01 March 2009

Sephardi, Mizrahi: Book series, resource guide

Looking for more information on your Sephardic or Mizrahi ancestors? This 91-page guide of Sephardic studies resources seems very likely to provide good information for those just beginning a quest as well as for those who have been on this journey for some time.

The depth and breadth of list resources should provide helpful information to many researchers, regardless of experience. There are sources for Jewish history, music, genealogy, and many more interrelated topics.

The guide - "Sources for Sephardic Studies: A Library Research Guide" - was prepared byPrinceton University librarian Dr. Rachel Simon, in spring 2006.

My peeve is that none of the books on Iranian Jews were listed, although some volumes have a chapter or two.

Also, genealogists on the trail of their non-Ashkenazi ancestors will be interested in a new series of books by Indiana University Press. The Indiana Series in Sephardi and Mizrahi Studies will be edited by Hebrew University's Harvey E. Goldberg and Indiana University's Matthias B. Lehmann.

The first volumes are expected in late 2009 or early 2010. Readers with questions or proposals for the series should contact Lehmann, who is associate professor of history and Jewish studies.
The study of Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries has emerged as a growing and cutting-edge field within Jewish Studies. As scholars of modern Judaism have focused on new topics such as the Spanish-Portuguese Jews of the port cities in the Atlantic world or non-European Jews in the world of Islam, they have begun to reshape our understanding of the modern Jewish experience.

Older models of Jewish historiography have given way to a new, postmodern vision of Jewish history with a multicultural narrative. Jewish cultures, often referred to in the plural, are now appreciated in their diversity and as closely intertwined with the host cultures among which Jews have lived. Sephardi and Mizrahi Studies, as an interdisciplinary endeavor, have played an important role in this repositioning of Jewish Studies.
The aim is to encourage Sephardi and Mizrahi studies within Jewish Studies, as a multi-disciplinary approach including history, religious studies, anthropology, folklore, literary studies, and the arts. The broad definition will include medieval Iberian Jewry and the post-1492 Sephardi Diaspora, the Jews of the Islamic Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

In addition to contributing to Jewish studies, the offerings will be selected to contribute to both specific fields and to other area studies, and it appears that the series will offer information of value to genealogists.

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