05 September 2008

Mexico: Syrian Jews' conference, 9-11 Sept.

An international conference - Syrian Jews and its Diaspora in America - will be held September 9-11, at Mexico City's Mount Sinai Social Center and the Maguen David Center.

Planning and organization is by Dr. Liz Hamui Sutton de Halabe, Professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and specialist on the Jewish Syrian communities in Mexico; Lic. Renee Dayán, Comunidad Maguén David; Lic. Marcos Metta, Alianza Monte Sinaí; Dr. Daniel Fainstein, Director of the Universidad Hebraica; Dra. Shulamit Goldsmith, director, “Programa de Cultura Judaica de la Universidad Iberoamericana;” Tere Urfali, conference assistance and logistics; and Sr. Isaac Aspani, Federation Sefaradí Latinoamericana.

Sponsoring institutions include Alianza Monte Sinaí (Jews from Damascus and Lebanon); Comunidad Maguén David (Jews from Aleppo); Universidad Hebraica (Mexico); and the Jewish Culture Program, Universidad Iberoamericana.

The arrival of Jewish immigrants from Aleppo and Damascus and their descendants has been of great interest to academics despite the fact that Jewish communities in Syria are nearly extinguished. However, the culture is still preserved through intergenerational transmission of values, beliefs, practices and representations that had been remade in Israel and in a century of American Diaspora.

Syrian Jewish congregations in different geographical locations have different characteristics according to the culture and social, economic and political conditions in the places where they have established themselves.

The goal of this conference is to get to know the history of the Aleppo and Damascus communities, their similarities and differences in America and Israel.

Scheduled programs include lectures as well as music, dance and food.

Topics range from Aleppo and Damascus culture and heritage, Rabbi Isaac Abulafia, Aleppo Alliance Schools, migration from Aleppo in the 18-20th centuries; rabbis of Syria; popular culture, superstitions, culture and identity, anthropological perspectives on Mexico City Syrian Jewish life; minority way of life; Latin America's Syrian Jews and Arabs, Syrians in Brazil, Syrians in Lebanese eyes; Argentina's immigrants, Jews and Lebanese in Mexico; entrepreneurial Jewish-Aleppo life; educational models, orthodox women, and Syrian Jewish identity in Mexico; North American Syrian Jews, Syrian Jews in Brooklyn and New Jersey, Syrian Arabs and Jews in New York City, Syrian Jewish immigration to early 20th century New York, identity and memory of Syrian Jews in New York City; Syrian Jews in latin America, Buenos Aires Syrian Jews, Argentinean Syrian Jews, Brazilian Syrian Jews, changing customs and boundaries in Latin American Sephardic Jewry.

Program abstracts are here.

For more details, click here.

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