Author Archives: Amalia

Symposium: Sephardic Jewry and the Holocaust: The Future of the Field

Co-organized through the Sephardic Studies Initiative of the University of Washington’s Samuel & Althea Stroum Jewish Studies Program and the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, this symposium explores the unique history of Sephardic Jewry and the Holocaust.

Although extensive research has been conducted on the Holocaust in recent decades, the experience of Sephardic Jews on the periphery of occupied Europe, along the Mediterranean, and in Vichy-controlled colonies in North Africa has remained relatively unexplored. Understanding the Sephardic experience during the Holocaust forces us to refine our assumptions about its scope and the qualitative differences in the persecution, destruction, resistance, and survival of varied Jewish communities under occupation.

Read more information about the symposium here.

Keynote address by Dr. Aron Rodrigue: “Sephardim, Memory & the Holocaust.”

Documentary: “The Last Karaim of Istanbul”

Based on oral histories, the documentary “The Last Karaim of Istanbul” is a testimony to a community on the verge of “extinction.” Fiercely protective of its uniqueness and discreteness, demographic (and socioeconomic) changes during the last decades have resulted in the community’s decline. Although this documentary is in Turkish, non Turkish-speaking list members will find engaging the rich archival material, views of the city, and music.

The documentary is part of a 26-episode series, based on 150 oral histories of the “Live Memory” project.

In memoriam: María Rosa Menocal

María Rosa Menocal, a renowned scholar and historian of medieval culture and literature, passed away on Oct. 15 after a three-year battle with melanoma.

Menocal, Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale and former director of the Whitney Humanities Center, focused her research on the literary traditions of the Middle Ages and on the interaction of various religious and cultural groups in medieval Spain.

Read her obituary here.

Read a tribute to Menocal at the Sephardic Heritage Update newsletter.

New book: Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life

Laura Arnold Leibman, Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life (Valentine Mitchell Press, 2012)

Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism tells the history of Early American Jews, focusing on the objects of everyday life used and created by Jews, such as ritual baths, food, gravestones, portraits, furniture, as well as the synagogue. By uncovering these objects and exposing the common culture of the Jewish Atlantic world, the book provides a fresh understanding of a crucial era in Jewish and American history.

A companion website contains thousands of photographs of material culture from throughout the Jewish Atlantic world, as well as study guides for using the images; http://cdm.reed.edu/cdm4/jewishatlanticworld/. Continue reading

B’nai B’rith Archives acquired by American Jewish Archives

The American Jewish Archives has acquired the B’nai B’rith Archives with holdings dating back to 1843, when the organization was founded in New York City. This move will facilitate research by scholars and will shed light to American Jewish history. Beyond its importance though for American Jewry, B’nai B’rith has a long history of international presence, especially in the “Orient” with lodges in Salonica, Istanbul, Izmir, Aleppo, Beirut, Cairo and many other cities in the Balkans, and around the Aegean and Mediterranean basin.

You can read a relevant article here, and watch a video of the American Jewish Archives’ Executive Director, Dr. G. Zola, discussing the importance of this new acquisition.