More than half of Israel’s current Jewish population belongs to families who have emigrated or were expelled from the Middle East and North African regions after 1948. Hundreds of thousands more live in North and South America, Great Britain and elsewhere. As memories fade, there is a clear and present danger that the rich legacy of Middle Eastern Jewry will be lost. For that reason, the Program for the Study of Jews in Arab Lands will preserve and protect the memory and heritage of these communities, while training cohorts of young researchers who will “carry the torch” for generations to come.
There are three principal components to this project:
Study of Jews in Arab Lands Reading Room. Under the supervision of Dayan Center Librarian Marion Glicksberg, the Reading Room will make available a wealth of archival and academic materials, including literature and audio-visual sources. Our staff has been diligently acquiring materials from the Center for Babylonian Jewish Heritage in Or Yehuda, as well as archival documents from the British Public Records Office, alongside other primary and secondary source documents. This will be of immense value for both scholars and interested visitors.
Study of Jews in Arab Lands Academic Module. Under the supervision of Dr. Esti Webman, this module will support masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral level researchers, and will create a course or courses to be taught at Tel Aviv University. Regular symposia will be held under the auspices of this program, which will ultimately serve as the basis for a printed publication. Researchers active in this module will serve as ‘force-multipliers,’ who will in turn train successive generations of scholars.
Sephardi Voices Project Module. Bridging the gap between the first two modules, the Sephardi Voices Project at the Moshe Dayan Center will gather, catalog, and store the testimony of individuals who were often forcibly displaced from their homes in Iraq, North Africa, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East. These documents and recordings will be incorporated into the Reading Room resources for those who wish to utilize them in their research, and eventually be archived on an internet-based platform now in development.