Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List
Sponsored by the Association for Jewish Studies


Current Issue

Past Issues

Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - January 15, 2006

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List

Editor/Moderator: Aviva Ben-Ur <aben-ur(at)>

Week of Sunday, January 15, 2006 (15 Tevet 5766)


For archived issues see:


1.  New Publication: *The Valero Family: Seven Generations in Jerusalem* (Kark)

2. New Film: “The Forgotten Refugees” (Finegold)

3. Call for Scholarship Applications for M.A. in Cambridge, UK (Stolov)

4. Public Lecture: Sephardic/Oriental Jews in History and Science (Zohar)

5. Dartmouth College Conference: Orientalism and Fundamentalism in Jewish and Islamic Critique (Morley)

6. Boston College Conference: “Jewish Literature: Its Nature and Place in World Culture” (Williams)

7. Tenth Sephardic Jewish Film Festival in New York (Berg)

8. Query: Scholar Searching for Sephardic/Canary Island Manuscripts (Martinez)


1.  New Publication: *The Valero Family: Seven Generations in Jerusalem* (Kark)

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 13:57:21 +0200

From: Ruth Kark <mskark(at)>

We would like to share with you the occasion of the publication of our new book on *The Valero Family: Seven Generations in Jerusalem, 1800-1948* (Gefen Publishing House, 2005), in Hebrew [English translation in press].

Ruth Kark and Joseph Glass

Professor Ruth Kark

 Department of Geography

 Faculty of Social Sciences

 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel

 Telephone Home: 972-2-643-4820

 Fax: 972-2-643-4820

 E-mail: ruthkark(at)

 Web site:

 Web site II Historical Geography:

[ed: slight edit]


2. New Film: “The Forgotten Refugees” (Finegold)

Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 15:16:21 -0500

From: Rafi Finegold <raf(at)>

 The David Project and IsraTV have recently completed production of “The Forgotten Refugees” - a fifty-minute documentary about the mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries and Iran in the 20th century. The film brings together extensive testimony of former refugees and archival footage to tell the story of Jewish history in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically the exodus of up to one million Jews from this region since 1945.

 We launched the film in November, and so far it has received rave reviews from audiences around the world. It was screened in London on November 20, at the San Jose Jewish Film Festival to a crowd of 300+ on November 13, it was broadcast on KQED - San Francisco's PBS affiliate - on December 12, and will be premiering in New York at the Sephardic Film Festival on February 5th.

 The film is ideal for use on college campuses as the centerpiece of a program on Mizrahi culture and works well in conjunction with a panel of scholars from a variety of related disciplines. It was recently shown at Wellesley College and screenings at Boston University, Dartmouth and Umass Amherst are in the works.

 Please take a look at our website, where you can view an excerpt.

 Thanks very much,

 Rafi Finegold

 Special Projects Manager

 The David Project

 Tel.: 617-428-0012

 Cell: 617-620-4550

[edit: slight edit]


3. Call for Scholarship Applications for M.A. in Cambridge, UK (Stolov)

From:    "Yehuda Stolov" <yehuda(at)> Via: ddmqcc(at)

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 18:03:51 +0000

 An M.A. scholarship is offered for an Israeli student at the Centre For Jewish-Christian Relations (CJCR) in Cambridge University, England.

 The scholarship includes:

 ·              Study fees for one academic year

 ·              Accommodation in Cambridge for one year (suitable for single)

 ·              Round trip Israel-Cambridge

 ·              Modest maintenance fee

 The student is expected to:

 ·              Financially cover the rest his or her living expenses throughout the stay in Cambridge (including accommodation in case of a family)

 ·              Upon completion of the academic programs at the CJCR in Cambridge, return to Israel and continue the work in interfaith relations through 5 hours weekly volunteering with the Interfaith Encounter Association for a year

 How to apply:

 Interested students of all departments in Faculties of Humanities at all Israeli Universities, should apply by mail before 1 March 2006 to the coordinator of the scholarship:

 Tamar Alon

             Interfaith Encounter Association

             P.O.Box 3814

             Jerusalem 91037

 And attach the following documents (in Hebrew or in English – except for the research proposal):

 ·              Resume

 ·              List of available B.A. marks

 ·              2 letters of recommendation

 ·              Proposal for an academic research plan (up to one page - IN ENGLISH)

 ·              Proposals for advancing interfaith dialogue in Israel (up to one page)

 For further inquiries: contact Tamar at: tamar(at) or: 02-6510520

The Interfaith Encounter Association

 P.O.Box 3814, Jerusalem 91037, Israel

 Phone: +972-2-6510520

 Fax:     +972-2-6510557



   Mr. Shlomo Alon, Chair

   Sr. Karmela Farrugia, Vice-Chair

   Sheikh Muhammad Kiwan, Vice-Chair

   Sheikh Ali Birani

   Rabbi Dov Maimon

   Deacon Eng. Jirias Mansour

   Ms. Rafiqa Othman

   Sheikh Tawfiq Salama

Dr. Yehuda Stolov, Director

[ed: very slight edit] 


4. Public Lecture: Sephardic/Oriental Jews in History and Science (Zohar)

Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 17:21:32 -0500

From: The Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry <sephardi(at)>

Florida International University- College Arts and Sciences, President Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry, & Yovel are proud to present:

 An Evening about Sephardic/Oriental Jews in History and Science 

 Thursday, January 19th, 2006, 7:00-9:30 pm

 FIU Biscayne Bay Campus, Wolfe University Center - Ballroom*

 This Event is Free and Open to the Public!

 First Session: 7:00-8:30pm

 Roundtable Discussion on the book Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry -From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times, Edited by Zion Zohar                                              


 Professor Henry Green, University of Miami

 Professor Abraham Lavender, F.I.U.

 Mr. David Siman, American Sephardic Federation (Florida)

 Coffee Break: 8:30-8:45pm

 Second session: 8:45-9:30pm

 Keynote - Prof. Abraham Lavender, F.I.U.

 Recent DNA Findings: Comparisons of Sephardim, Ashkenazim, and Non-Jews

 For more information

 Call: 305-919-5610

 Email: zoharz(at)


5. Dartmouth College Conference: Orientalism and Fundamentalism in Jewish and Islamic Critique (Morley)

Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 11:15:14 -0500

from: "Meredyth D. Morley"


via: judaic(at)

 Orientalism and Fundamentalism in Jewish and Islamic Critique: A Conference Honoring Sadik al-Azm at Dartmouth College, January 26-28, 2006

 Funded by the Ford Foundation

 Convened by Prof. Susannah Heschel

 This conference will examine the work of our keynote speaker, Professor Sadik al-Azm, professor of philosophy at the University of Damascus and a leading progressive Arab intellectual in political and religious matters. Papers will focus on two of the most influential aspects of Prof. al-Azm's work, his critique of orientalism and his analysis of Islamic fundamentalism.

 Participating are scholars who are also public intellectuals and who will have an opportunity to discuss linkages among religion, nationalism, and gender. In addition, the conference will serve to establish connections between scholars of Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies.

 Both Sadik al-Azm and the other invited speakers will examine the role played by the emerging Western discourse of Islamic extremism in creating the resurgence of a politicized right-wing Christianity in the United States and, conversely, the role within Islamic communities of the awareness of Christian evangelical hostility toward Islam and liberalism. Even as Muslims are being called upon to create democratic, liberal institutions, Christian evangelicals are perceived to be questioning or even rejecting democratic and liberal foundations. As Sadik al-Azm has made clear in his writings, the Islamicate world views such Christian ambivalence with some suspicion, even as it insists - mistakenly, in his view - that the very term "fundamentalism" is imbued with Christian assumptions and cannot be applied to Islam. As a pioneering critic, Professor al-Azm has demonstrated the biases on both the Christian and Muslim sides and has sought ways to overcome the alleged incomparability of contemporary Christian and Muslim religious movements.


 Thursday, 2-6 pm: Opening Session

 Alumni Hall, Hopkins Center

 Welcome: Susannah Heschel

 Moderator: Gene Garthwaite, Dartmouth College

 Klaus Mladek, Dartmouth College, "The Withdrawal of Law: Neoconservatism and Fundamentalism in the Age of Exception"

 Christina von Braun, Humboldt University, "The Symbol of the Veil in Transcultural Phantasy"

 Derek Penslar, University of Toronto, "Zionism Through the Lens of Subaltern Studies"

 Elora Shehabuddin, Rice University, "Women at the Muslim Center: Islamist Ideals and Democratic Exigencies"

 Keynote address: 8 pm, Top of the Hop, Hopkins Center

 Moderator: Michael Ermarth, Dartmouth College

 Abraham Udovitch, Princeton University, "From Holocaust to Jihad: How the Messiah Came to Lubavitch"

 Friday 9-12, 1930Rm, Rockefeller Center

 Moderator: Veronika Fuechtner, Dartmouth College

 Jennifer Fluri, Dartmouth College, "The Spectacle of Orientalist Feminisms"

 Nina Caputo, University of Florida, "Reviewing the Cases for Convivencia: The Politics of Representing Medieval Iberian Jewry"

 Lital Levy, UC Berkeley, "The "Re-Orientation" of Jewish Modernity: Notes on Jewish Literature and History in the Modern Middle East"

 Keynote address: 2:00 pm, 105 Dartmouth

 Sadik al-Azm, University of Damascus, "Orientalism and Fundamentalism Re-Visited"

 Moderator: Dale Eickelman, Dartmouth College

 Reception Hayward Lounge, Hanover Inn, 4 pm

 Saturday 10-12, 1930 Room, Rockefeller Center

 Moderator: Anne Saadah, Dartmouth College

 Carrie Wickham, Emory University, "Islamist Auto-Reform in the Arab World: Causes, Dynamics and Implications for the Future"

 Kevin Reinhart, Dartmouth College, "Fundamentalism and the Transparency of the Arabic Qur'an"

 Sadik al-Azm responds

 Saturday 2-6, 1930Rm, Rockefeller Center

 Moderator: Diana Abouali, Dartmouth College

 Emanuel Rota, Dartmouth College, "Islam and Democracy: Questioning the Question"

 Elora Chowdhury, U Massachusetts, Boston, "Global Feminism: Feminist Theory's Cul-de-sac"

 Carol Bardenstein, University of Michigan, "Revisiting "Reverse" Orientalism: A Post 9/11 Re-reading of "Season of Migration to the North"

 5 pm Sadik al-Azm: Concluding Remarks

 For further information, please contact Meredyth Morley, 603-646-8172 or Meredyth.Morley(at)


6. Boston College Conference: “Jewish Literature: Its Nature and Place in World Culture” (Williams)

Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 12:03:05 -0500

From: "Jeanne C. Williams" <courteje(at)>

via: judaic(at)

 Spring 2006 Salon

 “Jewish Literature: Its Nature and Place in World Culture”

 Sunday, February 5, 2006

 3:00 p.m.

 Boston College, Gasson Hall 100, Chestnut Hill, MA

 Free and open to the public.

 Reception and booksignings to follow.

 Conducted in the style of a Salon, this event brings together Boston College faculty and students and the Boston community for a moderated conversation on the nature of "Jewish literature" and its place in world culture.

 Panelists: Codirectors of the Jewish Studies Program Dwayne E. Carpenter, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Maxim D. Shrayer, Slavic and Eastern Languages, and English; Elizabeth Graver, English; Franck Salameh, Slavic and Eastern Languages; Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, English; and Rifat Sonsino, Theology. Moderator: Ben Birnbaum, special assistant to the president of Boston College and editor of Boston College Magazine.

 Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, the Office of the Academic Vice President, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. This event is part of the spring 2006 Jewish Literature series.

 Information: 617-552-3835,

 Free parking in the Beacon Street garage. Map:

Jeanne C. Williams


7. Tenth Sephardic Jewish Film Festival in New York (Berg)

Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 19:19:37 -0500

From: ASF-Sephardic House <sephardichouse(at)>

American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House Presents

The 10th NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, February 2 - 8, 2006, at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York

Celebrating 10 Years of Cinematic Exploration of Sephardic Jewry

"A breakthrough among filmmakers interested in the state of the Sephardic world, with a significant body of work beginning to present itself.  The festival offers a highly respectable slate of fiction and documentary films from an intriguing range of sources."

 George Robinson, JEWISH WEEK

 Celebrating its 10th season, the International Sephardic Jewish Film Festival presents a weeklong series of award-winning and critically acclaimed feature films and documentaries that will raise the public awareness about Jewish Sephardic culture and history through cinematic exploration. In recent years, the festival has garnered critical attention for its innovative direction. This year's timely themes include a special focus on the courage and valor of Sephardic women and their efforts to reshape their role in today's society.  Compelling panel discussions moderated by filmmakers, actors, and scholars will accompany the screenings.


 Opening Night - Thursday February 2nd at 7 PM and

 Sunday February 5th at 7:30 PM

 “Live and Become” (“Va, Vis et Deviens”) Renowned director Radu Mihaileanu has created a touching story of a Moroccan Israeli family who adopts an Ethiopian boy, airlifted to Israel from a Sudanese refugee camp in 1984 during Operation Moses. The film follows Schlomo's conflicted journey into adulthood as he struggles with survival, a secret identity, and love. In person actor Sirak M. Sabahat

 Saturday February 4th at 7:00 PM

 “Elias Canetti” by Thomas Honickel, German with English subtitles. A "Spanish poet of German language," Elias Canetti grew up a polyglot, living at different periods of his life in Bulgaria, England, and Vienna.  He was born into an elite Sephardic family who when expelled from Spain in 1492, settled in the Ottoman Empire.  His masterpieces "Auto-da-Fé" and "Crowds and Power," are considered among the most original works of the 20th Century.  The film will be followed by a talk with Gloria Ascher, Tufts University on Canetti's Sephardic heritage. 

 Saturday February 4th at 9:00 PM and Wednesday February 8th at 6:00 PM

 “Secret Passage”, by Bosnian director Ademir Kenovic ("The Perfect Circle"), is a period piece filled with intrigue and romance.  Set in 16th century Venice, the film revolves around two women saved from the Spanish Inquisition who secretly practice Judaism while planning their escape to the safety of the Ottoman Empire. This film is presented in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes.

 Sunday February 5th at 12:00 Noon and Tuesday February 7th at 4:00 PM

 “Salaam Shalom” by Vanessa C. Laufer is a colorful film about the Jews of India that brings to life a remarkable history dating back two millennia.  A microscopic minority living within a vast, varied nation, Jews who have been in India for thousands of years and more recent immigrants from Iraq and Spain, co-existed in an environment of tolerance and pluralism.  With the declaration of Indian independence in 1947 and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, many of the Jews of India decided to "leave their home to find their home:  their religious loyalty stronger than their national loyalty to India."  

 Sunday screening will be followed by a Q & A with Nissim B. Ruben Program Officer - International Affairs & Indian-Israel-US Relations, The American Jewish Committee.

 Sunday February 5th at 2:30 PM

 “A Matter of Time - Common Fate”, NY Premiere by Serge Ankri. The little-known story of the Jewish Communities of North Africa (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) during WW II, revealing how, had fate not intervened, it was only "a matter of time" until they would have shared the fate of their co-religionists in Europe.  While often considered a Jewish community "apart", the film reveals through archival and contemporary footage and interviews with surviving witnesses and historians that these Jews too were very much in the thoughts of the murderous Nazis.


 “The Last Greeks on Broome Street”, NY Premiere by Ed Askinazi.  A personal exploration of the filmmaker's heritage doubles as a fascinating glimpse into the little known community of Greek Jews, also known as Romaniotes, with 2,000 years of history and their own language.  The Kehila Kedosha Janina on Broome Street is the only remaining Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.  

 Q & A with the Director.

 Sunday February 5th at 5:00 PM and Tuesday February 7th at 6:30 PM

  “The Forgotten Refugees”, NY Premiere of a documentary produced by the David Project for IsraTV, traces the decline and disappearance of Middle Eastern Jewish communities from Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen that had existed for over 2,500 years.

 Monday February 6th at 6:30 PM

 “Love Iranian American Style”, the directorial debut of Tanaz Eshaghian, is a deeply personal documentary that offers a rare glimpse into the inner circles of the tightly knit Persian Jewish community in America. The film follows Tanaz, the narrator, a hip New Yorker whose Iranian family attempts to marry her off now that she's reached the ancient age of 25.  As they arrange dates with suitors, lament her liberal American upbringing, and agitate about the passing of youth, Tanaz explores weather she can find love in her own way.  Q & A with the Director.

 Monday February 6th at 8:30 PM

 “The Garden of the Finzi Continis”, Vittorio De Sica

 Adapted from Giorgio Bassani's 1962 semiautobiographical novel, the film chronicles the gradual disintegration of the Italian Jewish community of Ferrara at the beginning of World War II.  As Fascist persecution of the Jews escalates from the onset of Benito Mussolini's anti-Semitic edicts in 1938 to the mass arrests and deportations in 1943, the wealthy Finzi-Contini family opens their lush gardens to the persecuted friends of their children, Micol, and Alberto. It is through the eyes of one of these friends, a middle-class, Jewish-Italian student named Giorgio that the story of unrequited love, set in tragic historic times, unfolds. 

 Tuesday February 7 at 8:30 PM and Wednesday February 8th at 8:00 PM 

 “Until Tomorrow Comes”, NY Premiere directed by David Deri.  The film vividly depicts the realities of inter-generational conflicts in a dramatic and tender portrayal of a week-in-the-life of a beauty salon owner in the South of Israel facing the decline of her aging mother, the unraveling marital crisis of her daughter, and an unexpected courtship threatening her cherished solitude.  

 Director David Deri and star Raymond Abecassis will be present for both screenings.

 Tickets can be purchased through the Center for Jewish History Box Office at 917-606-8200; $10 general, $8 members/affiliates, students and seniors.  Opening night - $45 includes a tax-deductible contribution. For additional information about the program please call 212-294-8350 or visit our website, <>.

 This Festival is co-sponsored by the Yeshiva University Museum and is made possible with public funds from the New York Council on the Arts, a state agency.  Festival Curator:  Alla Verlotsky, Seagull Films.

Esmé Berg

American Sephardi Federation


8. Query: Scholar Searching for Sephardic/Canary Island Manuscripts (Martinez)

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 08:50:40 -0500

From: Roger L. Martinez <roger.martinez(at)>

via: A. Benavides a.benavides(at), "Munster, Irene" IRENEM(at), and Rachel Simon <rsimon(at)Princeton.EDU>

[cross-posted from Ha-Safran]

A University of Texas graduate student is trying to locate a small cache of Inquisition-related manuscripts sold by Sotheby's in 1950. See explanatory note below. If you can help, please respond directly to him at: roger.martinez(at)


A. Benavides

Benson Latin American Collection

University of Texas Libraries


 January 11, 2006

 Dear Sirs/Madams:

 I am contacting the listserve today to seek any kind assistance anyone may be able to provide in the location of several critical historical manuscripts relating to the Sephardic Diaspora from Spain during the 15th through 18th centuries, specifically a small collection manuscripts from Spanish Inquisition in the Canary Islands. My hope is that if I can locate and access these records, I will be able to make a small, but important contribution to the history of the lives of Sephardic Jews as they migrated to the Americas and England.

 Specifically, I am attempting to locate the current provenance of this fragmentary collection of Spanish Inquisition manuscripts from the Canary Islands from 1499 to 1700 that were previous held in the collection of the Scottish Marquess of Bute, but were sold at Sotheby's Auction House in London on 30 October 1950. These invaluable records, detailing a critical period of movement of Sephardic Jews from Spain to England and the Americas, were sold to a person or an organization in the United States. After communicating with the archivist for the Marquess of Bute and Sotheby's about these manuscripts, I have only learned that these documents were sold to, "Driscoll =AD America." Possibly, these documents were purchased by the rare book dealer, Emily Driscoll of West Virginia.

 For your information, my name is Roger L. Martinez

(roger.martinez(at) and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin that is currently conducting dissertation research on a Sephardic Jewish and converso family in Spain, Portugal, England and the Americas.

 Specifically, I am investigating the 500-year lineage of the Spanish Carvajal Family from 1200 to 1700. As an academic historian that is entirely dependent on primary documents to reconstruct the history of this family, I have traveled extensively to archives in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and the United States to access critical historical manuscripts. Unfortunately, these travels have not yielded information on these vital Inquisition records from the Canary Islands and they now appear to remain in the hands of a private collector or institution. Similarly, my own research searches of the Jewish history collections in libraries and archives in the United States have turned up no information on these manuscripts.

 Should anyone have any knowledge about the current location of these manuscripts, I would greatly appreciate an email note with that information.

 In closing, please know that I will carefully abide by any requests for privacy and anonymity from those persons and organizations that provide me details relating to these manuscripts. My only purpose for locating these records is to restore to our modern view those precious lives that for now remain lost.

 Thank you for your kind attention to my inquiry.


 Roger L. Martinez

 Ph.D Candidate

 Department of History

 1 University Station B7000

 Austin, Texas 78712

 University of Texas at Austin

 (512) 471-3166 p

 (512) 475-7222 f



This is the official website for the Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List.
Produced and maintained by Aviva Ben-Ur. © 2002