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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - December 2, 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, December 2, 2007 (22 Kislev 5768)


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1. Job: Professor of Modern Jewish Studies, University of Kansas (Hummel)

2. Job: Lectureship in Israel Studies, Princeton University (Israel Studies Search Committee)

3. Job: professor of Jewish history, University of Texas at Austin (Abzug)

4. Jobs: Freelance Reporters for JTA (Heilman)

5. Summer Institute for Israel Studies 2008 (Israel Center)

6. Seeking Volunteers for Jewish Cemetery in Jamaica (Frankel and Hersh)

7. New Website: Jamaica’s The United Congregation of Israelites website (Henriques)

8. New Publication: Abraham Ibn Ezra: The Book of Reasons (Sela)

9. New Publication: _We Are Few: Folklore and Ethnic Identity of the Jewish Community of Ioannina, Greece_ (Fromm)

10. New Publication: Joseph Glass and Ruth Kark, _The Valero Family_ (Weiss Simon)

11. Conference: Intellectual Consequences of Religious Heterodoxy in Europe 1650-1750 (Mortimer)

12. Call for Papers: Fifteenth British Conference on Judeo-Spanish Studies (Pomeroy)

13. Sephardic March of the Living (Kerem)

14. Jews of Rhodes Project: DNA Testing (Rubin Mayo)


1. Job: Professor of Modern Jewish Studies, University of Kansas (Hummel)

From: Karen Hummel <khummel(at)ku(dot)edu>

via: Adam Mendelsohn <amend(at)BRANDEIS(dot)EDU>

Date:  Sun, 28 Oct 2007 19:45:11 -0400

      Robert M. Beren Distinguished Professorship in Modern Jewish Studies.

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas seeks a distinguished scholar/teacher as the second, tenured holder of the endowed Robert M. Beren Distinguished Professorship in Modern Jewish Studies at the University of Kansas. The Beren Distinguished Professor will take a leadership role in continuing to build Jewish Studies and contribute to the college's commitment to innovative interdisciplinary research and teaching in the humanities and social sciences. The department affiliation of the professorship will be determined at the time of appointment, expected to begin August 18, 2008. We invite applications from specialists in all fields of modern Jewish Studies. Advanced Associate Professors and non-traditional scholars who would be eligible for an appointment at the distinguished professor level are invited to apply. Required qualifications: Ph.D. (or terminal degree) in Jewish Studies or a related discipline; evidence of distinguished scholarship and intellectual leadership that contributes to critical reflection on the methods and contours of the interdisciplinary field of modern Jewish Studies; evidence of distinguished service to the profession; evidence of teaching excellence and the ability to create innovative courses in modern Jewish Studies; and eligible for appointment with tenure as a Distinguished Professor. For a full position announcement, see: For inquiries, contact: Professor Cheryl Lester, chlester(at)ku(dot)edu. Send application materials to Ms. Karen Hummel, c/o Department of Religious Studies, Smith Hall, 1300 Oread Avenue, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-7615. Telephone: 785-864-4664, Fax: 785-864-5205, E-mail: khummel(at)ku(dot)edu. Applications should include a cover letter outlining teaching and research interests in Jewish Studies, complete curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of at least three referees. Initial review of applications will begin December 3, 2007, and will continue until the position is filled. For information about Jewish Studies at KU go to and for links to Jewish life in the area, to and EO/AA Employer.

      Contact Info:

      Department of Religious Studies

      c/o Ms. Karen Hummel

      Smith Hall, 1300 Oread Avenue

      University of Kansas

      Lawrence, KS 66045-7615

      For inquiries, contact: Professor Cheryl Lester, chlester(at)ku(dot)edu




2. Job: Lectureship in Israel Studies, Princeton University (Israel Studies Search Committee)

From: Israel Studies Search Committee

via: Adam Mendelsohn <amend(at)BRANDEIS(dot)EDU>

Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 19:49:13 -0400

      PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Program in Judaic Studies, invites applications for a lectureship in Israel Studies to begin September 1, 2008. Field and specialization are open but the candidate should be an expert in some area of Israel studies, which might include social, cultural, religious, and political life in Israel, the history of Zionism, and the role Israel plays in the Middle East. The appointment will be made jointly between the Program in Judaic Studies and an appropriate department. A Ph.D. is preferred. This is a one year contract, renewable up to three years. Applications from women and members of minority groups are especially encouraged. Princeton University is an equal opportunity employer committed to affirmative action.

For information about applying to Princeton and how to self identify, please link to Send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, bibliography, three letters of reference, and a writing sample to: Chair, Israel Studies Search Committee, Program in Judaic Studies, 201 Scheide Caldwell House, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544. The search committee will begin reviewing applications November 30, 2007 and will continue to do so until the search is complete.

      Contact Info:

      Chair, Israel Studies Search Committee Program in Judaic Studies

      201 Scheide Caldwell House

      Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544



3. Job: professor of Jewish history, University of Texas at Austin (Abzug)

From: Robert H. Abzug

via: Adam Mendelsohn <amend(at)BRANDEIS(dot)EDU>

Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 15:13:30 -0400

      The History Department of the University of Texas at Austin seeks to appoint a senior faculty member in Jewish history whose work focuses on the period after 1492 in any area of Europe, the Near East, or Latin America and with familiarity and interest in teaching the broad sweep of Jewish history. Candidates must have a demonstrated record of scholarly and teaching excellence. The appointment will come with the benefits of affiliation to the new Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, and will be at the rank of Professor (including the possibility of an endowed professorship or chair).

We will consider advanced associate professors near promotion. Successful candidates will be expected to teach undergraduate and graduate courses, develop a strong research program, direct graduate research, produce demonstrated evidence of successful research productivity, and exhibit a commitment to service to the department, college, and university. The committee will begin reviewing applications in early January 2008 and the position will remain open until filled. Position is subject to final budget approval. Background check conducted on final candidate. Interested applicants should send a letter of application and detailed vita (including a list of references) to Robert H. Abzug, Jewish History Search, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station B7000, Austin TX 78712-0220. AA/EOE

      Contact Info:

      Robert H. Abzug

      Jewish History Search

      Department of History

      University of Texas at Austin

      1 University Station B7000

      Austin TX 78712-0220



4. Jobs: Freelance Reporters for JTA (Heilman)

From: "Samuel Heilman" <scheilman(at)gmail(dot)com>

via: Adam Mendelsohn <amend(at)BRANDEIS(dot)EDU>

Date:    Thu, 8 Nov 2007 17:34:17 -0500

JTA, the global Jewish news agency, is seeking freelance reporters in Europe's capitals to be regular correspondents for our global news agency. Positions start immediately.

*JTA seeks reporters in:*

** Paris*

* *London*

** Brussels*

** Budapest*

** Rome*

** Geneva/Zurich*

*In addition to these posts, JTA seeks part-time or full-time reporters in:*

   - *Kiev*

   - *Moscow*

*JTA is also seeking reporters in Latin America.*

The position entails writing news and feature stories about issues affecting the country's Jewish community, including both internal Jewish issues and geopolitical issues (ties to Israel, sanctions against Iran, etc.). The reporter will be expected to track all news of Jewish interest in the country and file stories when appropriate, in consultation with JTA editors. Reporter also will be expected to write brief news items for JTA's Breaking

News section (see

Candidates must have reporting experience, possess strong writing skills and be familiar with local and European Jewish issues. Fluency in the local language preferred.

Payment per story. CVs and clips may be sent to uheilman(at)jta(dot)org. Qualified candidates only.


5. Summer Institute for Israel Studies 2008 (Israel Center)

From: Schusterman Center for Israel Studies <israelcenter(at)brandeis(dot)edu>

via: Adam Mendelsohn <amend(at)BRANDEIS(dot)EDU>

Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2007 17:31:37 -0500

Social science and humanities faculty are invited to apply for the 2008 Summer Institute for Israel Studies Fellowship. The Summer Institute assists college and university faculty in designing new courses in Israel Studies.

      The Institute takes place at Brandeis University, June 18 - July 1, 2008, and in Israel, July 3 - July 11, 2008. At Brandeis, Institute fellows will participate in seminars focused on Israel's society, politics, economics, culture, foreign affairs, and diplomacy. During the Israel study tour, fellows will meet with prominent scholars, government officials, writers, artists, public intellectuals, and Jewish and Arab community leaders.

      Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,000, and all travel, meals, and accommodation will be paid for. For more information, applications, and a list of past participants, please visit, email israelcenter(at)brandeis(dot)edu, or call 781-736-2125.

     Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

      Brandeis University

      Phone: (781)736-2125

      Email: israelcenter(at)brandeis(dot)edu

      Visit the website at


6. Seeking Volunteers for Jewish Cemetery in Jamaica (Frankel and Hersh)

From:            rf(at)rachelfrankelarch(dot)com

Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2007 13:08:08 -0700

CVE: Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions

Box 388 Corning NY 14830

T 607 962 7846 F 607 935 1153 Email: ahershcve(at)aol(dot)com

Volunteers are needed for Historic Jewish cemetery inventory in Jamaica.

Jews fleeing persecution in Europe settled in Jamaica as early as 1530 where they played important roles in commerce and the sugar industry.  The Hunt's Bay cemetery is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Jamaica. The earliest known death date inscribed is 1672. Hunt’s Bay served as the burial ground for Jews from Port Royal and Kingston.

Our work will include surveying the graves; some with illustrative images; mapping the cemetery, and transcribing/translating the Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish and English epitaphs. Volunteers with knowledge of biblical Hebrew and/or mapping skills are sought. Equally, volunteers without skills specific to the work but who are interested in learning gravestone documentation are desired.

The United Congregation of Israelites Shaare Shalom Synagogue of Jamaica has invited and will work with CVE to document Hunt’s Bay Cemetery. Rachel Frankel, a New York architect and recognized authority on historic New World Jewish sites we lead the fieldwork.

Accommodations will be at the Jamaica Pegasus in downtown Kingstown (www.jamaica  Our trip will coincide with the annual conference of the Union of Jewish Congregations of Latin American and the Caribbean (UJCLA) and our participants will have the opportunity of attending events and meeting members of the UJCLA.

CVE, a non-profit organization since 1991, recruits volunteers to work on historic preservation and genealogy projects throughout the Caribbean (   

Date:  Jan 27- Feb 2, 2008

Costs:  $ 900 double occupancy, and $1,200 single occupancy.

For more information contact Anne Hersh, CVE   ahershcve(at)aol(dot)com


7. New Website: Jamaica's The United Congregation of Israelites website (Henriques)

From: Ainsley Henriques

via:             RachelArch(at)aol(dot)com

Date:             Thu, 15 Nov 2007 21:34:58 EST

One year ago we celebrated our 350th anniversary of Jewish life in Jamaica with the opening of the Jewish Heritage Centre; our Museum, Exhibition area,Video theatre, Archives, Family History Centre, Memorial Garden, Canteen and Gift Shop.

Today, a year later, we are very proud to introduce you to our very new and comprehensive website. The domain is

This has been the result, in particular, of the hard work and the dedication of our Shaliach, Alon Gildoni. Mazeltov Alon.

If there are items that you the viewers have that you want to introduce to the website contact the webmaster Alon and we will see what can be done, websites are works in progress, or just comment on our Blog page.

Shalom All,

Ainsley Henriques


8. New Publication: Abraham Ibn Ezra: The Book of Reasons (Sela)

From: "Shlomo Sela" <shlomo(at)mail(dot)biu(dot)ac(dot)il>

via: Adam Mendelsohn <amend(at)BRANDEIS(dot)EDU>

Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 2:33 AM

_Abraham Ibn Ezra: The Book of Reasons, A Parallel Hebrew-English Critical

Edition of the Two Versions of the Text_, Edited, translated, and annotated by Shlomo Sela.

From the Middle Ages until the present, the development of astrology among Jews was associated mainly with the name of Abraham Ibn Ezra (1089–1167). His scientific corpus deals with mathematics, astronomy, scientific instruments and tools, and the Jewish calendar; but especially with astrology. This volume offers a critical Hebrew text of the two versions of Ibn Ezra’s Sefer ha-Te’amim, the Book of Reasons, accompanied by a translation and commentary. The two treatises presented here were designed by Ibn Ezra to offer “reasons”?, “explanations”, or “meanings”? of the raw astrological concepts formulated in the introduction to astrology that Ibn Ezra entitled Reshit Hokhmah (Beginning of Wisdom).

ISBN 978 9004157 64 4

Hardback (398 pp.)

List price EUR 114.-/US$ 161.-

Etudes sur le Judaisme Medieval, 35

Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2007


9. New Publication: _We Are Few: Folklore and Ethnic Identity of the Jewish Community of Ioannina, Greece_ (Fromm)

From:             Annette Fromm <annettefromm(at)hotmail(dot)com>

Date:             Thu, 1 Nov 2007 19:31:44 -0400             

Annette Fromm, _We Are Few: Folklore and Ethnic Identity of the Jewish Community of Ioannina, Greece_  (Lexington Books, 2007)

The Jewish community of Ioannina, in Northwestern Greece, traces its roots to Byzantine times if not earlier. In the early 20th century, at least half of the community's population emigrated to settle in Athens, Israel, and the United States because of economic and religious reasons. The cataclysm of the Holocaust dramatically decimated the community. This steady outward movement created an abrupt rupture of their patterns of traditional culture.

We are Few brings this unique community to life in a series of ethnographic sketches of history and traditional culture in order to understand its intense allegiance to ethnic identity. Dr. Annette Fromm explores the decreasing inventory of cultural traditions from the patterns of daily life to the rituals and customs associated with life cycle events and holiday celebrations. Through the periodic return of individuals associated with the Jews of Ioannina, pilgrims, a new avenue of the expression of ethnic identity has been created. These visits reassure residents that the Jewish community of Ioannina still exists no matter how dispersed. This study is useful for graduate level students and researchers of Anthropology and Jewish Studies.

About the Author

Dr. Annette B. Fromm is an independent scholar. She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University.  

Discounted Price: $48.75 (25% off)


List Price: $65.00

Cloth 0-7391-2061-1 / 978-0-7391-2061-3

Nov 28, 2007 232pp                       


10. New Publication: Joseph Glass and Ruth Kark, _The Valero Family_ (Weiss Simon)

Date:             Thu, 6 Dec 2007 10:07:54 +0200

From:             Info Gefen Publishing House <>



Subject:             Sephardi Entrepreneurs - The Valero Family

We would like to draw your attention to a new title, recently published; that we think your readership will be interested in.  Sephardi Entrepreneurs - The Valero Family by Joseph Glass and Ruth Kark.

This is the fascinating story of one of modern Jerusalem's founding families. The Valeros established the first private bank in Israel. They owned considerable real estate in the area as well as properties throughout the country, many of which they donated for public needs.

As members of this elite Sephardic community, which peaked in the beginning of the twentieth century, the Valeros were extremely active in the life of the city and its people. The book also serves as a cultural study of an upper echelons family in Jerusalem during the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries.

Dr. Joseph B. Glass received his doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has authored five books and numerous articles. Dr. Glass and Prof. Kark co-authored the first volume in this series: _Sephardi Entrepreneurs in Eretz Israel: The Amzalak Family, 1816-1918_.

 Ruth Kark is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has written and edited twenty books and over 200 articles on the history and historical geography of Palestine and Israel. She is co-editor of the book _Jewish Women in the Yishuv and Zionism: A Gender Outlook_ (2002).

Hardcover * 440 pp * ISBN 978-965-229-396-1 * $29.95 * 100 NIS

If you would like to receive a review copy of this book or to purchase the book, please let us know.  As well, please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in this story.  FYI, a copy for review has been sent to Dr. Lavender for the Journal for the Study of Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry.


Wendy Weiss Simon

Gefen Publishing House, Ltd.

6 Hatzvi St.

Jerusalem 94386 Israel

Tel: +972-2-538-0247 Fax: +972-2-538-8423




11. Conference: Intellectual Consequences of Religious Heterodoxy in Europe 1650-1750 (Mortimer)

From: Sarah Mortimer <scm60(at)cam(dot)ac(dot)uk>

via: Adam Mendelsohn <amend(at)BRANDEIS(dot)EDU>

Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 00:01:35 -0400

      While religious heterodoxy has attracted considerable scholarly interest for its own sake, its wider intellectual consequences remain under-explored. Our conference brings together a range of scholars to discuss the implications of heterodox doctrine across broader fields of enquiry, including moral and natural philosophy and historiography, with a focus on concepts of sociability. The conference is planned to coincide with the visit of Jonathan Israel to Oxford and will engage with themes in his more recent work. By exploring the role of heterodoxy in shaping intellectual history, it will also address anew the question once posed by Hugh Trevor-Roper of 'the religious origins of the Enlightenment'.

      St Hugh's College, Oxford, 14-15 March 2008

      Organised by John Robertson and Sarah Mortimer

     Sarah Mortimer

      Gonville and Caius, Cambridge

      Email: scm60(at)cam(dot)ac(dot)uk


12. Call for Papers: Fifteenth British Conference on Judeo-Spanish Studies (Pomeroy)

From: Hilarypomeroy(at)aol(dot)com

Date:             Wed, 5 Dec 2007 17:45:04 EST

I attach the Call for Papers for the above conference which will take place 

in London from 29 to 31 July 2008. We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Hilary Pomeroy

Fifteenth British Conference on Judeo-Spanish Studies

Call for Papers

The British Conference on Judeo-Spanish Studies is an international scholarly forum for university teachers and researchers preparing doctoral theses on Judeo-Spanish Studies.  We invite you to submit abstracts, maximum two hundred words, for papers to be read at out next conference.  Papers should not have been presented of published elsewhere and should not exceed twenty minutes.  As we are always oversubscribed with applications we are limiting the topics to Judeo-Spanish Language and Judeo-Spanish Literature.

The conference will take place from Tuesday 29 July to Thursday 31 July 2008 and will once again be held at Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS.  We have reserved accommodation on site and advise you to plan arrival for Monday 28 July.

Please put your name, academic institution and academic title (Dr., Prof.) at the top of the abstract, and your contact details after the abstract. 

You may send any queries to Hilary Pomeroy, but the abstracts should be sent directly to Professor Christopher Pountain, no later than 31 January 2008:


Conference Committee

Emeritus Professor Michael Alpert, University of Westminster

Dr. Annette Benaim

Research Professor Ralph Penny, Queen Mary, University of London

Professor Christopher Pountain, Queen Mary, University of London

Dr. Hilary Pomeroy, University College London

Dr. Elena Romero, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid

Miss Sizen Yiacoup, Kings College London


13. Sephardic March of the Living (Kerem)

From:             Yitzchak Kerem <ykerem(at)actcom(dot)co(dot)il>

Date:             Sat, 3 Nov 2007 19:37:40 +0200

 The purpose of the activity is for the first time to have a Sephardic March of the Living where Sephardim would participate en masse, Sephardic survivors (while the last ones are still with us) would guide and give testimony, and which would trace the path of the largest Sephardic Holocaust community to perish in the Holocaust, the Jewish community of Salonika. Future trips would focus on other Sephardic and Mizrahi Oriental groups annihilated in the Holocaust. This trip would bring American, French, and Israeli youth and university student groups, Greek Second and Third generation groups,  as well as other interested Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews to Salonika (Thessaloniki, Greece) and then on to Warsaw, Auschwitz, and Crackow to see the fate of Salonikan Jewry and also commemorate their memory in public ceremonies in both Greece and Poland. Dependent on sleeping accommodations in Thessaloniki, the event will include between 200 and 500 people.

The event will be coordinated by Yitzchak Kerem, noted historian on Greek and Sephardic Jewry in the Holocaust, and Inbar Tours of Ramat Gan, Israel. When the  logistics are worked out, then funding and subsidies will be sought to lower the price in order to attract participants.

Below is the schedule:

Sunday, May 18, 2008 Arrival in Salonika. Division of groups by buses with survivors. Visit to Salonikan Jewish monuments, synagogues, cemetery, past institution, museum, and other museums staggered by groups.

Evening – opening ceremony at Freedom Square (Plateia Elefttherias) where Salonikan males amassed for forced labor

Monday, May 19, 2008. Morning – Tours with survivors to see their neighborhoods and retrace their Holocaust story.

Late afternoon – Ceremony at old Baron Hirsh Train Station to Commemorate Deportation of Salonikan Jewry.

Evening- Program on history of Salonikan Jewry; including commemorating the annihilated artists and musicians, Jewish community of Salonika (or to be held elsewhere).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008. Continued touring in Thessaloniki (if there is time) and flights to Warsaw.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008. Touring in Warsaw, including visiting Warsaw

Ghetto, Pawiac Prison Museum and Commemoration Ceremony for Role of Salonikan Jews in as Auschwitz Prisoners in the Warsaw Ghetto Camp and Their role in the Two Polish resistance revolts in Warsaw

Thursday, May 22. Visit to Auschwitz/Birkenau. Morning – Visiting Auschwitz I, Ceremony at Bloc 10 for Greek Medical experiment Victims. Afternoon –Visit to Birkenau.

Mid-afternoon, Presentations by Rhodian survivors and Commemoration Ceremony for   Rhodian Jewry. [Could also include Ioannina Survivor(s)]

Late Afternoon – Ceremony in front of Destroyed Crematorium 3 Commemorating Role of Salonikan and other Greek Jews in Birkenau Revolt of Oct. 6, 1944. Sleeping in Crackow. 

Friday, May 23, 2007. Touring in Crackow in morning and early afternoon. Return to Warsaw for Shabbat.

Sat. May 24, 2007. Combined Salonikan Sephardi/Ashkenazi Shacharit/Musaf service at synagogue. Afternoon -  Shiurim from Salonikan tradition: Meam Loez, and Alchech on weekly Torah parasha. Salonikan Havdala Ceremony.

Evening – either local Judeo-Spanish concert, One man play “Golgotha” on Salonikan Jewish Holocaust survivor with Moshe Attar and written by Dr. Shmuel Refael.

 Sunday, May 25, 2008 – Visit to treblinka Death Camp and Ceremony for the annihilated Jews of Greek Thrace and ex-Yugoslavian Macedonia.

Monday, May 26, 2008. Departure to Athens. Visit Haidari Intenrment Camp in Pireaus (Camp for Greek Jewish internees before deportation to Auschwitz/Birkenau).

Evening – Program at Jewish Community Center with Greek Jewish Holocaust survivors and hearing their stories of hiding in Athens and in the partisans.

Late Monday night/early Tueaday morning May 27, 2008  – return to Tel Aviv. Arrival at 4:20 a.m.

Please contact Yitzchak Kerem at ykerem(at)actcom(dot)co(dot)il, kerems(at)actcom(dot)co(dot)il,

PO Box 10642, Jerusalem 91102, Israel. Tels: 972-2-5795595, 972-544-870316

FAX: 972-2-5709564


14. Jews of Rhodes Project: DNA Testing (Rubin Mayo)

Date:             Mon, 5 Nov 2007 01:41:22 -0800

From:             bob_rubin(at)hotmail(dot)com

Hello, I would like to inform you about a new historical project. We need to spread the word to the Rhodesli communities around the world that this study has just started. I would appreciate any help in facilitating this communication. The study is as follows:


by Robert Rubin Mayo, M.D.


The purpose of the Jews of Rhodes Project is to try to identify the original 50 families who were Iberian, Italian, and Romaniote Jews that existed in Rhodes in 1522. This will be done by studying the paternal lines (using Y DNA testing) and the maternal lines (using mitochondrial DNA testing) of Jews whose families had lived on the Island of Rhodes.


Jews were credited with assisting in the defense of Rhodes against the invading Ottoman Turks in 1480.  At the start of the 1500’s, as a flood of Sephardi exiles from Spain and Sicily desperately sought refuge throughout the Mediterranean world, the Jews of Rhodes also struggled to survive. D’Aubusson, the Grand Master of Rhodes, ordered them to convert to Christianity.  Some submitted to baptism, while others faced slavery, death, or were expelled to Nice, France. D’Aubusson’s death prevented the decree’s full enforcement, saving the community, but very few Jews remained.

In 1522, the Ottoman Turks vanquished the Knights of Saint John, heralding the start of four centuries of religious freedom for the Jews of Rhodes. The Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, sought to develop the island with the assistance of the Jews.  That same year, a dozen Jewish families from Thessaloniki / Salonica arrived in Rhodes, and he granted them special privileges, including a 20-year tax exemption, free housing, and sulfur mining rights.  During this same period, Jewish exiles from southern Italy turned east to the Ottoman Empire for refuge, and some likely joined Sephardic and Sicilian Jews in settling on Rhodes.  The appearance of many Italian surnames among the Jews of Rhodes bears witness to this migration. Some historical books, by reputable people, note that about 50 families settled in Rhodes in 1522.

The Romaniote Jews (Jews of Greek origin who spoke Greek) had lived in Rhodes for centuries before the arrival of the Sephardic Jews in the 16th century. The Romaniote Jews became a small minority and soon lost their identity.


Abraham Galante, _Histoire des Juifs de Rhodes, Chio, Cos_, etc. (Istanbul: Société anonyme de Papeterie et d´Imprimerie, 1935).

Rabbi Marc D. Angel, _The Jews of Rhodes: The History of a Sephardic Community_ (Sepher-Hermon Press, Inc. and the Union of Sephardic Congregations, New York, 1980).

Esther Fintz Menascé, _Gli Ebrei a Rodi_( Milano, 1992).


First, to determine the original families that resided in Rhodes, we need to enroll lots of people and test many DNA markers in order to be able to interpret the results with a good degree of probability. Therefore, please tell your Rhodesli friends and relatives about the study.

To determine if two people are descended from the same ancestor, their DNA results would be an exact match or a near match. If we have lots of people who are exact matches or near matches, we can determine how far back in time they likely had a common ancestor. For example, if we have lots of people who have exact matches, then their common ancestor likely existed less than 200 years ago. If we have lots of people who have near exact matches, but each has a few different markers that vary, this would indicate a longer time back in the past when they had a common ancestor. The above results help to determine if the family had relatively recently moved to Rhodes (the former case) or had settled in Rhodes in 1522 (the latter case).


Please note: Providing the DNA samples are easy to do. The lab mails to you two cotton swabs. You swab the inner cheek in your mouth for one minute with each swab, place them in separate small containers, and then you mail it back to the lab.

Please note: Providing the DNA samples are easy to do. The lab mails to you two cotton swabs. You swab the inner cheek in your mouth for one minute with each swab, place them in separate small containers, and then you mail it back to the lab.

Family Tree DNA has given our group discounted rates for all of the tests. You may, from time to time, want to search for our project on the website at . To do that, you will need to type in the search term, “Rhodes”. Please note that this will reveal a list of projects. You will choose “Jews of Rhodes Project”. Please note that clicking on just the term, “Rhodes”, is a different project. In addition, you may also access our project website directly at:

If you are a man whose parents both had ancestors from Rhodes:

Please order the combined tests, that is the Y DNA 37 and mt DNA Plus tests. However, the Y DNA 67 test is encouraged instead of the Y DNA 37 test.

If you are a man whose father had ancestors from Rhodes:

Please order the Y DNA 37 test. However, the Y DNA 67 test is encouraged instead of the Y DNA 37 test.

If you are a man or a woman whose mother had ancestors from Rhodes:

Please order the mt DNA Plus test.

For those people who want to discover more about how closely they are related to others in the study and more about their ancestry, ordering the more advanced tests, suggested above, would be advisable.

To order your test now, just click on “REQUEST TO JOIN THIS GROUP” that is located on the upper left hand side of the website page.


If you already have had your DNA tested by Family Tree DNA, there is no additional charge to add your results to the Jews of Rhodes Project. On the upper left hand side of the website page, you will find written, “REQUEST TO JOIN THIS GROUP”. You need to click on that. Then, type in your kit number and password. Then, click “Submit”.

It is important and necessary that you provide an explanation of how you qualify for the study.




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