22 June 2009

San Jose: Sephardic Heritage Week, Aug 2-9

The Sephardic Orthodox Ahabat Torah congregation in San Jose, California, will participate in the South Bay's second annual Sephardic Heritage Week in early August.

Sunday, Aug. 2 - Jewish Appreciation Day with the San Jose Giants. Kosher food, Jewish surprises, recognition of our Sephardic Community “Sephardic Man of the Year.” Game begins at 5pm.

Tuesday, Aug. 4 -
Yom Iyun at JCC – "scholars' morning" explores the origins of Sephardic and Ashkenazic minhagim (customs, Hebrew) in conjunction with Jewish studies network 9:30am-12:30pm.

Wednesday, Aug. 5 - Tu B'Av - Jewish “Sadie Hawkins Day” at JCC featuring an evening of Sephardic and Ladino music presented by Kat Parra and musicians. 7-9pm.

Sunday, Aug. 9- Sephardic History Day. Presentations: Jim Harlow, "Sephardim of Yugoslavia," and Jonathan Hirshon, "From Solomon to Sheba: The Jews of Yemen, Uganda and Ethiopia."

Jim Harlow of the congregation shared the above information with me and added that Orthodox synagogues in Silicon Valley are polarized over "conversion" issues, especially b'nei anousim and halachic (Jewish law) return.

"Sephardic Heritage Week" represents the active engagement of Reform, Conservative and one Orthodox Sephardic Synagogue in a week of shared history and heritage - His is the only Orthodox congregation in the area to participate.

Ahabat Torah is also home to the Anusim Center, which assists those wishing to return to Judaism.

For some interesting stories and successes, read here for mentions of Iran's Mashadi community, the Chala of Bukhara, and several fascinating cases. Also, see the Center's extensive list of links for more information.

Since I will be in the area in July, I am planning to visit with Jim.

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