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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - March 4, 2001

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus
Discussion List
Week of March 4, 2001
9 Adar 5761


1. New Publication: Zvi Zohar's *The Luminous Face of the East* (Zohar)
2. New Publication: Moshe Lazar's *The Ladino Scriptures* (Jerchower)
3. New Release and Critique: Voice of the Turtle and Edwin Seroussi (Wachs)
4. Post-Doctoral Position on Ethnic Conflict in the Modern World:
University of Washington (Kasaba)
5. Lecture: Secret Jews around the World (Mound)
6. National Jewish Book Awards: Sephardic Winners (Simon)
1. New Publication: Zvi Zohar's *The Luminous Face of the East* (Zohar)

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: The Discussion List sends its warm congratulations to subscriber Zvi Zohar on the publication of his new book.]

From: Zvi Zohar <>
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 12:54 PM

Zvi Zohar

The Luminous Face of the East (Hebrew)

HaKibbutz HaMeuchad, Tel Aviv, 2001 (479 pp.)

During the past two centuries (c. 1800 - 2000) the Jewish communities of the Middle East were home to rabbinic scholars and leaders of great stature and vision. The halakhic and philosophic creativity of these rabbis are the focus of this book, which reveals to its readers a rich and fascinating cultural world, offering a significant alternative to the Ashkenazic Orthodox ethos of "Torah prohibits the new". The paths blazed by these Sephardic-Oriental leaders in dealing with modernity reflect modes of religious thought and cultural openness that are potentially meaningful and relevant for all Jews interested in a Judaism that is authentically traditional but also alive and responsive to cultural and historical change.

The book's structure follows geographic divisions: Three chapters on rabbinic creativity in Iraq are followed by two chapters on Syria and then four chapters on the rabbis of Egypt. Then come seven chapters on the writings and thought of Sephardic rabbis in Eretz Israel. A final chapter presents a general thesis on the differences between the Halakhic ethos of Sephardic and Ashkenazic rabbis in modern times.

Zvi Zohar is a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, where he founded the Center for Halakha. He is also a senior faculty member of Bar Ilan university, where he holds a position in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Contemporary Jewry. His previous works include *Tradition and Change* (Jerusalem, Ben Zvi, 1993), and (with co-author Avi Sagi) *Conversion and Jewish Identity* (Jerusalem, Bialik press and Shalom Hartman Institute, 1995) and *Circles of Jewish Identity* (Tel Aviv, HaKibbutz HaMeuchad, 2000).

2. New Publication: Moshe Lazar's *The Ladino Scriptures* (Jerchower)

From: Seth Jerchower <>
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2001 1:05 PM

I would like to bring to the group's attention the following book:

*The Ladino scriptures : Constantinople-Salonica (1540-1572) : a critical edition* - by Moshe Lazar ; technical editor, Francisco J. Pueyo Mena. Labyrinthos, Lancaster, Calif., 2000. 2 v. (xxxvii, 1997 p.) : ill.

These are the Judeo-Spanish sections of the same Polyglot I've mentioned in my previous postings. We have a copy here at the CJS Library at the University of Pennsylvania, so if anyone needs access to any parts, please feel free to contact me.

Kol tuv!
Seth Jerchower
University of Pennsylvania

3. New Release and Critique: Voice of the Turtle and Edwin Seroussi (Wachs)

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: The Discussion List sends its warm congratulations to subscriber Judith Wachs on her new release.]

Date: Monday, February 19, 2001 3:52 PM

I would like to announce our latest release, "The Sword of the Dove -- A
Judeo-Spanish Purim Fantasia" to the Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies
Cause Discussion list. I am including the Press Release below.

I think that the members of the list may also be interested in the additional offering of Dr. Edwin Seroussi's article which appears on our website in conjuction with the musical release.

Thanks, and thanks again for moderating this excellent list.

Warm regards,
(Judith Wachs, Artistic Director)

Voice of the Turtle Releases The Sword of the Dove -- A Judeo-Spanish Purim
Fantasia; Quartet Celebrates 23rd Year with 12th Recording Release

February 6, 2001. Boston, MA. Since 1978, Voice of the Turtle, a Boston-based quartet, has focused upon the music of the Spanish Jews. The group has released The Sword of the Dove -- A Judeo-Spanish Purim Fantasia, their twelfth recording. A collection of melodies sung for centuries at the time of the spring holiday of Purim, the repertoire represents the astonishing variety of expressions created for this holiday, ranging from liturgical through the burlesque.

Created, remembered, preserved and adapted through five hundred years of
exile and dispersion, the texts derive from the rich treasure trove of
legends and poetic expressions which tell of the ancient Persian Jewish
community's miraculous escape from destruction. Included are traditions from
many different Judeo-Spanish communities, liturgical expressions in Hebrew (Piyyutim) and Coplas, a genre of poetry in Judeo-Spanish which focuses upon
Jewish subjects.

The release package also includes an informative booklet with background
notes on the holiday, as well as the complete texts and translations. A
special feature to accompany this recording can be found on the Voice of the
Turtle website -- -- a scholarly article on
the texts and musical background of the included repertoire by Professor
Edwin Seroussi of the Jewish Music Research Center at Hebrew University in

Instruments include: 'ud, cornetti, chalumeaux, baglama, saz, medieval
Spanish bagpipe, medieval fiddles, kamanja, rebec, nay, flutes, harp,
psaltery, violin, mandolin, guitars, clarinet and a wide variety of Middle
Eastern and North African percussion.

Contact: Jay Rosenberg, Distribution Manager. 781-646-3785;

About Voice of the Turtle
Voice of the Turtle has performed concerts of Judeo-Spanish (Sephardic) music for 22 years. The group's signature instrumental and vocal arrangements of rarely heard repertoire have been heard nationally and internationally on radio and television, and have been acclaimed by the Boston Globe, The New York Times, London's Jewish Chronicle, and Ha‚Aretz in Israel. Voice of the Turtle uses an expansive palette of instruments reflecting the complex and intriguing paths of exile of the Spanish Jews since 1492 through North Africa, the Balkans, and the Near and Middle East: saz, 'ud, baglama, rebec, kamanja, shawms, chalumeaux, bombards, flutes, middle eastern percussion, as well as modern instruments. The current members, Derek Burrows, Lisle Kulbach, Jay Rosenberg, and Artistic Director Judith Wachs are all the original members of the group. The group has performed in almost every state of the United States, and in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Madrid, Hong Kong, and Jerusalem. The group has been widely acclaimed for a unique five volume collection, Paths of Exile, initiated to mark the 500th year since the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

Recordings by Voice of the Turtle: (Catalogue, ordering and information
available online)
Series I: The Time of Singing is Come (Vol.I); A Coat of Many Colors (Vol.II); Small Miracles (Volume III); The Flowers Appear on the Earth
(Vol. IV); Circle of Fire - A Hanukkah Concert (Live!) (Vol.V.)
Series II: Paths of Exile Quincentary Series: From the Shores of the Golden Horn, Vol. 1 (Music of Spanish Jews of Turkey); Bridges of Song, Vol. II (Music of Spanish Jews of Morocco); Balkan Vistas, Spanish Dreams, Vol. III (Spanish Jews of Yugoslavia & Bulgaria); Under Aegean Moons, Volume IV (Spanish Jews of Greece & Rhodes); Full Circle, Vol. V (Music of the Spanish Jews of Jerusalem). Series III: Holiday Series A Different Night - A Passover Musical Anthology The Sword of the Dove - A Judeo-Spanish Purim Fantasia
----------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Post-Doctoral Position on Ethnic Conflict in the Modern World:
University of Washington (Kasaba)

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 16:44:25 -0800
From: Resat Kasaba <>
Courtesy: Rachel Simon <rsimon@Princeton.EDU>
Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 5:08 AM

Post-Doctoral Position on Ethnic Conflict in the Modern World
University of Washington

Mellon/Sawyer postdoctoral position available at the Univ. of
Washington's Center for the Study of Ethnic Conflict and Conflict Resolution for one year. With a grant from the Mellon Foundation the Center will run a
Sawyer Seminar in 2001-2002 on ethnic conflict in the modern world.
Recent Ph.D.s in any social science (including history) who are specialists
in this area, covering any part of the world, are encouraged to apply.
Responsibilities will include assisting in the running of the seminar
and teaching one quarter of a senior honors undergraduate seminar on the
topic. Salary will be approximately $30,000 plus benefits. Please submit
a description of your research and a sample of your written work. Include
two letters of reference in sealed, signed envelopes with your application
letter. The appointment will run from September 15, 2001 to June 14,
2002. The deadline for applications is May 15, 2001. Write to
Professor Daniel Chirot or to Professor Resat Kasaba, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, Box 353650, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195. The University of Washington is building a multicultural faculty and strongly encourages applications from female and minority
candidates; the institution is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Professor Resat Kasaba
Chair, International Studies Program
Jackson School of International Studies
Box 353650
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

Phone: 206-543-6890
Fax: 206-685 0668
5. Lecture: Secret Jews around the World (Mound)

Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001 14:55 -0500 (EST)
From: Gail R Shirazi <>
Courtesy: yidubitsky@JTSA.EDU
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 12:00 PM
Subject: Secret Jews around the World

Lecture: Secret Jews around the World; Survivors of the Spanish Exile.

Speaker: Gloria Mound, Director of Casa Shalom; The Institute for
Marrano-Anusim Studies, Yavneh, Israel

Date and Time: Sunday, March 11, 2001 at 7:00 PM

Place: Magen David Sephardic Congregation, Woodglen Dr., Rockville, MD

Price: $5.00 in advance
$7.00 at the door

Reservations requested: RSVP to 301-770-6818

Ms. Mound, an Honorary Research Fellow at Glasgow University,
Department of Hispanics is an expert on the Crypto-Jews of the Spanish
Balearic Islands of Ibiza and Formentera. She has conducted research
on the Marrano and Crypto-Jewish communities in Spain, Portugal,
U.S.A., Canada, The Caribbean, South America and Africa. Her lecture
is accompanied by slides.

"Gloria Mound has dedicated her life to researching modern
crypto-Jews, their ancestors, and their traditions. The Institute she leads also offers support and assistance to any B'nai Anusim who wish to re-enter the Jewish mainstream. Ms Mound has documented secret synagogues hidden in churches and private homes, priests who pray privately in kippot and tallitot, and 'Catholic' grandmothers who sing Ladino lullabies to their grandchildren and die with the Sh'ma on their lips." (quote from Kulanu website)

Check out the Institute's website at:
6. National Jewish Book Awards: Sephardic Winners (Simon)

Courtesy: Rachel Simon <rsimon@Princeton.EDU>
Date: Thursday, March 1, 2001 5:37 AM

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: The Discussion List sends its warm congratulations to the National Jewish Book Award winners.]

Mimi Frank in Memory of Becky Levy


Synagogues Without Jews
Rivka and Ben-Zion Dorfman
Jewish Publication Society

Their book offers accurate and up-to-date information on Ashkenazi and
Sephardic synagogues alike, chronicling their sad remains as well as
their occasional restorations. The current and pre-war photographs are
inspirational and accompany histories often unknown to the general
Jewish public. This book will be especially valuable to those about to visit
any of the regions while they can still meet many of the featured survivors.
While Jews have been made universally aware of the unforgettable horrors
of the Holocaust, this book can help them also remember the thriving
communities and splendid edifices in which they formerly worshipped.


Goodbye, Evil Eye
Gloria DeVidas Kirchheimer
Holmes and Meier

Gloria DeVidas Kircheimer's book is a collection of humorous and
bittersweet anecdotes describing slices of Sephardic life in America
just a generation or so ago. Though the names may be of Spanish origin, the
phrases Frenchified, and the music surprisingly Arabic, the author shows that Jewish life once and again revolves around food, faith, tradition, superstition, and an overwhelming desire for our children to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. This enjoyable collection of Sephardic and Ashkefardic vignettes reminds us that, whether our ancestors spoke Yiddish or Ladino, laughter is the common language among all Jews.

1,000 Jewish Recipes
Faye Levy
IDG Books Worldwide/Hungry Minds

While Jewish cookbooks of every type and denomination are plentiful
today, this is the one that stands out. It assembles all the classic recipes in one volume, whether they be Ashkenazi, Sephardic, old-fashioned, or nutritionally correct. Added benefits are the holiday menus and
at-a-glance meat/dairy/parve markers.


Maurice S. Amado Award


Reluctant Cosmopolitian
Daniel M. Swetchinski
Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Daniel M. Swetchinski's Reluctant Cosmopolitan while centered on a
single city is a major contribution to the Jewish history of Europe and the
Americas. Detailing the growth of the Seventeenth Century Sephardic
community of Amsterdam in the wake of expulsions and immigration of Jews
from Spain and Portugal the book is boldly thought out, well written and
full of new information. This applies not only to the statistics from
archives (very important), but also to the cultural chapters and the
pages about the Sephardic community in Holland. Particularly impressive, is
the chapter on religious discord and social conflict, in which the author
stretches well beyond the usual suspects (Spinoza et al) and shows many
different and previously unknown facets of the religious and social
friction that the Portuguese and Spanish community experienced as they
sought refuge in Holland from persecution. His chapter called "A
Patchwork Culture" analyzes the print culture of the community (evidenced in
library catalogs in estates, for example) to take the measure of the Portuguese Jews‚ Jewish and cosmopolitan interests. This is a prize-worthy volume.


In Queen Esther's Garden
Vera Basch Moreen
Yale University Press

Vera Basch Moreen's In Queen Esther's Garden opens up the world of
Judaeo-Persian literature and culture for English-speaking audiences in
the first, broadly conceived collection of its kind. We are really in
her debt. The texts are wonderful, carefully annotated, and the
introductions give just the right amount of context. Of particular interest are the Judeo-Persian retellings of Biblical stories like the selling of Joseph, Queen Esther's marriage, and Daniel in the Lion's Den. Since readers in the past have been much better informed about Judeo-Arabic literature,
this book is a real desideratum.

Who are the Jews of India?
Nathan Katz
University of California Press

Nathan Katz's Who are the Jews of India?, constitutes a very interesting
introduction to three major communities of the Indian subcontinent, the
Jews of Cochin, the Bene Israel, and the Baghdadi Jews of the Raj. It
also, as one commentator notes, brings together in a novel way, materials
on the Baghdadi worlds of Bombay, Calcutta and Southeast Asia. Who are
the Jews of India collects a lot of important information on these
communities and will be a standard text for people who want a primer on Indian Jewish history and culture

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