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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - February 16, 2003

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Cacaus Discuss List
Editor/Moderator: Aviva Ben-Ur <>
Week of Sunday, February 16, 2003 (14 Adar 5763)

1. Call for Papers MLA Convention 2003 (Levi)

2. Call for Papers: Sephardic Studies Discussion Group (Halevi Wise)

3. Announcement: Recent Portuguese Publications Bulletin (Ramer)

4. Art Exhibit: Siona Benjamin--Indian Jewish Art-- and Dorothy Imagire (Benjamin)

5. Review of Siona Benjamin’s Exhibit (Benjamin)

6. Student Trip to Jewish Spain (Zohar)

7. Call for speakers for: "The Third Annual Lecture Series of the Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry, " at Florida International University (Zohar)

8. Center for Jewish History Fellowship--Extended Deadline: Genealogy Research, Doctoral Level (Friedman)
From: Joseph Abraham Levi <>
Date: February 2003

1. Call for Papers MLA Convention 2003 (Levi)

The 2003 MLA convention will be held in San Diego. Members should familiarize themselves with the guidelines for the MLA convention, which appear in the Septmeber 2002 PMLA, before writing to the organizer listed below. All participants in convention sessions must be MLA members by 1 April 2003. Organizers are responsible for responding to all inquiries. Members may paritipcate in (i.e., oragnize and chair, read papers, serve as speakers or panelists, or participate in any other way that invlves having their names listed in the Program) a maximum of two meetings. []

Discussion Group: Lusophone Literatures and Cultures; Outside or Portugal and Brazil (L3)

Session title: Survival, Transformations, and Adaptations of Oral Traditions in Lusophone-African Literatures.

Session description: Discussions on how the oral traditions of the five Lusophone-African countires are recorded in today’s Portuguese-African literatures.

Type of submission preferred: Abstracts by March 17, 2003
Papers in English/Portuguese

Chairperson: Joseph Abraham Levi, Assistant Professor
Department of Modern Languages
Craig-Lee 141
Rhode Island College
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 456-8712
Fax: (401) 456-8713

2. Call for Papers: Sephardic Studies Discussion Group, MLA San Diego (Halevi Wise)

From: Yael Halevi-Wise <>
Date: January 26, 2003

“Sephardism in Modern Literature”--December 2003, MLA (San Diego)

Creative adaptations of Sephardic history as a “prism” through whch modern authors (from Europe, Israel or America; Jewish or non-Jewish) address their contemporary sociopolitical concerns.

One page abstracts by March 1st, 2003 to

Yael Halevi-Wise, Department of Jewish Studies, McGill U, Montreat PQ H3A 1X9, Canada

Yael Halevi-Wise
English and Jewish Studies
McGill University
3438 McTavish St., Montreal, QC
Canada H3A 1X9
3. Announcement: Recent Portuguese Publications Bulletin (Ramer)

From: Richard C. Ramer <>
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 9:42 AM

We are pleased to announce that RECENT PORTUGUESE PUBLICATIONS BULLETIN 34, with 182 items, has just been added to our website,

We have also been adding items to our online searchable database of old and rare books, although we have a long, long way to go (the 936 titles listed in the database are less than 20% of our present antiquarian stock): if you are interested in an item and do not find it in the on-line inventory, please feel free to inquire.

Finally, we remind you that Recent Portuguese Publications Bulletins are no longer being issued in printed form. BULLETINS 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33 are available on the website. We can also send copies, upon request, as e-mail attachments in Adobe Pagemaker 6.5.

Over 6,400 titles from these bulletins can be searched via the in-print database on the website as well.

Richard C. Ramer
Old & Rare Books
4. Art Exhibit: Siona Benjamin--Indian Jewish Art-- and Dorothy Imagire (Benjamin)

From: Siona Benjamin <>
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 10:00 AM


Widener Gallery - Austin Arts Center
Department of Fine Arts
Trinity College
300 Summit Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Contact: Felice Caivano
Tel: 860-297-5237


Visiting Studio Arts Faculty Trinity College

Exhibition dates: February 3rd - March 5th 2003

Cultural traditions and personal histories are explored in this mixed media
exhibition. Dorothy Imagire combines photographic transfers, symbolic
objects, familial and official documents to explore issues of immigration
and assimilation regarding her Japanese and Iranian ancestry. Sephardic
Jewish artist Siona Benjamin, who was raised in Bombay, India and now lives
in the US, juxtaposes traditional Hindu, ancient Hebrew and contemporary
Western references to create images that question where and what is home.

Siona Benjamin
Artist website:
5. Review of Siona Benjamin’s Exhibit (Benjamin)

From: Siona Benjamin <>
Date: Sunday, January 26, 2003 8:52 PM


"SPICY GIRL" at Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University,
100 Windham St, Willimantic Connecticut 06226.
Tel: 203-465-4647

Exhibition dates: January 23rd - March 9th 2003

Artist Siona Benjamin responds to the hybrid experience of her multi-ethnic background with erudition and wit, in miniature-style paintings, mixed media sculptures and two new sculptural installations in Spicy Girl. Benjamin’s traditional Bene Israel Jewish-Indian background initially appears as a driving force in her work: her assiduous training in Bombay, in traditional Indian miniature painting, shows in her images‚ formal elegance and intensity, and in their symbolic and narrative functions. Indian miniature style has common elements with miniature painting from Persia, an historic home of many Sephardic Jews. Traditional commonality ends there, however, as Judaism prohibits the creation of graven images, yet Benjamin grew up in a society that vigorously exercised its religious image-making creativity. The conflict that arose from the artist‚s experiences with both cultures
informs her work, and begs questions of each of their avenues toward spirituality.

Part of Benjamin‚s family still resides in Bombay; some family members emigrated to Israel; Benjamin herself came to America, where she married, became a mother, and experienced the cultural soup of America, including the near-worship of pop icons of-the-moment, and historical problems such as racism. Benjamin’s feeling of "rootlessness" as a member of a race that left its original homeland was exacerbated in the States, and she
experimented with self-portraiture as relief. The self portrait images, which show Benjamin alternately as a composite creature, or as a multi-armed or multi-headed figure (often with the blue skin of the Indian god Krishna), combine her learned insights of Indian and Jewish traditions with the awkward and often genuinely amusing dilemmas of life in America.

The artist‚s edgy content wryly mixes icons of popular western and ancient eastern cultures, telling tales as they have never been told ˆ a single image may be equally erudite, provocative, elegant, and side-splittingly funny. By her fusion of disparate and conflicting elements in her work, Benjamin’s wisdom, humor, and appreciation of cultural mores show diversity and tolerance at their finest.

Marion M. Callis (director-Akus Gallery)
January 2003

Siona Benjamin
Artist website:

6. Student Trip to Jewish Spain (Zohar)

From: zion zohar <>
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2003 1:48 AM

Florida International University
The Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry.

A.) Trip to Jewish Spain for your students:

Note to our colleagues-
As I promised at our last meeting of the Sephardic caucus at the AJS Conference in Los Angeles, I am happy to provide you with the detailed description of the academic trip to Spain for students (undergraduate and graduate alike). This is provided as a service to all students who are interested in Sephardic Studies, hopefully from your university among others. Needless to say, the academic and educational value of such an experience for our students is enormous. As you can see the price and the program are excellent.
We are hiring a specialist on Spain from the "Geographical Society of Israel" KNOWN TO BE ONE OF THE BEST FOR ACADEMIC TOURING IN THE WORLD; they will be guiding the tour in Spain. We will also have local guides in different cities, and additionally my own perspective as an historian. All in all, it promises to be a very exciting experience.

Please feel free to post this flyer at your department and program boards for the benefit of your students and/ or send it to your student mailing list.

Below you will find the detailed program.

Thank you for your collaboration and support!

Zion Zohar

The Sephardic Jewish Experience in Spain- A Journey through Time and Space

Florida International University
The Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry
Study Abroad Program

Summer A, 2003

Program Dates:
In Spain May 21-June 3; on campus beginning May 7
(Out of state students will do distant learning instead of the "on campus" segment. For more information, please contact Dr. Zion Zohar).

REL 3997 (undergrad)/ REL 5997 (grad), The Sephardic/Jewish Experience in Spain


Program Description: We will visit different sites in Spain in an attempt to comprehend the unique experience of the Jewish exile in this magnificent country, which gave Judaism its Golden Age. The program will enable students to trace the footsteps of spiritual giants, such as Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, Ibn Ezra, and Maimonides.

Instructor: Zion Zohar, Religious Studies Department and Associate Director,
Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, The Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry.

Travel information: Places that will be visited include Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Malaga, Granada, Costa del Sol, La Mancha and Consuegra. Students will spend 12 nights in first class hotels, and will travel from city to city in an air-conditioned motor coach.

Cost: $2470 approximately + tuition (cost includes: round trip airfare without airport taxes, hotel accommodations with breakfast and most dinners, transportation and guided tours, all entrance fees, local taxes and charges, and round-trip transfers------------- airport-hotel-airport). Financial aid is available through FAFSA.

Contact information:
Dr. Zion Zohar/ Lee Spalter
Florida International University
Religious Studies Department
Biscayne Bay Campus ACI 384A
T: 305.919.5610, Lee- 305.343.2031
Florida International University- Office of International Studies, DM 300B
T: 305.348.1913 E: Web:

7. Call for speakers for: "The Third Annual Lecture Series of the Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry, " at Florida International University (Zohar)

From: zion zohar <>
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2003 1:48 AM

I am currently working on planning for the next academic year's Lecture Series. I am happy to report that the past 2 years’ Lecture Series was an amazing success and we received incredible feedback from scholars, students, and lay people alike. Anyone who has an attractive, interesting, Sephardic -themed topic, and wants to participate in this prestigious Lecture Series, please contact Professor Zion Zohar either via email ( or by phone (305-933-3177) A.S.A.P as the spots fill really fast.

8. Center for Jewish History Fellowship--Deadline Extended: Genealogy Research, Doctoral Level (Friedman)

From: Robert Friedman <>
Via: Rachel Simon <rsimon@Princeton.EDU> and
Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2003 11:52 AM

The Center for Jewish History (CJH) is pleased to announce that the application deadline for our inaugural Genealogy Fellowship, generously funded by Harvey and Connie Krueger, has been extended to April 1, 2003. The fellowship carries a stipend of $10,000 for a qualified doctoral candidate who will conduct original research that (a) focuses on a specific family whose history sheds light on broader themes in Jewish history, or (b) examines the history of Jewish family life.

Preference will be given to candidates who will draw on the resources of more than one collection housed at CJH. The fellow will have the opportunity to work with a unique combination of collections in the Lillian Goldman Reading Room, which provides access to the holdings of the following CJH partners:

AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY, the national archives of the Jewish
people in America, housing the world's largest collection of documents on American Jewish life and history;

AMERICAN SEPHARDI FEDERATION, a coordinating and resource body for all of the American Sephardi communities;

LEO BAECK INSTITUTE, recording and preserving the history of the Jewish communities in German-speaking countries from the 17th century until their tragic end under Nazi rule;

YESHIVA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM, acclaimed for its dynamic exhibitions and programs exploring the diversity of Jewish experience; and

YIVO INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH RESEARCH, dedicated to preserving the history, life and culture of Eastern European Jewry, and to the influence of that culture in the Americas.


On behalf of the five constituent partners of the Center for Jewish History (American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research), the genealogy fellowship is intended for academic candidates. The award supports original research in the field of Jewish Studies, which focuses on a specific family whose history sheds light on broader themes in Jewish history, or which examines the history of Jewish family life. Preference may be given to those candidates who will draw on the resources
of more than one collection. The fellowship carries a $10,000 minimum stipend for a period of one academic year for one doctoral student who has completed all requirements save the dissertation (a.b.d.).

It is expected that the candidate will:

--Conduct research using CJH archival and library resources for the duration
of the stipend
--Participate in a CJH Seminar and deliver a minimum of one lecture (during or beyond the grant period) based on research conducted in CJH collections

Open to qualified doctoral candidates in accredited universities.

Requirements for Application:

--Curriculum Vitae, including contact information, education, publications,
scholarly and/or museum activities, teaching experience, and any other relevant work experience
--Area of interest and knowledge of relevant languages stated in a cover letter, and how they relate to one or more of the constituent organizations' missions
--Official graduate school transcript
--Specific research proposal of no more than three pages, including aims for
research during the period of the fellowship, whether there are plans for publication, and how the resources of one or more of the partner organizations will contribute to the work
--Three letters of recommendation, including from the students' academic advisors, which address the significance of the candidate's work for the field as well as the candidate's ability to fulfill the proposed work.

The schedule for application and award is as follows:

--Applications are to be mailed to:

Diane Spielmann, Director of Public Services
Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011

--Applications are due by April 1, 2003
--Committee to review applications by May 31, 2003
--Announcement of grant recipients no later than June 15, 2003
--Commencement of grant period, August 15 - September 15, 2003
--Conclusion of grant period, June 30, 2004.

Please direct questions regarding this fellowship to

Submitted by
Robert Friedman
Genealogy Coordinator
Center for Jewish History

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