage this kind of new site, and thus they are located in the periphery (Weingrod 1990).
A further conclusion is the existence of a continuum of sites upon which the features which characterize them can be rated, in accordance with Smith's (1992) continuum, which characterizes the pilgrims themselves. The continuum is composed of secularism versus sacredness and tourism versus pilgrimage. Near the sacred and pilgrimage end there are formal pilgrimage sites with their visitors, who are "pure" pilgrims interested in holiness and worship. At the other extremity we have popular pilgrimage sites and their visitors, religious tourists who are interested in the folklorist, commercial, and tourist characteristics of the site. Each site and each visitor can be rated on a scale according to their characteristics: a formal and peripheral site and a "pure" pilgrim would be located near the sacred side, while a popular and peripheral site and a tourist would be located near the tourism side. Students of pilgrimage and tourism can locate the different sites on the scale of religious tourism and pilgrimage according to the multiple characteristics and factors discussed in this work.
Many holy sites exist in Israel today; in the last few years the numbers have been growing rapidly (Vilnay 1963; Michelson, Milner and Salomon 1996). Sites are discovered, renewed, or even newly created. Pilgrimage to these sites today could even be defined as a "fashion," with an increasing number of believers joining the pilgrims, visiting the sites, or believing in the holy figures. The authenticity of the sites, their real locations, and their formal religious importance play only a secondary role to those who are looking to believe in something, and therefore sites become sacred quite easily.
I would like to thank Professor N. Kliot, Professor A. Kellerman, and Professor S. Waterman of Haifa University, who substantially improved this study.
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Noga Collins-Kreiner is a Ph.D. student and a lecturer in the Department of Geography, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel.
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