About Ivri-NASAWI

Ivri-NASAWI was founded in 1996 by Jordan Elgrably, Victor Perera, Ruth Behar, Ella Habiba Shohat and Ammiel Alcalay,  Sephardi/Mizrahi writers who felt that Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish culture needed representation in the United States; and who have long argued for Arab-Jewish coexistence, modeled along historical examples from the Levant and the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).

The organization has several hundred members around the country and several thousand on its mailing lists. Headquartered in Los Angeles, with chapters in San Francisco and New York, we've produced more than 150 programs since 1997, including the Sephardic Arts Festival (1997, 1998, 1999), the National Sephardi Literary Contest, Conversations on Roots and Identity, Poetry of Peace, and many other musical, literary and arts events. Among the numerous organizations we've partnered with are the Skirball Cultural Center, the Getty Research Institute, the Los Angeles Public Library, Symphony Space, the Poetry Center (SF), Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Middle East Peace Network, and Workmen's Circle.

We provide educational outreach as an important supplement to both universities and synagogues. The organization is primarily funded by annual member dues, with occasional grants for specific projects. For more information on our programs, please see our recent events page.

Our acting creative director, in Los Angeles, is Jordan Elgrably. He is also the founder and co-director of Open Tent, L.A.'s Middle East Coalition, and has served on the music advisory committee of the World Festival of Sacred Music-the Americas. His writings appear in numerous print and online publications. Our acting New York director is Joyce Allegra Maio, a cultural arts producer, writer and translator. We are current seeking an acting director for the SF Bay Area.

We are a participating member organization in Los Angeles of the Levantine Cultural Center, which is preparing to launch a major Middle Eastern cultural center with a range of cultural and social groups represented. For more information, please contact us at , or call (323) 650-3157.

Membership Form


Ivri-NASAWI is a non-profit membership organization which seeks to promote Sephardi, Mizrahi and Middle Eastern cultures, using the arts and humanities, with a view to establishing greater bonds between the diverse Jewish and other Middle Eastern communities, both in the diaspora and in the Middle East.

Membership in Ivri-NASAWI includes many benefits including discounts to programs:

NASAWI is the New Association of Sephardi/Mizrahi Artists & Writers International and is an affiliate of Ivri-NASAWI. Professional Membership in NASAWI is $75/up per year. NASAWI professional members receive promotional support.

NASAWI's mission is to establish a promotional network for Sephardi/Mizrahi/Anusi arts and cultures, in order to expand the traditional boundaries of Jewish culture in the United States, and to get our  stories and other cultural products into the mainstream-into film, theatre, TV, the  performing arts, recording labels, galleries, museums, periodical and book publishing.

Members of NASAWI either have family origins or professional affiliation/interest to areas of Sephardi/Mizrahi arts and cultures.

Nasawi News
Bulletin Board
Levantine Project
Open Tent