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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - March27, 2003

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discuss List
Editor/Moderator: Aviva Ben-Ur <>
Thursday, March 27, 2003 (23 VeAdar 5763)


1. Call for Papers: Association for Crypto-Judaic Studies (Bronner)

2. Announcement: MLA Discussion Group: Lusophone Literatures and Cultures outside of Portugal and Brazil-Support Needed (Levi)

3. Review of *The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times* (Denn)

1. Call for Papers: Association for Crypto-Judaic Studies (Bronner)

From: "Simon J. Bronner" <>
Via: "Robert A. Rothstein" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 21:39:09 -0500

All Areas of study relating to Crypto-Judaism

Association for Crypto-Judaic Studies is pleased to announce its
upcoming conference on 2-4 of August, 2003 in San Antonio, Texas.

Proposal Deadline: May 15, 2003

We invite papers on Crypto-Judaism from any discipline (e.g., anthropology, history, philosophy, literature, music, halakhah etc.) and from any geographic location or time period. We welcome both individual papers and sessions on specific topics. We would also welcome papers on other aspects of the Sefardic experience and on other communities whose historical or sociological experience is similar to that of the
Crypto-Jewish community.

All interested scholars and professionals, including advanced graduate students, are invited to submit proposals for papers, presentations or workshops. Proposals may be for individual papers/presentations or for complete sessions. All proposals are due by May 15, 2003 and may be submitted via email, mail or fax. Proposals must include a 200-word abstract defining the primary themes, conclusions and sources utilized in the research as well as a complete CV. Session proposals must include abstracts for 2 to 3 papers, CVs for all participants, a general explanation of how the papers are related and what the general significance of the panel is, as well as the name of the chair of the proposed session.

Proposals or any related correspondence should be directed to:
Dr Seth D Kunin
School of Divinity, Religious Studies and Philosophy
King's College
University of Aberdeen
Old Aberdeen, AB24 3UB
2. Announcement: MLA Discussion Group: Lusophone Literatures and Cultures outside of Portugal and Brazil-Support Needed (Levi)

From: Joseph A Levi <>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 20:54:56 -0500

Queridas/queridos colegas,

Escrevo-vos a nome do Lusophone Literatures and Cultures outside of Portugal and Brazil (L3), um dos recém-nascidos subgrupos (Discussion Group) da MLA. Acabámos de entrar no terceiro ano da nossa existência e, de acordo com as normas da MLA, temos de ser avaliados pela associação. Por isso tenho de enviar à MLA um relatório a sublinhar as nossas
actividades desde o nosso nascimento. Se passarmos esta avaliação o Lusophone Literatures and Cultures outside of Portugal and Brazil (L3) receberá autorização para ficar permanentemente no seio da MLA. Ora, peço-vos um grande favor. Todos os membros da MLA que nos queiram ajudar gostava que escolhessem o Lusophone Literatures and Cultures outside of Portugal and Brazil (L3) como um dos "discussion groups" de preferência no módulo de inscrição/renovação de assinatura. Se têm a certeza que já fizeram isto, obrigado, agradeço-vos imensamente, não tên de fazer mais nada. Se nunca o fizeram e quiserem ajudar-nos, peço-vos que o façam quanto antes. Podem ir à página da MLA <> e seguir os links para MEMBERS e actualizar o vosso ficheiro. Se isto for complicado, poderiam talvez mandar um e-mail a <> e dizer-lhe que queriam acrescentar este Discussion Group à vossa escolha. [cada membro da MLA pode escolher dois ou três Discussion Groups] Se conhecerem mais pessoas que são membros da MLA e que gostam da língua portuguesa e, mormente, das culturas lusófonas, peço-vos o favor de divulgar esta mensagem. Seria uma grande perda para todos nós lusitanistas perder esta
voz usófona no seio da MLA. Desde já vos agradeço a ajuda e a cooperação em mérito.
Um grande abraço luso,

Joseph Levi
3. Review of *The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times* (Denn)

From: Vivienne Roumani-Denn <>
Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 9:23 PM

*The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times*
Edited by Reeva Spector Simon, Michael Menachem Laskier, and Sara Reguer
Columbia University Press, 2003
549 pp. and CD
Reviewed by Morton Denn
American Sephardi Federation Newsletter, Spring 2003 (Nisan 5763), p.13

This timely volume addresses an important topic that has recently risen to the fore amidst general ignorance: the lives of the Jews of Muslim lands during the last 200 years. The picture of these Jews that is embedded in the minds of most Jewish Americans is one of impoverished refugees arriving in the new State of Israel, partially offset by school tales of a "Golden Age" in Spain and one still earlier in Babylonia, with a 500 year void in between. Now, in one volume, the complete story is accessible to all.

The first half of the book is devoted to themes: history since the rise of Islam, the Colonial period, economic life, community structure, religion, Zionism, education, etc. The second half comprises chapters devoted to individual countries. The chapters are written by experts and can be read and appreciated independently of each other. This is a book for the interested lay person and beginning student; there are no footnotes, and most chapters contain no references, although all have a list of Recommended Readings for more depth.
Zvi Zohar's fascinating chapter Religion: Rabbinic Tradition and the Response to Modernity discusses the contrast between European orthodoxy's response to the Haskalah (Enlightenment) and that of many leading Rabbis of North Africa and the Middle East, regarding adaptations of Halakah to developments in technology, secular education, etc. This chapter should be required reading in all Jewish schools. Mark Kligman's short chapter on music is accompanied by a CD that contains examples of differences and similarities between the styles of various communities through seven renditions of the cantellations of the same Torah texts and four renditions of the same liturgical texts, together with other illustrative examples.

The level and quality of writing is consistent throughout most of the 26 chapters. The absence of cross-referencing and the complementary structures of the first and second halves sometimes result in the same topic being covered more than once, but this mild annoyance is offset by the ability to read any chapter in any order. This is a book that should be a part of everyone's personal library.

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