The American Sephardi Federation announces its Fall Program
Book Talk: Nicole Dweck’s Debt of Tamar
10 September at 7 PM: Kovno Room
Ranging from a 16th-century harem to Nazi-occupied Paris, the Inquisition to Israel’s Independence, and the court of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to modern-day Manhattan, bestselling author Nicole Dweck’s The Debt of Tamar weaves a tapestry of love, history, resilience, and fate. Join the American Sephardi Federation for a discussion with the author of her enchanting novel.
2nd Annual Concert for Daniel Pearl: “Building Bridges: From Bene Beraq to Baghdad”
12 October at 7 PM: Leo and Julia Forchheimer Auditorium / Kumble Stage
Daniel Pearl, armed with a pen and a fiddle, loved to connect with people the world over, forming friendships and building a “coalition of the decent.” The American Sephardi Federation is proud to honor his legacy with a special concert bringing together diverse peoples and music.
Book Talk: Seth Siegel’s Let There Be Water
14 October at 7 PM: Kovno Room
The American Sephardi Federation invites you to conservation with Seth M. Siegel, author of Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution For A Water-Starved World. Mr. Siegel’s book treats the remarkable story and global implications of how Israel developed the world’s most sophisticated water management system. The evening will also include a special presentation on the unknown story of how Israel came to develop Iran’s water system before the Revolution.
Jews of Asia Series
ASF will explore the rich diversity of the Sephardi experience in Asia with a new series of events focused on the sights, sounds, and tastes of this hidden yet exhilarating aspect of Jewish history. A Jewish presence in Asia has been documented as early as the 8th century CE and expanded considerably in the 19th century as Jewish merchants from Baghdad and Bombay came to trade in newly opened Chinese ports.
Exhibit Opening: Bollywood’s Sephardi Starlets and Scriptwriters 20 October at 7 PM: Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Great Hall
Join Kenneth X. Robbins, author of a multi-volume history on the Jews of India, to inaugurate the opening of a new exhibit in the Leon Levy Gallery. At a time when superstition precluded Hindu and Muslim women from making films, Jewish actresses achieved stardom and, together with Jewish scriptwriters, built the now world-renowned Bollywood brand.
Film Screening: “Blue Like Me”: An Indian-Jewish Artist’s Boundless Imagination
3 November at 7 PM: Leo and Julia Forchheimer Auditorium / Kumble Stage
Having grown up in the enigmatic community of Bene Israel in Mumbai, India, Siona Benjamin’s art synthesizes her Jewish roots with the Hindu, Catholic, Muslim, and Zoroastrian iconography of her homeland. Join ASF and the Indian Consulate in New York for a screening of a documentary on Siona’s life and work, as well as a post-film Q&A with the artist.
Jews of Iraq Series
Babylon figures prominently in Jewish history as the birthplace of Abraham, the place by whose rivers the Jewish refugees of Nebuchadnezzar wept, and home to the academies where the Talmud (Bavli) was incubated. In modern times, Iraq boasted a rich Jewish cultural life from the river island of Zakho in Iraqi-Kurdistan to the bustling business centers of Baghdad and Basra. Today, six decades after denationalization, few Jews remain but many structures and stories live on. Join ASF for a series of programs highlighting the personal experiences of Iraqi Jews.
Book Talk: Iraq’s Last Jews
28 October at 7 PM: Kovno Room
Dennis Shasha, one of the editors of Iraq’s Last Jews, will present recollections from this remarkable collection of first-person accounts. More than their own stories or even the history of the community, the book provides critical insights into the indelible Jewish imprint on Iraq’s history and culture.
Book Talk: Lessons in Exile
10 November at 7 PM: ASF’s Gallery and Research Centre
Cynthia Shamash’s coming of age was profoundly shaped by the experience of exile. When she was eight, her family tried to escape Iraq over the Iranian border, but they were captured and jailed for five weeks. Upon release, they were returned to their home in Baghdad, where most of their belongings had been confiscated and the front door was sealed with wax. Hear the author talk about her memoir, The Strangers We Become Lessons in Exile from One of Iraq’s Last Jews.