Monday, June 4, 2012

June 3rd newsletter of JIMENA: Jews indigenous to Middle East & North Africa


Monday June 3rd, 2012 
Sivan 14, 5772 
JIMENA's June Calendar of Events 

Last Jews of Yemen Photo Exhibit 

Photo by Rachael Strecher

Oshman Family JCC
Schultz Cultural Arts Hall Lobby
On display until June 28th
3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto

Compelled by the opportunity to document the last indigenous Jewish community of the Middle East before it vanishes, journalists Rachael Strecher and Josh Berer spent three months living in Sana, Yemen in 2009.

The result is a unique collection of photos and journal entries documenting an ancient Jewish community on the brink of exodus as a result of political upheavals, cultural isolation and violent anti-Semitism.  
More information here 


Talk with Iraqi JIMENA Speaker, Joe Shamash

San Francisco JCC
Friday, June 8th
3200 California Street, SF

You are invited to watch an abridged version of the Forgotten Refugees film, and to hear the personal testimony of Mr. Joe Shamash. Joe fled Iraq with his brothers and sisters in the late 1950's, leaving behind a 2,000 Jewish community. Arriving in New York, Joe and his five siblings assimilated without the help of their parents, who remained stuck in Iraq by the authorities. 

This presentation is part of an adult day-time learning program and requires an RSVP

To RSVP, please email Shiva Shultz, Adults Program Manager at JCCSF

Israel in the Gardens 

Yerba Buena Gardens San Francisco
Sunday, June 10th
All Day
75 Howard Street

The Israel Center of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco is proud to bring you the largest annual Jewish community event in Northern California! This year organizers are excited to welcome Balkan Beat Box as headliners. Other performers include Efrat Gosh and the Peatoto, The Voca People, Sol Teva, and the UC Berkeley Marching Band.  


Please email if you are interested in helping out.

For more information on the festival please click here

Harissa, Honey and Hyssop Exhibit Opening


Osher Marin JCC
Monday, June 11th

Israeli photographer Nelli Sheffer captures and contextualizes the beautiful-and very local-food of Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in this exhibit. Sheffer, who specializes in culinary photography and cookbook illustrations, has published two books on international food with art publisher Harry N. Abrams and contributed to more than 70 others.

Come early and attend the Osher Marin JCC Annual Meeting

For more information click here

 Last Jews of Yemen Reception & Presentation with Yehuda Tassa

Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto
Wednesday, June 20th
6:30PM - 8:30PM
Schultz Cultural Arts Hall Lobby

The Oshman Family JCC and JIMENA are pleased to present The Last Jews of Yemen photo exhibit as well as Yemenite jewelry by philigree artist, Yehuda Tassa.

Mr. Tassa will speak about the traditions and history of Yemenite jewelry and will also touch on the exhibit and current events of Yemenite Jews.

For more information, please contact Simcah Moyal at (650) 799-1985 

  Find JIMENA Online

Follow us on Twitter
View our videos on YouTube

Calling all Airline Miles!

JIMENA's Speakers Bureau program unites speakers with audiences all around the world. Donate your unused airline mileage to JIMENA and help us reach more people!

Preferred airlines include: American, Southwest, Jet Blue, United, Continental, Delta, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France and El Al.

Please contact Sarah Levin at or 415-626-5062 with questions.



JIMENA Assumes Rights to Forgotten Refugees Film


We are delighted to announce that JIMENA recently took over rights to the Forgotten Refugees film from our friends at the David Project. Through personal stories, archival footage, historic images, and scholarly analyses, the film explores the history and destruction of indigenous Jewish communities in the Middle East and North Africa. JIMENA Speakers use the film as an exemplary educational tool which has impacted thousands of students and adults around the world with a lesser-known narrative of Middle Eastern history.

We are currently raising money to have JIMENA Speakers screen the film and present their personal stories in over 50 major North American Universities in 2013. If you are interested in supporting this campaign, purchasing a copy of the film, or organzing a screening and presentation in your community, please donate or email

JIMENA Panel Discussion On Religious Persecution A Huge Success

Watch JIMENA Panel Discussion with Raymond Ibrahim. Part 1
Watch JIMENA Panel Discussion with Raymond Ibrahim. Part 1

JIMENA's Panel Discussion with Shillman Fellow; Raymond Ibrahim, Iranian Advocate; Elliot Benjamin, and Pulitzer-Prize winner; Joel Brinkley was a standing-room only success. The program highlighted the current challenges facing religious minorities in Egypt and Iran. Front Page Magazine and have shared video footage of the event and the feedback has been tremendous.

We would like to extend a spacial thank you to event committee members and hosts Eric Benhamou, Doris & Richard Davis, Francine Gani, Barbara & Ron Kaufman, Susan & Moses Libitsky, and Varda & Irving Rabin for supporting this phenomenal program. If you would like to have a similar JIMENA presentation in your community, please be in touch.

JIMENA Seeking Testimonials 

How Has JIMENA Impacted You?

JIMENA's diverse on-campus programs are effectively changing the discourse and approach student leaders use in advocating for Israel. Though ongoing evaluations we have learned that incorporating the Sephardic and Mizrahi refugee experience into the European Jewish narrative strengthens our advocacy for Israel and enriches and unifies our community and college students. JIMENA is committed to continue it's education of who the indigenous Middle Eastern people are, and we need your help.  If you are a student or adult who has been impacted by the JIMENA narrative, please send us a written or recorded testimony. We will be featuring your testimony in future newsletters. 

UC Berkeley Student Testimonial, 2012
UC Berkeley Student Testimonial, 2012

JIMENA Planning Fall Speakers Training Series

We are looking forward to launching a nation-wide Speakers Training Series this fall. If you are interested in educating and empowering student and adult audiences with your personal or familial story of Jewish life and exodus from the Middle East and North Africa, we encourage you to participate. Currently JIMENA's Speakers Bureau is composed of 30 trained volunteer speakers.

We are looking for volunteers and donors to help support this program.  If you are interested in getting involved please email

"Members of the JIMENA Speakers Bureau tell a remarkable story that needs to be told and retold. The plight of Palestinian refugees is a tragic story that has been seared into the minds of every student in the world. Why then, has the history of nearly one million Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands disappeared so quickly from our collective conscience? JIMENA's message and the re-telling of their speakers personal histories, make the forgotten story of Jewish refugees from Arab countries come alive. Their message is helping to balance the inaccurate adopted history of the Middle East, which only recognizes the plight of the Palestinians and fails to tell the story of oppression and displacement of Jews from Arab lands. In order to have peace and reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, the issue of the Jewish refugees has to also be addressed. "

-     Aaron Tartakovsky, Tufts Undergrad Student

  In Other News.....

A Different History of Displacement and Loss

By Matti Friedmanlogo
The Times of Israel
May 15th, 2012  

On May 15, many in the Arab world and elsewhere mark the Nakba, or the "Catastrophe," mourning the displacement of the Palestinian Arabs during the 1948 war with Israel. This year, as always, the commemoration will obscure the collapse at the same time of a different Arab society that few remember... Read More

David Littman, 78, Head of Operation Mural 

By Chana Ya'arlogo 
Israel National News
May 21st, 2012  

British-born historian and human rights activist David Littman, 78, passed away Sunday in his hometown of Gland, Switzerland. Littman posed as a Chrisitian in 1961 to rescue 530 Moroccan Jewish children during a time when Jews were not freely allowed to leave.....Read More

Where's the Outrage?

By Sarah Levin 
photo by Rachael Strecher
J Weekly
May 31st, 2012  

As I was hanging photos for JIMENA's "The Last Jews of Yemen" exhibit on a recent Friday aft the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, I once again marveled at the choice of this 2,000-year-old Jewish community to stay put in a violence and lawless country...Read More

My Mom's American Liberation

By Lucette Lagnadologo
Wall Street Journal
May 11st, 2012  

Defying centuries of deeply ingrained traditions about a woman's place took more courage than the speeches and epithets mouthed by generations of feminists.

No one who knew my mother Edith ever thought of her as an icon of American feminism. Yet with the passage of years I have become convinced that thi sis exactly what she was, though she never attended a protest or held a placard... Read More 
  JIMENA is Generously Supported by: 

Kanbar Charitable Trust
Benhamou Family Foundation

Francine Gani

Iriving and Varda Rabin Philanthropic Fund

Private donors and philanthropic funds

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