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


Current Issue

Past Issues

Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List – December 14, 2008

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 14, 2008 (17 Kislev 5769)


For archived issues please visit:



1. Sephardic Studies Discussion Group at Modern Languages Association (Beckwith)

2. Jewish Cultural Studies Discussion Group at Modern Language Association (Harrison-Kahan)

3. _Beginner’s Ladino_ on Display and for Sale at MLA Convention (Markova)

4. Job Opportunity: UCLA Visiting Professor in Mediterranean Jewish (Holenbeck)

5. Job Opportunity: Chair in Sephardic Studies, Yeshiva University (Yeshiva University)

6. Call for Papers: 2009 Canadian Jewish Studies Conference (Schnoor)

7. Call for Papers: 2009 International Conference on Jewish Genealogy (Halpern)

8. Fellowships at the Center for Historical Research, Ohio State University (Gallay)

9. Sources on Sephardic Distinction in the Holocaust and Benjamin Disraeli (Davidi)

10. New Publication: _A Pious Man Faces Sinners_ of 1735 (Hakak)

11. New Publication: _One Story, Two countries: The Memories of the Yecutieli Cohen Family_ (Yecutieli)

12. New Poetry Chapbook: _Kaddish for Columbus_ (Shasha)

13. New Documentary on Multiethnic Egyptian Identity: Salata Baladi (An Egyptian Salad) (Houghton)

14. Table of Contents: _Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies_ (Summer


15. British Colonial Slave Registers Online (Grannum)

16. Book and Poem on Ja’acov Stroumsa, Musician Survivor of Auschwitz (Liba)


1. Sephardic Studies Discussion Group at Modern Languages Association (Beckwith)

From:             "Stacy N. Beckwith" <sbeckwit(at)carleton(dot)edu>

Date:             Mon, 24 Nov 2008 19:25:51 -0600 (CST)

If you will be at the MLA in San Francisco this year please join us for our Sephardic Studies Discussion Group Panel:

164. Gender in Sephardic and Sephardist Writing

Sunday, December 28, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Yerba Buena Salon 6, Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Sephardic Studies

Presiding: Stacy Nan Beckwith, Carleton Coll.

1. “Between Complaint, Abuse, and Fear of Flying: Good and Not-So-Good Jewish Daughters and Sons and Their Intimate Relationships in Contemporary Francophone Sephardic Literature,”? Johann Sadock, Massachusetts Inst. of Tech.

2. “Memory and Identity in Two Novels by Rosa Nissán,”? Herlinda Dabbah, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

3. “Women and Men in the Works of Matilda Koen-Sarano: Confirmation and Transformation of Sephardic Traditions,”? Gloria J. Ascher, Tufts Univ.

4. “Comparison: Gender Inflection in Contemporary Spanish Sephardism,”? Stacy Nan Beckwith

For copies of abstracts, write to sbeckwit(at)carleton(dot)edu.

 Stacy N. Beckwith

Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature

Director of Judaic Studies

Carleton College

1 North College Street, Northfield MN. 55057

Office phone: 507-222-7033

Fax: 507-222-7538


2. Jewish Cultural Studies Discussion Group at Modern Language Association (Harrison-Kahan)

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

Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 17:01:03 -0500

The Modern Language Association Discussion Group on Jewish Cultural Studies invites you to attend the following panel at the MLA's 2008 conference in San Francisco.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Remapping Jewishness

3:30-4:45 p.m., Van Ness, Hilton

Chair: Lori Harrison-Kahan, Harvard University

1. The Trans-Jewish: Berlin and the Perimeters of Jewish Space,

Leslie Morris, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

2. Architecture of Memory in the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires,

Argentina, Silvia Berger, Smith College

3. Where Absence and Presence Meet: Touring Jewish Barcelona,

Tabea Alexa Linhard, Washington University


Each year one new member is elected to the Jewish Cultural Studies executive committee by vote of the MLA members present at the panel. If you are interested in becoming a member of the committee (responsibilities include choosing session topics, reviewing abstracts, attending and chairing MLA sessions) please contact me (via email) so that we can present your name at the convention meeting. Additional names may also be proposed from the floor. Only MLA members are eligible for nomination.

Lori Harrison-Kahan

Harvard University

Email: harris7(at)fas(dot)harvard(dot)edu


3. _Beginner’s Ladino_ on Display and for Sale at MLA Convention (Markova)

From: Alla Markova <alla(dot)markova(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 18:27:43 -0500

This message is about my book _Beginner's Ladino_. It has finally been released by Hippocrene Books and I will bring some copies to the MLA Convention in SF (I arrive to

SF on December 27th and will be at the Sephardic Studies Group session on the 28th and maybe on some other sections on the 29th.

Alla Markova


4. Job Opportunity: UCLA Visiting Professor in Mediterranean Jewish (Holenbeck)

From:             "Holenbeck, Vivian" <vdios(at)humnet(dot)ucla(dot)edu>

Date:             Tue, 25 Nov 2008 10:48:58 -0800

Subject:             Studies for the Spring 2009 quarter

The UCLA Center for Jewish Studies invites applications for the Viterbi Visiting Professor in Mediterranean Jewish Studies for the Spring 2009 quarter.  The successful candidate will be in residence at UCLA for the academic quarter, teaching two courses (one undergraduate and one graduate) in his/her field of expertise.  Rank, discipline, and period of specialization are open.  The candidate's research could focus on any dimension of the experience of Jews, including their interaction with other peoples and cultures, in the Mediterranean basin.

A letter of application, along with a CV, names of three recommenders, and a list of prospective course offerings, should be sent to:

Viterbi Professor Committee

UCLA Center for Jewish Studies

302 Royce Hall, Box 951485

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1485

Applications will be reviewed immediately and candidates considered until the position is filled.  For more information contact cjs(at)humnet(dot)ucla(dot)edu.

Vivian Holenbeck

Assistant Director of Operations

UCLA Center for Jewish Studies

302 Royce Hall, Box 951485

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1485

Tel: (310) 825-5387    Fax (310) 825-9049

Email: vdios(at)humnet(dot)ucla(dot)edu


5. Job Opportunity: Chair in Sephardic Studies, Yeshiva University (Yeshiva University)

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

Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 05:01:31 -0500

      The Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University announces a tenure-track position in the history and literature of Sephardic Jewry. The position includes graduate and undergraduate teaching responsibilities. No subspecialty is excluded, but the candidate must have teaching competence in the Jews of the Balkans. Rank is open. Ph.D in the field is required. Competitive salary and benefits.

      Contact Info:

      Please send a letter describing your qualifications for this position, a c.v., evidence of teaching skills, research experience, examples of scholarly work, and the names of three individuals who will be sending letters of recommendation.

      Materials should be sent to Chair, Alcalay Chair Search Committee,

Bernard Revel Graduate School, 500 W. 185th St., New York, NY 10033.



6. Call for Papers: 2009 Canadian Jewish Studies Conference (Schnoor)

From: "Randal Schnoor" <randal(dot)schnoor(at)primus(dot)ca>

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

Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2008 00:02:19 -0500


The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies (ACJS) will be holding its 33rd Annual Conference May 24-26, 2009 at Carleton University in Ottawa as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The conference provides a platform for original scholarly research in Canadian Jewish history, life and culture. Individuals are invited to send proposals for paper presentations twenty minutes in length (approximately 2,000 words) that concern some aspect of the Canadian Jewish experience.

Potential presenters are asked to submit an abstract, 400-500 words in length, by January 7, 2009. The abstract, which will be reviewed anonymously, should clearly state the main argument of the paper. Communication with presenters following the abstract submission will occur no later than February 16, 2009. University students are asked to send an accompanying letter of support from their academic advisor. Submission of full panels (3-4 papers) will be given priority.

Financial support to defray travel costs is available for presenters who have been members of the ACJS for at least one full year (NB: university students are exempt from this requirement). University students are eligible for additional top-up support in the way of ACJS-sponsored scholarships. Applications for financial support will be due in early March, with results to be communicated by the end of March. Details will follow.

All presenters must be current members of ACJS at the time that proposals are submitted (i.e. by January 7, 2009). Proposals from individuals who are not members of ACJS will not be reviewed. Membership information for ACJS can be found on our website:

As the ACJS annual conference is part of the larger national conference body called the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, ACJS conference participants must register in advance for the Congress by paying the required fees for both the general Congress registration and the ACJS conference registration. Early bird registration rates are available before April 1, 2009. Presentations from individuals who have not pre-registered for the Congress will not be included in our Preliminary Conference Program.

Please e-mail proposals to Prof. Rebecca Margolis, Program Chair,



7. Call for Papers: 2009 International Conference on Jewish Genealogy (Halpern)

From: "Mark Halpern" <jgsgp(at)comcast(dot)net>

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

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 10:32 AM

29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

2-7 August 2009

Call for Papers

Proposal Deadline – January 15, 2009

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia are pleased to announce an invitation to submit presentation proposals for the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held at the Sheraton Center City Hotel in Philadelphia from Sunday, August 2 through Friday, August 7, 2009.

We welcome proposals for presentations on topics of interest to genealogists and historical researchers. Proposals for workshops or panel discussions are also welcome.

Although we are interested in receiving proposals on all relevant topics, we are especially interested in talks on the following topics:

• Research sources and methodology for beginning genealogists

• Research sources and Jewish history in the Philadelphia area

Other possible presentation categories include, but are not limited to:

• Genealogical research in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware

• Research resources and methodology for:

o Ukraine (the ancestral home of many Philadelphians)

o Other countries in Eastern and Central Europe

o Sephardim

o Mizrahim

o Israel

o US and Canada

o South and Central America

o Western Europe

o Other locales (Australia, China, South Africa, India, etc.)

• Jewish immigration and migration

• Jewish surname adoption and naming patterns

• Holocaust research

• Genetics and DNA research

• Jewish history and culture

• Jewish music, theater, and food, especially as they apply to specific times and places in Jewish history

• Photographic and document preservation

• Technology and Internet resources

• Computer training workshops

• Other training workshops (e.g. photo identification, document preservation)

Presentations and panel discussions will be 75 minutes including 15 minutes reserved for questions and answers. Workshops will be 2 hours in length.

Speakers may submit any number of proposals. Individual speakers having at least one proposal accepted will receive complimentary conference registration. Speakers who share accepted proposals will be offered partial registration fee waivers.

All proposals must be submitted using the Conference website online abstract module accessed from by clicking on “Call for Papers.” Please read all the online instructions before starting the submission process and then press “Begin Submission.”

The proposals must include the following information:

• Full name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number of presenter(s)

• Brief biographical sketch

• Summary of recent presentation experience

• Title of presentation

• Presentation type (presentation, workshop, or panel)

• Brief description of the presentation

• Audience skill level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced)

Submitters of proposals will be notified no later than February 28, 2009 as to whether or not their proposal has been accepted.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and thank you for your interest in our Conference.

Mark Halpern

Mark Heckman


Program Co-Chairs

Proposal Deadline – January 15, 2009

Notice of Acceptances by February 28, 2009


8. Fellowships at the Center for Historical Research, Ohio State University (Gallay)

From: Center for Historical Research <osuchr(at)osu(dot)edu>

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

Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 14:29:48

The Center for Historical Research

The Ohio State University

The Center for Historical Research brings together faculty, students, and the general public to examine the historical foundation and development of critical issues of global importance. The Center offers resident fellowships for senior and junior faculty, as well as those completing dissertations. We also invite members of the academic community and independent scholars to make presentations at our seminars.

In the academic years 2009-2011, we will be studying, “The Intersection of Diaspora, Immigration, and Gender in World History.” We believe that a gendered analysis of group migrations may reveal new patterns in diaspora and immigration history, shed light on specific migrations, and bridge the historiographical gap between diaspora and immigration histories. A gendered analysis of group migrations may help us better differentiate the meaning of forced and voluntary migrations, and the processes by which people maintained, discarded, and transformed their cultures, and their host cultures.

For the 2009-2010 academic year we are conducting a fellowship competition and seeking presenters whose research falls in the broad period extending from the Ancient World through the 18th century. (The 2010-2011 academic year will cover from the 19th century to the present.) We invite scholars from all disciplines, studying any peoples and geographic area(s) relevant to our program. Application information for fellowships can be found on our website,, and are due by February 1, 2009. Those interested in making presentations at the seminars should contact the CHR director, Alan Gallay, at osuchr(at)osu(dot)edu.

The Ohio State University is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Please address inquiries and submit applications to:

The Center for Historical Research, Dulles Hall 239, 230 W. 17th Ave.,

Columbus, OH 43210


9. Sources on Sephardic Distinction in the Holocaust and Benjamin Disraeli (Davidi)

From: "Joel S.W. Davidi (hahistorion)" <hahistorion(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 02:23:27 -0800

You posted a little while ago on the Sephardi discussion list about the unique Sephardic situation during the Holocuast. I came across an interesting reference to this in Mark. H. Gelber's article "The Noble Sephardi and the Degenerate Ashkenazi in German-Jewish and German-Anti-Semitic Consciousnes". Jacob Presser in "Ashes in the Wind; the Destruction of Dutch Jewry", describes several studies that were conducted to ascertain the "Jewishness" of Portugese Jews but it did not save them from extermination-of course. But Gelber's article is quite illuminating insofar as to gain an understanding of the common Jewish and non-Jewish perception of Sephardim as racially superior. On that point it is also worth reading Todd M. Endelman's article "Benjamin Disraeli and the Myth of Sephardi Superiority".


Joel Weisberger Davidi

Jewish History Channel <>


10. New Publication: _A Pious Man Faces Sinners_ of 1735 (Hakak)

From: "Hakak, Lev" <hakak(at)humnet(dot)ucla(dot)edu>

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 16:02:27 -0800

[ed: very slight edit]

Lev Hakak, _A Pious Man Faces Sinners: The Book of Moral Reproof by Ezra

Habavli_ (Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2008), 330 pp. (in Hebrew)

The Rabbi and poet Ezra Habavli published two books, _Sefer Tokhehot Musar_ (1735) and _Sefer Netivot Shalom_ (1742).

Ezra Habavli viewed the writing and publishing of his book _Sefer Tokhehot Musar_ (The Book of Moral Reproof) as a spiritual mission. His poetic reproof represents the faith, the humble character and the suffering of the poetic speaker. Habavli's poetic abilities are astounding. In the seventeen poetic chapters of the book, the poetic speaker admonishes the sinners, describes the fatal punishments awaiting them, urges them to repent and describes their rewards if they do so.

Ezra Habavli knew the moralistic importance of his reproof, at the same time that he expressed his messages and ideas in a rich style and with great attention to poetic devices. His mastery of the Hebrew language and his poetic creativity made him the great poet he is.

Lev Hakak found the 1735 book, corrected numerous errors, vocalized the text, added footnotes and much more; he wrote an important introduction (pp. 1-107) to the book, discussing various issues, such as: who was Ezra Habavli, the Babylonian Jewish community at that time, the Jewish press at that time, the Hebrew literature in Babylon at that time, Hebrew literature in Europe at that time, the structure of each poetic chapter, the ideas, the book as moralistic didactic literature, the poetic art of Ezra Habavli, the poetic style in the book and much more.

Prof. Shmuel Moreh, who was awarded the 1999 Israel Prize, wrote in his preface to the book: "... The publication of this book is an additional vital chapter in uncovering our spiritual treasures, which were unknown to readers and scholars...This book will be a very important new source for researching the history of Hebrew literature in the Near East. It will also serve as an important illuminating introduction to the history of Hebrew literature in general. Lev Hakak's book merits being one of the foundational books in Hebrew poetry in general and the Hebrew poetry of Babylonian Jews in particular".

Lev Hakak is a Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature at the Department of Near eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was the last editor of "Hadoar" and he is the editor of "Hador: The Hebrew Annual of America".  He published numerous research books and articles in the field of Modern Hebrew literature, as well as novels, volumes of poetry and short stories. His latest books focus on the Hebrew literature of Babylonian Jews from 1735-1950: _Budding of Modern Hebrew Creativity in Babylon_ (The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center, 2003, 390 pp); _The Collected Essays of Rabbi Shelomo Bekhor Hutsin_ (Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2005, 290 pp) and _A Pious Man Faces Sinners_. In addition, his book in English about the emergence of modern Hebrew literature in Babylon will be published soon by Purdue University Press.

The book may be ordered from Hakkibutz Hameuchad publishing House, P.O. Box 1432 Beneh Berak 51114, Israel. The price is 94 INS.

Lev Hakak, University of California at Los Angeles



11. New Publication: _One Story, Two Countries: The Memories of the Yecutieli Cohen Family_ (Yecutieli)

From: Samuel Yecutieli <yecutieli(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date:             Tue, 16 Dec 2008 21:19:06 -0430

Invitation for the presentation of my book in Israel

Please join me for two (2) presentations of my new book _One story, two countries: The memories of the Yecutieli Cohen family_.

This book of 242 full colour pages describes the history of the Jews of Persia, Israel and Venezuela through the life of my grandparents Samuel and Simja Yecutieli. For this investigation we did 16 interviews, included over 300 pictures, consulted more than 75 documents and found 232 members of my family tree.

The first event will take place on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 5:00pm at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Har Hatzofim Campus in the Mayersdorf House. This presentation is sponsored by the Israeli Association for the promotion of the Latin America Judaism's research.

The second event will take place on Sunday, January 04, 2009 at 4:00pm at the Tel-Aviv University, Moshe Dayan Institute, Gilman Building, room 133. This presentation is sponsored by the Center for the Iranian Studies and the Abraham Institute of International and Regional Studies.

Both events are also sponsored by the Israel Genealogical Society and The Jewish Family Research Association. Both announcements appear below.

For more information please contact me at yecutieli(at)gmail(dot)com. My mobile in

Venezuela is +(58-414) 236-7269. Starting Wednesday December 24 until

Tuesday January 6, my mobile in Israel will be +(972-52) 397-9875.


Asociación Israelí para la promoción de la

Investigación del Judaísmo Latinoamericano

We are proud to invite you to the presentation of the book:

_One story, two countries: The memories of the Yecutieli Cohen family_

By Samuel Yecutieli Bicaco and Raquel Markus de Finckler

The event will take place on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 5:00pm at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Har Hatzofim Campus, Mayersdorf House.

With the presence of:

Dr. Leonardo Senkman: "The memories of the Yecutieli Cohen family" in the context of oral histories of Venezuelan Jews.

Dr. Margalit Bejarano: The personal story as a reflection of the communal story: Sephardim in Latin America.

Samuel Yecutieli: "The story behind the scenes of this book.

Moderator: Daniel Horowitz

(The event will be in Hebrew)

Hope to see you there!!!

Samy Yecutieli


The S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies and The Center for Iranian Studies

We are proud to invite you to the presentation of the book

_One Story, Two Countries: The Memories of the Yecutieli Cohen Family_

By Samuel Yecutieli Bicaco and Raquel Markus de Finckler

The event will take place on Sunday, January 04, 2009 at 4:00pm at the Tel-Aviv University, Moshe Dayan Institute, Gilman Building, room 133.

With the presence of:

Prof. David Menashri: Words of greetings.

Prof. David Yerushalmi: The Jews of Iran: A historical perspective.

Prof. Leo Corry: The Jewish Community in Venezuela - The Story of One and the Stories of Many.

Samuel Yecutieli: The story behind the scenes of this book.

Samuel Yecutieli


12. New Poetry Chapbook: _Kaddish for Columbus_ (Shasha)

From: Davidshasha(at)aol(dot)com

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 15:55:38 EST

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: Diacritical marks did not transmit via email, resulting in misspellings of personal names in this announcement. I was not able to find these names on the internet; corrections are welcome]

New collection of poetry by converso poet, M. Miriam Herrera is now available from Finishing Line Press.

M. Miriam Herrera is a descendant of native Crypto-Jews of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. She is a graduate of the Program for Writers (MA) at the University of Illinois at Chicano, and has published poems in New Millennium Writings, Nimrod, Blue Mesa Review, and Albatross. She had read her poetry for the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies annual conference, Hillel at the University of Ohio, The University at Albany, and other colleges. Miriam has lived and taught writing in the Midwest, Southwest, and Israel; and today makes a home in upstate New York.

Praise for _Kaddish for Columbus_:

With pi=F1on smoke clinging to her skirts, Miriam Herrera explores the roundabout ways that we came from Spain to the New World, and back again. In the voice of the bear and the deer, the blackbird and the wolf, Miriam discovers our hidden names. These poems, sweet and prickly as cactus apples, answer the question once posed in my presence that I didn't have the nerve to answer with "we are all around you. We are right here." And we intend to claim it all.

Kathleen Alcal=E1, author of _The Desert Remembers My Name: On Family and Writing_

Her work carries echoes of Pat Mora, Gloria Anzaldúa and Jimmy Santiago Baca—all poets who speak of Chicana/o, Indian, Mestiza/o embodiments in and through the desert—and yet she speaks in a unique voice that creates spans from Christopher Columbus to Jerusalem.  Hers is a voice from a little known borderlands of the Chicano/a imaginary; one inhabited by conversos or the descendents of crypto-Jews who made their home in the American Southwest.

The Jewish ancestry of this community is many times hidden even from itself as secrecy and denial continued as a mode of survival after the Spanish Inquisition.  As Herrera mourns for Columbus, in the title poem, she weaves incongruent pieces of the converso together through her song: the crypto Jew, embodied in Columbus himself, and Indigenous cultures that his voyages almost eradicated, are joined together and embodied in the descendants of both...In her borderlands Chaco Canyon, Columbus and Jerusalem find common ground to bear witness to her speakers' need to weld "Skin, all at once the colors/of mountain snow. Of river mud/and adobe" and to forge an "alloy of iron, nickel, silver, gold, cobalt,/moon and meteorite."  Through her delicate touch we can read her Kaddish, her song of mourning and reflection on the power of the spirit, and understand it as a declaration to recognize and to celebrate that which is unspoken, inexplicable and illicit in all of us. In this volume she balances largely unwritten histories, with largely unspoken truths with the call to stand on home ground and be seen and heard: "word upon flat, upon sharp,/where utterance rings daily/in a more acute ear: “and the trumpet of the pole star/tugs castaways/home."

Ellen M. Gil-G=F3mez, author of _Performing La Mestiza_

_Kaddish for Columbus_ is available online from Finishing Line Press:

(The publisher is providing free shipping during the pre-publishing period before December 12. )

* With beautiful cover art, "Las Tres Hermanicas," by noted New Mexican artist, Diana Bryer.*  As described by Diana, the women in the painting represent (from left to right), Isabelle Medina Sandoval, the poet; Diana Bryer, the artist; and Judy Frankel, the singer. With Columbus' ship coming in and Iberian medieval symbols in the background.


13. New Documentary on Multiethnic Egyptian Identity: Salata Baladi (An Egyptian Salad) (Houghton)

From: "Women Make Movies Educate" educate(at)WMM(dot)com

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

Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:25 PM

I thought the members of this listserv would be interested to know about _Salata Baladi_, a new educational resource now available through Women Make Movies.

Award-winning Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Kamel's heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half-Jewish, half-Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia's half-Turkish, half-Ukrainian father. Recording the family's wonderful stories with her mother, Mary Rosenthal, Kamel bumps unexpectedly into the silence around old prejudices concerning the estranged Egyptian-Jewish branch of their family living in Israel since 1948. Kamel and her family embark on a personal journey of reconciliation and discovery to Italy and Israel, confronting with open hearts, fears and prejudices along the way.

Stephanie Houghton



14. Table of Contents: _Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies_ (Summer


From: "Haberer, Joseph" <habererj(at)purdue(dot)edu>

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

Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 10:24:09 -0500

Below is the Table of Contents for the Summer 2008 issue of _Shofar_ (Volume 26: No. 4, 234pp.)  All articles and book-reviews are available for downloading on either the Project MUSE or Academic Search Engine data bases-one or the other of which are now in most university and college libraries around the world.

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: Only items relevant to the list are included below.]

Almost Englishmen: Baghdadi Jews in British Burma,

by Ruth Fredman Cernea

reviewed by Shlomo Deshen 


The Mellah of Marrakesh, Jewish and Muslim Space

in Morocco's Red City, by Emily Gottreich

reviewed by Raphael Israeli



15. British Colonial Slave Registers Online (Grannum)

From: "Grannum, Guy" <Guy(dot)Grannum(at)nationalarchives(dot)gov(dot)uk>

via: H-CARIBBEAN(at)H-NET(dot)MSU(dot)EDU

Date:             Tue, 25 Nov 2008 10:53:56 -0500

You may be interested to know that Ancestry ( has digitised and indexed the British colonial slave registers 1812-1834.

The online registers are free to search and access (once you have registered) at (if this link doesn't work you will need to browse from the main home page for Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies,1812-1834).

Some of the registers have not yet been put online and I've put some information about the registers and which ones are missing from the Ancestry site onto 'Your Archives' (The National Archives' wiki) at

Guy Grannum

Your Archives Manager

Advice and Records Knowledge Department

The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, TW9 4DU, UK

tel: +44(0)20 8392 5330 x 2249



16. Book and Poem on Ja’acov Stroumsa, Musician Survivor of Auschwitz (Liba)

From:             "M.Liba" <mliba(at)planet(dot)nl>

Date:             Sun, 7 Dec 2008 17:34:10 +0100

[ed: slight edit]

I would like to share with Caucus readers my essay “Story of a poem, The Fiddler from Auschwitz.” It will be published in the December issue of the _Taj Mahal Review_(India). Please see below.

This story is related to a play I co-wrote, _De Violist van Auschwitz_, about Jacques Ya’acov Stroumsa, an electrical engineer and Salonikan Sephardi who survived Auschwitz as a violinist in the camp orchestra. The play was staged in The Hague on May 4, as part of the National Remembrance Day of The Netherlands. I offer the book free of charge (including air mailing) to the readers of the Caucus listserve. It is in Dutch. Please send after the 10th January 2009, an e-mail with your postal address to: <mliba(at)planet(dot)nl>. My postal address (for those who wish to reciprocate) is: Prof M. Liba , J. van Oldenbarneveltlaan 91E, 2582NL, The Hague, The Netherlands.

My last published article is “Contribución sefardí al idioma Papiamentu,” in _Maguén-Escudo_ (Caracas) No. 147 (2008). A similar article of mine is being published in _Aki Yerushalaim_, but I did not see it yet.

Prof Moshé Liba

Story of a poem -The Fiddler from Auschwitz

As every Israeli coming back from a long mission abroad, I went at the end of 1983 to Yad Va’Shem – Museum of the Holocaust in Jerusalem. I noticed an old man standing in front of the wall-photo showing the orchestra from Auschwitz, the most notorious concentration-camp of the Nazis. In the years afterwards, I brought often for a visit to Yad Va’Shem the participants to congresses and conferences, I was organizing as Director General of the Central Institute of Cultural Relations in Jerusalem. Time and again, I noticed the man standing in front of the photo of Auschwitz. Intrigued, I enquired about him. Don’t you know? was the answer, this man is Dr. Stroumsa, he was there, in the orchestra.

Then I asked Dr. Jacques – Ja’acov  Stroumsa to come and see me. He came and told me his story: a young electric engineer from Thessaloniki, sent to Auschwitz with his family and surviving only because the Nazi’s needed a violinist for the orchestra. There and then, I told Dr. Stroumsa: your story makes a solid basis for a poem! He did not seem to understand me.

Years later took place in Jerusalem the trial of Demjaniuk, the Ukrainian Nazi from the concentration camp of Treblinka. The whole country was following the debates taking place at the National Hall-Convention Center in Jerusalem. My editor, the publisher of “La Semana Publicaciones Ltd”, Jerusalem, asked me if I would put on a book of my poems on the Holocaust, to be launched at the Biannual Book Fair in Jerusalem -1987, together with the translation of a book by Primo Levy, who by then was not yet known and recognized in Israel. It was an interesting offer and I gladly obliged, and started working on the project. Looking through my poems and notes, I came across the story of Dr. Stroumsa. Using the notes as basis for a description of the Holocaust and its Museum –Yad Va’Shem , I wrote a poem: “The Fiddler from Auschwitz”. I then phoned Dr. Stroumsa and told him, that his poem was ready. He gave me an inaudible answer and closed the phone. Half an hour later the telephone rang- it was Dr. Stroumsa: “Did you call me earlier?” he asked, and on my positive answer he continued: “and did you tell me, that you wrote a poem about me?” My answer seemed to satisfy him, he said “thank you” and closed again the phone.

Half an hour later, there was a noise at my office door, as my secretary was trying to prevent someone from entering unannounced. It was Dr. Stroumsa, looking very excited. Can I see the poem? he asked. Yes Dr. Stroumsa, but it is still a draft. Never mind, show me, which I did and he grabbed the paper: I want it! O.K., but it is in handwriting and I need it for a book to be published soon. Right, said Dr. Stroumsa, right, a book, very good. I am going to the photo-shop to take a photocopy (we did not yet have then a photocopier) and bring you back your draft. Again half an hour later, he was back with the photocopy and asked: I will be in a poem in a book? “Yes Dr. Stroumsa, and from now on you are The Fiddler from Auschwitz!”, I ended the meeting.

The book _From People’s House to Nation’s Hall_ was published and presented at the Book-Fair. Shimon Peres, now President of the State of Israel, wrote the introduction and was present at the Fair and the launching of the book. “The Fiddler from Auschwitz” was one of the 24 poems. This was only a beginning. Dr. Stroumsa came again and said: You know French, please translate the poem into French, so my only surviving sister living now in France can read it. After what he asked for translations into Spanish, Ladino, German - - - And so, again and again, one language after the other, I ended up publishing a book in eight languages: _The Fiddler from Auschwitz._ Yitzhak Navon, fifth President of the State of Israel, now President of the Authority for Ladino-Judeo Español, wrote the introduction.

Soon after these two books were published, a friend of mine asked to turn them into a theater play, using _The Fiddler from Auschwitz_ as the center-piece. Indeed, Dr. Paul Leibovici, Director of the Art Department, the Cultural Center and the Gallery of Ashkelon, an artist and writer in his own right, had the capacity and the means to do it. Before the end of 1987 we sat on the first row of the Cultural Center, the Mayor, Dr. Stroumsa, Dr. Leibovici and myself, seeing the performance of the local artists and the choir of Ashkelon playing the “The Fiddler of Auschwitz.”

Being appointed for new diplomatic missions abroad, I did not follow the story and the play. In the years to come, Dr. Stroumsa published his memoirs, translated into several languages, all of them including the poem. Years later, I became a member of the active painters department of the Haagse Kunstkring, the artists association of The Hague, and Tatiana Radier, Chairperson of the Department of Letters, Theater and Film, asked me to join also her Department. There I met her husband, the writer, musician and dramatist Rob Scholten. This lead to a strong friendship and so I came to the idea to propose to Rob to write together a theater-play on the Holocaust, based on my poetry. He agreed, and we took advantage of the visit of Dr. Paul Leibovici to the Netherlands to organize a session of brainstorming on the subject, the original script not being available any more.

Dr. Stroumsa, with his usual energy, provided many documents, photocopies and books. The new Chairman of the Department of the Literature embraced enthusiastically the idea of members writing together and presenting the Première at the Haagse Kunstkring, the Association. Being himself a publisher he graciously accepted “to bring to light the book”, as we say in Hebrew.

The rest was only hard work, writing, separately and together, Rob Scholten translating my poems into Dutch and introducing autobiographic notes from the book of Dr. Stroumsa, putting on a team and having a show in The Hague. _De Violist van Auschwitz_, Direct Dutch Publications, The Hague, 2008, became the newest book about Dr. Stroumsa. On the “Herdenkingsdag”, the National Remembrance Day for the fallen in the war, _De Violist van Auschwitz_ – scenario voor een theaterprogramma, was presented at the Haagse Kunstkring in The Hague. There was a full audience, each one receiving the book published for the occasion, instead of a program. Three artists enacted the play while two musicians (violin and piano) played Jewish and Holocaust songs. The impressions of the audience were profoundly emotional.

After the success of the performance and the book, I proposed to Dr. Leibovici to re-enact the original play in Hebrew. He accepted gracefully and we had already several work-sessions in Israel, including a brainstorming together with Dr. Stroumsa. The idea is to reproduce the play, using old and new material, to publish a book and to put the play on stage.

Dr. Jacques – Ja’acov Stroumsa, now 96 years old, lives with his family in Jerusalem.

He gives conferences in several languages to groups of visitors to the Yad Va-Shem memorial of the Holocaust in Jerusalem. To old and young he tells his story, plays the violin and reads the poem: “The Fiddler from Auschwitz”. It is him.

Moshé Liba, November 2008

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