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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - February 19, 2006

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List

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

Week of Sunday, February 19, 2006 (21 Shevat 5766)


For archived issues see:

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: This issue of the Discussion List commemorates the lives of two vocalists, one Western Sephardi (Abraham Lopes Cardozo), the other Yemeni (Shoshana Damari).  One may note with interest their preservation of traditions many would relegate to the past.  Their life works represent the contemporary relevance of traditional Sephardi/Mizrahi Hebrew pronunciation and music.  Likewise, this issue commemorates the lives of two longstanding leaders of New York’s Syrian and Sephardic communities who contributed as spiritual head and communal historian, respectively (Rabbi Asher Abittan and Sam Catton).]



1. Obituary: Shoshana Damari (Grossman)

2. Obituary: Abraham Lopes Cardozo (Singer)

3. Obituaries: Rabbi Asher Abittan and Sam Catton (American Sephardi Federationwith Sephardic House)

4. CUNY Graduate Center Sephardic lectures (American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House)

5. AJS Call for Papers (Horowitz and Sheramy)

6. Call for papers for Sephardic sessions of 2006 MLA in Philadelphia (Kerem)

7. Seeking Volunteers for a Study in Anthropology (Berg and Ben Moshe)

8. Seeking Publication Funds:_The Jewish Community of Kadikoey_ (Niyego)


1. Obituary: Shoshana Damari (Grossman)

Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 19:05:29 +0000

from: "Sampson Giat" shimgiat(at) and IzzyS710(at)<mailto:IzzyS710(at)>

via: Dina Dahbany-Miraglia <DDMQCC(at)>

Singer Shoshana Damari Passes Away

By Naomi Grossman

The much-loved Israeli singer Shoshana Damari, known as the Queen of Hebrew Song, passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 83.      

Ms. Damari, who was hospitalized on Shabbat with a severe case of pneumonia, suffered a major deterioration in her health last night. She did not respond to treatment and finally passed away at 8:00 this morning. She was surrounded by her friends and family, who had been singing along with her right to the end. She breathed her last to the accompaniment of her famous signature tune, “Kalaniyot” (Poppies).

Israel Prize-winner Shoshana Damari, born in 1923, moved with her family from Damar, Yemen, to Israel in 1925, settling in Rishon LeTzion. As a child she performed at weddings with her mother, and at age 14 she began to sing on Israeli radio. She became a famous singer while retaining her Yemenite intonation and heavy Sephardic pronunciation.

Shoshana left home at the tender age of 13, when she studied drama at the Shulamit Studio in Tel Aviv. Studio manager Shlomo Busami became her constant companion, and when Shoshana was 16 years old they were married. Busami would manage his wife’s singing career for the rest of his life.

In 1939, Damari first performed solo, when she was only 16. In 1943, her career took another turn when she joined the “Li-La-Lo” musical theater, eventually becoming its star performer. Her distinct Yemenite style singled her out from the rest of the artists, most of whom were of European origin.

She is famous for her performance of many songs by composer Moshe Vilensky, chief among them "Kalaniyot." Other such compositions included “BeCarmei Teiman”(In the Vineyards of Yemen) and “Miriam bat [daughter of] Nissim.”? During the War of Independence, some of Damari’s songs became synonymous with Israel’s struggle to emerge as a state, such as “HaKrav Ha Acharon”? (The Final Battle) and “Batsheva.” Just before independence was finally achieved, Damari performed with Vilensky in a series of moving concerts in DP camps around Europe.

In the 1950s, Damari recorded several songs with the Nachal choir. Around this time, her fame grew, making her one of Israel’s most popular singers. In 1957, she became the star performer of the Hebrew Shulamit choir. During the 1960s and 1970s, Damari performed in the United States and the United Kingdom and participated in music festivals around the world.

In 1988, Damari was awarded the Israel Prize for her contribution to Israeli vocal music. By then, she had started to appear less frequently, making her last album “Ohr” (Light) - that year. In 2001, Israeli artists arranged a tribute concert especially in Damari’s honor.

In an interview she gave to Arutz-7 several months ago, Shoshana stated that she could not identify with current Israeli songs:

We are such a talented nation with so much to offer, but instead we are turning into the best imitators in the world, copying songs from the U.S. and Europe. We don’t have any solid music of our own. Once, a song would be written in Israel about whatever happened here. I don’t accept the claim that the reason for [the change] is a decline in the values of the land of Israel, because for every Jew, whether he wants it or not, Israel is his home. He could sing about its views and its people."

She suggested that the best way to change this situation would be to keep listening to the old recordings of Hebrew music, which would arouse the younger generation’s love of this type of song.


2. Obituary: Abraham Lopes Cardozo (Singer)

From: Alan Singer

via: RachelArch(at)

Date: February 21, 2006



NEW YORK, NY 10023

PHONE (212) 873-0300  FAX (212) 724-6165




We regret to inform you that Rev. Abraham Lopes Cardozo, our esteemed Hazan Emeritus passed away today [February 21]. The funeral will take place at Congregation Shearith Israel, 2 West 70 Street on February 22, 2006 at 1:30 pm with burial to follow at Shearith Israel Cemetery.

Shiba will take place at the Cardozo home beginning Wednesday evening.

Services will take place at Congregation Shearith Israel.

Mrs. Irma Cardozo

18 West 70 Street

New York, NY 10023

Mrs. Deborah Smith

36 South Parker Drive

Monsey, NY 10952

Mrs. Judy Cardozo Tenebaum

13/1 Shmuel Lupo


3. Obituaries: Rabbi Asher Abittan and Author Sam Catton (American Sephardi Federationwith Sephardic House)

Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 09:53:46 -0500

From: American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House <info(at)>

We would like to bring to the attention of our members and friends the following information that was forwarded to us by the Sephardic Leadership Council about two recent great losses to the Sephardic community in the New York area.

"We had two tremendous losses in the New York Sephardic community this (now last) week. All the newspapers will be running obituaries, but we wanted to make mention of these two very special men.

Rabbi Asher Abittan zs"l, of the Sephardic Congregation of Long Beach, NY has passed away. Rabbi Abittan was a rabbi at Sephardic Congregation of Long Beach for over a half a century-53 years! He was loved and respected by the Jewish community. A colleague of his called him "A faithful shepherd of his people and his synagogue, a man with a melodious voice, a man who was a role model for young rabbis." Over the years he was involved with all the major Jewish and Sephardic organizations, a man who witnessed the development and growth of the Sephardic community in New York over five decades.


Mr. Sam Catton a"h, a pillar of the New York Sephardic community, a gem of a man. In his 90's, he was still sharp as ever, telling stories of what life was like for his family that came from Syria. Mr. Catton published the community's first Pizmonim book, Shir u'Shbacha Hallel

ve'Zimra, and several years later he edited a siddur, a daily prayer book. He recently put out several more books, including "Men of Faith and Vision" about the people who built up the NY Syrian Sephardic community. This is a fantastic book.

There is an old saying, that when an old man dies, a library burns down. And with the loss of Mr. Catton, the Jewish world has lost not only a library, but irreplaceable books not yet written.

May the families of these two community leaders be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem."

 The American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House


4. CUNY Graduate Center Sephardic lectures (American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House)

Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 12:31:16 -0500

From: American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House <info(at)>

The Center for Jewish Studies and the Institute for Sephardic Studies at the Graduate Center of CUNY announce three lectures, free and open to the public in the Spring of 2006

March 8. Professor Renee Melammed, Yale University. "An Unknown Ladino Poetess on the Holocaust in Salonica"

April 5. Professor Miriam Bodian, Touro College. "Jewish Martyrs of the Inquisitions of Spain and Portugal"

May 3. Professor Yael Feldman, New York University "The Land of Isaac: A Zionist Image Then and Now"

 Lectures will take place at 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street in the Martin Segal Theater at 7 P.M.

 In cooperation with the American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic



5. AJS Call for Papers (Horowitz and Sheramy)

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 14:46:56 -0500

From: Association for Jewish Studies <ajs(at)>

Dear Colleague,

The Call for Papers for the 38th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, to be held December 17 - 19, 2006 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California is now online at  The AJS Online Proposal Submission Site will be available starting March 1, 2006; the deadline for proposal submission is April 24, 2006. All proposals must be submitted through the online submission site.

Session organizers seeking participants for their proposed panels, roundtables, meetings, or seminars may again list their proposed session topics on the AJS website, along with their contact information.  Those interested in joining one of the sessions may contact the organizer directly about submitting a proposal.  To access this webpage, go to and click the link "Sessions Seeking Participants."

The page includes instructions on how to submit a proposed topic and contact a session organizer.  This page will be available through the proposal submission deadline of Monday, April 24, 2006.

We would like to highlight a new session option, the poster session, for the Bible, Talmud, and Social Sciences, Anthropology, and Folklore Divisions.  Each poster session (one for Bible, one for Talmud, and one for Social Sciences, Anthropology, and Folklore) will consist of ten to fifteen poster presentations.  Each presenter will be available during the designated session to answer questions about their project.  Poster presentation proposals will follow the same format as for individual paper proposals, i.e. a 350-word abstract describing the purpose and contribution of the research.  The other proposal format options (paper, panel, roundtable, meeting or seminar) will continue to be available to Bible, Talmud, and Social Sciences, Anthropology, and Folklore Division applicants.

The Call for Papers includes general information regarding the submission process, grant opportunities, and accommodations.  If you have more specific questions regarding any of these matters, please contact the AJS office at ajs(at) or 917.606.8249.  We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.


 Sara R. Horowitz

 Vice-President for Program

 Rona Sheramy

 Executive Director

 *   *   *

 Association for Jewish Studies

 15 W. 16th Street

 New York, NY 10011

 Phone: 917.606.8249

 Fax: 917.606.8222


 Judith R. Baskin, President

 Rona Sheramy, Executive Director


6. Call for papers for Sephardic sessions of 2006 MLA in Philadelphia (Kerem)

Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 15:34:58 +0200

From: Yitzchak Kerem <ykerem(at)>

Sephardic Identity As Seen Through Literature, Language, and Culture

MLA, December 27-30, 2006, Philadelphia

When did Sephardic identity emerge? In Iberia? After the Iberian expulsions? As anusim (marranos) in Portugal?

After the Iberian expulses arrived in Italy, the Ottoman Empire, or in North Africa? How did Sephardic identity fare when encountering Romaniote, Ashkenazi, Judeo-Arab, or Judeo-Berber identity? The section papers will examine Sephardic identity as expressed in pre and post-expulsion Spain and Portugal; as well as afterward in the late medieval and modern period in a wide range of academic disciplines; language, literature, history, music, poetry, rabbinic thought, sociology and anthropology.  

Doctoral students and younger scholars are encouraged to submit one page abstracts as well as senior scholars. Please include a short bio as well as contact details.

Deadline - March 1, 2006. Panelists in the fields of language and literature must be MLA members by April 7, 2006. Those from abroad (outside the USA) or not in language or literature must request exemption from MLA membership from the Sephardic Session organizer before April 7, 2006. Deadline for multi-media equipment is April 1, 2006. Acceptance decisions will be announced in late May 2006. Submission of abstract and bio should be sent to

Yitzchak Kerem at the below address, or via e-mail or fax:

Sephardic Session Organizer - Yitzchak Kerem

Aristotle University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem         

PO Box 10642

Jerusalem 91102




FAX: 972-2-5709564

Tels: 972-2-5795595, 972-544-870316

Jerusalem, Israel 93550


7. Seeking Volunteers for a Study in Anthropology (Berg and Ben Moshe)

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 16:17:26 -0500

From: "Esme E. Berg" <eberg(at)>

Dear Friends,

I hope you will help me help Hanna Ben Moshe, a Harvard student, in her research.  Please read her request below and reply to her if you are willing and able to participate in her study.

Thank you.

Esmé E. Berg


American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House

(212) 294-8350 ext. 2

         -----Original Message-----

From: hanna benmoshe [mailto:benmosheh(at)]

Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 5:18 PM

To: Esme E. Berg

Subject: Volunteers for a study in anthropology

Dear Esme,

We have just talked on the phone.  My name is Hanna Ben-Moshe and I am the student from Harvard who asked for your help in finding participants for my study.  Attached you will find a questioneer, a consent form, and an ad you can e-mail to potential volunteers.  

Here is a copy of the ad so you know what is the study about.  Thank you very much for your willingness to help.

Dear Potential Volunteer

My name is Hanna Ben-Moshe and I am a student at Harvard University working on my master thesis in Anthropology. For my research I need volunteers and I am asking you to devote 20 minutes of your time to participate in my study.


1. A short Questionnaire - 10 minutes

Volunteers will be asked to fill out a yes or no questionnaire which examines whether their Ketuba  (marriage contract) was signed on the day of marriage, and whether monetary obligations in the Ketuba were paid in cash, other assets, or was merely symbolic.  

2. A 10 Minutes Interview (optional by phone)

Participants will be asked to describe how work in the household is distributed between the partners, for example parenting, money management, working etc.

Any information provided by participants is highly confidential!

Please contact me by email (benmosheh(at) if you are interested in participating in my study and fill out the attached questionnaire.  

Please write your phone number and a time most comfortable to reach you by phone. I can schedule a phone interview or meet in person upon arriving in NYC at the end of February.

If you have further questions about this research don't hesitate to contact me.


Hanna Ben-Moshe

[ed: edited]


8. Seeking Publication Funds:_The Jewish Community of Kadikoey_ (Niyego)

Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 15:27:35 +0200

From: harun niyego <harun(at)>

In 1999, a book was published in Turkish regarding the Jewish community Kadikoey, an area of Istanbul. This book, based on primary sources, received the endorsement of the Chief Rabbi of Turkey (Rabbi David Asseo in 2000), and represents the efforts of the Hemdat Israel Synagogue, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The translation of the book into English has been completed. But unfortunately the community needs financial support for its publication. Bibliographic details of the original Turkish book are as follows:

 Call no: DS135 T8 H29 1999

 OCLC: 44597395

 ISBN: 9757304417

 Ä°sn/std : .b5239153x

It includes beautiful illustrations, hundreds of family photos, a list of names, and a list of maps of neighborhoods in Istanbul, block by block, and house by house.

If readers know of financial resources, please contact me at my email address above.

Harun Anri Niyego

[ed: edited for grammar and content]

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