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


Current Issue

Past Issues

Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - February 5, 2006

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List

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

Week of Sunday, February 5, 2006 (7 Shevat 5766)


For archived issues see:



1.  Description of New Publication: *The Valero Family* (Kark)

2. New Publication: *The Untold Story of a Jewish Community in Istanbul: Our Last Hundred Years in Haydarpaþa* (Niyego)

3. New Publication: *In Search of a Lost Ladino* (Quintana)

4.  Call for Papers: Panel on Ladino literature, AJS 2006 (Balbuena)

5.  Call for Speakers: Sephardim/Mizrahim and Conference on Anti-Semitism (Andreas)

6. Symposium on Magic and Kabbalah Among Jews of Muslim Lands (Zohar)

7. Colloquium on Sephardic Culture, California State University (Lazarowitz and Blutinger)

8. European Turkish Union Commemorates Turkish Citizens and Relatives Who Dies in Auschwitz (Dayan Ma)


1.  Description of New Publication: *The Valero Family* (Kark)

From: Ruth Kark <mskark(at)>

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: The following is a description of the new publication announced in the last issue of the Caucus Discussion List.]

In their new book, *The Valero Family – Seven Generations in Jerusalem, 1800-1948*, Prof. Ruth Kark and Dr. Joseph B. Glass bring to light the fascinating story of this deep-rooted Sephardi family. By means of in-depth research and a flowing style, the authors take the reader through the multi-faceted family history.

The authors focused on three principle topics:

Entrepreneural activities in Eretz Israel and the Middle East – The Valero family established in Jerusalem, the first private bank in Palestine. They accumulated property in the centre of Jerusalem and outside of it, some of which was donated for community use. The family established business relations with the local government, financial and commercial institutions, and prominent business leaders such as Sir Moses Montefiore and Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

Sephardim and Mizrachim in Eretz Israel – The Valero family, which reached its peak in the early 20th century, belongs to Jerusalem’s Sephardi elite. Its members were active in a wide range of public and philanthropic activities for the betterment of Sephardim, Mizrahim, the Jewish community, and local society.

Family biography – The book includes descriptions of various aspects day-to-day life of this upper class family in the 19th century through to the mid 20th century.

Ruth Kark is a full professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of Geography. She has written and edited some 20 books and more than 150 articles. Her research includes historical biographies, women in the Yishuv and Zionism, and Sephardim and Mizrahim in Eretz Israel/Palestine and the State of Israel in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her books include studies of the Amazlak Family, Yehoshua Hankin, and the American-Swedish Colony in Jerusalem (with Glass, Amit, and Dudman, respectively).

Joseph B. Glass has a doctoral degree in geography from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of five books. He has written extensively on the migration and settlement of North American Jews in Eretz Israel and on Sephardim and Mizrahim in Eretz Israel. Dr. Glass, together with Prof. Kark, authored a volume on the well-known Sephardi family – the Amzalaks.


2. New Publication: *The Untold story of a Jewish Community in Istanbul: Our Last Hundred Years in Haydarpaþa* (Niyego)

From: Harun Anri Niyego harun(at)

Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006

At the Internasyonal Symposium "Primer Enkontro Istoriko-Kultural Ispano-Turko-Sefaradi" [First Hispanic/Turkish/Sephardi Cultural-Historical Symposium] at Ankara University in Turkey on November 28-30, 2005, I gave a presentation in Turkish on: *The Untold Story of a Jewish Community in Istanbul: Our Last Hundred Years in Haydarpaþa.*  This is also the name of my book and it relates to Sephardic Jewish life and the history of the Hemdat Israel Synagogue (HIS) located in the Kadýköy neighborhood of Istanbul.

 The Sefarat Congregation had originally published the book in Turkish on the 100th anniversary of its foundation. It unveils a century-long history of this community, which resembles a story of a large family.

 For the first time, last Saturday (January 21, 2006) there was an article about that symposium and my presentation in the Hürriyet newspaper, the most powerful press agency in Turkey. To my knowledge, nothing else has been published about this symposium and the conferences in Turkish press. 

 Harun Anri Niyego

[Ed: edit.  For information on this book click here.]


3. New Publication: *In Search of a Lost Ladino* (Quintana)

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2006

From: A. Quintana msquin(at)

EDITIONS Literature of the Levant is is pleased to announce   *In Search of a Lost Ladino: Letter To Antonio Saura ,* by Marcel Cohen ; translated by Raphael Rubinstein .

This poignant and richly textured memoir was originally written in Judeo-Spanish, the language of the Jews of the Ottoman Empire and of Marcel Cohen’s own childhood.  It was later translated by the author himself into French. The book (which appears in this edition both in English and the Ladino original) is, writes Cohen, “more or less what my mind retains of the five centuries that my ancestors spent in Turkey.” A haunting journey into personal and collective memory, it is also a meditation on a dying language and in fact a dying way of life—that of the Sephardic Jews of Salonica, Istanbul, and other points east.  

*In Search of a Lost Ladino* includes a thoughtful introductory essay, “Three Degrees of Exile,” by translator Raphael Rubinstein, as well as a series of ink drawings by the well-known Spanish painter to whom Cohen addresses his letter.        

Born in the Paris suburb of Asnières in 1937, Marcel Cohen is the author of many books of short narrative prose in French. Several of his works have been translated into English, including *Mirrors and The Emperor Peacock Moth.* He has also published a collection of interviews with Edmond Jabès, *From the Desert to the Book.* In 2002 the Académie Française awarded Cohen the Prix Roland de Jouvenel. He lives in Paris.    

RAPHAEL RUBINSTEIN is a poet and art critic whose books include *The Basement of the Café Rilke,* *Postcards from Alphaville,* and *Polychrome Profusion: Selected Art Criticism 1990 - 2002.* He is a Senior Editor at Art in America, and in 2002, the French government presented him with the award of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in New York City.  

To order the book or learn more about Ibis Editions, please visit our website:  

Ibis Editions

PO Box 8074

Jerusalem, Israel 91080

[ed: slight edit]


4.  Call for Papers: Panel on Ladino literature, AJS 2006 (Balbuena)

Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 11:19:05 -0800

From: Monique Balbuena <balbuena(at)>

      Panel on Ladino literature, AJS 2006, San Diego CA.

 This panel intends to discuss literature written in Judeo-Spanish or Ladino, in different parts of the world, with an eye to literary devices and intertextual dialogues. Special attention will be given to contemporary poetic and literary production in Ladino, hoping not only to acknowledge the renewed interest in the language but also to to place the discussion of Ladino out of a context of Sephardic nostalgia. Papers might also explore, but are  not limited to, issues of identity, nationalism, multiculturalism and minor literatures.

 If there is enough interest and variety, there is the possibility of forming more than one panel.

 Please send 200 word-abstracts of 20 minute-papers by Feb 28 to Monique Balbuena at balbuena(at)

 Monique Balbuena


5.  Call for Speakers: Sephardim/Mizrahim and Conference on Anti-Semitism (Andreas)

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2006 23:31:50 -0800 (PST)

From: jl andreas <responsibleleft(at)>

    Facing A Challenge Within: A Progressive Scholars' and Activists' Conference on Anti-Semitism & The Left, East Coast, is a multicultural, coalition conference taking place in the New York Area March 25 - 27, 2006.  Designed to be inclusive of many cultures both within the Jewish community and among gentiles, we are staffing workshops with varying views about anti-Jewish prejudice for a broad range of the Progressive Left.  Our intent is to include Jews among those we care for who have suffered oppression and deserve the concern of social activists.

   This gathering is the second such conference in a national series of conferences.  The first was in Oakland, California in August 2004.  Presentations and workshops by Libyan and Lebanese Jewish women who are human rights activists were an important part of that conference.  The conference wishes to present more information to both Ashkenazi and gentile social justice workers about the history and realities of Mizrahi and Sephardi experiences. Please go to to learn more about the conferences.

   Those wishing to explore the possibility of presenting at this conference, especially presenting their community's experience of anti-Jewish prejudice, please phone the conference coordinator Judy Andreas at 510.595.4634 or send an email to her at: ResponsibleLeft(at)

   Note: "Anti-Semitism" is used here to mean the historic and ongoing prejudice and attacks against Jews.  As Progressives, we are concerned about other Semitic peoples, such as Arabs, who are also targeted for bigotry and attack.  While the term "anti-Semitism" originally was used against Jews in Europe by the Christian majority, Jews in North Africa and the Middle East also suffered discrimination and attack as a minority group in those regions.

Judy Andreas

[ed: slight edit]


6. Symposium on Magic and Kabbalah Among Jews of Muslim Lands (Zohar)

Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 09:46:39 -0500

From: Zion Zohar <zoharz(at)>

A Symposium on Magic and Kabbalah Among Jews of Moslem Lands

Thursday, February 9th, 2006, 7:00 pm, FIU Biscayne Bay Campus

Wolfe University Center - BallroomThis Event is Free and Open to the Public!

First session: 7:00pm- 8:30pm.

Chair: Professor Meri-Jane Rochelson, Florida International University, Miami.

7:05- 7:30- Speaker: Professor Yuval Harari, Beer Sheva University, “Jewish Folklore And Magic Among The Jews Of Arab/Moslem Lands".

7:35-8:00- Speaker: Professor Ronit Meroz, Tel Aviv University, “The Middle Eastern origins of Kabbalah”

8:05-8:25pm Respondent: Professor Henry Abrahmson, Dean Gretz College, Miami, Florida.

Coffee Break: 8:30pm- 8:45pm

Question and Answers- 8:45pm-9:00pm               


Second session: 9:05pm-9:35pm

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Moshe Idel, Hebrew University of Jerusalem,

“Jewish Mysticism among the Jews of Arab/Moslem lands”

* Wolfe University Center is located in Florida International University's, Biscayne Bay Campus across from the library.

Phone: (305) 919-57013000 N.E. 151st StreetNorth Miami, Fl 33181-3000

For more information call Professor Zion Zohar or Yelena :


Zion Zohar


7. Colloquium on Sephardic Culture, California State University (Lazarowitz and Blutinger)

Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 11:28:56 -0500

From: Avrum Goodblatt <hj_owner(at)VERIZON.NET>


Judaic Studies Newsletter 26 January 2006

California State University, Long Beach will host a COLLOQUIUM ON SEPHARDIC CULTURE, February 25-26, 2006:

 Saturday, 25 February, 8:00pm: University Music Center, Gerald Daniel Recital Hall, Performance of Ladino music by Vanessa Paloma

 Sunday, 26 February, 12:00-2:00 pm, Lecture Hall 150: “Sephardic Jews in Spain: Yesterday and Today”

 Kate Regan, University of Portland, “Documentary Film: Jewish Culture in Segovia”

 Michael McGaha, Pomona College, “The Virgin Mary and Shekhinah: The Female Concept of G-d in Early Modern Spain”

 David Graizbord, University of Arizona, “Lingering Tensions and Contradictions in the Construction of Sephardic Identity in the West, from Abraham Ibn-Daud to Abraham Pereyra”

 2:15-4:00, Lecture Hall 150: Jewish and Converso Life

 Jonathan Ray, University of California, Los Angeles, “Jews in Medieval Spain: Conflict and Community"

 Lisa Vollendorf, California State University, Long Beach, “Women and Converso Culture”

 Moshe Lazar, University of Southern California, “Crypto-Jewish Writers in Spain, France, and Brazil”

 4:30-6:15, Lecture Hall 150: New Christians and Crypto-Jews in the New World

 Stanley Hordes, University of New Mexico, “The History of the Crypto-Jews of Mexico and New Mexico”

 Seth Ward, University of Denver, “The Debate over Crypto-Jews in the American Southwest”

 7:00-8:00, Karl Anatol Center:

 Discussion and performance of "Sephardic Songlines," by Francesco Spagnolo

 For further information, see:

 Or contact: Arlene Lazarowitz, Director of Jewish Studies, CSULB, (562)


 Or  e-mail: Jeff Blutinger (jbluting(at) or Lisa Vollendorf


Arlene Lazarowitz and Jeff Blutinger


8. European Turkish Union Commemorates Turkish Citizens and Relatives Who Dies in Auschwitz (Dayan Ma)

Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006

From: European Turkish Union <infoetuorg(at)>

    January 27th was the remembrance day of the concentration camp Auschwitz.  On this day, the European Turkish Union remembered with sadness Turkish citizens and relatives who lost their lives during the Holocaust (Shoah), brutally and cruelly murdered, executed and burned in the concentration Camp AUSCHWITZ from 1933 to 1945.

The European Turkish Union


Mr. Jtzak Dayan Ma


[ed: edit]

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