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


Current Issue

Past Issues

Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - November 4, 2001

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus
Discussion List
Editor/Moderator: Aviva Ben-Ur
Week of Sunday, November 4, 2001 (18 Heshvan 5762)

1. Suggested Themes for 4th Annual Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus at AJS (Goldish)

2. Association for Jewish Studies 33rd Annual Conference (Katchen)

3. Seeking updated email addresses of Discussion List readers (Ben-Ur)

4. Ladino Activities at Bar-Ilan University: First Semester, 2001-2002 (Refael)

5. Call for Papers: *Ladinar: Studies in the Literature, Music and History of the Ladino-Speaking Sephardic Jews* (Refael)

6. MLA Panel: "Sephardic Scribes and Manuscripts, Printers and Presses, Bookmen and Readers" (Graizbord)

7. Etsi: Sephardi Genealogical and Historical Review: Issue 12 (Laurphil)

8. Report on the Jewish Descendants of Sao Tome (Gershenson)

9. New Publication: *Who's Who in the Sepharaadi World* (Eliany and Cohen)

10. New Publication: Ashkenazi Jews in Turkey (Frayman)

11. Finkelstein Scholars Program for Research in Judaica (Giller)

12. Faculty Position in Contemporary Jewish Studies at Gratz College (Steinlauf)
1. Suggested Themes for 4th Annual Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus at AJS (Goldish)

From: Matt Goldish <>
Date: October 25, 2001

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: In anticipation of the 4th annual Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus on December 17, I thought this would be a good opportunity to begin dialogue on possible themes for this gathering. A small correction to Matt's post below: the 1999 Caucus did indeed address positive trends--the theme that year was: "how far we have come in the last year". Thanks to Matt for jumpstarting this dialogue. We look forward to Professor No'am Stillman's address and chairmanship next month, and to the input of all those who will attend.]

Aviva, thanks for your reply. I'm sorry to hear you won't be at the AJS, but I will take the opportunity to say something about the talks. I think I have been at the caucus meetings since they started, and the tenor of the talks has always been pretty much the same: Why isn't anyone doing Sephardic studies? Why isn't anyone working on 18th-20th century Sepharadim? Why isn't anyone teaching about Sepharadim in their survey courses, especially in the late Ottoman period?

Maybe we can try to inject a more positive note this year. Instead of hearing what the couple of stars in the field have been doing, and what everyone else has not been doing, what about attention to new developments that are very positive? I am happy to report that this year, for the second straight AJS conference, we've organized sessions on Sabbateanism that bring together Ottomanists with interests in Jewish matters and Jewish history specialists. It was simply amazing last year to discuss Sabbateanism, and then have Cemal Kafadar, probably the leading Ottomanist in the country, respond at the double session.

There are undoubtedly many cases like this where Ottomanists, Iberian scholars and certainly scholars of Islamic religion are working with Jewish studies scholars on interesting projects. As for teaching, perhaps someone can ask Hasia Diner, whose new book on American Jewish history is about to come out and will certainly become the standard textbook, whether she's brought in the Sepharadim. Someone could point out that Jonathan Israel, one of the leading early modernists and author of a book widely used as a text for teaching early-modern Jewish history, is focused mainly on Sepharadim. Lots of conferences and activity are occurring in this field. Many papers, e.g. at the World Congress, deal with Sephardic material without trumpeting it in the title. The Amado foundation and UCLA are actively supporting Sephardic studies. There's a new Sephardic Studies chair at Brandeis.

I know this is not the way some people are thinking, but it would certainly be nice to hear a different kind of approach at the caucus.


Matt Goldish
The Ohio State University, Department of History
336 Dulles Hall
230 W. 17th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-1602

2. Association for Jewish Studies 33rd Annual Conference (Katchen)

From: Association for Jewish Studies <>
Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 8:26 PM

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

I want to confirm, since many have inquired, that we expect our 33rd Annual
Conference to take place as scheduled from December 16-18 in Washington,
DC. We are making every effort to assure a successful meeting.

The entire program is set and may be found on our web site:
Those scheduled or chair to present should confirm the time of their
session by going to
Locations will be printed in the program book.
Since our deadline for advance registration and meals reservations is Nov.
16th, we urge you to visit the site promptly. The conference program can be
downloaded in Adobe Acrobat for your convenience.
The printed program should reach you some time in November. Badges will be
mailed on or about Dec. 1 to paid-up attendees with US mailing addresses;
paid-up attendees coming from outside the USA will be able to secure their
badges immediately upon arrival. Badges must be worn throughout the entire
conference by all attendees. Our security staff will be asked to remove any
unauthorized persons from the conference area.

The Hilton Washington and Towers is able to process your room reservation
on line or by phone at 1-800-DC-HILTON. For details or to book a room,
please visit:

I also want to recommend our special air and rail fares, available only
through the Brandeis office of Navigant International at 1-800-370-6664
x4129. For further details, visit:

Also, please be reminded that the on-line Positions Bulletin is available
to members only by password that was disseminated to current members in
recent weeks.

Looking forward to greeting you in Washington.


Aaron L. Katchen
Executive Director

Association for Jewish Studies
Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ph.D., President
Aaron L. Katchen, Ph.D., Executive Director

MS 011 email:
Brandeis University Voice: (781) 736-2981
P.O. Box 549110 FAX: (781) 736-2982
Waltham, MA 02454-9110

3. Seeking updated email addresses of Discussion List readers (Ben-Ur)

Could readers please send me the updated email addresses of the following scholars:

Michael Rose Friedman, Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, formerly at: <>

A female Canadian scholar, whose name I have forgotten. She is the wife of a rabbi, if I'm not mistaken, and was formerly at:

Many thanks!
Aviva Ben-Ur
University of Massachusetts Amherst
4. Ladino Activities at Bar-Ilan University: First Semester, 2001-2002 (Refael)

From: Dr. Shmuel Refael <>
Date: Monday, October 29, 2001 4:55 AM

To all our friends around the globe:

We are very pleased to inform you that the "Ladino Studies Section" is organizing the following activities:

1. The 6th Ladino Marathon -- December 16, 2001. Will be dedicated to the subject:
"Culinary Aspects in the Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) Literature and Folklore"

2. Reading and Diction of Ladino Texts -- Special workshop conducted by Mr. Vitali Ferrera, 6 meetings. Only for those who can read fluently Ladino texts.
First meeting: November 17, 2001.

For more information please contact us at:

03-5344448, mailbox no. 4.

We hope to see you with us.

5. Call for Papers: *Ladinar: Studies in the Literature, Music and History of the Ladino-Speaking Sephardic Jews* (Refael)

From: Dr. Shmuel Refael <>
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 5:27 AM

Call for Papers: *Ladinar: Studies in the Literature, Music and History of the Ladino-Speaking Sephardic Jews*

We are very pleased to inform you that the editorial board of Ladinar is preparingnow the 3rd Vol. of Ladinar: Studies in the Literature, Music and the History of the Ladino Speaking Sephardic Jews. The 3rd volume will be published by the Institute for Research of the Jews of Salonica, Tel-Aviv with the editorial cooperation of the Ladino Studies Sectionî in the Dept. of Literature of the Jewish People at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

*Ladinar* is edited by Prof. Judith Dishon and Dr. Shmuel Refael.
Editorial board: Prof. Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald; Prof. Moshe Orfali and Prof. Edwin Seroussi.

Generally all articles will be published in Hebrew. In special occasions the editorial board can accept English articles (not more than two per volume). Articles will not exceed 20 A4 pages.

Mailing address:
Ladino Studies Section
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, 52900

Shmuel Refael
6. MLA Panel: "Sephardic Scribes and Manuscripts, Printers and Presses, Bookmen and Readers" (Graizbord)

From: David Graizbord <>
Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 4:58 PM

Dear Prof. Ben-Ur:

This is to let you and all members of the Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus listserv (especially those who are already planning to attend the upcoming MLA conference in New Orleans) of the panel entitled,

"Sephardic Scribes and Manuscripts, Printers and Presses, Bookmen and Readers."

The following papers will be presented:

"El Ma'ase de Yosef de la Reina en sus ediciones sefardies" (Maria Rosa Asenjo Orive, Univ. de Montreal).

"The Publishing Efforts in Salonika of Saadi Levy and His Family" (Yitzchak Kerem, Aristotle Univ., Thessaloniki).

"A Previously Unknown Ballad Tradition from Morocco: Romances from Xauen" (Samuel G. Armistead, Univ. of California, Davis).

This presentations will take place on Friday, December 28, 2001, at 1:45p.m. in the Audubon Room of the New Orleans Marriott Hotel (which will be hosting all Foreign Language Sessions of the MLA Conference).

The panel has been organized by the Discussion Group on Sephardic Studies of the Modern Language Association. Any questions regarding the panel should be addressed to me (see my contact information, below). For questions regarding the MLA conference, visit <> .
Thank you in advance for helping to publicize this.

David Graizbord
Assistant Professor
Committee on Judaic Studies
University of Arizona
816 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 206-9753
7. Etsi: Sephardi Genealogical and Historical Review: Issue 12 (Laurphil)

From: "Laurphil" <>
Cross-posted from:
Courtesy: Rachel Simon <rsimon@Princeton.EDU>
Date: Monday, October 29, 2001 5:32 AM

Issue 12 of Etsi, Sephardi Genealogical and Historical Review
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 10:36 EST

The 12th issue of Etsi, the Sephardi Genealogical and Historical Review,
has just been sent to subscribers. Following is a summary of the main articles and information. Information about the society Etsi and subscription form can be found at

- Aliases in Amsterdam: Vibeke Sealtiel-Olsen prepared a list of the aliases names which were used by the Sephardi New Christians upon arrival in Amsterdam in the 17th century. These aliases give some clues to find the origins of New Christians in Amsterdam, as they probably took back the Jewish family names that their ancestors had carried.

- The Sephardi Varons: Bension Varon gives the historical background and the distribution of the Sephardi "Varons". One third of the Varons in the World have a Sephardi origin.The oldest mention of the name Varon goes back to the year 1070 in Barcelona, Spain. After the expulsion of 1492, most Varons can be found in the Ottoman Empire: Turkey,Greece, Macedonia, Serbia. Most of them emigrated to America, Europe or Israel during the 19th century.

- New resources on the internet: An infofile about genealogical research in Izmir (formerly Smyrna,Turkey), by Laurence Abensur-Hazan, is now available, including historical data about the synagogues and the cemeteries, genealogical sources in Turkey and Israel, extensive bibliography: Mario Modiano's family history book "Hamehune Modiano" is now available on the internet. it is a revised and updated version which can be downloaded at

Two ketubot collections on line are analysed:

- The Jewish Theological Seminary collection (New York) holds over 700 ketubot, of which two thirds can be accessed on line at A research can be made by place, but the name of the bride and ofthe groom are rarely mentioned. The full catalogue should be published in about a year by Shalom Sabar.

- The Jewish National and University Library (Jerusalem) website at, allows to view and magnify more
than 1300 ketubot from over 50 countries.

- The first genealogical index from the Alliance Israelite Universelle archives has recently been made by Laurence Abensur-Hazan and deposited at the library of the institution. It concerns 10 towns of Turkey, covering the period 1882-1925. The data is classified by alphabetical order of surnames of the listed persons for whom further information helping to identify them is also mentioned.

- Bibliography about the Jews of Morocco: Bibliographical research is particularly valuable in a country like Morocco with few archival resources. The bibliography has been extended to several cities near Morocco, whose communities are mainly of Moroccan origin.

- Books about Sephardi cemeteries of Jamaica (by R. D. Barnett and P. Wright) and of Hamburg (by M. Studemund-Halevy) are analysed.

- Finally, a Judeo-Spanish summary of all articles and information, by Isacco Hazan, reminds that Judeo-Spanish language is part of our Sephardi families' history, and that its knowledge is often indispensable for genealogical research in the Ottoman Empire as well as in part of Northern Africa.
8. Report on the Jewish Descendants of Sao Tome (Gershenson)

From: Daniel E. Gershenson <>
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2001 4:44 PM


Sunday, October 14, 2001
27 Marcheshvan 5762

The Jewish history of Sao Tome Y Principe, two small islands off the west coast of Africa, close to Guinea, includes a tragic era. In 1493, one year after the Jews were expelled from Spain, a large percentage of them had taken refuge in Portugal, where the edicts of banishment did not begin until 1496. King Emanuel I of Portugal, seeking funds to finance his program of considerable colonial expansion, exacted huge head taxes from the Jews, giving them very little time to pay, and fines if not paid by a certain date.

The king wanted to colonize the islands of Sao Tome Y Principe (to "whiten the race," as he put it), but the Portuguese did not relish settling in the fever- and crocodile-infested islands. When it was seen that there was very little likelihood that the majority of the Jews would pay the demanded tax, the king deported their young children, aged 2 to 10, to Sao Tome Y Principe. In the port of Lisbon, no fewer than 2000 children were torn from their parents and herded onto boats as slaves (Rabbi Samuel Usque reports this in his book, The Trials and Tribulations of Israel, now available in English from the Jewish Publication Society, New York). Within a year, only 600 of the children remained alive. Rabbi Usque records that when the parents of the children saw that the deportation was inevitable, they impressed on the children the importance of keeping to the Laws of Moses; and some even married the children off amongst each other.

The entreaties of the parents apparently did not go in vain, as reports reached the Office of The Inquisition in Lisbon that in Sao Thome y Principe there were incidents of obvious Jewish observance. The Roman Catholic Church was greatly incensed. The Roman Catholic bishop appointed to San home Y Principe in 1616, Pedro da Cunha Lobo, became obsessed with the problem. According to an historical source, on Simhat Torah 1621, he was awakened by a procession, rushed out to confront them, and was so heartily abused by the demonstrators that in disgust he gave up and took the next ship back to Portugal.

There was a small influx of Jewish cocoa and sugar traders to the islands in the 19th and 20th centuries, two of whom are buried in the Sao Thome y Principe cemetery.

Today, these islands of approximately 100,000 inhabitants are independent of Portugal. Two years ago Israel's first ambassador, Dr.Moshe Liba, was warmly received. He found that the descendants of the child slaves were still a very distinctive section of the population (by their whiter skins) proud of their historic past and desirous of contact with Jews outside. Some Jewish customs seem to have continued, although by now mixed with the heavy Creole society values and culture.

In order to commemorate the children who were torn from their parents in the 15th century, an International Conference was held to coincide with the islands' twentieth Independence Day, on July 12, 1995. Participants attended from Israel, the US, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain. It is hoped that sponsorship will come forward for further research and studies in the area.

Inquisition archives that have been closed for hundreds of years, including 571 pages dealing just with Jews in Sao Thome y Principe, have now been opened to researchers and are eagerly being awaited at the Institute for Marrano (Anusim) Studies in Gan Yavneh, Israel. It is hoped that interested persons will come forward with funds to enable this valuable opportunity to be used.

St. Thome & Principe has no embassy in Israel. It is a member of the United Nations in New Yrrk, and the address of its Embassy in New York City is 801 2nd Ave, New York, N.Y. 10017, Telephone 212-697-4211.

It should be naturally a [place for Jewish tourism. I tried to interest CHaBaD in the story, with no success, but I would like to visit the islands one day.

L'shana Tova tikatevu vetehatemu.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Daniel E. Gershenson

Andersen St. 12 Apt. 12
9. New Publication: *Who's Who in the Sepharaadi World* (Eliany and Cohen)

From: editions elysee <>
Date: Sunday, October 21, 2001 9:23 AM

A new who's who in the Sepharadi world is published in French in Montreal by
Joseph Levy, Josue Elkouby and Marc Eliany. It consists of brief listings of
key players in the sepharadi world.

Les biographies sont presentées en trois categories:
Rabins, Erudies et savants
Artistes et ecrivains
Dirigeants (comprenant hommes d'affaires, fonctionnaires, politiciens etc.)

The dictionnary was published by Editions Elysée in Montreal and is now
available at the cost of $35 Canadian plus shipping. The authors will be
pleased to offer lectures on request.

Please contact:

Marc Eliany
Fax: 1-819-428-3560

Or write to:
Joseph Cohen
Editions Elysée
Box 181
Succursale Cote St. Luc
Quebec, Canada, H4V 2Y4

Marc Eliany and Joseph Cohen
10. New Publication: Ashkenazi Jews in Turkey (Frayman)

From: Erdal Frayman <>
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 10:00 AM

The Galata Ashkenazi Cultural Association of Istanbul is pleased to announce publication of a book dealing with the Ashkenazi Jews of Turkey:

*Ashkenazi Jews and a Hundred-Year-Old Synagogue in Yuksekkaldirim,* by Erdal Frayman, Mose Grosman, Robert Schild (2000)

Of the many books published on Turkey's Jewish community, most focus on the Sephardim--that is, the Jews of Spanish origin. Here is a new book that focuses instead on the Ashkenazi--Turkish Jews of Eastern European origin. Published by the Galata Ashkenazi Cultural Association of Istanbul (2000), this 100-page, 9" x 12", hard-cover book explores (in English)....

o the arrival of the Ashkenazim in Turkey in the 1500s
o the establishment of the Ashkenazi community
o the foundation of an educational system
o the Ashkenazi community's rabbis, presidents, and cantors
o the principal Ashkenazi synagogues, charitable organizations,
and cemeteries
o the Turkish-Ashkenazi elements of culture--poetry and
prose, theater, movies, art, music, language, and food
o and the "Ashkenazi professoriate"--Ashkenazi professors at
Turkish universities, many of whom arrived in Turkey in the
early 1930s, from Germany and Austria

In all, it is a detailed study of a 500-year-old community and
a 100-year-old synagogue.

To order this book ($34.00, postage included):


BY E-MAIL: Erdal Frayman <>

BY FAX: 1-520-223-0632 (Erdal Frayman; fax in USA)
BY FAX: 90-212-693 5056 (Erdal Frayman; fax in Turkey)

subject: jews -- turkey -- history
subject: jews -- turkey -- social life and customs

Erdal Frayman
11. Finkelstein Scholars Program for Research in Judaica (Giller)

From: Pinchas Giller <>
Via: HJ Newsletter Ed <>
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 5:58 PM
Subject: Finkelstein Fellowship (U Judaism)

Finkelstein Scholars Program for Research in Judaica

The University of Judaism announces a program for scholars working on
doctoral dissertations or engaged in post-doctoral research who wish to
spend a year completing or advancing their work at the University as a
Finkelstein Fellow. Responsiblities include teaching one course per
semester in the University and occasional meetings with faculty members.
Otherwise the recipient will be free to attend seminars and classes or
pursue their own studies in keeping with their interests.

For the calendar year 2002-2003, the Fellowship will be open only to U.S.

The Finkelstein Fellowship carries a stipend of $15,000, in addition to
room and board in the University's residence halls. Applicants are
requested to send their curriculum vitae and a description of their
intended research project. These should be accompanied by three letters of
recommendation from faculty members as well as copies of two significant
publications or papers the candidate has written.

Send materials by February 15, 2002 to:

Professor Pinchas Giller
Finkelstein Fellows program
University of Judaism
15600 Mulholland Drive
Bel Air, California 90077-1599
12. Faculty Position in Contemporary Jewish Studies at Gratz College (Steinlauf)

From: "Michael Steinlauf" <>
Via: HJ Newsletter Ed <>
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 5:58 PM

Faculty Position in Contemporary Jewish Studies

Gratz College invites applications and nominations for a tenure-track
position in contemporary Jewish studies. Candidates must have a doctorate
and a specialization in an area of contemporary Jewish studies, five years
of teaching experience in academic institutions, a distinguished record of
scholarly research in one or more areas of Jewish studies, and a minimum
of one year administrative experience in an educational setting. It is
anticipated that the appointment will be made at the rank of associate

Responsibilities include coordination of the graduate program in Jewish
communal service and the teaching of graduate courses on contemporary
American and world Jewry as well as in the candidate's area of expertise.

Located in suburban Philadelphia, Gratz College is the oldest independent
college of Jewish studies in the western hemisphere. Gratz offers a
bachelor's degree in Jewish studies and a wide array of graduate degrees
and academic credentials in Jewish studies, Jewish communal service,
Jewish and general education and Jewish music.

Applications should be accompanied by curriculum vitae and three academic
references to: CJS Faculty Research Committee, Gratz College, 7605 Old
York Road, Melrose Park, 19027; fax: 215-635-7320; e-mail: The review process for applicants will begin
immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Michael Steinlauf
Gratz College

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