UCI will host a one day conference on Sephardic Jewry this Friday. The conference is part of a larger attempt by the University to deflect criticism as being a place hostile to Jewish students. While we applaud all attempts to promulgate knowledge about Jews and Jewish culture, the pareve nature of the conference cannot be overlooked.
Rather than pressing Sephardic issues, such as the displacement of 850,000 Jews from Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East since the founding of Israel in 1948 [pictured on right], the one day conference delves into topics such as: “Sephardic Culture and Hispanic Studies”, “Andalusi Jews and Sephardim”, “Crypto-Jews, Conversos, and the Doenmeh/Maaminim of Salonica” etc.
One session on Ottoman Jews could be interesting, but it is being given by a woman who specializes in Turkish Jewsâ€” not the Jews of Palestine.
This conference, together with other recent nods to the Jewish community, such as providing pre-packaged kosher food options in dorms, and a minor in Jewish studies, are a not-so-secret attempt to portray the campus as a hospitable place.
Study and research into Sephardic culture is a very worthwhile area of studyâ€”however, ensuring that Jewish students receive fair and equal treatment on campus, without fear of reprisal or intimidation, seems to be a much more pressing issue.
But if you are passionate about Sephardic culture head on down to:
Diaspora and Return: Sephardic Jews Beyond Spain
Sephardic Culture and History Conference at UCI
Friday, March 7, 2008, 10am-5pm
Newport Beach, Conference Room
Student Center, UC Irvine
The schedule is below the break:
Sepharad and the early Sephardic diaspora
David Wacks, Romance Languages, University of Oregon
“Sephardic Culture and Hispanic Studies”
Michelle M. Hamilton, Spanish & Portuguese, UC Irvine
“Andalusi Jews and Sephardim”
Marc Baer, History, UC Irvine
“Crypto-Jews, Conversos, and the Doenmeh/Maaminim of Salonica”
Julia Cohen, History, Stanford
“Ottoman Jews and the Spanish Past”
Memories of Sepharad
Daniel Schroeter, History, UC Irvine
“Sephardic Identity and Morocco”
Sarah Portnoy, Spanish & Portuguese, USC
“Gender and meaning in the Sephardic Ballads of Latin America”
Jacobo SefamÃ, Spanish & Portuguese, UC Irivine
“Contemporary Sephardic Writers in Latin America”
Emily Colbert, Spanish & Portuguese, UCI
“Contemporary Sephardi Identity in Spain”
Samuel G. Armistead
Spanish & Classics, UC Davis
“Judeo-Spanish Culture, Literature and Language: Hispanists’ Fantasies and Sephardic Realities”