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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List – December 27, 2009, Part I

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 27, 2009 (10 Tevet 5770), Part I


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1. In Memoriam: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (Shasha)

2. Call for Applcations: Dr. Elka Klein Memorial Travel Grant, 2010 (Labovitz)

3. Call for Applications: NEH Summer Seminar in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (Jacobs)

4. Call for Applications: Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Scholar-in-Residence Program 2010 – 2011 (Olins)

5. Call  for Papers: "I'm in the East and my Heart in the West: Israel in the Middle East," University of Calgary, September 2010 (Tal)

6. Impact of the Holocaust in French North Africa (Berkowitz)

7. Impact of the Holocaust in French North Africa (Shaked)

8. Impact of the Holocaust in French North Africa (Bahloul)

9. Impact of the Holocaust on French North Africa (Ben Yaakov)

10. New Online Publication: Dictionary of Bulgarian Surnames (Tagger)

11. Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean: An International Conference (Henriques)

12. New Project: Jewish Family Trees and Jewish Identity (Talalay Dardashti)


1. In Memoriam: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (Shasha)

From: David Shasha <david(dot)shasha(dot)shu(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date:             Wed, 16 Dec 2009 10:37:25 -0500

            I would like to share with Caucus readers a few words from my own list on the passing of Yerushalmi.


[ed: very slight edit]

On the Passing of Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi

One of the first books of Judaic scholarship I ever bought was Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi’s seminal Zakhor which has been a consistent touchstone for many of my ideas over the course of the years.

Yerushalmi was to become known as an all-around man of Jewish letters with his studies of memory and of Freud, but as a Judaic scholar he was best known for his pioneering studies of Sephardic history.

His classic monographs on Isaac Cardoso and Solomon ibn Verga’s Shebet Yehudah enriched our understanding of the world of Spanish Judaism and Converso history.  He truly understood that the roots of Modern Judaism rested in the Sephardic experience. 

His lecture “Exile and Expulsion in Jewish History” (delivered in 1992 at a major conference on Sephardic history, and republished in the collection of conference papers Crisis and Creativity in the Sephardic World: 1391-1648) remains one of the most insightful discussions of the topic.  Having personally attended that lecture in 1992 I was struck by the intellectual elegance of Yerushalmi and his towering presence at the lectern.

Yerushalmi’s vigorous promotion of Sephardic history displayed his commitment to the centrality of that history in Jewish civilization.  Last year he hosted a lecture at Columbia University by Yosef Kaplan that I attended which continued his great project of enlightening Jews on the often-ignored Sephardic history – particularly after 1492 when Sephardim have generally been seen as marginal players in the Jewish drama.  For Yerushalmi, the Sephardic experience is determinative and essential to the unfolding of Jewish modernity.

It is truly a pity that his books on Cardoso and ibn Verga are currently out of print.  Hopefully this regrettable situation will be remedied in the coming days.  We have also been anxiously awaiting publication details for Yerushalmi’s edition of Ibn Verga’s classic Shebet Yehudah which was rumored for many years but has yet to see the light of day.

But in the end Yerushalmi will be best known to the general public for his groundbreaking book Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory which has – and will continue – to serve students as a penetrating examination of the meaning of Jewish history and the dialectic of our existence embodied in literature, social history and global civilization.  Zakhor is a book that makes brilliant insights illuminating our knowledge of Jewish history which force students to more carefully examine the texts and traditions they are studying.

Yerushalmi’s legacy in Jewish and Sephardic studies has been immense and his passing is tragic and sad for all of those who have been enriched by his voluminous body of work.

David Shasha

Center for Sephardic Heritage

Brooklyn, New York


2. Call for Applcations: Dr. Elka Klein Memorial Travel Grant, 2010 (Labovitz)

From: Gail Labovitz [mailto:GLabovitz(at)ajula(dot)edu]

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

Date:  Sun, 20 Dec 2009 17:36:17 -0500

Dr. Elka Klein (1965-2005) was passionate about her profession as a historian and a teacher. Her untimely death in the spring of 2005 was a great loss to all who knew her, whether personally or professionally. In her memory, her friends and professional colleagues in the fields of History and Jewish Studies have created a fitting memorial to honor her dedication to and her achievements in her academic life.

A cash grant of $1500 will be awarded in Dr. Klein's memory to a doctoral candidate preparing to spend a semester or more of the 2010-11 academic year abroad conducting historical research towards his/her dissertation.

The grant recipient will be selected by a panel of scholars based on the relevance and potential contribution of the proposed work to the fields and concerns important to Dr. Klein, such as Sephardic culture, medieval history, gender studies, and Jewish studies.

Applicants for the grant are asked to submit four copies of the following information by April 23, 2010.  Alternately, all materials other than the recommendation letter may be submitted by e-mail:

*        A c.v.

*        A copy of the applicant's dissertation proposal

*        A description of the specific research to be undertaken abroad

*        A working budget, including what other funds have already been secured

*        A letter of recommendation from the applicant's dissertation supervisor, addressing the applicant's qualifications and the significance of the research s/he will be undertaking

Applications should be mailed to:

Dr. Elka Klein Memorial Travel Grant

c/o Dr. Gail Labovitz

American Jewish University

15600 Mulholland Drive

Bel Air, CA  90077

To submit an application by e-mail, or more information, please contact Dr. Gail Labovitz, glabovitz(at)ajula(dot)edu

The selected applicant will be expected to acknowledge the grant in the dissertation and in any subsequent publications that result from the research subsidized by the grant.  We thank the Association for Jewish Studies for their help in fund-raising and administration to make this grant possible

Works by Dr. Elka Klein:

Jews, Christian Society and Royal Power in Medieval Barcelona (Ann Arbor:

University of Michigan Press, 2006)

Hebrew Deeds of Catalan Jews 1117-1316 (Barcelona, Girona: Societat Catalana d'Estudis Hebraics, 2004)

"Splitting heirs: patterns of inheritance among Barcelona's Jews," Jewish History 16,1 (2002), 49-71

"The widow's portion: law, custom and marital property among medieval Catalan Jews," Viator 31 (2000), 147-163

"Protecting the widow and the orphan: a case study from 13th century Barcelona," Mosaic 14 (1993), 65-81

If you would like to contribute to the Dr. Elka Klein Memorial Travel Grant, so that we can continue to offer grants in future years, please send your donation to:

The Association for Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish History

15 W. 16th Street

New York, NY  10011-6301

Checks should be made out to the Association for Jewish Studies, with the words "Elka Klein memorial" in the memo line (if you do not put this somewhere on the check, it will not go to the right account!)

Dr. Gail Labovitz


3. Call for Applications: NEH Summer Seminar in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (Jacobs)

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

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 10:57:14 -0500

NEH Summer Seminar 2010: Free Will and Human Perfection in Medieval Jewish Philosophy, June 27-July 31, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY.

Director: Jonathan Jacobs.

In-depth study of the moral psychology and moral epistemology of Saadia Gaon, Bahya ibn Pakuda, and Moses Maimonides. In addition, we will read some works of Anselm and Aquinas, for comparative purposes. Sir Anthony Kenny (Oxford) and Prof. Menachem Kellner (Haifa) will each visit the seminar for a few days to work with the group. Detailed description of the seminar and application instructions available at: =

There will be sixteen participants, including up to two graduate students. Participants receive a stipend of $3900. Housing and meals available on the Colgate campus. Our discussions will aim at both (a) attaining a penetrating understanding of these thinkers' views and (b) explicating their enduring relevance and the ways their views can be constructively integrated into contemporary moral psychology and ethics.


Email: jjacobs(at)colgate(dot)edu

Visit the website at


4. Call for Applications: Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Scholar-in-Residence Program 2010 – 2011 (Olins)

From: Debby Olins [dolins(at)brandeis(dot)edu]

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

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 16:08:13 -0500

Applications are now being accepted for the HBI Scholar-in-Residence Program 2010 - 2011.

The HBI Scholar-in-Residence Program provides scholars, artists, writers and communal professionals the opportunity to be in residence at Brandeis University while working on significant projects in the field of Jewish women's and gender studies.

Scholars-in-Residence receive a monthly stipend and office space at the Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center. Residencies range from 1 month to one semester. Applicants living outside the U.S. and those whose work has an international dimension are especially encouraged to apply.

Applications details available at:

Deadline: February 15, 2010

Debby Olins


5. Call  for Papers: "I'm in the East and my Heart in the West: Israel in the Middle East," University of Calgary, September 2010 (Tal)

From: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC.EDU>

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 11:25:32 -0500

Call for Papers for a Workshop:

I'm in the East and my Heart in the West: Israel in the Middle East

University of Calgary (Canada), 19-21 September, 2010 Since independence Israel lives in two worlds: while geographically it is in the Middle East, from almost any other aspect it identifies itself with the west. Jewish immigration from East and Central Europe decided the western social, cultural and political characteristic of the pre-state Yishuv, which remained dominant also in the first years of the nascent state. However, throughout the years, more and more voices challenged Israel's affiliation with the west, calling to find ways to integrate it into the Middle East. The hegemonic European features of Israel gave way to other voices and tunes. Some even challenge the very idea of Israel as a Jewish state, ostensibly the greater achievement of the Zionist movement- the national movement which was part of the 19th century European national resurrection.

The Israel Studies Program at the University of Calgary is organizing an international workshop that will be dedicated to the study of Israel and its place in the Middle East. Our intention is to bring together scholars from various disciplines to explore the various facets of the topic. The discussions, that will last two days, will evolve around questions and issues such as:

- What does it mean for Israel to be a Western State?

- What do the calls for the assimilation of Israel in the Middle East mean?

- How do the ethnic divides (Jews- Arabs, Ashkenazim- Sephardim) influence the very nature of Israel and its assimilation either with the East or the West?

- What is in the Mediterranean option for Israel?

- What is the impact of the turn from a mono- to multi-cultural society on Israel's orientation?

- Can Israel be a Western and a Middle Eastern state at the same time?

We invite proposals for papers discussing those and other related issues from historians, literary scholars, political scientists, sociologists, cultural studies scholars as well as from scholars in related disciplines. Please send abstracts of your proposed paper (400-500 words) and short curriculum vitae (one page) to Dr. David Tal-isrstu(at)ucalgary(dot)ca.

The deadline for submission of abstract is March 1, 2010.

We will provide funding for travel and accommodation to invited speakers.

Our intention is to publish an edited book based on the conference papers. Those accepted are expected to send their papers by July 30, 2010. After the conference, the participants are expected to send their papers in the form of an academic article by December 1, 2010. The articles will be sent to referees. Expected publication: Summer 2011.

David Tal


6. Impact of the Holocaust in French North Africa (Berkowitz)

From: Leonard S. Berkowitz


via: "Mendelsohn, Adam D" <MendelsohnA(at)COFC(dot)EDU>Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 08:01:07 -0500

On the Jews of Tunisia and the impact of the Holocaust, are you aware of the film, Le Chant des Mari=E9es / The Wedding Song? Written and directed by Karin Albou(dot) It is a story about two teen-age girls, one Jewish and one Muslim who are very close friends in Tunisia in 1942. Ms Albou says that the plot is fictional, but she must have researched it very carefully.

Leonard S. Berkowitz


7. Impact of the Holocaust in French North Africa (Shaked)

From: Edith Shaked [mailto:edith(dot)shaked(at)gmail(dot)com]

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

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 21:20:22 -0500

Thank you so much to Michal ben Yaakov and many others for their input and resources on the Jews of North Africa in the Shoah.

I am currently finishing an outline on Jews of Tunisia in the Shoah. Let me know at my private email: edith(dot)shaked(at)gmail(dot)com if you would like to receive a copy of it.

Edith Shaked


8. Impact of the Holocaust in French North Africa (Bahloul)

From: Bahloul, Joelle [bahloul(at)indiana(dot)edu]

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

Date: Wed 12/16/2009 12:22 AM

In response to E. Shaked's query about the impact of the Holocaust in North Africa, here is an important book to be read on this matter:

Norbert BEL-ANGE, Quand Vichy internait ses soldats juifs d'Algerie, Bedeau, sud oranais, 1941-1943, Paris, Editions L'Harmattan, 2006

The book deals with the somber yet insufficiently studied part of the Holocaust in North Africa, i.e. the forced labor internment camps set by the Vichy government in North Africa (especially in Algeria), and where the Algerian Jewish soldiers were gathered after the Decret Cremieux had been abolished and the French military had expelled its Jewish soldiers.

Joelle Bahloul

Indiana University


9. Impact of the Holocaust on French North Africa (Ben Yaakov)

From: Michal Ben Yaakov [michalby(at)macam(dot)ac(dot)il]

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

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 10:00:03 -0500

In response to Edith Shaked's query into the impact of the Holocaust on =

French North Africa:

In the last two decades much has been published on the topic in English, French and Hebrew. Although several basic works, as well as specific articles are available in English, many of the most significant and recent studies have been written in Hebrew (at times with an Israeli, Zionist bias).  In April 2008 an international conference on the topic was held in Jerusalem, organized by the Ben Zvi Institute and Yad Vashem. Proceedings of the conference are to be published.

Although recent articles reflect current research, some basic books in English include:

Norman Stillman's classic _The Jews of Arab Lands In Modern Times_. Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1991, Chapter 6: 'World War Two and its Impact', pp. 113-139.

Abitbol, Michel, _The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War_,

Detroit 1989.

Laskier, Michael M., _North African Jewry in the Twentieth Century, The Jews of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria_, New York, New York University Press, 1994, Ch.2: 'Under Vichy and the Nazi-German Menace:  The Jews of North Africa during the 1930s and 1940s.'

As well as basic reference books on the Holocaust:

Gutman, Israel (ed.-in-chief), _Encyclopedia of the Holocaust_, 4 vols., Jerusalem, Yad VaShem - New York, Macmillan, 1990, entries for Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and others.

Hogan, David J. (ed.-in-chief), David Aretha (ed.), _The Holocaust Chronicle, a History in Words and Pictures_, Lincolnwood, IL, Publications International, 2000.  (see especially 'Jews in North Africa' (p. 203), Vichy and the Jews  (p. 204). The main text, without sidebars, accessible:

Gilbert, Martin, _Atlas of the Holocaust_, 3rd ed, London, Routledge, 2002.

As well as much information available on Yad VaShem's website:

Michal Ben Ya'akov

Efrata College of Education


10. New Online Publication: Dictionary of Bulgarian Surnames (Tagger)

From: macsta(at)bezeqint(dot)net

Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 06:44:50 -0500

Reason:  Post to moderated list

Dear all,

I am very pleased to announce that a dictionary of Jewish Bulgarian Surnames has been uploaded on the web. It includes 798 surnames, many of which were found in the Balkans. The details given for each surname are as follows: (1) the surname, (2) all its variants, (3) the language it derives from, (4) its meaning, (5) when available a reference to its historical background in medieval Spain. These references are all part of databases on Spain found in:

Eight surnames remained of unknown language and/or meaning.

Ashkenazi surnames of those who settled in Bulgaria at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th from mainly Romania, Ukraine and Russia have not been treated here as they can be found in one of the already existing dictionaries.

Before searching any name,  I suggest to first read the introduction in order to understand the history of the Bulgarian Jewish surnames. The present dictionary is searchable at:


Mathilde Tagger



11. Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean: An International Conference (Henriques)

From: Ainsley Henriques <ainsley(at)cwjamaica(dot)com>

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 06:46:36 -0500

Dear All,

Just a few weeks to go to this historic Conference in Kingston, Jamaica from January 12th to 14.

 All three days will be a rich feast of the sharing in the research on our Jewish History

 The Presenters are all experts in their fields and the sessions will be interactive.

The Conference has attracted excellent response. We are therefore urging you to register now and book your hotel room soonest.

Remember, if you need details go to <>, Click on Enter and then click on the International Conference

Happy Chanukah and our best wishes for the coming season and the New Year.

Ainsley Henriques

Conference co-chair

[ed: very slight edit]


12. New Project: Jewish Family Trees and Jewish Identity (Talalay Dardashti)

From: Schelly Talalay Dardashti <dardasht1(at)yahoo(dot)com>

Date:             Wed, 16 Dec 2009 01:35:13 -0800 (PST)

Dear friends,

It would be a great achievement if more Sephardi/Mizrahi family trees would be entered into this wonderful new international collaboration:

Today Beit Hatfutsot (Museum of the Jewish People) and announce a partnership to help preserve - for the future - digital information about the Jewish people.

This partnership, with your help, will add millions of data elements to the existing multimedia database at the Museum.

To participate: Go to the special page to accept the terms and conditions and create a FREE account to start building your family tree. MyHeritage will periodically transfer the data to Beit Hatfutsot to update the database.

You and your family are part of the history of the Jewish people. By sharing your family tree with the Museum, preserve your family's memory and history forever.

Please help everyone learn about this project through providing information on your Websites, in your blogs, at your synagogues, Jewish schools, Jewish organizations and any other media or group that might be interested to learn about this project.

For more information, see two blog posts: Genealogy Blog

Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog.

Questions? Feel free to write to me.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti

Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog


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