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BGU Working to Share Testimonies of Mizrahi Jews

BGU Working to Share Testimonies of Mizrahi Jews

July 23, 2018

Israel Studies, Culture & Jewish Thought

JNS – The San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) has announced a new partnership program with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel’s Ministry of Social Equality (MSE) and Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of Jewish Peoplehood, to produce a comprehensive collection of oral-history testimonies of Jews from Iran and Arab countries.

19th century Jews in Libya

Dr. Adi Portughies

In 2012, JIMENA and BGU launched a partnership to preserve the memories of Jews born in the Arab world and Iran and to ensure that the collection of testimonies would be shared with scholars. Graduate students at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism transcribed, catalogued and added the collection to the University’s archives, where it now resides.

As part of Israel’s 2014 legislation to advance the heritage of Jews from Arab countries and Iran, MSE allocated $2.6 million to launch a national initiative to collect video-recorded testimonies of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews. JIMENA and MSE pledged resources and support to train BGU students to collect testimonies to add to Israel’s National Collection and JIMENA’s oral-history collection at the University.

“This new collection will provide a database so that scholars will be able to study Mizrahi communities from the ground up,” says Dr. Adi Portughies, director of infrastructure information systems at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism.

Read more on the JNS website >>