The Damascus Affair: From One Woman to Another
Culture

The Damascus Affair: From One Woman to Another

The Damascus Affair was well documented by the personalities of its time and has been awarded significant prominence in Jewish historiography ever since. Some consider this incident as marking a turning point, the rise of a new era in Jewish history. Diplomatic archives from England, France, the United States, and Austria, as well as memoirs,…

The Rabbi and the Sheikh
Ḥakhamim

The Rabbi and the Sheikh

Within Jewish tradition there are sources that express not just tolerance toward aspects of Muslim religiosity, but intellectual and religious respect and admiration. It is important to become acquainted with these sources, and to consider their implications. Here I consider one such source, found in the writings of R. Yiṣḥaq Farḥi of Jerusalem (1782-1853). R….

Lebanon’s History, Destroyed
MENA & Israel, News, World

Lebanon’s History, Destroyed

In the ramp up to the final moments of the election in Lebanon (May 6th, 2018), many politicians work to please their voters. Sadly, in Sidon, this means the physical erasing of the Jewish community. The Jews of Sidon believe that their community dates back to the first arrival of Israelites (roughly 1000 BCE) and...
De-Orientalizing Sephardic Music – Part I
Books & Media, Culture

De-Orientalizing Sephardic Music – Part I

The jewel case cover of the 2016 recording by a well-respected baroque orchestra is indeed evocative. A panorama of mosques rises out of the sand of medieval Cairo in earthy tones and we see the outlines of covered Muslim women carrying ceramic vessels on their heads as they disappear into a dusty sunset. Faux-Arabic letters…

Home is Where the Heart is
Tora

Home is Where the Heart is

There is an interesting relationship between the Qorban Pesaḥ (pascal sacrifice) and the Bayiṯ (house) in the Tora. Among the laws regarding qorban pesaḥ, we find that there must be one lamb per bayiṯ, the Israelites must mark their battim (houses) with the lamb’s blood, the lamb must be eaten in the bayiṯ, and it…

On Republishing the Works of Sephardic Scholars
Books & Media, Culture, Opinion

On Republishing the Works of Sephardic Scholars

Before the demise of the Jewish communities of the Middle East and Mediterranean regions in the middle of the twentieth century, their migration away from their countries of origin, and their resettlement in the West and Israel, the Sephardic ḥakhamim and intellectuals produced an immense literature that spanned the whole range of traditional Jewish learning:…

Peacefood for Thought
Perasha

Peacefood for Thought

Pesaḥ is around the corner and one of the sections of the Haggaḏa is ‘Moṣi Maṣa’ (lit. taking out [the] maṣa [to be eaten]). The great Moroccan ḥakham Yoseph Messas homiletically interprets this phrase by playing on the double meaning of maṣa. Maṣa, to most people, means the unleavened bread normally eaten on Pesaḥ, but maṣa…

Education and Representation: haSepharadi’s Mission
Culture, Opinion

Education and Representation: haSepharadi’s Mission

In some respects, the genesis of this journal dates back to my childhood. Attending synagogue with my father, the rabbi’s weekly sermon invariably elicited a response from him: “Poland this, Poland that, this Rov, that Rov… don’t get me wrong I’m sure these are all great rabbis – but maybe we should learn a little…

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Our mission is to perpetuate continuity of authentic pan-Sephardic thought and practice, cultivate pride in our unique identities, and celebrate our histories and achievements.