News & Views from Ivri-NASAWI

Week of February 28, 2000
### March 1, Ruth Behar, Anthropologist, Author, Speaks at SF State on Sephardic/Afro-Cuban Jews  ###

Ivri-NASAWI and several departments at San Francisco State are sponsoring noted anthropologist, poet, and editor Ruth Behar, for a talk in the University Club, Verducci Room, for a luncheon between 12-1:30 pm.

An award winning scholar, Behar is the author of "The Translated Woman" and "The Vulnerable Observer," among other works; she is currently writing and directing a documentary about the Sephardic community of Cuba, "Adio Querida: The Sephardic Jews of Cuba." Behar has a fascinating story to tell, not only of her own Sephardi and Ashkenazi heritage, but of returning to her native Cuba, where she has begun to interview members of the Sephardic community, some of whom have mixed with non-Jewish Cubans, including those of Afro-Cuban descent.

A cofounder of Ivri-NASAWI, Behar is sponsored at SFU by Jewish Studies, La Raza, the Department of Anthropology and Women's Studies. 16th and Holloway, Wed., March 1. For further information, contact Melinda, (415) 338-6075. [For details on participating in the production of "Adio Querida," contact the executive producers, in New York, (212) 362-9074, or in Los Angeles, (323) 650-3157.]

### March 2, Washington, D.C., "The Chuetas of Majorca:  Survivors of the Spanish Inquisition's Last Auto de Fe & Other Balearic Conversos  ###

The Hispanic Division & the Hispanic Cultural Society present Gloria Mound, chair of the Marrano Studies Institute, Israel, March 2nd, 12:00 noon, Mary Pickford Theater, 3rd floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. For further info, email Anna Kurland, <>.

### Write the author of "The Cross and the Pear Tree, A Sephardic Journey  ###

Victor Perera, a cofounder of the New Association of Sephardi/Mizrahi Artists & Writers International (Ivri-NASAWI), who suffered a severe stroke in July 1998, has recently moved to a new flat in Santa Cruz and is making wonderful progress. He would love to receive correspondence from readers of his books and long-lost friends. Write: Victor Perera, La Posada, 609 Frederick St., Santa Cruz, CA 95062.

### March 5, "Photographing the Periphery," Photo Show, Symposium and Reception at UCLA  ###

Ron Kelley's stunning photographs of "Russians, Ethiopians and Bedouins in Israel's Negev Desert" will be on view at UCLA's Fowler Museum from March 1-Oct 1, 2000. The exhibit, which recently appeared at MESA in Washington, DC, examines issues of migration, identity and transnationalism.

"Immigrants and Nomads," a special symposium, and an accompanying book co-edited by Jonathan Friedlander, are the basis for illustrated slide lectures by both Friedlander, of UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES), and Sondra Hale, in Anthropology and Women's Studies, at the Fowler Museum's Lenart Auditorium, on Sunday, March 5, 2 pm. Enter UCLA at Westwood Plaza and go to Parking Structure 4. The symposium and opening wine & cheese reception are free; parking is $5.00.

Organized by UCLA's CNES; cosponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies, the New Israel Fund, Ivri-NASAWI and Open Tent, L.A.'s Middle East Coalition.

### March 10, Modern Languages Association Deadline for Sephardi/Mizrahi Papers  ###

The Modern Languages Association features a permanent "Sephardic Studies" section, whose precise topic and Chair vary each year.  The 2000 Convention will be held in Washington, DC.  All participants in convention sessions must be MLA members by 1 April 2000. This year's Sephardic Studies session is described as follows:

SEPHARDIC STUDIES Sephardim as Traders, 1550-1750: From Amsterdam, the West Indies, and Brazil to Africa, India, and the Dutch East Indies. Literature and documents portraying the Sephardim as the key element in world trade and colonial empire(s). Papers in English, Portuguese, and/or Spanish. Abstracts, short bibliographies, and vitae by 15 Mar.; Nechama Kramer-Hellinx; 54 Ingram St., Forest Hills, NY 11375 (718 793-3384 fax: 718 793 3385)

HEBREW LITERATURE, Images of Childhood. The imaginative construction of childhood in Israel or Western or Eastern diaspora communities in works of Hebrew prose, poetry, drama, film. Alternative narratives that deviate from dominant male, Zionist, Ashkenazi voices encouraged. Abstracts by 10 Mar.; Nili Gold, 322 West 72nd St., 14B, New York, NY 10023 (

### Tunisian Edith Shaked Writes on Sephardic Experience of the Holocaust  ###

Few are aware that significant numbers of Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews were killed during the Nazi era, many of them of Greek or Tunisian heritage. Researcher Edith Shaked, who is based at the University of Arizona, has posted her latest findings on the World Wide Web, at To reach Shaked with information or queries, send your email to

### New Online Community for Ladino Speakers/Writers  ###

A Ladino revival movement is growing in the U.S. and Israel. Rachel Amado Bortnick has announced a new online community for those who are interested. All Ladino speakers are invited to join the discussion list in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), aiming to communicate in Ladino on subjects of mutual interest, promote the use and knowledge of Ladino, and aid in standardizing the spelling of Ladino written in Roman characters.

To subscribe:, or e-mail to:

### March 12, Education Strategies for 2000: Sephardi/Mizrahi Curriculum Infusion Project (CIP), San Francisco  ###

Cosponsored by the Bureau of Jewish Education & Ivri-NASAWI, this CIP will help you discover books, articles, films and other materials to organize a "teach in" or research paper on a Sephardi or Mizrahi theme; develop a Sephardi/Mizrahi curriculum with minimal resources; provide new ideas on how to prepare for a speech; and more. Please plan on attending our first brainstorming session to create curricula for pre-schoolers through adults.

Local Sephardi/Mizrahi, Ashkenazi and Ashkefardic Jews---and other concerned educators---who wish to bring resources, contribute ideas, and state their needs should plan to attend. (Educators unable to attend are invited to send their inquiries to; suggestions from educators are also welcome.) This CIP will be held at The Jewish Community Library, 601 14th Ave@Balboa, SF in the Battat Educational Resource Center, on Sunday, March 12, 2000, 10:30-12:30. Further info: Myra Lappin, MD, 415-338-1706

### March 12, "Strategies for Sephardi/Mizrahi Action 2000" To Build Ivri-NASAWI's SF Bay Area Chapter  ###

A grassroots organizing meeting for Ivri-NASAWI will also take place in the Battat Educational Resource Center, Jewish Community Library, on Sunday, March 12, from 2:30 to 5:00 pm.  Founder Jordan Elgrably from Los Angeles will be working other local activist members and is seeking new people who care about Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish cultures and who can contribute 3-5 hours per month. We will review our local & national goals propose can-do ways to attain local objectives review our Bay Area proposed projects so far propose any new ones form action committees together create a task force, to work on a Bay Area database announce the need for a new Bay Area acting director. 601 14th Ave@Balboa, SF in the Battat Educational Resource Center, on Sunday, March 12, 2000, 10:30-12:30. Further info: Myra Lappin, MD, 415-338-1706.

### March 13, Exiled Algerian Poet/Publisher Zineb Laouedj Reads at the Villa Aurora, L.A.  ###

Reprising her successful appearance last Feb. 19, Algerian poet Zineb Laouedj will appear as part of the "Fete de l'Internet et de la francophonie" at the Villa Aurora, 520 Paseo del Mar, Pacific Palisades, at 6pm. The evening will gather students and guests of the Consulate General of France and the Villa. It will be recorded with digital cameras and then be broadcast on the Internet for the French Internet Fiesta on March 20. The author will read her poetry in the original Arabic, both fusaa and Algerian dialect. Stage and screen actor Alexandra Sarasonna will perform Laouedj's work in French translation. Jordan Elgrably will read his English translations from the French translations created by the author. For further information, (310) 454-4321, email <>.

### March 14, New York, Part 2 of "Conversations on Roots & Identity"   ###

Ivri-NASAWI's special series focuses on the politics of identity and representation for Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews. Relationships with the mainstream Jewish community, Israel and issues of complementary cultures, including Latino, Arab/Middle Eastern and African, will also be the subject of discussion. Light reception and dialogue.

Home of writer Gloria Levitas,  7:30 pm, 230 West 79th Street, Apt. 91 South  (on the southeast corner of Broadway and 79th Street), New York 10024. The west side l and 9  (local trains) stop at 79th Street and Broadway. Ditto the 79th Street cross-town. Those coming on the A, B, C, D lines can transfer to these trains at the 59th Street station. "Conversations" is followed by an invitation to join Ivri-NASAWI and participate in its action committees. To RSVP, (212) 362-9074. Visit

### March 17, New York, "The Jews of Egypt: Past, Present, and Future--Notes from a Personal Journey"  ###

Joyce Zonana, an Egyptian Jew and professor of comparative literature at the University of New Orleans, will be talking about growing up Egyptian Jewish in New York and her recent trip back to Cairo. There Zonana met with the small yet cohesive remaining Jewish community, members of which expressed the desire to see Egyptian Jews return to Cairo, rather allow its Jewish community to die. Zonana's talk, at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, follows a Kabbalat Shabbat service, 6:30 pm, and a kosher dinner, 7:15. $20, $18 members of Ivri-NASAWI; $10 students with ID, $8 student members of I-N. The fee is for dinner only. Further info: (212) 727-7000. 15 W. 86th Street, New York 10025. To contact Joyce Zonana, write

### March 19, "Strategies for Sephardi/Mizrahi Action 2000" Will Develop Sephardi/Mizrahi Culture in the Washington, DC-Baltimore Region  ###

A grassroots meeting organized by Ivri-NASAWI will take place in the Washington, DC area Sunday, March 19, from 2:30 to 5:00 pm.  Founder Jordan Elgrably from Los Angeles will be presenting a workshop on how to strategize and plan cultural programming on a shoestring. I-N seeks new people who care about Sephardi/Mizrahi and Middle Eastern cultures, who can contribute 3-5 hours per month. We will review our local & national profile propose can-do ways to attain local objectives discuss proposed projects form action committees together create a task force, to work on a DC-Balt database announce the need for a DC-Balt acting director. Location to be announced. For info, call (323) 650-3157 or write

### Villa Aurora & Ivri-NASAWI Collaborate on Elias Canetti Program  ###

The Villa Aurora, a cultural institution in Los Angeles devoted to German and Jewish cultures, and to writers in exile, will host a program about the Bulgarian-born Sephardic writer Elias Canetti, who wrote in German and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981. The author of a famed novel, "Auto de Fe," a study, "Crowds and Power," and several volumes of essays, most notably perhaps "The Conscience of Words," Canetti was considered by many to be one of the great writers of the 20th century. "The writer," he suggested, "must be the keeper of metamorphosis." Ivri-NASAWI and the Villa will produce their joint program in Los Angeles next June; programmers are currently seeking audio-visual materials. Please call (323) 650-3157, or write

### Open Tent, L.A.'s Middle East Coalition, Calls For Films  ###

This coalition organized and produced the 1999 "Middle East Film Fest: A Cultural Conversation," now back by popular demand, on May 31, Mark Taper Auditorium, and June 8, UCLA. The Open Tent Film Advisory Committee currently seeks submissions of films and videos.

Open Tent is a non-profit coalition of organizations, individuals and businesses in Southern California who support peace in the Middle East, and among Middle Eastern descendants in the United States, advocating for constructive relationships using culture and arts. To join the coalition, write

Features, shorts and documentaries from or about cultures of the Middle East may explore the polyphony of shared experiences, while embracing controversial issues such as Orientalism, identity, the politics of representation, migration and transnationalism, democracy, and women's rights.

Films will be screened free during a passionate evening of screenings and public dialogue, with filmmakers and activists. (323) 650-3157.

Open Tent continues to seek new members as well.

### New and Renewing Members Join Ivri-NASAWI  ###

A warm welcome to professional and lay members who have joined or renewed with Ivri-NASAWI in the past two weeks, including Oro Lucy Garzon-Duhov (Stamford CT), Dr. Wendy Smith (L.A.), Joyce Zonana (New Orleans), Dr. Rabbi Robert Rome (L.A.), Dr. Judith Benoliel Belsky (Jerusalem), John Cook (Long Beach), Esther Brass (Berkeley) and Herbert Hadad (New York). To join/renew, visit our website at, call membership committee co-chair Susan Chatman, (310) 587-1986, or email

### Poetry of Peace, Middle East Art Festival Planning Meeting, March 15  ###

If you would like to work on a great series of programs including music, dance, song, poetry, prose, ideas and public dialogue, please RSVP to attend the next Poetry of Peace, Middle East Arts Festival meeting, to be held in L.A. on March 15 (location and time in the evening to be announced). (323) 650-3157.

### About Ivri-NASAWI ###

Founded in 1996 by Jordan Elgrably, Victor Perera, Ammiel Alcalay and Ruth Behar, joined by Ella Habiba Shohat in 1998, I-N, New Association of Sephardi/Mizrahi Artists & Writers International, is an association linking together a wide range of Sephardi/Mizrahi creative professionals and an advocacy organization promoting these cultures in the mainstream and non-Jewish communities.  Ivri-NASAWI includes a membership of Jewish and non-Jewish members who support the natural pluralism of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.  For more information, please consult our website:, or call (323) 650-3157.

Copies of NASAWI News are available with membership, or you can order individual copies @ $4.95 + .55 postage, or receive a 40% discount with the order of 10 or more plus priority postage.  Annual essential members dues are $55. Professional and Associates $75/up. Supporting Members $275/up. Benefactors, $605/up.  You can become a sponsor of a valuable cultural program, receive a tax-deduction, and make a difference.  Among upcoming collaborative projects are:

New Assoc. of Sephardi/Mizrahi Artists & Writers Intl.
visit or write
1033 N. Orlando Ave., Los Angeles CA 90069
in New York, 212.362.9074
in SF Bay Area, 415.338.1706

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