29 December 2007

Texas: Sephardic scholar in residence

Sephardic history is part of my personal research, and Tracing the Tribe's readers note my affinity for all matters Sephardic, as I present interesting programs, books, author appearances, concerts and more with those who share these interests on a personal or cultural level.

Those in Houston, Texas, are in for a treat as this year's scholar-in-residence for the Horvitz program (in its 20th year) is Dr. RenĂ©e Levine Melammed; the theme is "Insights into Jewish History: Studying Women, Sephar­dim and Oriental Jewry."

A Jewish history professor who heads the Women’s Gender Studies MA program at Jerusalem's Schechter Institute, Dr. Melammed has authored numerous articles dealing with women in Jewish history, Conversos of Spain and the Inquisition, and edits the gender and women’s studies journal, Nashim.

Among her books: “Heretics and Daughters of Israel: The Crypto-Jewish Women of Castile” (Oxford University Press, 1999), received two National Jewish Book Awards; and “A Question of Identity: Iberian Conversos in Historical Perspective” (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Melammed's first program (7.30pm, Sunday, January 27) will be “The Spanish Inquisition: Fact or Fiction,” focusing on historical accuracy.

For three weeks, she will offer programs on Ladino poetry, Crypto-Jewry, Jewish women's history and Converso Jews. Sessions will be at 11am Sunday mornings and at 8pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The final lecture is at 8pm February 13. All programs are free to the public.

A concert is also scheduled by singer/songwriter Consuelo Luz, a descendant of Crypto-Jews, who will explore her Sephardic roots in adapting ancient Jewish prayers and ballads from Spain, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Click here for more information.

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