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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List – February 21, 2010

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, February 21, 2010 (7 Adar 5770)


For archived issues please visit:



1. New Publication: _Sephardic Itineraries: Complexity and Diversity of Identities_ (in French) (Benbassa)

2. New Publication: Studemund-Halévy, _Rinyo o El amor salvaje_ (Tirocinio)

3. New Book: Yaron Harel, _Syrian Jewry in Transition, 1840-1880_ (Harel)

4. Book Launch with Rabbi Marc Angel and Rabbi Hayyim Angel (ASF and Sephardic House)

5. Museum of Biblical Art Exhibit: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain: Two Reviews (Shasha and Cembalest)

6. Breaking News: Knesset to Recognize Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands (Wald)

7. Call for Papers for special Issue of MELUS on "The Future of Jewish American Literary Studies" (Lambert)

8. Call for Papers: Southern Jewish Historical Society Annual Conference, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, October 2010 (Rogoff)

9. Call for Papers for 2010 MLA: Hebrew Literature-Arabic Literature Joint Panel (Beckwith)

10. Call for Research Proposals: International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (Lamdan)

11. Query: Definitions of the Holocaust in a Classroom Setting (Shaked)


1. New Publication: _Sephardic Itineraries: Complexity and Diversity of Identities_ (in French) (Benbassa)

From: Esther Benbassa <attben(at)noos(dot)fr>

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2010 20:08:06 +0200 [01:08:06 PM EST]

Chers collègues, chers amis,

Je me permets d'attirer votre attention sur la parution de l'ouvrage suivant: Esther Benbassa (dir.), _Itinéraires sépharades. Complexité et diversité des identités_, Paris, Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, coll. "Cahiers Alberto-Benveniste", 2010 (18?).

Vous remerciant par avance de votre attention, bien cordialement,

Esther Benbassa

directrice d'études à l'Ecole pratique des hautes études (Sorbonne)


2. New Publication: Studemund-Halévy, _Rinyo o El amor salvaje_ (Tirocinio)

From: Tirocinio SL <tirocinio(at)tirocinio(dot)com>

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 17:19:55 +0100 [11:19:55 AM EST]


New Publication: Michael Studemund-Halévy, _Rinyo o El amor salvaje: Una obra teatral en judeoespañol de Abraham Galante publicada en 1906_ (Barcleona: Tirocinio, 2010). Click here for flier. Subscribers should visit:

El equipo editorial de Tirocinio

c/ dels Cavallers 56. 08034 Barcelona - España

Tel. (34) 93 204 58 72 -- Fax (34) 93 204 26 20

[ed: slight edit]


3. New Book: Yaron Harel, _Syrian Jewry in Transition, 1840-1880_ (Harel)

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

Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 17:54:58 +0200 [02/11/2010 10:54:58 AM EST]

Yaron Harel. Translated from the Hebrew by Dena Ordan. _Syrian Jewry in Transition, 1840–1880_ (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization)

This pioneering study offers a comprehensive account of Syria's key Jewish communities at an important juncture in their history that also throws light on the broader effects of modernization in the Ottoman Empire. 

The Ottoman reforms of the mid-nineteenth century accelerated the process of opening up Syria up to European travelers and traders, and gave Syria's Jews access to European Jewish communities. The resulting influx of Western ideas led to a decline in the traditional economy, with serious consequences for the Jewish occupational structure. It also allowed for the introduction of Western education, through schools run by the Alliance Israélite Universelle, influenced the structure and the administration of Jewish society in Syria, and changed the balance of the relationship between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Initially Syria's Jewish communities flourished economically and politically in these new circumstances, but there was a developing recognition that their future lay overseas. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the bankruptcy of the Ottoman Empire in 1875, and the suspension of the Ottoman constitution in 1878, this feeling intensified. A process of decline set in that ultimately culminated in large-scale Jewish emigration, first to Egypt and then to the West. From that point on, the future for Syrian Jews lay in the West, not the East.

Detailed and compelling, this book covers Jewish community life, the legal status of Jews in Syria, their relationship with their Muslim and Christian neighbours, and their links with the West. It draws on a wide range of archival material in six languages, including Jewish, Christian Arab, and Muslim Arab sources, Ottoman and European documents, consular reports, travel accounts, and reports from the contemporary press and by emissaries to Syria of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. Rabbinic sources, including the archive of the chief rabbinate in Istanbul, are particularly important in opening a window onto Syrian Jewish life and concerns. Together these sources bring to light an enormous amount of material and provide a broad, multifaceted perspective on the Syrian Jewish community.

320 pages

978-1-904113-65-2   $59.50

Published 25 February 2010


Send your order, enclosing either a cheque or your credit card details, to

Customers in the United States and Canada:

ISBS, 920 NE 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213-3786

telephone 1-800-944-6190   fax  (503) 280-8832   email orders(at)

Customers in Israel:

The Hebrew University Magnes Press, P. O. Box 39099, Jerusalem 91390

telephone 1-800-200-217   fax 02-5660341   email sales(dot)israel(at)magnespress(dot)co(dot)il

Customers elsewhere:

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, P. O. Box 645, Oxford OX2 0UJ, UK

e-mail info(at)


“A work of impressive scholarship, offering new insights into and understanding of the impact of Ottoman reforms on the restructuring of the Syrian Jewish community. The anecdotal material is fascinating and the questioning of old stereotypes is important. It is not a study that will be easily surpassed: it represents many years of serious scholarship and the ability to challenge some old views with new data. It is definitely a book that anyone teaching Middle Eastern Jewry should read and assign to students. Descendants of that community in America should welcome its insights into their history and culture.”   Jane Gerber

The Hebrew edition of the book was the winner of the Ben Zvi Award for Research in Oriental Jewry in 2004.

‘For the first time in the historiography of the Jews of Muslim countries we are presented with a rich picture, well written and riveting, of the history of important Jewish communities in the period of the Tanzimat.’   From the award citation.

Yaron Harel is Professor of Jewish History at Bar-Ilan University. His contribution to the field of Oriental Jewish history, especially in Syria, been recognized in a series of awards, including the Aminoah Prize (2000), the Ben-Zvi Prize for Research in Oriental Jewry (2004), and the Zalman Shazar Prize for Research in Jewish History (2009), the latter for the Hebrew edition of his book, _Intrigue and Revolution in the Jewish Communities of Damascus, Aleppo, and Baghdad, 1744–1914_ (forthcoming from the Littman Library). He is also the author of _The Books of Aleppo: The Rabbinic Literature of the Scholars of Aleppo_ (1997) and of the volume _Syria_ (2009) in the series Jewish Communities in the East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, and co-editor, with Yom Tov Assis and Miriam Frenkel, of _Aleppo Studies - The Jews of Aleppo: Their History and Culture_, Volume 1 (2009).

[ed: very slight edit]


4. Book Launch with Rabbi Marc Angel and Rabbi Hayyim Angel (ASF and Sephardic House)

From: American Sephardi Federation with Sephardic House <info(at)americansephardifederation(dot)org>

Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 16:42:54 -0500 [04:42:54 PM EST]

“Faith and Reason”: Rabbis Marc and Hayyim Angel Presenting on their New Books on March 7, 2010, at Congregation Shearith Israel in New York:

Marc Angel, _Maimonides, Spinoza and Us: Toward an Intellectually Vibrant Judaism,” and

Hayyim Angel, _Revealed Texts, Hidden Meanings: Finding the Religious Significance in Tanakh_ .

Click here for flier. Subscribers should visit:


5. Museum of Biblical Art Exhibit: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain: Two Reviews (Shasha and Cembalest)

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

via: dina dahbany-miraglia <ddahbani(at)gmail(dot)com>

Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 12:13:14 -0500 [12:13:14 PM EST]

SHU Museum Exhibit in NY: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain

Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain Museum of Biblical Art

1865 Broadway at 61st Street

New York, NY 10023

Phone: 212.408.1500


February 19 - May 30, 2010


This exhibition discusses the last two centuries of medieval Spanish history in the Crown of Aragon (the Kingdom of Aragon, the Kingdom of Valencia, and the region of Catalonia) from the vantage point of religious art, and demonstrates the documented cooperative relationship that existed between Christians and Jews who worked either independently or together to create art both for the Church and the Jewish community. Religious art was not created solely by members of the faith community it was intended to serve, but its production in the multi-cultural society of late medieval Spain was more complicated. Jewish and Christian artists worked together in ateliers producing both retablos (large multi-paneled altarpieces) as well as Latin and Hebrew manuscripts. Jews and conversos (Jews who had converted to Christianity) were painters and framers of retablos, while Christians illuminated the pages of Hebrew manuscripts.

The exhibition tells not only the story of this fascinating moment of artistic collaboration, it also provides a glimpse into the lives of these communities which lived side by side. Images in some retablos reflect the hardships of Jewish life in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: conversions, forced sermons, disputations, the Inquisition, and charges of host desecration and blood libel. Other extraordinary paintings project a messianic view of a future in which Jews would join with Christians in one faith.


For more information:


Note from David Shasha: Congratulations to Ms. Mann for continuing to do important work in the area of Sephardic art and culture.


Less salutary is the fact that this work is not being done within the context of Sephardic and Jewish institutions.


It is clear that the interdisciplinary context and multicultural perspective in which this work is being situated is not in step with the parochialism of a Jewish world that works to minimize the ways in which Sephardic culture is embedded within non-Jewish cultures.  This thesis of Hispano-Andalusian multiculturalism is articulated in Maria Rosa Menocal’s excellent book _The Arts of Intimacy_ that should already be a part of all our Sephardic libraries.


As the article [below] states, this important exhibition is not being housed in a Jewish museum – further proof that Sephardic culture is being marginalized by the Ashkenazi Jewish institutional world.  That such cutting-edge work is being done independent of the Sephardim is a sad testimony to the apathy and ignorance that permeates our community.


David Shasha

Robin Cembalist, “The Torah in the Altar,” _Tablet Magazine_, February 17, 2010

In the 1990s a guide hired by the Spanish tourist office took me to the last standing synagogue in the Spanish city of Segovia, which is now the Church of Corpus Christi, the home to an order of cloistered Franciscan nuns. Although the main gallery had been heavily restored after a fire in 1899, the building’s origins were still evident in the mudejar-inflected arches—as well as, the guide said, in a painting depicting the miracle that led to its transformation from a Jewish site of worship into a Catholic one. This happened in 1410, when, according to the story, a priest asked a Jewish doctor for a loan. In exchange the Jew demanded a consecrated host, which he tossed into a cauldron to boil. But the Blessed Sacrament rose in the air and flew to a nearby church. The painting, which was clearly made hundreds of years later, shows bearded men running away from the synagogue. “It’s only a legend,” the guide said. “But it’s pretty.” It was later that I learned Segovia’s court doctor, Meïr Alguades, had been killed for desecrating the host.

That was the role of Jews in Spanish art in a nutshell, it seemed: their own creations desecrated, destroyed, or lost, their image tied to sacrilege and evil. In Spain, where national narratives did not make room for Jewish and Muslim influences until lately, there has been little incentive to look deeper. But strangely enough, the origins of Spain’s greatest surviving legacy of Jewish art—illuminated Haggadoth—have not been properly addressed even by Jewish scholars, says Vivian Mann, who runs the master’s program in Jewish Art and Visual Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

But that’s because no one knew where to look—or what to look for, says Mann. The answer, she says, is in the retablos, Haggadoth, ceramic Judaica, and other suggestive objects borrowed from major collections in the United States and abroad for “Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain,” a fascinating, provocative show opening this week at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York. “We should be considering Haggadoth not as an isolated phenomenon of Jewish art,” Mann says, “but in the context of Spanish art.”

The exhibition reflects a change in thinking about the role of Jews in Spain, specifically in the century between the countrywide pogroms of 1391, which decimated many communities, and the Expulsion, in 1492. It re-envisions Jews not as marginalized, passive victims, but as active protagonists in a cultural apparatus that was a great deal less segregated than was previously thought, working in studios composed of Christian, converso, and Jewish artists, who could turn out a Haggadah just as readily as they could a Catholic altarpiece.

Mann, who has logged plenty of time in Spain—she was chief curator of the groundbreaking 1992 exhibition “Convivencia” when she was curator of Judaica at the Jewish Museum—got the idea for the show in the Aragonese town of Ejea de los Caballeros. “I was staring at a painting of the presentation of Jesus,” she says. “I said, ‘What’s that on the altar?’ It was a tik, or Torah case.” The object, which had gone unrecognized by scholars of Spanish medieval art, could not have been painted without knowledge of Jewish religious practice. She soon identified more tiks, along with other examples of a material culture lost to history in Spain but preserved in the Sephardic diaspora, such as a dress reminiscent of Moroccan Jewish bridal wear and a type of half-moon circumcision knife known in Amsterdam and Prague. She found paintings inscribed with correct Hebrew. The excavation of the Jewish quarter of Lorca, a town in the southern Spanish province of Murcia, further bolstered her thesis; the synagogue unearthed there looked just like the one in the anonymous 15th-century Catalan tempera-and-gold Christ Among the Doctors, which is on loan to the show from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Jewish contribution to Christian altarpieces is half of the equation; the contribution of Catholic artisans to Jewish manuscripts is the other. Mann is not the first to suggest that Jews, Christians, and conversos worked together in inter-religious ateliers—Harvard art historian Millard Meiss proposed as much in the 1940s. But she is the first to do extensive comparative research in the two genres. She found that figures and colors in the late-13th-century Hispano-Moresque Haggadah from Castile, the earliest known Passover manuscript, resemble those in the late-13th-century Scenes from the Life of Christ, a retablo in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. Depictions of the Creation in the most lavish Passover manuscript of the era, the circa 1320 Golden Haggadah, echo those in another Met retablo, an anonymous 14th-century artist’s Scenes from the Life of Saint Andrew. “When I walked into the Cloisters storeroom, I almost fainted,” Mann says.

Images of Jews in Spanish medieval art serve several purposes. Clearly they are stand-ins for the contemporaries of Jesus, just as the synagogues in the paintings are stand-ins for the Temple. But many figures also appear to be faithful portraits of individuals, whose stereotypically ruddy features contrast with the idealized images of Jesus, Mary, and the saints, making the latter look all the more holy in comparison. The red, unkempt locks and long beards worn by Jews in the retablos were considered signs of evil, but also reflected contemporary reality, namely sumptuary laws passed in 1412, which mandated that Jews had to let their hair grow wild. In the exhibition catalogue, Mann suggests that one reason the laws were passed is that in fact the Catholic and Jewish populations looked so much alike.

In December I went to hear Mann speak on this subject at a conference, “The Jews of Spain: Past and Present,” sponsored by the American Sephardi Federation/Sephardic House. Representatives sent by city halls and tourist offices in towns across Spain, where Jewish cultural tourism has been growing steadily, were in the audience. In many cases, however, the historical evidence far surpasses the material traces of the Jewish presence. Indeed, last month, some towns along the Ruta de Sefarad discussed standardizing their offerings and ways to promote them: charming inns in former juderías, signage reflecting the Jewish presence of yore, knowledgeable tour guides, restaurants serving Jewish-style food. In Segovia, for example, you can dine at El Fogón Sephardí, in case you’d rather skip the city’s famous suckling pig, after you visit the “Centro Didáctico” in the judería. Also, according to a report in the local paper last month, the city government is working to market the Jewish cemetery as a “first-class” tourist attraction.

So far, Mann says, there are no travel plans for “Uneasy Communion.” But it would be an interesting project for a Spanish museum—or a Jewish one.

Robin Cembalest is the executive editor of ARTnews.

From _Tablet Magazine_, February 17, 2010


6. Breaking News: Knesset to Recognize Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands (Wald)

From: Prof. James Wald (der Geist, der stets verneint) <jwald(at)hampshire(dot)edu>

Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2010 02:56:54 -0500 [02:56:54 AM EST]

Knesset Set To Recognize Rights For Jewish Refugees From Arab Countries

February 2, 2010

Dear Colleague,

As you may recall, in 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted H.R. Res. 185 recognizing rights for Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

Motivated by this historic pronouncement, Member of the Israeli Knesset Nissim Ze'ev (SHAS) and Minster Kahalon and Deputy Minister Yitzhak Cohen introduced a bill in the Knesset which also recognizes the plight, and rights, of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. This will be the first such bill adopted by the Knesset, recognizing rights for Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

JJAC Israel has been actively promoting this effort and is working in close conjunction with the leaders of Sephardi/Mizrahi communites in Israel emanating from Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran and others.

The draft bill is winding its way through the Knesset. It was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation which means that the bill has the full support of the governing coalition. Thereafter, it passed a preliminary Knesset vote; then it was passed to the Aliyah and Klita Committee and then it went through 'first reading' in the Knesset. It is projected that the bill will be brought back to the Knesset on February 15, 2010 for second and third reading and finally, adoption!

To mark this historic event, there was a ceremony in the Knesset on February 15, 2010 from 1300/h - 1500/h. This event was open to the public, upon registration.

Persons interested in attending sent a request via email to nzeev(at)knesset(dot)gov(dot)il (with cc to to Mr. Stan Urman at JJAC at surman(at)justiceforjews(dot)com prior to the event. Israelis had to include their name, telephone number and teudat zehut number. Others (foreigners) had to include their name, a local telephone number or cell phone number, name of country and their passport number.

Stan Urman

Executive Director

Justice for Jews from Arab Countries


[ed: very slight edit]


7. Call for Papers for special Issue of MELUS on "The Future of Jewish American Literary Studies" (Lambert)

From: Josh Lambert [mailto:josh(dot)lambert(at)nyu(dot)edu]

Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 09:16:40 -0500

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

Call for Papers

Special Issue of MELUS: The Future of Jewish American Literary Studies

Guest Editors: Lori Harrison-Kahan and Josh Lambert

Addressing questions raised by the 2009 MLA roundtable "Does the English Department Have a Jewish Problem?," this special issue of MELUS will survey the current state of Jewish American literary scholarship and explore new directions for the future of the field. The issue aims to highlight innovative approaches that will reinvigorate and redefine the study of Jews and Jewishness in American literature and to examine challenges posed by Jewish literature to the disciplinary and theoretical paradigms of American and ethnic literature.

We invite a broad range of contributions, but topics of particular interest include:

. New opportunities for the study of Jewish literature created by recent critical approaches such as whiteness, transnational, comparative ethnic, and multilingual studies, and book history

. Moving beyond equations of Jewishness with whiteness (e.g., essays on American Jews of color, Sephardic Jews, and non-Jewish ethnic writers whose work addresses Jewishness)

. Gender, sexuality, and queer identity (e.g., essays on underrepresented women, gay, and lesbian writers)

. Aesthetic contributions of Jewish writers to the development of American literature

. Texts written, in whole or in part, in languages other than English, such as Yiddish and Hebrew

. Studies in genres other than prose fiction, including poetry, autobiography, drama, criticism, children's and young adult literature, graphic narratives

. Pedagogical approaches to integrating Jewish literature into multi-ethnic literature curriculum

Completed papers in MLA format should be between 7000-9000 words, including notes and works cited. Queries concerning possible submissions as well as book reviews are welcome. Please send essays as e-mail attachments to Lori Harrison-Kahan (harrislo(at) The author's name should not appear on the manuscript, but should be included on a separate title or cover sheet, which should also contain complete mailing and e-mail addresses.

Deadline for submission: June 30, 2010.

Lori Harrison-Kahan and Josh Lambert


8. Call for Papers: Southern Jewish Historical Society Annual Conference, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, October 2010 (Rogoff)

From: Leonard Rogoff [mailto:LRogoff(at)nc(dot)rr(dot)com]

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

Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 15:33:14 -0500

Call for Papers

The Southern Jewish Historical Society will hold its thirty-fifth annual conference, "Coming to Carolina: Jewish Life in an Evolving South," from Oct. 22-24, 2010, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We invite interested scholars to submit proposals for lectures and panel discussions that address subjects of Jewish historical interest in the American South. Please contact Prof. Marcie Cohen Ferris at

ferrism(at) or Dr. Leonard Rogoff at lrogoff(at)nc(dot)rr(dot)com.

Leonard Rogoff


9. Call for Papers for 2010 MLA: Hebrew Literature-Arabic Literature Joint Panel (Beckwith)

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

Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 13:47:13 -0600 [02:47:13 PM EST]

Call for Papers for the MLA Convention, January 2011, Los Angeles. This will be the

first Hebrew Literature - Arabic Literature joint panel at the MLA:


Collaborative Session: "Mediation and Mobility in the Western Mediterranean"

Premodern and contemporary literary representations of Jewish and Muslim figures

mediating between languages, religions, and geographies in medieval/early modern

Iberia and the Maghreb. 500-word abstracts by 3/15 to Ibtissam Bouachrine

and Stacy Beckwith. Please do not hesitate to contact either of us with questions, ibouachr(at); sbeckwit(at)carleton(dot)edu.

Ibtissam Bouachrine and Stacy Beckwith


10. Call for Research Proposals: International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (Lamdan)

From: Neville Lamdan <nlamdan(at)netvision(dot)net(dot)il>

Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 15:08:23 +0200 [08:08:23 AM EST]

The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem is once again offering grants of up to $10,000 for original research in the field of Jewish Genealogy.

It has posted a "Call for Research Proposals" for projects to be carried out in the academic year of 2010-11. Proposals, submitted by May 31, 2010, will be judged by the extent to which they broaden the horizons of Jewish genealogical research and/or create innovative tools or technologies to assist Jewish genealogists and family historians in their work. The successful applicants will be announced on or about September 1, 2010.

The CFRP and "Instructions to Applicants" are to be found on the Institute's website (at, under "RESEARCH/Research Grants". The Instructions are to be followed carefully, as only applications in correct form will be accepted.

Dr. Neville Y. Lamdan,


International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center,




11. Query: Definitions of the Holocaust in a Classroom Setting (Shaked)

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

Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2010 14:50:25 -0800

I will appreciate your help and input relevant to two important issues:

1. Definitions of the Holocaust

Students asked me with puzzlement why some definitions by Yad Vashem (YV) are different than the one by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

YV’s definitions: “The Holocaust, as presented in this resource center, is defined as … the murder of close to six million Jews in Europe. … The Nazis’ proclaimed goal was the eradication of European Jewry. … Shoah with regard to the murder of and persecution of European Jewry”


Holocaust: (in Hebrew, sho'ah), the name used in English to refer to the systematic destruction of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.


Dan Michman, Chief Historian at Yad Vashem defining Holocaust in the online

_Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa_, came up with an excellent definition, as agreed on all scholars, and different than the one at YV: “Nazi ideology presented the Jews as a satanic and corrupting element and demanded their "total removal" (the formulation of Germany's dictator, Adolf Hitler: "Entfernung der Juden überhaupt" ) from human society. …The Holocaust cast its shadow over the Middle East and North Africa as well as over Europe."

USHMM’s Definition: The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.


YV - Final Solution: Code-name for the Nazis' plan to solve the "Jewish question" by murdering all the Jews in Europe.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The Nazis frequently used euphemistic language to disguise the true nature of their crimes. They used the term “Final Solution” to refer to their plan to annihilate the Jewish people.”


2. Issue of Two Holocausts

A student told me that he read an article by a YV historian who distinguishes between a Holocaust in Europe and a Holocaust outside Europe.

When I attended an in-service by Stephen Feinberg, a historian from USHMM, I understood that there was only one Holocaust, within the context of WWII, an international war, because he stated: “No war, no Holocaust.” I also read that there was only one master plan to kill all the Jews, wherever it was possible.

 Maybe, the YV’s historian is looking at Europe of today, and not at imperialist Europe, inclusive of its colonies in French North Africa, ruled by pro-Nazi Vichy France. But, scholars recognize that the French colonies, even being outside Europe the continent, were part of the French Empire, and therefore part of Europe

(like this map:

And as per the excellent statement by the USHMM: “The history of the Holocaust in France's three North African colonies (Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia) is intrinsically tied to France's fate during this period.”

I do realize that it seems very confusing. What should I tell my students about the different definitions and the concept of two Holocaust? I think that it is very important, especially in Holocaust study, to be very accurate.

Thank you for your input and kind attention.

Edith Shaked

Holocaust Instructor, PCC

Speak-up for equal dignity and equal justice!

[ed: slight edit]

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