The International Asso. of Jews From Egypt

President in Israel:  Levana Zamir

 

 International Committee:

Isi Bonan (USA), Carolina Delburgo (Italy),  Ninette Levy-Eskenazi (England), Alain Bigio (Brazil),Elie Politi (Brazil), Liliane Schwartz (France),  Suzy Vidal-Pirotte (Belgium).

 

OUR CONFERENCES:                            

 

Levana Zamir (right) at Bat-Yam Conference, with Uri Bouskila and Ester Peron, Cultural Representatives of Bat-Yam Municipality.

ACADEMIC CONFERENCE ON THE

"MULTI-CULTURE OF EGYPTIAN JEWS"

 

The Conference took place on November 3rd 2008, at Bat-Yam Auditorium in Israel, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Bat-Yam Municipality.

 

Now more than ever, when the Cultural and religious life of the Jews of Egypt is agonizing in the Land of the Nile, where two Jewish men and a handful of old women, widows or married to non-Jews are surviving yet, the Egyptian-Jewish Culture and traditions, are flourishing somewhere else.

 

All over the world, the Jews of Egypt History and  Culture is now vibrant and strong, through meetings,  conferences,  cultural  events  -  all  of them attended by hundreds - books publishing, movies production, lectures and presentations, websites. An intense exchange of e-mails is crossing oceans in seconds, in French, English, Italian, Hebrew or Arabic - as Egyptian Jews are fluent in all of those - getting us closer, from Sao-Paolo to Milan, from Tel-Aviv to Montreal, Belgium or Australia, exchanging views about a new book written by an ex-Egyptian Jew, or the best Zalabia recipe. Finally, after 50 years of silence, our voice is being heard, stronger than  ever.  

 

The Jews of Egypt, labeled by Israeli Academy, as a model of Multicultural Society par excellence:

 

Days before the conference, it had already sold out. Some 200 participants of Egyptian origin attended, not only from Bat-Yam, Holon, Tel-Aviv, Rishon, but also Haifa, Yokneam, Kiryat Ata in the north, and Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon in the south. For the first time, the conference was attended by quite a few younger members born in Israel to Egyptian parents.

 

Prof. Nahem Ilan at Bat-Yam Conf., with Moshe Zafarani, Dr. Miryam Frenkel and Levana Zamir. "If you want to know what Multiculture is" said Frenkel, "watch the Jews of Egypt".

 

The Academic Session on the Multiculturalism of the Jews of Egypt, was chaired by Moshe Zafarani, National Supervisor at the Ministry of Education.   He urged the Egyptian Jews to tell their story to researchers and students at school, so as to preserve their heritage.  Participated:  Dr. Miryam Frenkel – Vice-Chairman of Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, presenting Jacqueline Kahanof literature. Kahanof, an Egyptian born writer and winner of prestigious American prizes in literature, who hold an appreciated 'Salon de Literature' in Bat-yam till the late seventies', is renowned today as the precursor of the Mediterranean Union as a tool for Peace in the region, becoming now a trend. "If you want to know what Multiculture is" concluded Dr. Frenkel, "watch the Jews of Egypt".

 

Prof. Nahem Ilan, from Adler Institute Jerusalem,  presented  his  new  book  'Misrayim'  on the  Jews of Egypt and Levana Zamir  presented a lecture about: Multiculturalism and the acceptance of the other, as main  characteristics of the Jews from Egypt. She said: "After 50 years of Aliyah, the Jewish refugees from Egypt are finally being recognized and labeled as Multicultural Society. Egyptian Jewry was heterogeneous, but those born in Egypt from non-Egyptian parents naturally absorbed that multiculturalism, its tolerance and the loving acceptance of the Other, a characteristic of Egyptian Jews around the world."

 

"The more one talks about the Second Exodus of Egypt, the better" - from the Hebrew Hagada: "Kol Hamarbeh Lessaper 'al Yetssiyat Mitzrayim Hasheniya, Harei Ze Meshoubah"

 

At this Session participated the Presidents and Chairpersons of the Egyptian Jews Organizations in Israel: Mr. Arieh Ohana, Chairman of the Union des Juifs d'Egypte in Tel-Aviv, Lucy Kalamaro (Rishon-Le-Zion), Dr. Ada Aharoni (WCJE – Haifa), Mr. Baroukh Belbel (Bat-Yam Club).

Dr. Aharoni stressed the importance of the Second Exodus narrative for the advancement of peace, and Arieh Ohanna deplored the fact that the mass expulsion of the Jews of Egypt and their ethnic extinction are not documented in Hebrew school books.

The Audience at Bat-Yam conference

 

PROJECTION OF THE FILM:

"AND YOU SHALL YOUR CHILDREN… THE SECOND EXODUS FROM EGYPT"

After a delicious buffet of Egyptian delicacies, such as: kobeba, pasteles, menena, basboussa etc., we watched this unique film on the Jews of Egypt. This professionally made 30-minute film, shining with truth, reported the trials and tribulation of the Second Exodus, starting with glorious pictures of the Community before 1948, when most enjoyed financial security and joie de vivre, only to end as "hounded Jews". Many pogroms in the Jewish Quarter in Cairo, bombs killing entire families, persecutions, sequestrations, riots, mass arrests, discrimination, prison, mass expulsion of thousands of Jews by Gamal Abdel Nasser's order, emptied Egypt of its Jews.

The Egyptian delicacies buffet.

 

A LECTURE ON THE LIBERAL CONSERVATISM OF THE JEWS FROM EGYPT

In this most captivating lecture, the Rav Shai Peron, an

Israeli born to Egyptian parents, presented the way of ruling of the Rabbis in Egypt, who combined wisely and harmoniously between religious conservatism and Egyptian liberalism.

 

 

 

On the left: Rav Shai Peron, with Arieh Ohanna.

 

THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE JEWS OF EGYPT TO THE EGYPTIAN MOVIE INDUSTRY;

Eyal Sagui-Bizawi, born in Bat-Yam to Egyptian parents – and today working on his doctorate at the Hebrew University on the Jews of Egypt – gave us a fascinating presentation about the contribution of the Jews of Egypt to the Egyptian movie industry until the mid-twentieth century.

 

THE FAMOUS SINGER VARDA (here on the right),

a second generation Israeli-Egyptian, closed this most enjoyable evening, with songs in Egyptian Arabic, French and Hebrew.

 

Other Conferences, with our participation:

 

- Dahan Center at Bar-Ilan University, held a Conference on the Jews from Arab Countries, on November 2008. This conference combined for the first time, presentations from Scholars, as well as from Representatives of four Israeli Ministries (Culture, Justice, Religion affairs, and Pensions), and four organizations of Jews from Arab countries: Egypt (our organization), Irak, Libya and North-Africa.

At Bar-Ilan University Conference, with Adv. Jean-Claude Nidam, from the Ministry of Justice – and Meir Kahlon,  President  of the International Association of Jews from Lybia. 

 

- A Conference on "The Second Exodus" was held at Dahan Center too, in cooperation with the WCJE. At this conference, Levana Zamir gave a presentation on "The characterictics of the Jews of Egypt culture".

 

-  Hadassah Institute Conference, in Jerusalem on "The Jews of Arab Countries", was held on January 2009.

 

- "The Jews of Egypt" Conference, in Mishkenot-Sha'ananim Jerusalem – was held on December 11th 2008. It was organized by the "Society for Jewish Art" headed by Prof. David Cassouto, and directed by Mrs. Amia Boazson. During this conference, our film: "And you shall tell your children… The Second Exodus from Egypt" was projected, and a discussion followed.

 

- The prestigious Herzlia 9th Conference, hold a special Session on "Historic Justice for the Jews from Arab Countries", bringing a special contribution to the subject. Here after the link to watch the 9th Herzlia conference:

http://web11.mediazone.co.il/media/idc/LIVE/2009/

 

- The "Festival des Cultures Juives" was held in June in Paris, in cooperation with the ASPCJE (Association pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel des Juifs d'Egypte), and AKI ESTAMOS. The subject: "Israel Terre d'Orient et d'Occident". Were invited to represent the Jews from Egypt: Dr. David Ohanna, from Ben-Gurion University, who presented the Literature work of Jacqueline Kahanov and the contribution of the Jews from Egypt to the Israeli literature. Levana Zamir was invited to give a presentation about the "Achievements and Contribution of the Jews from Egypt to Israel, before and after its foundation".

 

 

_______________________________

 

 

OUR PROJECT: "THE 20th CENTURY EXODUS"

 

Our International Committee, is working now on the gathering of hundreds of personal stories of Jews from Egypt , each one telling his - or her - own "Sortie d'Egypte", for documentation and for the sake of History.

 

 

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