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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List – June 27, 2010, Part I of II

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List

Editor/Moderator: Aviva Ben-Ur <aben-ur(at)judnea(dot)umass(dot)edu>

Week of Sunday, June 27, 2010 (15 Tamuz 5770), Part I of II

NOTE: IN ORDER TO LIMIT SPAM SENT TO DICUSSION LIST CONTRIBUTORS, EMAIL ADDRESSES WILL NO LONGER INCLUDE THE (at) or (dot) SYMBOL. TO REPLY TO A CONTRIBUTOR, SIMPLEY REPLACE (at) WITH THE @ AND THE (dot) WITH THE . SYMBOL. FOR EXAMPLE, hsmith(at)sephardi(dot)com SHOULD BE RENDERED: hsmith@sephardi.com

For archived issues please visit: http://www.umass.edu/sephardimizrahi/past_issues/index.html

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Index:

1. Important Announcement: Last Issue of Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus Discussion List (Ben-Ur)

2. New Publication: _Iberia Judaica_ 2  (2010) (Aben Ezra Ediciones)

3. New Publication: _Catalogue of the Cairo Geniza Fragments in the Westminster College_ (Hurvitz)

4. New Publication: _Los hijos judios de Istambul_ (Yecutieli)

5. Book Review: Cohen on Lehmann, _Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture_ (H-Levant)

6. Symposium on Jews of the Maghreb at Yale University Held in April 2010 (Stahl)

7. Conference: "Between Contact and Contrast: Jews and Christians in the Sasanian Empire" Held in March 2010 (Herman)

8. Call for Applications: Maurice Amado Foundation Travel Grants to the AJS (Kligman)

9. Call for Applications: Honoring Cape Verde's Jewish History (Brooks)

10. Short Online Survey Regarding Jewish (esp. Sephardic) History & Culture (Levi)

11. Death of Ellis Rivkin April 7, 2010 (Sarna)

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1. Important Announcement: Last Issue of Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus Discussion List (Ben-Ur)

Dear readers of the Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus Discussion List:

After twelve years of editing and moderating this listserve, I am writing to announce that the final issue of the Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus Discussion List will appear this coming August 2010. I would like to thank all the subscribers to this listserve (at this writing, a total of 347 in the U.S. and abroad) and the innumerable additional readers, all of whom have contributed in some way over the years.

Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies has become a fully developed subfield in its own right. It has also, in most ways, successfully integrated into the broader field of Jewish Studies and other areas of academic inquiry. The goals stated at the Association for Jewish Studies conference, at the first ever Sephardi/Mizrah Studies Caucus back in 1997, have thus been fulfilled. The website for this listserve (http://www.umass.edu/sephardimizrahi/) will continue as a historical record of this subfield’s development. The meeting of the Caucus at the annual AJS conference will also continue for as long as scholars see fit.

My very best wishes to all!

Aviva Ben-Ur

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2. New Publication: _Iberia Judaica_ 2  (2010) (Aben Ezra Ediciones)

From: Aben Ezra Ediciones [mailto:abenezraediciones(at)telefonica(dot)net]

via: Peter Stern <pstern(at)library(dot)umass(dot)edu>

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 13:00:11 -0500 [01:00:11 PM EST]

Acaba de aparecer el nuevo nùmero de Iberia Judaica (nº 2, 2010) 446pp.

1) La parte monográfica (pp. 1-200) está dedicada a la polémica judeocristiana en Hispania con colaboraciones de Muñoz Barcala, Ora Limor, Hanne Trautner, Robert Chazan, J.P. Rothschild, Carlos del Valle, Alice Tavares, Norman Roth, Ursula Ragacs.

2) En la sección de textos (pp. 201-258) se publica por primera vez una sección de las Actas hispanas originarias de la Disputa de Tortosa (1413-14), la disputa de Burgos (1375) en el original latino de Juan de Valladolid y traducción castellana, la carta de Isaac ben al_Ahdab a Samuel Ibn Zarza, tr.inglesa del responsum de Ibn Adret sobre la eternidad del mundo.

3) En tema libre (pp. 259-323), colaboraciones de Angela Scandaliato, M.A. Ladero Quesada, Eleazar Gutwirth, Barcala, Del Valle, Calders i Artís.

4) En Bibliografía (pp.335-429), nota sobre los cementerios judíos en España, boletín bibliográfico sobre publicaciones de/sobre judíos hispanos y reseña científica de unas sesenta obras. Por último nota necrológica sobre tres estudiosos del judaísmo hispano fallecidos recientemente.

WE ANNOUNCE the appearance of the new number of  Iberia Judaica 2 (2010)

1) monography: the  Jewish-Christian polemic in Hispania (9 studies)

2) Section of texts: for the first time we edit texts of the Hispanic Minutes of the Dispute of Tortosa (1413-14), of the Dispute of Burgos (1375), Isaac alAhdab's letter to Samuel Ibn Zarza, English transl. of the responsum of Ibn Adret on eternity of the world.

3) Free topic, with six collaborations

   

Precio / Price: 40 euros (añadiendo costos de envío y, en su caso, costos bancarios (cobro de cheque o cambio de divisa)

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3. New Publication: _Catalogue of the Cairo Geniza Fragments in the Westminster College_ (Hurvitz)

From: Elazar Hurvitz [mailto:hurvitz(at)yu(dot)edu]

via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 10:12:24 -0400

Elazar Hurvitz, _Catalogue of the Cairo Geniza Fragments in the Westminster College Library, Cambridge_ (Cairo Geniza Institute, Yeshiva University, 2006).

The first volume describes the discovery of the Geniza and its subsequent

dispersal to a variety of libraries and collections throughout the world. It also presents an analysis of the content, significance of the fragments, and a treatment of the history of the Ben-Ezra Synagogue, where most of the Geniza was housed, and other synagogues in Old Cairo and Memphis (Egypt).  The second volume offers an identification (or a

description where identification is impossible) and a bibliography for each of the 2,500 fragments in the collection, and correlates the fragments with similar material in other collections. A third volume is in preparation; it will contain selected texts from the Geniza at Westminster College, supplemented by related material from elsewhere.

obtainable from:

SCHOEN BOOKS (www.schoenbooks.com)

7 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373

Tel.: 413-665-0066 and email: schoen(at)schoenbooks(dot)com

HARDCOVER (in Hebrew with English Introduction in Vol. I)

ISBN: 978-0-615-31448-8

Vol. I: 22, 172, XIII pp.

Vol. II: 23, 237 pp. + 40 pages of plates

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4. New Publication: _Los hijos judios de Istambul_ (Yecutieli)

From: Samuel Yecutieli <yecutieli(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 18:07:05 -0430 [06:37:05 PM EDT]

_Los hijos judios de Istambul_

Con gran satisfaccion deseo compartir contigo nuestra nueva publicacion sobre la historia de mi familia materna procedente de Turquia.

En otro email, utilizando los servicios de www.Yousendit.com te enviare la ultima version de nuestra investigacion genealogica.

Este documento es un BORRADOR y aun no esta diagramado. Las fotografias estan colocadas al final de cada capitulo como referencia para posteriormente ser ubicadas al diagramar el libro.

Si fuera posible, me gustaria recibir tus observaciones a esta publicacion. Estas criticas constructivas nos ayudaran a preparar una version mejorada de este libro.

El documento anexo esta en formato PDF. Sugiero revisar el material con el Foxit Reader. Con este programa podran incluir sus observaciones. En este link podras descargarlo http://foxit-pdf-reader.softonic.com/

Por favor confirmame que lograste descargar el documento.

De antemano, te agradezco este esfuerzo intelectual para apoyar nuestra iniciativa.

Un fuerte abrazo y muchas gracias,

Samuel Yecutieli Bicaco

yecutieli(at)gmail(dot)com

+(58-414) 236-7269

Caracas, Venezuela

[ed.: slight edit]

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5. Book Review: Cohen on Lehmann, _Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture_ (H-Levant)

From: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 12:27:37 -0400

Matthias B. Lehmann. _Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic

Culture_ (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005). 280 pp. 39.95

(cloth), ISBN 978-0-253-34630-8.

Reviewed by Julia Phillips Cohen (Vanderbilt University)

Published on H-Levant (March, 2010)

Commissioned by Amy A. Kallander

“King Merodakh's Telegraph: Ottoman Jewish Religious Modernity”

Writing in the last decades of the nineteenth century, an Ottoman rabbi by the name of Ben-Tsion Roditi turned to the book of Isaiah as proof that the telegraph, the "invention" of which had begun to awe his contemporaries across the globe, had already existed in biblical times. (How else to interpret the lightning-speed communication that had

allowed the Babylonian King Merodakh to learn of King Hezekiah's recovery in the "very hour" it had occurred?) More important than the details even was the message his conclusion conveyed: there was nothing new under the sun. Through this interpretation, Roditi attempted to craft a worldview that could both respond to his rapidly changing

environment and reinforce the symbolic universe of traditional Ottoman Jewish learning. By presenting his thoughts on the matter in the Judeo-Spanish vernacular of Sephardi Jewish communities settled throughout the eastern Mediterranean basin, Roditi made himself part of another tradition as well.

Beginning in the eighteenth century, a number of Ottoman rabbis had undertaken the task of fighting the ignorance they believed was plaguing their communities by producing works of Jewish ethics (musar) in Judeo-Spanish (also known as Ladino). This development was inspired in part by a particular strain within Jewish mysticism (Lurianic Kabbalah) which suggested that every Jew would necessarily play a role in the mending of the world required for redemption. The spread of ignorance among their coreligionists thus threatened to undo the proper order of things. It was with this in mind that these Ottoman rabbis--all capable of publishing in the more highly esteemed Hebrew language of their religious tradition--chose to write in their vernacular instead. While they democratized rabbinic knowledge by translating it for the masses, these "vernacular rabbis" (to use Matthias Lehmann's term) also attempted to instill in their audiences the sense that their texts required the mediation of individuals with religious training. Thus, they explained that common people should gather together to read their books in meldados, or study sessions, always with the guidance of someone trained in the study of Jewish law. Upholding the privileged position of religious scholars in this way, such study sessions were also meant to assure that members of the popular classes spent their

time in acceptable ways, rather than enjoying leisure time out in public, drinking and smoking in coffeehouses and taverns, or promenading without a clear destination.

 Lehmann's work offers an insightful and suggestive portrayal of the collective intellectual profile of these rabbis and of their vernacular project. Drawing on sources which have never been systematically analyzed, his work focuses on nine of the most important Judeo-Spanish books of musar published throughout the nineteenth century. Lehmann charts their authors' different positions on topics including appropriate forms of sociability, the maintenance of social order (as divided by class, gender, and degree of learnedness), interpretations of the exile of the Jewish people, and--by the final decades of the century--secular education and direct challenges to rabbinic authority and tradition. From the outset, this body of literature translated elite, rabbinic knowledge for popular audiences, often reorganizing, omitting, or adding passages and ideas in the process. Because these works aimed to address both the perceived needs and shortcomings of

their readership, their authors offered paternalistic rewritings of original sources, providing specific selections of religious knowledge which they believed their popular audiences would understand and benefit from in a direct manner. While eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century rabbinic authors inveighed against the threat of ignorance, however, by the latter half of the nineteenth century they began to direct their energy against a group they called the "epicureans," referring to the Westernizers among them who openly challenged the legitimacy of the rabbinic stranglehold over Ottoman Jewish leadership.

The rabbis portrayed in Lehmann's study--like many Ottoman reformers of the nineteenth century--conceded the utility of learning the languages and skills of the "West," but were threatened by the introduction of European ideas and ideologies. This attitude was echoed by Sultan Mahmud II when he explained that French was to be employed in the imperial

medical school not to teach "French literature," but rather to teach "scientific medicine and little by little to take it into our language" (p. 170). In the rabbis' estimation, foreign languages could serve specific, pragmatic purposes, but foreign literature was dangerous. This meant that they preferred to broach secular subjects and address the innovations of the modern world in their own works rather than have their coreligionists seek out alternative sources of explanation for their occurrence outside of a rabbinic frame of reference.

In addition to his many incisive close readings, one of Lehmann's principal contributions is to suggest that these rabbis—commonly portrayed as forces of anti-modern traditionalism—often proved to be flexible and innovative thinkers who responded to the changing world around them by opening their corpus to secular topics with the hope of

safeguarding their monopoly on knowledge and spiritual leadership. Here, Lehmann's work complements the findings of other scholars, such as Harvey Goldberg, Norman Stillman, and Zvi Zohar, who have studied the religious responses of rabbis elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa to the host of new challenges that came with the experience of modernity.

The rabbis' Judeo-Spanish books--Lehmann argues--had the unforeseen effect of decentralizing their own authority, as they expanded their reading public to include women and various groups from the popular classes to whom Hebrew reading materials remained largely inaccessible. This trend was exacerbated as individuals began to read by themselves rather than resorting to the reading sessions their rabbis had prescribed. Having made space for secular topics in their writings, the Ottoman rabbis portrayed in Lehmann's study helped lay the foundation for the secular Judeo-Spanish reading public that emerged in the final decades of the nineteenth century. Decades before western European Jews and their local Ottoman allies announced their intention to reshape the

face of Ottoman Jewry according to new models, the authors of Judeo-Spanish musar literature--however inadvertently--had helped to set this process into motion. By advancing this argument, Lehmann locates the origins of the modern transformations of Ottoman Jewish communities in an earlier era than has been suggested by previous scholarship. He similarly gives evidence of the internal motors that drove this transformation from within the empire, adding a new dimension to the explanatory framework which has so long focused on the introduction of change into modern Ottoman Jewish communities from the outside, most notably from Europe.

Scholars of the late Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East more generally will undoubtedly find within this work a number of striking parallels between the responses of other individuals and groups to the growing Western influence in the region and those of the vernacular rabbis portrayed in Lehmann's study. The unexpected consequences

precipitated by these rabbis' attempts to preserve their religious universe in the face of change similarly offer fruitful points of comparison. Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture will therefore also be welcomed by scholars interested in broader debates about the role religion played in the emergence of modernity and about the various ways that religious thinkers became modern, even despite themselves.

If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it

through the list discussion logs at:

http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl.

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6. Symposium on Jews of the Maghreb at Yale University Held in April 2010 (Stahl)

From: Stahl, Nanette [mailto:nanette(dot)stahl(at)yale(dot)edu]

From: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 15:20:23 -0500

A symposium on the history and culture of North African Jewry with an emphasis on the Jews of Morocco took place at Yale University's Whitney Humanities Center on Sunday, April 25th. Twelve scholars from Israel, The United States, Morocco, and France came to Yale University to participate in a workshop on the collection of North African Jewish manuscripts in the Yale University Library.  The workshop was held from 21-28 April 2010. April 25 was dedicated to a symposium on North African Jewry which was free and open to the public. Moshe Bar-Asher, Professor Emeritus, the Hebrew University, was the convener of the symposium. Steven Fraade, Chair of the Program in Judaic Studies, Yale University and Nanette Stahl, Curator, Judaica Collection, Yale University Library are also part of the organizing committee. For more information, please contact nanette(dot)stahl(at)yale(dot)edu or enee(dot)reed(at)yale(dot)edu.

Please see the program for the symposium:

<http://www.library.yale.edu/judaica/site/conferences/northafricanjewry/

program.php>

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7. Conference: "Between Contact and Contrast: Jews and Christians in the Sasanian Empire" Held in March 2010 (Herman)

From: Geoffrey Herman [mailto:reshgaluta(at)gmail(dot)com]

via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2010 08:27:37 -0500

The following conference took place March 17 and 18, 2010: Between Contact and Contrast: Jews and Christians in the Sasanian Empire

Below, please follow link to the program of the conference: Between Contact

and Contrast: Jews and Christians in the Sasanian Empire:

http://ikgf.cellius.net/fileadmin/user_upload/Dateien/EVENTS/Flyer-Herman_01.pdf

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8. Call for Applications: Maurice Amado Foundation Travel Grants to the AJS (Kligman)

From: Mark Kligman <mkligman(at)huc(dot)edu>

Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 08:10:23 -0400 [08:10:23 AM EDT]

Maurice Amado Foundation Travel Grants, awarded on a competitive basis, will fund travel stipends up to $500 to scholars presenting research on Sephardic studies at the AJS Conference. Only scholars who have been accepted to present a paper or poster, or serve as a discussant or respondent, and who receive little to no institutional support for conference travel are eligible to apply. Priority will go to untenured faculty (tenure-track or adjunct), independent scholars without full-time employment, and graduate students; next in priority are tenured faculty and retired faculty. Applicants should complete the common application form (forthcoming) and submit so received no later than September 15, 2010. Applicants will be notified by late October. Funded by the Maurice Amado Foundation.

Mark Kligman

Professor of Jewish Musicology

Hebrew Union College

212-824-2246

mkligman(at)huc(dot)edu

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9. Call for Applications: Honoring Cape Verde's Jewish History (Brooks)

From: Andree Brooks <andreebrooks(at)hotmail(dot)com>

Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 09:17:37 -0400 [04/08/2010 09:17:37 AM EDT]

Honoring Cape Verde's Jewish History - Forward.pdf            927 KB                       

Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project Inc Revised.doc            56 KB           

This project was brought to my attention by a contact in DC. I understand there is money available for the research. The deadlines might be flexible. Click here for more information: page one; page two.

Andrée Aelion Brooks

author, journalist, lecturer

15 Hitchcock Road

Westport, CT 06880

Ph: 203-226-9834

Fax: 203-226-0814

website: www.andreeaelionbrooks.com

website: www.outofspain.com

website: www.wcsyale.org 

[ed: slight edit]

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10. Short Online Survey Regarding Jewish (esp. Sephardic) History & Culture (Levi)

From:             Amalia S. Levi <amaliasl(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 11:19:10 -0400 [11:19:10 AM EDT]

Important note from Amalia S. Levi: “Because my field of work/and study is Sephardic studies, I am particularly interested in reaching out to people with same interests. I have had a great response rate to present, but I am missing more "Sephardic/Mizrahi" oriented answers, and hope to reach historians and other specialists abroad [ed: slight edit].”

We invite you to complete a short online survey that will take no more than twenty minutes to complete. In the survey you will be asked about your research in Jewish history and your use of and attitude towards Web 2.0 technologies. We are investigating how scholars, researchers, students, and lay people working in the field of Jewish history and culture can benefit from Web 2.0 technologies and social media, in order to virtually bring together the historical record of Jewish communities and how archivists and information professionals can become catalysts in this process by creating digital archives and platforms, transcending temporal, geographical and linguistic barriers. This information will be used to better understand trends in Jewish scholarship and to further the idea of the creation of collaborative platforms or digital archives for historians, scholars, and people who are involved in the study of Jewish history and culture.

 

You can access the survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FNKHF6P.

 

Thank you for your time and for participating in this study. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact:

 

Amalia S. Levi

Graduate Research Assistant

College of Information Studies

University of Maryland

E. amaliasl [at] umd(dot)edu

 

or Dr. Jean Dryden

Faculty Advisor

College of Information Studies

University of Maryland

E(dot) jdryden [at] umd(dot)edu

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11. Death of Ellis Rivkin April 7, 2010 (Sarna)

From: Jonathan D. Sarna [mailto:sarna(at)brandeis(dot)edu]

via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 08:24:53 -0400

H-Judaic mourns the passing of Ellis Rivkin (1918-2010), Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History Emeritus at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.  Rivkin's scholarship ranged broadly through Jewish history, including books on the Pharisees, Leon de Modena, a volume entitled /What Crucified Jesus, /and his stimulating work, /The Shaping of Jewish History: A Radical New Interpretation (1971).  He had a significant following, especially within the Reform movement, and may be the only Jewish historian who had a society (The Rivkin Society) dedicated to his life and thought. The Society's website (http://rivkinsociety.com/) contains a biography of Rivkin, a video, and information concerning his scholarly and popular writings.  We extend deepest condolences to Professor Rivkin's widow, Zelda, to his daughters, and to his granddaughters.

Marrano-Jewish Entrepreneurship and the Ottoman Mercantilist Probe in the 16th Century

Jonathan D. Sarna, Chair H-Judaic

[ed.: very slight edit]


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