Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List
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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - June 10, 2007

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 10, 2007 (24 Sivan 5767)


For archived issues please visit:



1. Call for Papers: North Africans during World War II (Simon)

2. Call for Applications: Grants-in-Aid at the Immigration History Research Center (McClymer)

3. Call for Applications: Jewish Studies Summer School in Toledo (Castaño)

4. Call for Applications: Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Fellowships, "Jews, Commerce, and Culture," 2008-2009  (Allen)

5. Call for Submissions: Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology (Bronner)

6. Conference: Syrian Jewry at Bar-Ilan University (Harel)

7. New Documentary: The Last Jews of Libya (Roumani-Denn)

8. Article in the Spanish Press on the Revival of Ladino (L.A.L.A.)

9. Appeal on Behalf of the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Quintana and Bejarano)


1. Call for Papers: North Africans during World War II (Simon)

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 08:20:33 -0400

From: Rachel Simon <rsimon(at)Princeton(dot)EDU>

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: Though the deadline for submission of proposal has passed, readers may be interested in the conference papers.]

You are cordially invited to participate in an International Conference entitled: North African Jewry During the Second World War – New Approaches to take place on Monday-Wednesday, 28-30 April 2008 in Jerusalem

  • Jews society in the context of local society
  • Muslim and colonial societies
  • Arab authorities, colonial rule and occupation
  • Italy, Germany, France and North Africa – policies and interests
  • The Final Solution in North Africa – intentions, improvisations and implementation
  • Jewish leadership (including rabbinic) and its responses to the events
  • New approaches in Holocaust studies and their relevance for the study of North African Jewry during World War II
  • Jewish refugees from Europe in North Africa
  • The Allies and the fate of North Africa Jewry (intelligence and policies before and after the landing)
  • Literary representations of the events
  • The shaping of historical memory of the period in journals, literature and documentary films
  • The representation of the fate of North African Jewry during World War II in museum exhibitions
  • Teaching on the fate of North African Jewry during World War II in Israel and abroad

We invite you to submit proposals for papers reflecting new and unpublished research only, accompanied by an abstract of no longer than one page. The final date for submission of proposals is 3 June 2007.

Proposals of topics not included in the themes specified above will be considered too.

Proposals and abstracts should be sent to the following address:

The Center for Information, Documentation and Research

on North-African Jewry during WWII

Ben-Zvi Institute for the study of Jewish Communities in the East

12 Abravanel St., P.O.B. 7660, Jerusalem 91076 Israel

E-mail: tamarf(at)ybz(dot)org(dot)il

Papers presented at the conference will subsequently be published in a volume, following regular procedures of academic review. We look forward to seeing you among the conference participants.


The Academic Committee of the conference:

Prof. Aharon Maman (chair), Prof. David Bankier, Mr. Michael Glatzer, Prof. Dan Michman, Dr. Haim Saadon, Dr. Miriam Frenkel, Dr. Zvi Zameret

Ms. Tamar Fuks (committee secretary)

[ed: very slight edit]


2. Call for Applications: Grants-in-Aid at the Immigration History Research Center (McClymer)

Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 07:40:55 -0400

From: jmcclyme <jmcclyme(at)ASSUMPTION(dot)EDU>

 Thanks to the generosity of donors during the recent Endowment Campaign, the IHRC now offers small grants of $250 to support travel costs of researchers needing to consult its ethnic studies collections for a minimum one-week period. Grants are open to graduate students, faculty and independent scholars in the U.S. or internationally who live more than a day’s drive from the Twin Cities.

 For fiscal year 2007-2008, grants can be awarded to researchers intending to use the Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Italian, or Latvian collections. Grants may be used to travel to the IHRC at any time between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.  For further details, see:

 Donna R. Gabaccia

 Director, Immigration History Research Center

 311 Elmer L. Andersen Library

 222-21st Avenue South

 Minneapolis, MN 55455


 612 625-4800

 FAX: 612-626-0018

 Email: drg(at)umn(dot)edu


3. Call for Applications: Jewish Studies Summer School in Toledo (Castaño)

Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 16:31:56 +0200

From: Javier Castaño <castano(at)filol(dot)csic(dot)es>

Here is information on the next Summer School in Toledo on "An Invented Sefarad? Problems of Interpretation of Hispano-Jewish Archaeological Remains."

Javier Castaño

Estudios Hebraicos y Sefardíes, CSIC

C/Duque de Medinaceli 6

E-28014  Madrid

Tfno. (+34) 91 429 0626

Fax (+34) 91 369 0940

¿Una sefarad inventada?

problemas de identificación

de los restos materiales hispano-judíos

Lunes, 3 de septiembre de 2007

Inauguración de autoridades

A cargo de D. Santiago Palomero, subdirector general de Museos del Estado

conferencia inaugural

12.00            José María Ballester (antiguo director de Cultura y de Patrimonio Cultural y Natural,  Consejo de Europa, y director del programa «Patrimonio Territorio», Fundación Marcelino Botín), «Patrimonio, identidad y cohesión social»


Encargado de Sesión: Santiago Palomero

1ª sesión. la antigüedad tardía: cultura material y fuentes documentales

16.00            Raúl González Salinero (Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología en Roma), «Fuentes arqueológicas y documentales para el estudio de los judíos en la Hispania Romana y Visigoda»

17.15            Ángel Fuentes (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), «¿Arqueología de Sefarad? Hallazgos materiales y contextos de la presencia judía en Hispania en la Antigüedad Tardía» 

18.30            Descanso

18.45            Mesa Redonda: «elche, ¿sinagoga o basílica? un siglo de debates»

Modera: Santiago Palomero (MuseoSefardí)

Participantes: Ángel Fuentes, Raúl González Salinero, Antonio M. Póveda Serrano y Noé Villaverde Vega

Martes, 4 de septiembre


 encargado de sesión: Santiago Palomero

2ª sesión. juderías, sinagogas, cementerios, objetos materiales y las fuentes documentales

09.00            Flocel Sabaté (UniversitatdeLleida), «La Sefarad cautiva y reinventada, o los retos de la arqueología y la divulgación del patrimonio cultural»

10.15                        Eleazar Gutwirth (Tel-AvivUniversity), «Cultura material hispano-judía: entre la norma y la práctica»

11.30            Descanso

11.45            Asunción Blasco (UniversidaddeZaragoza), «Las fuentes documentales y el estudio de la cultura material hispano-judía (1)»


encargado de sesión: Ricardo Izquierdo Benito

16.00            Javier Castaño (CSIC), «Las fuentes documentales y el estudio de la cultura material hispano-judía (2)»

17.15            Descanso

3ª  sesión. la cultura material hispano-judía y la arqueología: realidades y ficciones (1)

17.30            (Mesa de trabajo) Yacimientos arqueológicos

Coordina e introduce: Ricardo Izquierdo Benito (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha)

  • Besalú (Mª José Lloveras)
  • Lorca (Ana Pujante Martínez y Juan Gallardo Carrillo)
  • Molina de Aragón (Jesús Arenas Esteban)
  • Valladolid (Javier Moreda)

19.15            Discusión: ¿Arqueología científica versus arqueología de gestión?

Miércoles, 5 de septiembre


encargado de sesión: Ricardo Izquierdo Benito

4ª sesión. la cultura material hispano-judía y la arqueología: realidades y ficciones (2)

09.00            (Mesa de trabajo) Los problemas de interpretación

Coordina e introduce: Fernando Valdés (UniversidadAutónomadeMadrid)

Consuelo Mata (Universidad de Valencia), «Creencias religiosas y gestión del patrimonio arqueológico: el caso de Valencia»

Marciano de Hervás, «Las “sinagogas” de Béjar y de Valencia de Alcántara. Problemas de interpretación»

10.00            Discusión           

10.30             Jean Passini (CNRS), «Nuevos descubrimientos en la judería de Toledo»

11.45            Descanso

12.00            Baruj Garzón Serfaty (rabino, Madrid), «Una visión halájica: vida y muerte en la ley tradicional judía»


encargado de sesión: Javier Castaño

5ª Sesión.  otros aspectos del legado material hispano-judío

16.00            Jacobo Israel Garzón (Federación de Comunidades Judías de España), «La actual comunidad judía española ante los restos materiales hispano-judíos medievales»

17.15            Belén Martínez Díaz (Comunidad de Madrid), «La práctica arqueológica en el contexto actual»

18.30            Descanso

19.00            Mesa redonda: Los «Caminos de Sefarad » y el legado material hispano-judío

Modera: Uriel Macías

Participantes: Javier Bona, Rafael Cámara, Javier Castaño, Asumpció Hosta y Horacio Kohan

Jueves, 6 de septiembre


encargado de sesión: Javier Castaño

6ª sesión. otras experiencias en la preservación del legado material judío

9.00            Max Polonovski (Chargé de mission pour la protection du patrimoine juif au Ministère de la Culture, Paris), «La arqueología judía medieval en Francia: entre ciencia y fantasma»

10.15            Maria José Ferro Tavares (Universidade Aberta, Lisboa), «La presencia judía en Portugal: el cotejo de los vestigios materiales con la documentación escrita»

11.30            Descanso

Del legado material hispano-judío al sefardí

11.45            Ivana Bur?elez (Centro de Estudios Académicos Avanzados, Universidad de Zagreb, Dubrovnik), «Retos en la conservación del patrimonio material de los sefardíes»

13.00            «El curso: planteamientos y conclusiones»

13.45            Clausura y entrega de diplomas


4. Call for Applications: Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Fellowships, "Jews, Commerce, and Culture," 2008-2009  (Allen)

Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 14:46:14 -0400

From: Sheila Allen <allenshe(at)sas(dot)upenn(dot)edu>

Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

University of Pennsylvania

Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2008–2009

Application Deadline: November 1, 2007


This fellowship year challenges scholars to reconsider the economic dimensions of the Jewish past and to integrate that knowledge within the emerging narratives of Jewish experience. Although the field has moved far beyond the need for apologetics, there is an abiding reluctance to engage the Jews’ historic economic functions, which have long nourished anti-Semitic fantasies. Yet these functions formed the basis of Jewish global civilization: mercantile, transnational, and reliant upon money as a source of power. We will explore such topics as Jewish livelihoods, social structures, trade networks, and fiscal mechanisms, thus investigating anew the relationship between the material and cultural components of Jewish civilization. By bringing together scholars from across the humanities and social sciences, we seek to devise a fresh research agenda for exposing the shifting linkages between commerce and culture in Jewish life from medieval to modern times.

Proposals might address specific aspects of the following general questions:

  • Is Jewish economic history in the past millennium a coherent whole or is it best understood in the framework of the specific economies of individual “host” societies?
  • How did Jewish economic activity help to shape pre-modern Jewish communal institutions, class relations, values, and folkways and eventually influence Jewish paths of emancipation and ideological self-redefinition?
  • Does the Weber-Sombart debate from a century ago have any ongoing scholarly relevance? How might newer economic models be applied to understand topics in Jewish history?
  • How have Jewish economic and entrepreneurial niches (or industries) transformed Jewish life or given rise to specific business subcultures that redefine Jewish identity?

The Center invites applications from scholars in the humanities and social sciences at all levels, as well as outstanding graduate students in the final stages of writing their dissertations. Stipend amounts are based on a fellow’s academic standing and financial need with a maximum of $40,000 for the academic year. A contribution also may be made toward travel expenses. The application deadline is November 1, 2007. Awards will be announced by January 15, 2008.

This program is organized with the cooperation of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Applications are available on our website:

Or contact: Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

420 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

Tel: 215-238-1290; fax: 215-238-1540

E-mail: allenshe(at)sas(dot)upenn(dot)edu

Sheila Allen

Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

420 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

phone: 215-238-1290  fax: 215-238-1540


5. Call for Submissions: Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology (Bronner)

From: SIMON J BRONNER sbronner(at)psu(dot)edu

via: H-JUDAIC automatic digest system <LISTSERV(at)H-NET(dot)MSU(dot)EDU>

Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2007 00:01:43 -0400

The Section and the Committee on the Anthropology of Jews and Judaism of the American Anthropological Association invite submissions for their Raphael Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology.

 Awarded for best unpublished essay in Jewish folklore and ethnology by a student completed in 2006 or 2007.

 Format and Guidelines: 8-12,000 words, in English, prepared electronically in Word or Word Perfect (preferably in humanistic style with endnotes).

 Deadline: August 1, 2007

 Contact: Professor Simon J. Bronner, School of Humanities, The Pennsylvania

 State University, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057-4898, USA,


 The Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section of the American Folklore Society and the Committee on the Anthropology of Jews and Judaism of the American Anthropological Association invites submissions for its Raphael Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology awarded for the best unpublished student paper completed in 2006 or 2007. Submissions are reviewed by an international committee and notifications are made by October 2007. Papers sent for the Prize are considered submissions to the book series Jewish Cultural Studies (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, Oxford, UK, and should not be under review with any other publication. The winner of the prize receives $200 and a citation from the American Folklore Society.

 The criteria for submissions are:

     1. Approaches to the subject cover folkloristic and ethnological perspectives and Jewish content.

     2. The length of papers are of publishable essay length—usually  8-12,000 words. The preferable citation style is in humanistic style with endnotes.

     3. Submitted unpublished paper was written by a student in 2006 or 2007, and not submitted for publication.

     4. Papers can be submitted electronically or in hard copy in English on=

  or before August 1, 2007: Professor Simon Bronner, School of Humanities, The Pennsylvania State University, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057-4898. Electronic submissions can use Word or Word Perfect software and sent directly to sbronner(at)psu(dot)edu.

     5. Submitters should identify the university and department where the paper was prepared, and give their contact information, including postal and email address.

For more information, see

Simon J. Bronner, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Professor of American Studies and Folklore

Editor, Jewish Cultural Studies Series (

The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

777 West Harrisburg Pike

Middletown, PA 17057-4898

717-948-6039 (o)

717-948-6724 (fax)



6. Conference: Syrian Jewry at Bar-Ilan University (Harel)

Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 19:57:46 +0300

From: <harely(at)mail(dot)biu(dot)ac(dot)il>

[note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: Thought the conference has already taken place, readers may be interested in the papers given and the accompanying exhibition.]

Bar-Ilan University

Faculty of Jewish Studies

The Aharon and Rachel Dahan Center for Culture, Society
and Education in the Sephardic Heritage

International Conference: Syrian Jewry: History, Identity and Heritage

Monday and Tuesday, 11-12 Sivan 5767 (28-29 May 2007)

Mintz Auditorium

Bar-Ilan University

Conference Academic Committee:

Dr. Yaron Harel (Chair)

Prof. Yom Tov Assis

Prof. Moshe Gat

Prof. Shaul Regev

Dr. Shimon Ohayon

Organizing Committee:

Mr. Moshe Zaafrani, Ministry of Education and Culture

Dr. Yitzhak Yitzhaki, Ministry of Education and Culture

Mr. Menahem Yedid, World Center for the Heritage of Aleppo Jewry

Mr. Moshe Cohen, World Center for the Heritage of Aleppo Jewry

Mr. Ezra Kassin, World Center for the Heritage of Aleppo Jewry

Mr. Yehoshua Kalash, Association of Jews from Damascus (Syria) in Israel

Mr. Eliahu Hasson, Association of Jews from Damascus (Syria) in Israel

Mr. Moshe Shemer, Association of Jews from Damascus (Syria) in Israel

Mr. Shlomo Yishai, Histadrut Hamorim, State Religious Teachers Division

Mr. Yitzhak Dahan, Center for Religious Services to the Diaspora, World Zionist Organization


Ms. Ora Kobelkowsky

Ms. Maya Finkelstein

The Conference has been organized in cooperation with and with sponsorship from the following institutions and organizations:

Ministry of Education and Culture, the Pedagogic Secretariat, the Center for the Integration of the Oriental Jewish Heritage

Histadrut Hamorim, the State-Religious Teachers Division

The Center for Religious Services to the Diaspora, World Zionist Organization

World Center for the Heritage of Aleppo Jewry

Association of Jews from Damascus in Israel

For information and registration:

The Dahan Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900

Tel: 03-5317959

Fax: 03-5342621

E-mail: dahan(dot)center(at)mail(dot)biu(dot)ac(dot)il

Conference Program

Monday, 11 Sivan 5767, 28 May 2007

09:00-10:00 Registration and light refreshments

10:00-12:00 Opening Session

Chair: Dr. Shimon Ohayon, Director, Dahan Center


Prof. Moshe Kaveh, President of Bar-Ilan University

Prof. Moshe Orfali, Dean, Faculty of Jewish Studies

Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen, Minister of Religious Affairs

The Rishon Lezion, Harav Shlomo Moshe Amar shlita, Chief Rabbi of Israel

MK Yisrael Hason

Mr. Gad Deyi, Deputy Chairman, Histadrut Hamorim

Opening Lecture:

Dr. Yaron Harel, Bar-Ilan University

Syrian Jewry: Damascus and Aleppo

12:00-13:45 Session A: External and Internal Relations

Chair: Prof. Noam Stillman, University of Oklahoma

Prof. Yom Tov Assis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Aleppo and its Offshoots: Religious and Cultural Ties over Time

Prof. Minna Rozen, Haifa University

Between Aleppo and London: The British Levant Company and the “Jewish Connection”

Dr. Avraham David, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Ties between Syrian Jews and the Last Negidim in the Mameluke Period

Mr. Yaron Ayalon, Princeton University

Individualistic or Caring? The Jewish Communities of Damascus and Aleppo in the 17th and 18th Centuries

13:45-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-16:00 Parallel Sessions

Session B: History and Genealogy

Chair: Dr. Shlomi Antebi, Dahan Center

Prof. Yaron Zur, Tel Aviv University

The Circumstances Surrounding the Downfall of Haim Farhi, Banker (1819): The Ottoman Imperial Connection

Dr. Elioz Antebi-Hefer, Emek Yezreel College and the Technion

The Antebi Family and its Descendants – Genealogical Research Combining Family Traditions and Historical Records

Mr. Moshe Ovadya, Bar-Ilan University

Abraham Elmaliah (1875-1967): His Public Activity in Syria and his Contribution to Jewish Community Historiography in Syria

Mr. Tomer Levi, Brandeis University

The Safras: Traditional Merchants or Cosmopolitan Bankers?

Session C: Interpretation and Philosophy

Chair: Dr. Yitzhak Yitzhaki, Ministry of Education and Culture

Prof. Amos Frisch, Bar-Ilan University

The Exegesis of R. Shmuel Laniado on the Early Prophets

Prof. Shaul Regev, Bar-Ilan University

Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto’s Philosophy and Sermons

Prof. Hananel Mack, Bar-Ilan University

R. Shmuel ben R. Nissim Masnut – Biography and Literary Work

Prof. Joseph Dana, Zefat Academic College

Rav Yosef Dana: One of the Last Popular Religious Preachers in Damascus

16:00-16:30 Break

16:30-18:00 Parallel Sessions

Session D: Halacha and Halachic Decisions

Chair: Rabbi Yehiel Wasserman, Director, Center for Religious Services to the Diaspora, World Zionist Organization

Prof. Rabbi Neria Guttel, Orot College

The Halachic Status of Syria in Contemporary Times: Textual Sources vs. Political Considerations

Dr. Leah Makovetzky, College of Judea and Samaria, Ariel

The Responsa Beit Dino Shel Shmuel as a Historical Source for Syrian Jewry in the First Half of the 18th Century

Mr. David Shasha, Sephardic Heritage Center, Brooklyn

Multiple Images of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn: Sephardi Typologies in an Age of Erosion

Prof. Zvi Zohar, Bar-Ilan University

A Traditional Rabbi in a New Land: Rabbi Shaul Matlub Abadi

Session E: The Jews in the Political Labyrinth

Chair: Prof. Michael M. Laskier, Bar-Ilan University

Prof. Eyal Zisser, Tel Aviv University

Syria’s Jewish Community under the Assad Regime

Dr. David Silvera, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

The Rescue of Syrian Jews: Facts and Propaganda

Dr. Shosh Shor, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee

The Relationship between Israel and Syria beyond the Jewish Diaspora

Ms. Rahel Noy, Bar-Ilan University

Syrian Jewry in Syrian Academic Writings

18:00-18:30 Break

18:30-20:30 Session F: Zionism and Aliyah – In Memory of Moshe Sasson

Chair: Prof. Menashe Harel, recipient of the Israel Prize


Mr. Yitzhak Navon, fifth President of the State of Israel

Mr. Yehiel Leket, Co-Chairman, Keren Kayemet Le-Yisrael

Guest of Honor:

Mrs. Nadia Cohen, widow of Eli Cohen, “Our Man in Damascus”

Dr. Arieh Cohen, Haifa University

Syrian Jewry – Illegal Immigration and Aliyah

Dr. Menachem Nachum, Technion

The Kamechlie Jewish Community at the Flashpoint of the Syrian Jezireh: Between Arab Nationalism and the Zionist Movement

Mr. Micha Shagrir, director and journalist

Visual Testimony of the Rescue of the Last Syrian Jews

Ms. Yael Shinan-Zur, Bar-Ilan University

Women in Zionist Activity in Damascus, 1920-1945

Tuesday, 12 Sivan 5767, 29 May 2007

09:00-10:00 Reception and light refreshments

10:00-11:30 Session G: Piyyut and Music

Chair: Prof. Eytan Avitzur, Bar-Ilan University

Prof. Shulamit Elizur, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Liturgical Poems in the Mahzor of Aleppo

Dr. Kumiko Yayama Bar-Yosef

Socio-Musical Interaction in the Singing of Piyyutim of the “Aleppan-Jerusalemite” Tradition

Prof. Amnon Shiloah, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Followers of the Yisrael Najjara Method of Composition: A Damascus Cantor’s Notebook

Dr. Essica Marks, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Zefat Academic College

The Influence of the Musical Tradition of the Aleppo Jewish Community on the Liturgy of the Style known today as “Jerusalem-Sepharad”

11:30-13:30 Parallel Sessions

Session H: Art and Culture

Chair: Dr. Gabriel Alexander, Head of Jewish National Fund's (KKL) Institute for the History of Zionism and Settlement

Ms. Rivka Potchebutzky, Bar-Ilan University

The Jews of Eastern Syria as seen by the Society that Built the Dura Europos Synagogue in the 3rd Century

Prof. David Cassutto, College of Judea and Samaria, Ariel

Synagogue Architecture in Syria

Dr. Meir Raffeld, Bar-Ilan University

Liturgical Studies to Determine the Order of Prayers in Aleppo

Ms. Shoshi Banit, Bar-Ilan University

The Syrian-Jewish Kitchen as an Expression of Cultural Diversity

Session I: Literature and History

Chair: Prof. Moshe Gat, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Prof. Yitzhak Avishur, Haifa University

Popular Literature among Syrian Jewry

Prof. Yosef Yahalom, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Aleppo Jewry as seen by Spanish Writers

Ms. Reut Levitan Shrem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dawn’s Light, Candlelight, O Precious Light – The Aleppo Community in the Writings of Yehuda Alharizi

Mr. Dotan Arad, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

On the History of the Musta’arib Jews in Damascus in the 16th Century

Session J: Memory and Identity – In Memory of Prof. Walter Zenner

Chair: Prof. Zvi Zohar, Bar-Ilan University

Prof. Mark Kligman, Hebrew Union College, New York

Aleppo, Syrian Cantors in Brooklyn: Descendants of Immigrants Still Sing

Ms. Sarina Roffé, Touro College

An Analysis of the Takana against Marriage to Converts in the Syrian and Near Eastern Communities of Brooklyn

Ms. Paulette Kershenovich-Schuster, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Keeping the Home Fires Burning: The Role of Syrian-Jewish Women in Preserving Communal Identity

Dr. Yosef Ofer, Bar-Ilan University

Mnemonic Marks in the Tradition of the Keter Aram Zoba

13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-15:30 Session K: Syrian Jewry in Literature

Chair: Mr. Moshe Zaafrani, Ministry of Education and Culture

Guest of Honor: Amnon Shamosh, writer

Artistic Introduction:

Ms. Shosha Goren, actress

Characters from the Community

Dr. Aviva Argov, Bar-Ilan University

Damascus Jewry as seen through Burla’s Literary Work

Dr. Zvia Meir, Orot Yisrael College

The Character of the Woman of Aleppo in Amnon Shamosh’s Stories

Ms. Gina Ganiel, Bar-Ilan University

“Do you know from where I have taken my songs?”: A study of the sources of Amnon Shamosh’s works

15:30-16:30 Session L: Syrian Jewry in Literature (Part 2)

Musical Interlude:

Vocal Group – Music Class, Ben-Zvi High School, Kiryat Ono

Piyyutim from the Syrian Jewish Tradition

Rabbi Haim Sabato, Yeshivat Birkat Moshe, writer

The Aleppo Rabbi – A Literary Perspective

Mr. Nissim Dayan, screenwriter and director

Research, Reconstruction and Production of the Series “Michel Ezra Safra and Sons”

Amnon Shamosh, writer

East and West in my Writings

16:30-17:00 Break

17:00-19:00 Session M: The Syrian Jewish Diaspora

Chair: Dr. Daniel Hayek, Secretary-General, World Sephardi Federation

Mr. Daniel Florentin, Tel Aviv University

The Jewish Immigrants from Syria in New York at the Dawn of the 20th Century

Prof. Jane Gerber, New York University

Prof. Reeva Simon, Yeshiva University

Syrian Jews and Syrian Christians in New York: Communal Survival in Comparative Perspective

Dr. Margalit Bejarano, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Economics and Community – Syrian Jews in Latin America

Prof. Yitzchak Kerem, Aristotle University

Syrian Jewish Settlement in Colombia and Panama

Prof. Liz Hamui Sutton, National University of Mexico

Recent Religious Movements among the Mexican Halebim Jews: Three Case Studies

19:30 Light Refreshments

20:00 Artistic Program:

Tuesday, 12 Sivan 5767 (29 May 2007)

Wohl Auditorium


Mr. Moshe Cohen
Chairman, World Center for the Heritage of Aleppo Jewry

Mr. Yehoshua Kalash

Chairman, Association of Jews from Damascus (Syria) in Israel

Milk and Honey

Cantor Yehiel Nahari with the “Tiferet Hamizrach” Cantorial Choir and the Dahan Center’s Oriental Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Avi Eilam-Amzalag


In conjunction with the Conference, an exhibition is being held of inlaid metal implements from the “Ummai Bazaar” in Damascus (courtesy of Mr. Maurice Mosserri) and “Damascus-style” metal wear made by Bezalel (courtesy of Mr. Shlomo Moussaieff). In addition, there will be a display of Judaic paintings, on the theme of Keter Aram Zoba, by artist Avraham Shemi-Shoham.

The exhibition is being organized by Dr. Irit Ziffer.

During the Conference, the film The Man Who was not Afraid of Peace, about Eliyahu Sasson, will be screened. The film was produced by the Israel Intelligence Heritagae & Commeomoration Center, directed by Micha Shagrir, and edited by Nissim Moussak.

Dr. Yaron Harel

Chair, the Organizing Committee

Dept. of Jewish History

Bar Ilan University

Ramat Gan 52900


Tel. (Office) 972-3-5318353

Fax (Office) 972-3-5346467

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7. New Documentary: The Last Jews of Libya (Roumani-Denn)

Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2007 21:05:36 -0400

From: Vivienne Roumani-Denn <vroumani(at)nyc(dot)rr(dot)com>


 A Documentary Film

 Narrated by Isabella Rossellini

 Directed by Vivienne Roumani-Denn

 Produced by Aryeh B. Bourkoff

 The Last Jews of Libya documents the final decades of a centuries-old Sephardic Jewish community through the lives of the remarkable Roumani family. Thirty-six thousand Jews lived in Libya at the end of World War II, but not a single one remains today. A tale of war, cultural dislocation, and one family's ultimate perseverance, this fifty-minute film traces the story of the Roumanis of Benghazi, Libya from Turkish Ottoman rule through the age of Mussolini and Hitler to the final destruction and dispersal of Libya's Jews in the face of Arab nationalism.

 Based on the recently discovered memoirs of the family's matriarch, Elise Roumani, as well as interviews in English, Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic with several generations of the Roumani family and a trove of rare archival film and photographs it is an unforgettable tale.

 The Last Jews of Libya is the story of an ancient community transformed by modern European culture, buffeted by Fascism and Arab nationalism and ultimately saved through the strength of its Jewish tradition and faith.

Vivienne Roumani-Denn

tel:  917.957.4132

fax: 917.441.6743



8. Article in the Spanish Press on the Revival of Ladino (L.A.L.A.)

Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 10:44:55 -0400

From: Latin Americanist Librarians' Announcements List [mailto:LALA-L(at)LISTSERV(dot)EMORY(dot)EDU]

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

Noticia aparecida en La




El ladino o judeoespañol vive un intento de recuperación

 Estambul. (EFE).- El ladino o judeoespañol, la lengua hablada por la comunidad judía de origen español, vive un intento de recuperación en Estambul después de décadas de falta de uso, que el Instituto Cervantes quiere apoyar a través de las Primeras Jornadas de Cultura Sefardí, que comenzaron hoy.

 La mayor parte de turistas españoles que visitan Estambul piensan que quizás sólo puedan escuchar su idioma de los hábiles comerciantes del Gran Bazar, dispuestos a aprender la lengua de Cervantes para engatusar a sus clientes.

 Pero no, en la antigua capital otomana existe una gran comunidad cuyo lengua materna es también el español.

 Se trata de los sefardíes: los judíos expulsados de España en 1492 en virtud del edicto de la Alhambra y que han conservado su lengua y sus costumbres a través de los siglos.

 "Aquellos que los mandan pierden, yo gano", se cuenta que afirmó el sultán otomano Bayaceto II cuando abrió sus puertas a la llegada de los sefardíes y era verdad, pues los judeoespañoles contribuyeron al desarrollo económico del imperio que les acogió.

 Las Primeras Jornadas de Cultura Sefardí organizadas por el Instituto Cervantes de Estambul e iniciadas hoy tienen precisamente el objetivo de ayudar en la conservación del ladino.

 Para conmemorar el sesenta aniversario del semanario sefardí Shalom, las ponencias de estas jornadas versarán sobre la prensa en judeoespañol y contarán con la presencia, entre otros, del catedrático de la Universidad Ben Gurion Tamar Alexandre y la investigadora del CSIC Elena Romero.

 Pero, a pesar de que el ladino es la lengua materna de los 20.000 sefardíes de Turquía, sufre un severo abandono por parte de los jóvenes que prefieren hablar en turco, el idioma oficial y más extendido en el país.

 "Hasta la generación de los que nacimos en los años sesenta, el ladino era una de las lenguas que se hablaba en los hogares sefardíes. Sin embargo, ahora se habla cada vez menos porque ya no es la lengua que se habla en las casas, así que, si un joven sefardí quiere aprender ladino debe apuntarse a un curso", explica Karen Gerson Sarhon con ligera tristeza en su lengua judeoespañola, que recuerda mucho al castellano antiguo.

 Gerson Sarhon es la responsable del suplemento en ladino 'El Amaneser' y directora del 'Sentro de Investigasiones sobre la Kultura Sefardi Otomana-Turka' y una de las personalidades más empeñadas en la defensa de la cultura del judeoespañol.

 Para Sarhon existen varios factores por los que se fue abandonando el judeoespañol entre los que destacan la influencia del francés durante el siglo XIX, el abandono del alfabeto 'Rashi' por el latino y la implantación de la educación nacional turca tras la instauración de la República por parte de Mustafá Kemal Atatürk.

 "Cuando se fundó la República de Turquía, hubo un cambio en la filosofía de la comunidad sefardí y sus dirigentes decidieron que la comunidad se abriese y se integrase en la sociedad turca", explica Sarhon.

 "Los sefardíes querían dejar claro que eran ciudadanos turcos de fe judía pero leales a la República de Turquía" -prosigue la intelectual judeoespañola- "Así que se pusieron a aprender el turco porque aunque lo hablaban algo, tenían un terrible acento español".

 Este abandono se produjo también por una caída del prestigio de la lengua ladina -agravada por la marcha de muchos sefardíes a Israel donde el hebreo pudo con el judeoespañol-, que perduró hasta los años noventa.

 "Estábamos a punto de perder toda nuestra cultura pero el trabajo de diferentes personas en todo el mundo ha conseguido que ahora empecemos a ver cierta recuperación", sostiene Sarhon.

 De hecho, algunos de estos jóvenes sefardíes que ya no hablan ladino en casa se apuntan a cursos de español moderno.

 "Si aprenden el español moderno la herencia sefardí será accesible para ellos porque una lengua no es una cosa abstracta, sino que a través de la lengua se produce la cultura y la forma de pensar. Y nosotros somos un pueblo mediterráneo que habla español" reitera.

 Sefarad, la tierra española que los judeoespañoles dejaron atrás hace siglos, sigue en la mente de los sefardíes.

 "Cuando un sefardí va a España, su sentimiento es muy curioso porque no se siente en un país ajeno sino como en casa", asegura Sarhon.

 Si los jóvenes sefardíes de Turquía consiguen no olvidarse del todo de sus orígenes, el ladino podría experimentar un renacimiento porque, como afirma un refrán judeoespañol divisa del periódico 'El Amaneser': "Kuando muncho eskurese es para amaneser".


9. Appeal on Behalf of the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Quintana and Bejarano)

Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2007 21:35:38 +0200 (CEST)

From: Aldina Quintana <aldina_quintana(at)yahoo(dot)es> and margalit bejarano <msbejar(at)mscc(dot)huji(dot)ac(dot)il>

[ed: slight edit]

 Dear Friends,

 The following letter in English [followed by a Spanish translation] explains very well the problem that our Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies is facing, with a new reform that will probably lead to our disappearance. We need your support and cooperation in sending the letter below to the following addresses:

 Prof. Menachem Meggidor <hupres(at)cc(dot)huji(dot)ac(dot)il>


 Prof. Haim Rabinovich <rector(at)savion(dot)huji(dot)ac(dot)il>


 Prof. Israel Bartal <israelb(at)savion(dot)cc(dot)huji(dot)ac(dot)il>

Decano de la Facultad de Humanidades

Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén


After the letter, please also find a message from Jan Szemiñski, Chair Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies. I greatly appreciate your help,


Margalit Bejarano

 Dear Sirs,

 We want to express our most deep concern about the future of the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies. We believe that its closure will cause a great loss both to the Hebrew University and to the Israeli society as a whole.

 As researchers and intellectuals we have learnt to appreciate the role fulfilled by the Department in the formation of professionals, in the research, and also as a point of reference for anyone interested in the relations between the Israeli and Jewish society, and the Spanish and Latin American World.

 The disappearance of the Department will end the interdisciplinary studies in this field, so important in the Iberian and Latin American research and increasingly important in modern world. It will cut down a tradition of teaching and research started in the sixties, and will strengthen Israeli tendency to limit teaching and investigation to Jewish and some European matters. We think that such an act will damage the relations between Israel and Iberian and Latin American societies. Therefore, we the undersigned ask you to reconsider the decision and maintain the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies.

 Sincerely Yours,

 De nuestra mayor consideración,

             Nos dirigimos a ustedes con el propósito de expresar nuestra profunda preocupación en relación al futuro del Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos. Si bien somos conscientes de que debido a la situación económica general del paí&shy;s las universidades en Israel se ven obligadas a ahorrar, creemos que la desaparición del Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos representará una gran pérdida para la Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén, como también para Israel.

             En nuestra calidad de investigadores e intelectuales hemos aprendido a estimar sobremanera el rol que cumple el Departamento, no sólo como una entidad de formación e investigación académica sino como punto de encuentro para aquéllos que nos interesamos por las relaciones israelí&shy;es-iberoamericanas. La presencia del Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos hacen de Jerusalén uno de los lugares ideales para fortalecer los lazos entre Israel e Iberoamérica. Debilitando el Departamento y poniéndolo así en peligro se comprometerá la interdisciplinariedad, de excepcional importancia para los estudios de este campo, y se perderá la posibilidad de realizar un estudio de grado sobre América Latina y España, lo cual representará una gran pérdida para Israel. Además, se romperá con una larga tradición de investigación que tiene sus inicios en los años 60.

              Creemos importante señalar que esto no significará solamente el dar una señal negativa a los latinoamericanos que quieran estudiar o investigar en Israel -con los perjuicios respectivos para la infraestructura académica y el renombre-, sino que además le quitará a la Universidad Hebrea la oportunidad de contar con el apoyo y la amistad de un continente cuya importancia para Israel no puede ser subestimada.

              Es por todo lo señalado que los firmantes pedimos se reconsidere cualquier decisión que afecte el futuro del Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos y tomen en cuenta en sus decisiones nuestra preocupación y nuestro apoyo para este importante Departamento.

 Nos despedimos de ustedes muy atentamente,

Dear Friends,

 According to a project of new organization of the Faculty of Humanities in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem the Department of Iberian and Latin American studies will be shut down. Its place will be taken by a Program of Latin American Studies, without separate financing and without the right to ask for positions. In practice it means abolition of Latin American and Iberian Studies and research in the Hebrew University, since only Departments and Schools conserve the right to ask for positions and direct financing. I believe that any local society needs intermediaries between the local culture and great civilizations of modern World.

 Please read the attached letter and if you accept the arguments, sign it and send to the President and the rector of the Hebrew University.

 Sincerely Yours,

 Jan Szemiñski


 Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies

 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Hispanistas y latinoamericanostas, os pedimos vuestra ayuda para el Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén

Queridos amigos:

   La Facultad de Humanidades de la Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén ha emprendido un plan de reestructuración, según el cual el Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos -cuya exitosa labor se inició hace ya 40 años- será disuelto y sus diferentes secciones serán distribuidas entre otras unidades. Ello significa un debilitamiento y una probable desaparición del área de estudios y de investigación de literatura e historia ibérico-latinoamericanas en la Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén.

   Adjunto encontrarán una carta de apoyo al Departamento, dirigida a las autoridades universitarias. Si están de acuerdo con su contenido, les rogamos añadan su nombre y procedencia académica y la envíen por vía electrónica al presidente, rector y decano, cuyas direcciones aparecen más abajo. Asimismo, les agradeceremos que distribuyan esta carta entre colegas que estimen puedan estar interesados en manifestar su apoyo.

   En nombre de todos los miembros del Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos, les agradezco su colaboración y ayuda.


 Jan Szemiñski


 Departamento de Estudios Españoles y Latinoamericanos

 Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén


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