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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List – December 13, 2009

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 13, 2009 (26 Kislev 5770)


For archived issues please visit:



1. AJS Panel: “(Re)articulating the Sephardic Americas” (Brodsky)

2. Sephardi/Mizrahi Sessions at AJS 2009 (Ben-Ur)

3. AJS Notable Selection Award for Mark Kligman’s _Maqam and Liturgy_ (Kligman)

4. Passing of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (Sarna)

5. More on Legacy of Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (for H-Judaic) (Sarna)

6. Award for _Sephardi Entrepreneurs in Jerusalem, The Valero Family_ (Kark and Glass)

7. Call for Applications: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Judaic Studies, Brown University (Blockson)

8. Call for Applications: American Jewish Historical Society Research Grant (Sarna)

9. New Book: _Maimonides' Medical Works_, volume 5 (Bos)

10. New Publication: _Sefer Tikkun Soferim of Rabbi Itzhak Tzabah_ (Lamdan)

11. Table of Contents: _Contemporary Jewry_, August 2009 (Heilman)

12. Lack of Awareness About North African Jewry and the Holocaust (Shaked)

13. Query: Contact information for Klara Perahya (Peracchia)


1. AJS Panel: “(Re)articulating the Sephardic Americas” (Brodsky)

From: "Brodsky, Adriana M" <ambrodsky(at)smcm(dot)edu>

Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 11:49:18 -0500

Sun, Dec 20 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm  Building/Room: Hyatt Regency Century Plaza / Constellation I

Session Participants:

    The Sephardic Presence in the 19th/20th Century Colombian Caribbean

        *Paula Daccarett (Independent)

    Making Jews 'Sephardic' in Early Twentieth Century New York

        *Devin Naar (Stanford University)

    Reconfiguring identities: Zionism and SEFARADISMO in Argentina, post 1948

        *Adriana Brodsky (St. Mary's College of Maryland)

    ÁRABES vs. ÁRABES LIGHT: Ethnonyms and Sephardi/Mizrahi distinction in Mexico City

        *Evelyn Dean (Indiana University)

    Chair: Joëlle Bahloul (Indiana University)


    "Sephardic Jews" in the Americas have been doubly occluded in the dominant, Eurocentric streams within Jewish Studies. Both the experiences of Sephardim and of Jews in the Americas have been viewed as peripheral to the main trajectories of modern European Jewry. The study of Sephardic Jews in the Americas therefore constitutes the drawing together of two marginal spheres. Precisely for this reason, it offers fresh perspectives on the varieties of Jewish experience-an aim to which this panel seeks to contribute.

    The latest scholarship in the growing field of Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies has focused on exploring the multiplicity of Sephardi identities: "sépharadité" or "Sephardicity" articulated in varied ways across geography and time. This scholarship, however, notes the lack of attention paid to the Americas. Our panel seeks to begin filling this lacuna by providing historical and anthropological perspectives on articulations and re-articulations of what we call the Sephardic Americas by focusing on Colombia, New York, Argentina and Mexico City over the past century.

    Highlighting the interplay between expressions of Sephardi, Jewish, Colombian and Caribbean identities in fin-de-siècle Barranquilla, Paula Daccarett explores the lives of writer Abraham López-Penha and businessman Ernesto Cortissoz. Arguing that Jews who arrived in New York from the eastern Mediterranean in the early twentieth century did not automatically identify as Sephardi, Devin Naar investigates a campaign in the Ladino press that sought to make its constituents understand themselves as such in order to achieve rapprochement with Ashkenazim within the framework of Zionism. Adriana Brodsky analyzes how Moroccan, Ottoman, and Syrian Jews formulated a shared Sephardi identity to challenge Ashkenazi hegemony within Argentina's Zionist movement from the 1920s to the 1960s. Finally, Evelyn Dean-Olmsted explores the ways in which Jews in Mexico City deploy ethnonyms such as SHAMI (Damascene), HALABI (Aleppan), TURCO (Sephardi) and IDISH (Ashkenazi) to construct and negotiate notions of Sephardi/Mizrahi Jewishness in the twenty-first century. Taken together, these papers assert that Sephardi identities in the Americas have been defined in conversation with the various historical and social contexts Sephardim inhabited; 'Sephardicity' has never been a given, essential quality, but contested and redefined by each generation.

We hope to see you there!

Dr. Adriana Mariel Brodsky

Assistant Professor of History

St. Mary's College of Maryland


2. Sephardi/Mizrahi Sessions at AJS 2009 (Ben-Ur)

Individuals attending the December 20-22, 2009 Association for Jewish Studies conference may view a complete listing of this year’s Sephardi/Mizrahi sessions at:

For information on this year’s Sephardi/Mizrah Caucus please contact Mark Kligman: <mkligman(at)huc(dot)edu>.

Aviva Ben-Ur

Editor/Moderator, AJS Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus Discussion List


3. AJS Notable Selection Award for Mark Kligman’s _Maqam and Liturgy_ (Kligman)

From: Mark Kligman <mkligman(at)huc(dot)edu>

Date: Tue, 08 Dec 2009 23:29:50 -0500

My book _Maqam and Liturgy_ has received a notable selection award from the Jordan Schnitzer AJS book award in the Jewry and Arts category.  I do think this is a good recognition by AJS of a Sephardi topic. See information below.

Mark Kligman

Professor of Jewish Musicology

Hebrew Union College



I am pleased to inform you that the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Committee has designated your book, _Maqa?m and Liturgy: Ritual, Music, and Aesthetics of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn_, as a 2009 Notable Selection in the category of Jews and the Arts. In recognizing your book, the committee stated:

Through extensive ethnography in a culturally very distinctive community of Jewish-Americans, Kligman finds a Judeo-Arab cultural synthesis at the very heart of these Syrian immigrants’ religious practice--the performance of liturgy--and as a vital component of their identity. Intersecting anthropology, ethnomusicology, community studies, and liturgy, the book clearly and cogently lays out a remarkable story that "transcends time and place" to offer an unexpected perspective on ritual as a space of expressive and communal choice. The rich accompanying CD allows readers to partake of the actual sounds of the service.

To celebrate this recognition, you are invited to attend the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Reception, to be held Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm in the Constellation Foyer at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.  The reception will honor the winners of the 2009 Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards (Benjamin Sommer, in the field of 

Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, and Archaeology; and Steven Fine in the field of Jews and the Arts), as well as the authors of Notable Selections (yourself and another scholar in the category of Jews and the Arts, and another scholar in the field of Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, and Archaeology).

Mark Kligman

[ed: slight edit]


4. Passing of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (Sarna)

From: Jonathan D. Sarna [mailto:sarna(at)brandeis(dot)edu]

via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 17:38:53 -0500

We mourn the passing of the pre-eminent Jewish historian, Yosef HayimYerushalmi (1932-2009), who died today following a lengthy illness. Yerushalmi served as the Salo Wittmayer Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society  at Columbia from 1980-2008.  Before then, he taught for fourteen years at Harvard, where he rose to become the Jacob E. Safra Professor of Jewish History, Culture, and Society. Yerushalmi was one of the most creative and influential  Jewish historians of his  day.  His wide-ranging books -- From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto, Haggadah and History,  Zakhor, and Freud's Moses-- generated significant discussion and paved new areas of scholarly investigation.  He also personally trained a generation of creative Jewish historians, most of whom contributed to the important festschrift in his honor, Jewish History and Jewish Memory. That volume featured an illuminating article by David Myers entitled "Of Marranos and Memory:  Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History,"  which is now available online at

David Myers sent the following announcement concerning Yerushalmi's passing:

Dear Friends,

It is with deep sadness that I pass on the news of the death of Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi a few hours ago.  Yosef had been suffering from multiple illnesses in recent years and months, and his long struggle has come to a peaceful end.  I need not belabor the point that he was the towering Jewish historian of his generation, as well as an inspired teacher and revered mentor.

There will be a private funeral service tomorrow on Long Island.  The family has asked friends not to call until after the funeral and the family's return to Manhattan on Thursday.  Details about shiva and visiting hours will be forthcoming.

May Yosef's memory be for a blessing to his family, friends, and all those privileged to have had him as a teacher.


David Myers

We extend our deepest condolences to the family.

Jonathan D. Sarna

Chair, H-Judaic


5. More on Legacy of Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (for H-Judaic) (Sarna)

From: Jonathan D. Sarna [sarna(at)brandeis(dot)edu]

via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 08:47:19 -0500

Menachem Butler has forwarded these messages from Profs Elisheva Carlebach and David Myers:

Prof. Elisheva Carlebach wrote:

Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi was a great historian, eloquent speaker, and poetic writer. Today, upon hearing of his passing, I want to remark on the void he leaves as a teacher and mentor. Professor Yerushalmi labored over the intellectual development of each person who came to study with him, to match his or her abilities and strengths with the needs of scholarship and the discipline. His brilliance in the lecture hall was balanced by his attention to the well being of each student; his disciples have developed into leading scholars in their own right. None of them will ever forget the role he played in shaping their thinking, the hours he spent discussing ideas, and the efforts he made to forge bonds among the students. He left a very rich legacy and he will be greatly missed. Yehi zikhro barukh.

Prof. David N. Myers wrote:

It is with deep sadness that I pass on news of the death this morning of  Prof. Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Salo Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society Emeritus at Columbia University. Yosef Yerushalmi= was the towering Jewish historian of his generation, possessed of vast erudition, analytic acuity, and stylistic virtuosity.

Born in New York in 1932 into a trilingual home, Yosef Yerushalmi received his B.A. at Yeshiva College (1953) and rabbinical ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary (1957) before completing his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1966. Yerushalmi wrote his dissertation under the guidance of his mentor, Salo Baron. This study was the basis of Yerushalmi's first, award-winning book From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto (1970), a work that established him as one of the most nuanced students of Iberian Jewish history and the converso condition of his time. In his last years, Yerushalmi was at work on on a decades-long project: a major translation and series of studies devoted to Salomon ibn Verga's Shevet Yehudah.

And yet, it was a measure of Yerushalmi's restless mind and personality that he moved far afield of Iberia after From Spanish Court. His rare capacity to traverse the entire terrain of Jewish history was evident in Haggadah and History (1975), and even more significantly, in Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (1982). This short volume not only covered a vast historical time span with great skill and lyrical grandeur; it essentially invented a new discourse in the field of Jewish studies: the discourse of history and memory. Yerushalmi's sweeping synthesis in Zakhor's first three chapters-and the probing meditations on the modern historian in the fourth-enlightened and moved scholars and lay readers alike Many followed in Yerushalmi's wake. He himself continued to explore the relationship between history and memory, albeit from a different angle, in his Freud's Moses: Judaism Terminable and Interminable (1993).

In addition to his status as a brilliant and elegant scholar, Yosef Yerushalmi was a devoted and demanding teacher. His many doctoral students, whom he regarded as his most valued scholarly legacy, have gone on to positions of prominence in universities throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Israel. All who knew him, but especially those privileged to study under his tutelage, were touched by his unique personality.

Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi is survived by his wife, Ophra, a concert pianist, and a son, Ariel. Yehi zikhro baruch.

Jonathan D. Sarna

Chair, H-Judaic


6. Award for _Sephardi Entrepreneurs in Jerusalem, The Valero Family_ (Kark and Glass)

From: Ruth Kark mskark(at)mscc(dot)huji(dot)ac(dot)il; ruthkark(at)huji(dot)ac(dot)il

Date: Wed, 02 Dec 2009 19:55:33 +0200

Dear All,

We are very pleased to share with you that our book, Sephardi Entrepreneurs in Jerusalem, The Valero Family, 1800-1948 was just awarded the prize of best monograph in the Competition for Research on the History of Banking and Finance, 2008-2009." Jointly organized by the Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Centre, the European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH) and the History Foundation of Turkey, this research competition aims to promote academic research on Turkish banking, finance, and economic history, from Ottoman times to the present, and to establish a tradition in this field. Sponsored by the Ottoman Bank in its inaugural year, support for the competition, now in its fifth year, is provided by Garanti Bank." (see


>>. Click here for English cover. Click here for Hebrew cover.

With warmest regards,

Ruth Kark and Joseph Glass


7. Call for Applications: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Judaic Studies, Brown University (Blockson)

From: Blockson, Jill [mailto:Jill_Blockson(at)brown(dot)edu]

via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 11:17:04 -0500

Brown University's Program in Judaic Studies, in conjunction with the Program in Medieval Studies and Departments of Religious Studies and History, seek applications for a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship for a term of two years beginning July 2010.

Applicants will have received a PhD within the past five (5) years from an institution other than Brown in the fields of Religious Studies, History, Judaic Studies, or a relevant field.

The successful candidate will study Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.  While the precise area of specialization is open, we are looking especially for candidates whose work cuts across the disciplines of religious studies and history and can place the study of Jews in the Middle Ages within the context of the larger hegemonic cultures in which they lived.

This Fellow will be located in the Program in Judaic Studies and will interact closely with the other sponsoring units and the Cogut Center for the Humanities.  The candidate will participate in weekly fellows' seminars at the Cogut Center, as well as other relevant activities in a stimulating intellectual environment for interdisciplinary research.

The successful candidate will be expected to teach one (1) course per semester on an agreed topic.

Fellows receive stipends of $52,000 and $54,080 in their 1st and 2nd years, respectively, plus standard fellows' benefits and a $2,000 per year research budget.  The application deadline is January 29, 2010.

Applicants should send: (1) a cover letter, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) a description of research areas, (4) one short writing sample that is illustrative of the candidate's research (e.g. an article of a chapter from a dissertation or book), and (5) a statement describing teaching experience, with a few proposed courses (including descriptions and/or syllabi).  Applicants should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent directly.  All materials should be sent to: Chair, Mellon Search Committee, Program in Judaic Studies, Box 1826, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.

Brown University is an EEO/AA employer. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.


8. Call for Applications: American Jewish Historical Society Research Grant (Sarna)

From: "Jonathan D. Sarna" <sarna(at)brandeis(dot)edu>

via: Adam Mendelsohn <mendelsohna(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 14:35:10 -0400

Pokross/Curhan Prize

The American Jewish Historical Society awards the Pokross/Curhan Prize, a grant established in honor of two past presidents, David R. Pokross (1976-79) and Ronald C. Curhan (1990-93), to an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing an academic degree at an accredited academic institution to help undertake research using the collections held at AJHS/Boston, the Newton Centre home of the American Jewish Historical

Society. The award in 2010 is $1,000. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2010. To apply, please send a 2-page description of your plan to produce an essay, thesis, dissertation, documentary, exhibition or other form of public program on an aspect of the American Jewish experience; and a letter of support from an undergraduate or graduate mentor to pokrosscurhanprize(at)ajhs(dot)cjh(dot)org

The Academic Council of the Society has sole responsibility for selecting grant recipients.

Jonathan Sarna


9. New Book: _Maimonides' Medical Works_, volume 5 (Bos)

From: Gerrit Bos [mailto:Gerrit(dot)Bos(at)web(dot)de]

via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2009 13:28:29 -0400

Maimonides' treatise On Poisons

I am pleased to announce the publication of the fifth volume of Maimonides' Medical Works. It consists of a critical edition of the Arabic text of Maimonides' treatise “On Poisons and the Protection against Lethal Drugs” with modern English translation, next to critical editions of the medieval Hebrew and Latin translations (by Michael McVaugh). The work has been published by Brigham Young University Press, consists of 494 pages.

Gerrit Bos


10. New Publication: _Sefer Tikkun Soferim of Rabbi Itzhak Tzabah_ (Lamdan)

From: "'Dr. Ruth Lamdan'" <lamdan1(at)post(dot)tau(dot)ac(dot)il>

via: Ora Azta diaspora(at)post(dot)tau(dot)ac(dot)il

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 15:41:53 +0200

_Sefer Tikkun Soferim of Rabbi Itzhak Tzabah_

A collection of one hundred legal and communal Hebrew documents (shetarot) copied in Jerusalem in the year 1635 by the scribe Yehudah Mor’ali.

Published by the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center

Tel-Aviv University with the support of the Faculty of Jewish Studies at Bar-Ilan University under the Dean Prof. Moises Orfali

Notes and Introduction by Dr. Ruth Lamdan

Part One – An introduction describing the origins and transformations of the collection, and demonstrating the interchange of customs among Jewish communities in the Ottoman Empire.

Part Two – A compiled edition of Sefer Tikkun Soferim, Ms. Jerusalem 8°958.

Part Three – Appendices, with a comparative table of the various manuscripts of Sefer Tikkun Soferim.

265 pages in Hebrew in paperback

Discounted price: $25

Regular price: $30

Click here for flier.

Please send your request with a check made out to the order of Tel Aviv University to:    The Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center  Carter Building, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978

Phone: 972-3-6409799, email: diaspora(at)post(dot)tau(dot)ac(dot)il  

Ruth Lamdan


11. Table of Contents: _Contemporary Jewry_, August 2009 (Heilman)

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

via: Adam Mendelsohn <mendelsohna(at)COFC(dot)EDU>

Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 15:07:54 -0400

Contemporary Jewry

Table of Contents of Special Issue: Jewish Population Studies

Guest Edited by S. DellaPergola and U. Rebhun (August 2009)

Editor’s Introduction, Samuel Heilman

Preface, Sergio DellaPergola and Uzi Rebhun

A Demographic Profile of Brazilian Jewry by Rene Daniel Decol

Migration Patterns to and from Israel, by Yinon Cohen

Actual, Intended, and Appropriate Family Size Among Jews in Israel by Sergio


Trends in Jewish Identity in Israeli Society: Effects of Former Soviet Union

Immigration by Shlomit Levy

Particularistic Education, Endogamy, and Educational Tourism to Homeland: An Exploratory Multi-dimensional Analysis of Jewish Diaspora Social Indicators

by Erik H. Cohen


12. Lack of Awareness About North African Jewry and the Holocaust (Shaked)

From: Edith Shaked <edith(dot)shaked(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 20:29:12 -0800


The Holocaust in North Africa

At the Paris (France) memorial museum of the Shoah and at Yad Vahem, there was a special ceremony to commemorate the Jews of Tunisia in the Holocaust, and the round up of the Jews on December 9, 1942. Their story is not well known.

French Tunisia was occupied by the Nazis for 6 months during 1942-1943.

Led by the infamous Walter Rauff who invented the gas-vans in Poland, the SS forced Jews to wear the yellow star, raided synagogues, opened forced labor camps where many Jews died, flew some to Auschwitz and were building crematoria, all despite being bombed daily by the allies a few miles from Tunis.

The Jewish population of French Tunisia and Denmark are the only ones occupied by Nazis, to be spared the mass deportations and annihilation that happened in other European countries. (The Jews of Denmark were not persecuted; they were taken to Sweden)

The story of North Africa in the Shoah was told in the bestseller by Robert Satloff, _Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands._ (New York: Public Affairs, 2006).

I am writing about this, because a university professor of Jewish history told me that he didn't know about North African Jews in the Shoah. Please, read the relevant statement by Sir Martin Gilbert:


In my historical work over the past fifty years, I have been struck by the neglect of the story of the Jews of North Africa and the dangers facing them under Vichy French and Italian Fascist rule. The story of the persecution of the Jews in North Africa during the Second World War is an integral part of the history of the Holocaust in France; the fate of the Jews living in French North Africa was directly connected to the fate of the Jews living in Metropolitan France. The collaborationist Vichy France extended its anti-Jewish laws - passed in France - to its three North African colonies. Thousands of Jews were sent to camps for slave labour between 1940 and 1943.

Although the stories of the Holocaust in France, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco varied, depending on the specific conditions and circumstances in each country, and the military developments of the course of the Second World War, it is a story that needs to be told, and to be reflected in the museums, exhibitions, websites, lectures and books.

In two of my own books, THE ATLAS OF THE HOLOCAUST and THE HOLOCAUST: A JEWISH TRAGEDY, I tell the story of the Jews of North Africa in the

Holocaust. In my ATLAS OF THE HOLOCAUST I make it clear that it was not only in Europe, but also in North Africa that Jews were at risk (page 137).

On page 85, in map Jews Marked Out for Death, 20 January 1942, I specify “France Unoccupied Zone: 700,000 including French North Africa.” In my book THE HOLOCAUST; A JEWISH TRAGEDY, I explain that 700,000, a figure which included the Sephardi Jews in France’s North African possessions, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia (page 282). With the Allied landings the117,000 Jews of Algeria (and the 200,000 Jews of Morocco) were freed from the danger of deportation to Mmetropolitan France and beyond. (page 482). I also tell the story how &quot;the Jews of Tunisia suffered five months of confiscation of property, plunder, forced labor, ill-treatment and execution

under German rule many had died from ill-treatment, disease, and even during Allied aerial bombing.; Germany’s defeat by the Allies in May 1943 averted the potential extension of mass murder to the Jews of Tunisia.

In my forthcoming book JEWS UNDER MUSLIM RULE, I tell the story of the fate of Jews in North Africa between 1940 and 1943, including those of Libya. I strongly recommend that story of the Jews of North Africa in the Holocaust becomes an integral part of Jewish and Holocaust history.

Sir Martin Gilbert

Sir Martin Gilbert, the author of more than seventy books, is Winston Churchill's official biographer and a leading historian of the modern world.

Edith Shaked

[ed: slight edit]


13. Query: Contact information for Klara Perahya (Peracchia)

From: "Peracchia, Camillo" <Camillo_Peracchia(at)URMC(dot)Rochester(dot)edu>

Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 09:56:20 -0500

I am trying to contact Klara Perahya. Can readers help? Please respond directly to: <Camillo_Peracchia(at)URMC(dot)Rochester(dot)edu>

Camillo Peracchia, M.D.

Email: camillo_peracchia(at)urmc(dot)rochester(dot)edu

[ed: slight edit]

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