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center 2015-16 NEWSLETTER VOLUME 23 Digital version:

at the

Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies


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A TURNING POINT FOR THE CENTER Welcome to the 2015-16 academic year at the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies! We have an exciting year of public programs, research initiatives, and service learning courses planned, all of which bespeak the flourishing of Jewish studies at UCLA. We also have a few significant changes at the Center, including our new name and the appointment of a new associate director. As I’m sure you will see, the 2015-16 year marks a turning point in the growth of the Center. In January, we announced a naming gift in the amount of $5M to endow the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. The endowment will allow the Center to roll out several new initiatives to support students, teaching, research and public history initiatives over the next years that are described on p. 20. In 2016, we will have the official opening and formal dedication of the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. For now, please join me in thanking UCLA alumnus, Alan D. Leve, for his generosity, vision, and support in helping ensure that Jewish studies at UCLA remains strong and thrives well into the future. Connected with the naming, the Center will undertake expanded programmatic initiatives as well as bring on a new Associate Director of Research, Dr. Saba Soomekh. Saba brings a wealth of experience, leadership, and innovative teaching and research to UCLA. I am truly pleased to have her join us. The 2014-15 academic year was an eventful year for the Center, as UCLA confronted the specter of antisemitism on campus and engaged in programming that challenged conventional assumptions about Jewish studies in the public sphere. As a first-rate research university, we are committed to the highest standards in scholarly inquiry and hope that you will feel welcome to participate and engage with the wide-range of public programs that we undertake. In fact, I would suggest that supporting the public mission of Jewish studies through teaching, research,



center at the

Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

and service is one of the most important things you can do at this critical junction in history. Our students—both Jewish and non-Jewish—need a Center for Jewish Studies to provide a vital foundation for imagining and creating a more just, a more democratic, and a more equitable world. With more than 30 affiliated faculty, who teach some 70 Jewish studies courses annually, coupled with scores of public programs realized through the Center, we are dedicated to doing just that. As the new academic year starts, let me draw your attention to an international conference co-sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on November 15-16, On the Margins of the Holocaust, which will address the impact of the Second World War on Jewish and Muslim communities throughout North Africa. Building on the Center’s ongoing Mapping Jewish LA research initiative, the Center has also launched a major new research initiative, under the leadership of Professor Sarah Stein, the Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish Archive at UCLA, dedicated to preserving and contextualizing materials from Los Angeles' diverse Jewish communities. Finally, I would like to close with a remembrance of Erna Viterbi, wife of Andrew Viterbi and sister of Al Finci, Chair of the Center’s Community Advisory Board, who passed away on February 17, 2015. Erna and Andrew Viterbi endowed the Viterbi Family Program in Mediterranean Jewish studies in 2008. The endowment not only supports academic and community programs on the history of Mediterranean Jewry but also brings a visiting professor to campus to teach undergraduate and graduate seminars. Erna was born in Sarajevo in the former Yugoslavia, in 1934. During World War II, her family escaped to Montenegro, which was controlled by the Italian army, and then to Switzerland, settling in California in 1950. She met her husband, founder of Qualcomm and a Center Advisory Board member, in 1956, and they were married for 57 years. The Viterbi Program endures as a testament to her family legacy. May her memory be a blessing for all who were touched by her. Todd Samuel Presner Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director, UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies Professor, Germanic Languages and Comparative Literature Chair, Digital Humanities Program


Mary Enid Pinkerson Vivian Holenbeck design

David Wu


ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH Saba Soomekh, prize-winning author, popular UCLA instructor, and community ethnographer, has been appointed Associate Director of Research for the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. The new position, part of an expansion enabled by the generous endowment of Alan D. Leve, will assist Director Todd Presner in further developing the Center’s focus on original research, service learning, and outreach. An ethnographic scholar of religion, Soomekh began her career with the realization that very little had been written about Iranian Jewish women and their emigration to America. Over a span of 2 years, she interviewed 120 local Iranian-Jewish women (ages 1890) for her book, From the Shahs to Los Angeles (SUNY Press, 2012), which was awarded the Gold Medal 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Religion category). One of the first academic studies of this community, it serves as the primary textbook for her sociology class on Iranian Jews. Soomekh’s teaching philosophy emphasizes the application of theory to real-world situations. Students in the class conduct their own interviews of community leaders, including rabbis, philanthropists, and business people, and their projects are incorporated into the Mapping Jewish LA exhibition, Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles. Expounding on her teaching philosophy, she noted that “I want my students to see the significance of understanding how history, ethnicities, nationalism and migration are relevant to all aspects of today’s world." Soomekh herself was born in Tehran

and grew up in Los Angeles. After earning her B.A. in religious studies from UC Berkeley, she earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara. In addition to UCLA, she has taught at California State University, Northridge and Loyola Marymount. She served as project coordinator for Light and Shadows, the 2012 Fowler Museum exhibition on Iranian Jews and as a consultant for the PBS program, The Iranian Americans. Soomekh states “as an ethnographic scholar of religion, my work looks at the socio-cultural aspects of the Iranian Jewish community. I reflect on topics such as historical narrative, Diaspora communities in Los Angeles, immigration, intergenerational relationships, gender and Jewish identity and memory. It is a perfect fit with the Center as they are involved in groundbreaking projects preserving and documenting the diverse Jewish community in Los Angeles while offering service learning courses and providing thought provoking seminars, conference and classes. It is such an honor to be a part of such a reputable Center and contribute my research and scholarship.” “Saba Soomekh brings an enormous wealth of experience, community leadership, and intellectual energy to the Center, and I am truly delighted to have her assume the position of Associate Director,” Presner remarked. “I look forward to collaborating with Saba in the years to come as we grow our research, teaching, and public service initiatives in new directions.”

ABOUT THE COVER This issue of at the Center— ‫ במרכז‬focuses on the vibrant research on the history and culture of North Africa’s Jews taking place at UCLA. The centerfold provides examples of work being done by four faculty members, two recent PhDs in History, and one current graduate student covering the multifaceted history of Jews living and moving through the Mediterranean and Middle East, including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Solonica. The new Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish Archive at UCLA will focus on

preserving materials from Los Angeles’ diverse Jewish communities, providing interpretation and context, and making the information accessible to scholars, students, and the broader community. In addition, the interdisciplinary conference, On the Margins of the Holocaust, Nov. 15-16, will examine new research on the Second World War’s impact on Jews and Muslims in North Africa. Cover image—"Grande Synagogue” of Algiers, Place Randon. Postcard: Collection Idéale P. S. # 260, circa 1900. 8.8 x13.8 cm. Collection of Susan Slyomovics. 3

Courtesy American Jewish Historical Society


Michael Casper

Eye treatment at Hadassah hospital, 1920s

Center for Jewish History Lillian Goldman Fellowship Goes to Michael Casper

Maurice Amado Program Summer Research Fellowships Support Study of North Africa & MidEast

MICHAEL CASPER [History] – a former Fulbright fellow in Lithuania, will spend 2015-16 at the New York Center for Jewish History conducting original research on Jewish politics and culture in interwar Lithuania.

SULEIMAN HODALI [History] – researched how Iraqi Jewish writers arriving in Israel remained within an orbit of progressive Arabic thought and literature. ANAT MOOREVILLE [History] – researched the imagery of science and technology in order to contextualize 50 photographs of Trachoma treatment in Israel and Palestine. (above)

David Wu

CHRIS SILVER [History] – consulted archives in Israel, France, and Canada for his project on the outsized role played by Jewish musicians and music impresarios in the North African recording industry. [see story on p. 13] MURAT YILDIZ [History] – presented a paper on the emergence of sports amongst Muslims, Jews, and Christians of Istanbul at the American University in Cairo. He also received support from the History department.

Taly Ravid

3 Win Bluma Appel Summer Research Fellowships


ALICE MANDELL [NELC] – participated in an intensive summer course in Talmudic Aramaic at Hebrew Union College

HUGHLIN BOYD [GSEIS] – traveled to Jamaica over the summer to research the Jews of that country as part of his dissertation on Jamaican immigrants and their educational paths. His trip was supported in part by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the UCLA Department of History, and the Alan D. Leve Center.

TALY RAVID [English] – examined Philip Roth’s papers at the Library of Congress. JODY WASHBURN [NELC] – researched Hebrew inscriptions found in three burial caves in southern Judea.


The Fritz, Jenny and Gustav Berger Fellowship in Holocaust Studies will announce its first call for proposals in Winter 2016. The fellowship will cover a graduate student’s tuition and fees for one year plus offer a stipend.



Andrew Rosenstein


David Wu


From left: Prof. David N. Myers, Rong Yu, and Jing Jing Zhang

Stephen O. Lesser Chinese Travel Grant Promotes Exchange Above, RONG YU, a graduate student at the Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies at Nanjing University, shares a laugh with PROFESSOR DAVID N. MYERS, and JINGJING ZHANG at Thinking Beyond the Canon, the Jewish studies graduate student conference held in March. Jing Jing, a student at Beijing Foreign Studies University, came to UCLA for Spring quarter 2015 to study with PROFESSOR ELEANOR KAUFMAN.

Rosenstein Film Wins Sarah & Eugene Zinn Memorial Scholarship for MAY Holocaust OPENING 20, 2015 Studies UCLA JAMES BRIDGES THEATER


Completing the graduate student exchange, JASON LUSTIG [History] and ROSEANNA LU [NELC] visited and lectured at Nanjing University. PROFESSOR TODD PRESNER will visit Nanjing as part of a faculty exchange, as well.

9 Earn Chaskel & Sara Roter Summer Research Travel Grants MICHAEL CASPER [History] – Archival collections in Lithuania LISA CLEATH [NELC] – Berlin Neues Museum’s collection of Elephantine Aramaic papyri DYLAN CONNOR [Geography] – Center for Jewish History, American Jewish Historical Society

Hermine & Sigmund Frey Scholarship Supports Mapping Project Over the summer NATHANIEL SANDLOW [International Relations] and ALEXANDER ABRAMOFF [Jewish Studies] continued working on their project “Mapping Jews of Venice, CA” begun as part of the service-learning class, Jews in Los Angeles: Representation, Memory and History, taught by DR. CAROLINE LUCE.

JACOB DAMM [NELC] – Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project DEB DONIG [English] – Vonnegut Archives, Lilly Library, University of Indiana SARA HUGHES [Geography] – Israeli occupied West Bank LINDSAY KING [History] – National libraries in Vienna, Austria and Dresden ZACHARY (MICHEL) KLEIN [Musicology] – Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY ANDREA MOORE [Musicology] – Conference in Leeds, England and Berlin archives

Spring Break Trip Views Germany Close Up MARNINA WIRTSHAFTER [Communications] traveled to Germany over spring break with UC Santa Barbara Hillel for a week of cultural exchange as part of a youth encounter program, "Germany Up Close," funded by the German government. The students had the chance to meet with academic and political opinion-makers, representatives of grass roots movements and the Jewish community, as well as German contemporaries. 5



Lia Brozgal & Sara Kippur, editors

Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2015

Liverpool University Press, December 2015

This volume of original essays by 23 preeminent scholars of French and Comparative literature, hailing from both sides of the Atlantic, offers a sustained critical reflection on the contemporary as a concept, a category, a condition, and a set of relationships to others and to one’s own time. Its point of departure is Susan Rubin Suleiman’s book Risking Who One Is (Harvard, 1994), which proposed two decades ago that “being contemporary” offers a heuristic category for assessing the role of the scholar and critic, for studying the current moment in literature, art, and culture, and for engaging with historical and philosophical questions in a way that resonates with readers in the present day. Returning to these ideas with renewed vigor, these essays center on 20th- and 21st-century French literature, politics, memory, and history, and problematize the contemporary as a critical position with respect to the current moment. Essays on contemporary French politics and anti-Semitism; the memory of Vichy in the 21st century; and French holocaust literature will be of particular interest to scholars of Jewish studies.

Lev Hakak

Sasson Mordekhai Moshe (17471830), a prominent Baghdadi rabbi, was renowned as a preacher, teller of fables, mystic, and poet. He also wrote liturgies and painted. While he completed The Voice of Mirth (“Sefer Kol Sasson”) in 1796, it was published for the first time in Livorno in 1859, afterwards appearing in several editions. It is a moralistic book, designed to improve its readers’ character. Each of the 43 chapters contains a discussion of one human trait, fables, and a related poem instructing the reader to aspire to good traits and avoid bad ones. The full title of this edition is Fables and Stories Collected from ‘The Voice of Mirth’. The reproof of each chapter and the poems have been deleted. Instead, Lev Hakak selected the fables, gave each fable a title, and began each fable with a sentence taken from the reproof that leads the reader to the fable’s moral. He also added an extensive introduction and a glossary of abbreviations. This is Hakak’s sixth book focusing on the Hebrew culture of Babylonian Jews in the years 1730-1950.


CAROL BAKHOS* Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion.

Jared McBride (Ph.D. History) was the first-ever Margee and Douglas Greenberg Research Fellow at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, and is now an assistant professor of history at Columbia University.


Kerri Steinberg (Ph.D. Art History) published Jewish Mad Men: Advertising and the Design of the American Jewish Experience, Rutger’s University Press, 2015. Steinberg, associate professor of art history at Otis College of Art and Design, is a former member of the CJS Advisory Board.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology.

Dancers Alexx Shilling (M.A. WAC) and Rebecca Pappas (M.A. WAC) collaborated on a performance of their works Absence: A History, and A Dance Concerning Itself with History and Memory at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica in July 2015. Pappas is an assistant professor of dance history at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Shilling is teaching at Loyola Marymount University.


Please send Alumni news to 6

Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Comparative Literature.

AOMAR BOUM* LEAH PLATT BOUSTAN Associate Professor of Economics.

RA'ANAN BOUSTAN Associate Professor of History.

Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies.

AARON BURKE Associate Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.

ELLEN DUBOIS Professor of History.



The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2014

Jeremy D. Smoak

Two late books in the Bible, Daniel and Ezra, contain large sections in literary Aramaic. Although Arabic quickly superseded Aramaic—the official language of the Assyrian and Persian empires—with the Islamic conquests of the 7th century, Aramaic continued to be spoken by the Jews and Christians of Kurdistan (Iraq, Iran, Turkey) and three villages (mostly Christian) in Syria. This volume is a comparative study of the classical text of Daniel (ca. 160 BCE) with traditional oral translations in neoAramaic made by Hakham Avidani of Amidya in Israel (recorded by Yona Sabar ca. 1960). It is the eighth in a series of comparative studies Sabar has completed to document his native language. Unlike the texts of the Torah and Prophets that were regularly recited in synagogues, the texts of Daniel and Ezra were hardly used or known. Avidani’s familiarity with the book of Daniel, therefore, is much more tenuous than with liturgical texts. Yet amazingly, many words and roots from Biblical Aramaic are still retained in the Neo-Aramaic translation, with just a little change. Sabar pays particular attention to the lexical and morphological categories in which the neo-Aramaic speaker encounters difficulties and tends to make translation errors, or “improvements.”

Oxford University Press, 2015

The Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 has left a deep imprint upon Jewish and Christian religious practice and tradition. Rabbinic literature demonstrates that the biblical blessing held a central place in early Jewish liturgy, especially as part of the development of the Amidah prayer. Byzantine and Medieval Christian practice also reveal a rich diversity of applications of the blessing. Considerably less is known about its origins and earliest history in the ancient world. Jeremy Smoak breaks new ground by examining the blessing’s appearance on two Iron Age amulets discovered at the site of Ketef Hinnom in Jerusalem. His book provides a comprehensive description of the two amulets and compares the inscriptions on their surfaces with several Phoenician and Punic inscribed amulets. Smoak argues that the blessing's language originated within a wider tradition of protective words, often inscribed on metal amulets as protection against evil, and contends that the Priestly writers of the biblical texts incorporated the specific words into the blessing's formulations precisely due to their wide popularity and appeal as protective words in the eastern Mediterranean world.

*Faculty Advisory Committee member




Lecturer in Hebrew.

Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music, Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology.


Kershaw Chair of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Department Chair of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Professor of Biblical Studies and Northwest Semitic Languages.

Professor of Comparative Literature.



Lecturer in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East.


Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History and Professor of History.


Professor of Hebrew Literature.



Professor of Germanic Languages and Comparative Literature, Chair of the Digital Humanities Program, Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies.

SAUL FRIEDLÄNDER Distinguished Emeritus Professor of History.

JESSICA GOLDBERG Associate Professor of History.

Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies Librarian, YRL Adjunct Assistant Professor, NELC.

GIL HOCHBERG Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies.

ELEANOR KAUFMAN* Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French and Francophone Studies.

MIRIAM KORAL Lecturer in Yiddish.

KENNETH REINHARD Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and English, Director of the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory.

Professor of Anthropology and Near East Languages and Cultures.

SARAH ABREVAYA STEIN* Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies, Professor of History.

STEVEN SPIEGEL Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Middle East Development.



Professor of Sociology.

Distinguished Professor of History.



Professor of Law.

Professor of Hebrew and Aramaic. 7

FACULTY HONORS VISUAL OCCUPATIONS: VIOLENCE AND VISIBILITY IN A CONFLICT ZONE Gil Z. Hochberg Duke University Press, 2015 Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe

In Visual Occupations Gil Z. Hochberg shows how the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is driven by the unequal access to visual rights, or the right to control what can be seen, how, and from which position. Israel maintains this unequal balance by erasing the history and denying the existence of Palestinians, and by carefully concealing its own militarization. Israeli surveillance of Palestinians, combined with the militarized gaze of Israeli soldiers at places like roadside checkpoints, also serve as tools of dominance. Hochberg analyzes various works by Palestinian and Israeli artists, among them Elia Suleiman, Rula Halawani, Sharif Waked, Ari Folman, and Larry Abramson, whose films, art, and photography challenge the inequity of visual rights by altering, queering, and manipulating dominant modes of representing the conflict. These artists' creation of new ways of seeing—such as the refusal of Palestinian filmmakers and photographers to show Palestinian suffering or the Israeli artists' exposure of state manipulated Israeli blindness—offers a crucial gateway, Hochberg suggests, for overcoming and undoing Israel's militarized dominance and political oppression of Palestinians.

LECTURERS 2015-2016 RENATA FUCHS—Research Fellow, UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, Lecturer in Germanic Languages WILLIAM KATIN—Lecturer in Germanic Languages NAYA LEKHT—Lecturer in Slavic Languages CAROLINE LUCE—Michael & Irene Ross Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Curator of “Mapping Jewish LA,” Lecturer in History NADAV MOLCHADSKY—Lecturer in History NAHID PIRNAZAR—Lecturer in Iranian Studies SABA SOOMEKH—Lecturer in Sociology

CENTER FELLOWS 2015-2016 MAX BAUMGARTEN—Summer Research Fellow

DAVID N. MYERS TO BE INAUGURAL SADY & LUDWIG KAHN CHAIR IN JEWISH HISTORY Professor David N. Myers, has been awarded the inaugural Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History, which will provide funds for research, graduate student support, and annual public programs. In June, Myers stepped down as the Robert N. Burr Department Chair in History. He is also a former director of the Center, serving from 1996-2000 and 2004-2010.

EFRAIN KRISTAL SPEAKS OF JORGE LUIS BORGES Efrain Kristal, the chair of UCLA’s comparative literature department and a professor of Spanish, delivered UCLA’s 118th Faculty Research Lecture on May 13, 2015, “Jorge Luis Borges and War.” Borges (1899-1986), an Argentine writer, inspired Latin American practitioners of magical realism and other innovators, including Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, and Carlos Fuentes with his love of creating fantastical, impossible worlds. Kristal has published widely on Borges.

SEPHARDI LIVES WINS NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD Congratulations to Sarah Abrevaya Stein, professor of history, for winning the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Sephardic culture as co-author with Julia Cohen of the anthology, Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700–1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014). Sephardi Lives uses more than 150 primary sources to examine the cultural and historical diversity of Sephardic Jews, those who fled medieval Spain and Portugal.

SARAH A. STEIN NAMED GUGGENHEIM FELLOW Professor Sarah Abrevaya Stein has been awarded a 2015 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The 175 new fellows were chosen from a pool of more than 3,100 applicants and represent distinguished scholars, artists and scientists. The historian will work on a book tracing the intertwined histories of four generations of a Sephardic family.

LIA BROZGAL RECEIVES ACLS FELLOWSHIP Lia Brozgal, associate professor of French and Francophone studies, received a 2015-16 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) grant for her project, “A Postcolonial Anarchive,” which examines literary, cinematic, and other visual representations of the massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris on October 17, 1961, at the height of the Algerian war for independence.

JOANNA CHEN CHAM—Summer Research Fellow


DEBORAH ANNE LEWIS—Civic Engagement Fellow

The American Anthropological Association Middle East Section honored Susan Slyomovics, professor of Anthropology and Near East Languages and Cultures, with the 2014 Distinguished Senior Scholar Award. The award is granted to an anthropologist of the Middle East whose teaching and contributions to the literature and the profession have substantially advanced the field.

PAYTON PHILLIPS QUINTANILLA—Maurice Amado Fellow, ucLADINO CHERI ROBINSON—Maurice Amado Fellow, ucLADINO CHRIS SILVER—Maurice Amado Fellow, Manager of Sephardic Archive project




Courtesy Aomar Boum



is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCLA and Faculty Fellow at the Université Internationale de Rabat, Morocco. He was born and raised in the oasis of Mhamid, Foum Zguid in the Province of Tata, Morocco.


arrived at the University of Arizona in summer 2000 with the intention to study water management in southern Morocco where I grew up. After a year of coursework and exposure to old Islamic manuscripts and local histories of southern Morocco, including less known histories of Jewish-Muslim relations, I shifted my academic career to Saharan Jews from a historical and anthropological perspective and through Muslim eyes. From the margins of the southern Moroccan fringes, to its urban centers and global networks, Moroccan Judaism and its articulations at the local, national, and international levels became my passion. As a socio-cultural anthropologist with a historical bent concerned with the social and cultural representation of, and political discourse about, religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, my ethnographic work engages the place of religious minorities in post-independence nation states


There is a Moroccan saying: “A market without Jews is like bread without salt.” In 1956, when Morocco attained independence, it was home to over 250,000 Jews, including many merchants. Many Jewish communities were hundreds of years old and some had roots in antiquity. Today, the Moroccan Jewish community has declined to fewer than 2,500. Young Moroccans know of Jews only from media representations and political conflict between Israelis and Arabs. After studying in the U.S. where he became enthralled with the history of Jewish-Muslim relations in his homeland, Aomar Boum returned to Morocco to better understand the evolution of public perceptions of Jewish people over four generations, and how the vacuum left from the Jewish emigration has precipitated shifts in public opinion. Here Boum interviews a religious scholar inside a religious brotherhood and Quranic School.

with a particular focus on Morocco. I have written on different topics related to Moroccan Jews such as Moroccan Jewish historiography, representation of Jews in cinema, museums and Islamic archives and manuscripts, and Jewish education in rural areas. Much of my work has focused on the anthropology of JewishMuslim relations in an age of communal violence, especially generational Muslims’ memories of Moroccan Jews, using a range of ethnographic strategies. This work was recently published under the title: Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco (Stanford University Press, 2013). I am currently at work with Daniel Schroeter on an ethnographic and historically grounded project on Morocco and the Holocaust. I have also begun working on an ethnographic project on the Moroccan Jewish community of Los Angeles.

SEPHARDI JEWS & EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP: TRACING THE DRAMA Divisão de Arquivo e Biblioteca, Instituto Diplomático, Lisbon. Isaac Beja was among roughly 2,500 Salonican Jews who acquired foreign papers during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), after which Salonica transitioned from Ottoman to Greek rule.

SARAH ABREVAYA STEIN, Professor of History, is the Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies. An elected member of the American Academy for Jewish Research and recipient of numerous fellowships, her five books have received significant honors and awards. With the support of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship, Stein will work on new project, Family Papers: A Sephardi Journey Through the Twentieth Century. The history of a single family, this book will also trace the history of a collection, reflecting on how one family archive came to be built and preserved.


he governments of Spain and Portugal have announced their intention to grant citizenship to any Jew demonstrating descent from a family expelled from Iberia in the fifteenth century. Some Sephardi and North African Jewish families in Turkey, Israel, and the United States (and beyond) have embraced the proposals, seeing Portuguese or Spanish citizenship as a shortcut to EU citizenship—a useful commodity regardless of whether the new citizen intends to dwell on Iberian soil. Others have proven deeply skeptical of Spanish and Portuguese motives, complaining that the citizenship laws are attended by unnecessary conditions and burdensome fees. These events re-enact a drama first staged five centuries ago, when, in accordance with a series of bilateral treaties between the European powers and the Ottoman leadership (known to the Ottomans as ahdnameler and to the Europeans as the Capitulations), the states of Europe began to register Ottomanborn, non-Muslim subjects as protected subjects, rendering them “extraterritorial” by granting them a degree of immunity from local law. Then, as today, European powers viewed the acquisition of Christian and Jewish subjects as materially and symbolically advantageous, while the individuals involved perceived the acquisition of foreign protection as a hedge against an unstable world. My forthcoming book, Extraterritorial Dreams: European Citizenship, Ottoman Jews, and the Calamitous Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2016) traces the experience of Ottoman, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish women, men, and children who held, sought, or lost the protection of a European power in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when


the capitulatory regime was giving way to the passport regime, the Ottoman Empire giving way to various successor states, and mass migration was fissuring historic Jewish communities. In the face of these changes, some protégés remained in the place of their birth, partaking in a transition from empire to nationstate, protectorate, or mandate regime. Others carried their legal status to émigré settings or passed their legal identity to children or grandchildren born outside the empire who, in turn, carried protégé status through migrations of their own. Extraterritorial Dreams offers a past history of current events, but also thinks about what citizenship has meant to Sephardi Jews over the long twentieth century—and how legal identities informed personal experiences of war, migration, diaspora, the Holocaust, and the personal and intimate lives of ordinary Jewish women, men, children, and families. One insight is that the experience of “extraterritoriality” was a ubiquitous feature of modern Mediterranean Jewish society. Even during the Holocaust, being an extraterritorial Jew could render one vulnerable or, conversely, entitle one to preferential treatment, making the difference between life and death. Protection was a tangible legal state for many Mediterranean Jews. But the protégé status was also a vessel into which many parties—nationalists, socialists, localists, imperial loyalists, representatives of states, consular officials, émigrés—deposited their own ambitions, fears, and dreams. That these dreams recur in the present day, with Spain and Portugal’s attempts to ingather their scattered subjects, is testimony to the strength of their symbolic and material force.

GETTING TO “FOOTNOTES OF THE HOLOCAUST”: TUNISIAN JEWS UNDER THE NAZI BOOT Memmi is the route that led me across the Mediterranean to colonial Tunisia, and once there (metaphorically and literally), that road bifurcated into multiple paths, exciting new projects and courses. This fall, at the Margins of the Holocaust conference on World War II and North Africa, I will be presenting “From the Footnotes of the Holocaust: Judeo-Tunisian Chronicles of Occupation” (a portion of a new project devoted to literary and filmic depictions of World War II North Africa). This paper took shape from my reading of Memmi’s first novel, Pillar of Salt, in which the protagonist, Alexandre Mordechaï Benillouche, describes his experience of Jewish work camps during the Nazi occupation of Tunisia. Looking back on his time in the camps, Benillouche writes:


Courtesy Sarah Abrevaya Stein

n the fall of 2009, shortly after I arrived at UCLA, I found myself standing in an arid, decrepit Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Ghardaïa, a hilltop village some 600 kilometers south of Algiers. Two colleagues and I listened as the elderly Muslim caretaker told us of his imprisonment during the Algerian war for independence (1956-1962), and how a Jewish Algerian lawyer had taken up his cause and eventually secured his freedom. Although he moved with difficulty and lacked the means to tend the flat tombstones that blended into the rust-colored landscape, it was clear that maintaining this Jewish burial ground was both a pleasure and a duty, born out of gratitude to the Jewish lawyer who had helped him more than a half-century ago, and a deeply held sense of fellow-feeling for the Algerian Jews. But what was a scholar of French and Francophone literature doing in the middle of a Jewish cemetery in the Algerian Sahara? How had I ended up visiting Jewish sites in a country where the once thriving Jewish community is no longer, and where an authoritarian regime makes tourism rare? The answer lies in my work on Judeo-Tunisian writer Albert Memmi, Tunisia’s most celebrated Frenchlanguage novelist and essayist. Delving into Memmi’s literature produced a twist in my scholarly trajectory: it prompted me to explore the cultural and historical matrix of Maghrebi Jews and colonized North Africa.

Because I didn’t lose an arm or a leg in the work camps, because I wasn’t forced to board a train bound for hell, because my fingernails were not torn out, I feel I owe a debt to my century. Victim or perpetrator, history demands we pick a side. I’m not victim enough; that’s why my conscience is tortured.

This fictionalized tale of survivor guilt is in fact an historical reality; moreover, Memmi was not the only Tunisian Jew to narrativize this story−several other members of the community also wrote memoirs or chronicles of this dark period. Written in French and likely never intended to circulate widely, works such as Six Months Beneath the Boot (Paul Ghez) or The Yellow Star and the Swastika (Claude Nataf), remain little known, and under-studied. In addition to de-centering the representation of the Shoah and participating in an on-going project of “individualizing the Holocaust,” these chronicles complicate the question of contemporaneous knowledge of the Third Reich’s goals and make visible the complexity of representing an experience that is tangential to the horror of the Holocaust but nonetheless deeply influenced by it.


associate professor of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA, earned her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard. Her book, Against Autobiography: Albert Memmi and the Production of Theory was published by University of Nebraska Press in 2013.




fter 1962, when Algeria gained independence from France, vast numbers of memorials, monuments, and exhumed bodies migrated from Algeria to France, transported across the Mediterranean by communities assigned the legal category of rapatrié, the “repatriated” of Algeria. Though inexact, the term is widely used to cover Pieds-Noirs (settler colonialists of European descent); Harkis (Algerian Muslims who had fought on the side of the French during the Algerian war of independence); and native Algerian Jews. Rapatrié is also applied to the transfer of objects from church bells to large war memorials moved from Algeria to a presumed place of origin in France. In Algeria, non-repatriated monuments from the era of French colonialism were preserved, destroyed or replaced, and the spaces in which they were situated were repurposed in the early decades after independence. Against this contested background of legal and illegal “repatriation” of objects from Algeria to France combined with Algerian spatial renovations, my current book project focuses on claims directed against a series of post-independent Algerian governments from former European settlers and Algerian Jews (but also from Algerian Jews in Israel) who have relocated primarily to France on behalf of several intertwined compensation and remediation demands: 1) settler property nationalized after the 1962 mass exodus (éxode); 2) legal and illegal repatriation of war memorials and religious artifacts; and 3) the maintenance of Christian and Jewish cemeteries in Algeria.

Looking up Rue Austerlitz, main street of the former Jewish quarter of Oran, Algeria

My questions are: what are the ways that “repatriate” communities conceive of themselves as victims of historical state violence in relation to their legal claims? In which ways and settings do these disparate groups employ a legal discourse in their articulations of injustice? How do they relate individual experiences of lost properties, war memorials, and ancestors left behind in the Algerian ground to collective articulations such as class actions, political lobbying as well as new pilgrimages and memorialization practices?


is Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Before coming to UCLA in 2006 she was Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at MIT. The author of nine books, Slyomovics is also a contributing editor of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Interior of the former Jewish hospital of Oran, Algeria Courtesy Susan Slyomovics 12

NOVEMBER 15-16, 2015 Center for Near Eastern Studies



Immediately following the end of the Second World War, the emerging Western scholarship on the Holocaust focused on the major historical actors and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the impact of the catastrophic events of the Holocaust on the Jewish communities throughout Europe. This international conference will examine new research on the Second World War’s impact on Jews and Muslims in North


JEWS, MUSLIMS, AND COLONIALISM IN NORTH AFRICA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR Africa. While mass murder did not occur there, Vichy-style antisemitic legislation was imposed, labor camps were set up, and the threat of annihilation loomed over the heads of the region’s Jews. Starting in November of 1942, the Allies began to liberate North Africa and thus spared the Jewish population from the decimation encountered in Europe.

On the eve of World War II there were 400,000 Jews in French North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, sometimes called the “Maghreb”, meaning Arab North Africa), and another 30,000 Jews in Libya, then an Italian colony. The fate of the Jews in North Africa was different depending on the country in which they were located.

In Libya, which was an Italian colony, thousands of Jews were sent to labor camps and concentration camps, and almost 600 died in these camps from hunger and disease.

In the three North African countries that fell under the regime of Vichy France – Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco – the fate of the Jews was different depending on the country. The Jews of Algeria, who held French citizenship, were stripped of their rights, required to wear an identifying mark, and subjected to admission quotas, even in primary schools. In Morocco, where Jews had civil rights but were not citizens of France, anti-Jewish laws were not formally enacted, but the French bureaucracy introduced a set of anti-Jewish regulations. Approximately 2,100 Moroccan Jews were interned in work camps set up throughout Morocco and connected with the trans-Saharan railroad project. Conditions at the camps were horrendous, and many died from hunger, exhaustion, and disease.

The Jews of Algeria and Morocco were spared the fate of their brethren in Europe because the tide of the war turned against the forces of General Rommel at the battle of El Alamein, and beginning in November 1942, the Allies began to liberate North Africa. Tunisia was the only country among the three that the German army actually occupied. The army entered Tunisia together with a SS unit tasked with applying anti-Jewish policy. Almost 5,000 Jews, most of them from Tunis and from certain northern communities, were taken captive and incarcerated in 32 labor camps scattered throughout Tunisia, the biggest and most lethal of these were the camps in Bizerte and Mateur. The Jews of Tunisia were saved only because in early May 1943 the Allies forced the Germans to retreat.

—Courtesy Yad Vashem



Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

Professor of History, UCLA UCLA Maurice Amado Endowed Chair in Sephardic Studies



Senior Program Officer, USHMM Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies

Professor of Germanic Languages and Comparative Literature, UCLA Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies


This program is made possible thanks to a gift from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.

Courtesy Chris Silver



or over half a century, a smattering of boxes, first housed at Paris’ Musée de l'Homme and then transferred to the Centre de Recherche en Ethnomusicologie at the University of Paris, remained sealed. Indeed, the boxes, stamped “commercial,” garnered little interest from researchers, for the content appeared to portend to the realm of popular music - and not to ethnographic field recordings. And then, but a few months ago, an intrepid amateur historian took a knife to tape and cardboard and revealed what was inside: dozens of 78 rpm record catalogs destined for the North African market. An email from the historian-archaeologist in question—familiar with my interests— appeared in my inbox announcing the find. This past summer in Paris (thanks to a grant from the Alan D. Leve Center), I have had the opportunity to consult the utterly unique contents of the box in question. Incredibly, the very first catalog that came into view sang volumes. There, gracing the cover of Columbia’s 1931 Tunisia supplement, was Louisa Tounsia, the Jewish singing sensation of the interwar period, who like her coreligionists across the Maghrib, dominated the Arabic-language music industry from Tunis to Algiers and from Oran to Casablanca for much of the first half of the twentieth century.

to play such an outsized role in the North African music scene in the early twentieth century (and what all of that meant), the subject of my dissertation, it has been at once, necessary, and at the same time, an absolute pleasure to follow a documentary diaspora spread over multiple continents and contexts. For the last few years, the documents that I have encountered along that path, which include the personal papers of Morocco’s mid-century top female vocalist found in a home in the Hollywood Hills; an interwar music venue (now textile shop) in Algiers still identifiable by the mosaic mandolin adorning its sidewalk (above); a stack of pre-war North African shellac records discovered in a Montpellier apartment; and a Judeo-Arabic rendition of the Charleston— printed in Tunis in the 1920s but now in Jerusalem, have enabled me to not only map a global sonic network of North African Jewish musical practitioners, impresarios, and devotees, but so too, to get a sense of what all of it sounded like.

In order to narrate the story of how Jewish vocalists and instrumentalists, concessionaires, commercial agents, record label owners, and music venue proprietors came


(Ph.D. candidate, History) received his B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley. Since graduating, Silver has worked for Middle East-focused NGOs, recently served as Director of the Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues, and this year will manage the new Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish Archive at UCLA.



earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from UCLA. As a Research Fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, she spent a year exploring the history of local Jewish, Muslim, and Christian settler communities in French North Africa. Dr. Schley completed her Ph.D. in History at UCLA in 2015 and is currently a Research Associate at Harvard University.



hen French troops arrived at Sidi-elFerrouch in 1830, on the coast of Algiers, they initiated a bloody conquest that lasted for over half a century. The brutal occupation of Algeria hinged on a foundational yet unexplored tenet of French colonial rule: religious toleration. By selectively tolerating and thereby emphasizing confessional differences, this colonial strategy aimed to ensure French authority over an unfamiliar and diverse land. The policy also provided Jews and Muslims with a platform to advocate for their communities and against the encroachments of a colonial power in the making.


Inside the Ben Saadoun synagogue, Fez (still in use by community).


very historical subject represents a point of convergence for innumerable narrative threads. The archival and oral historical research required for my dissertation, “Radical Nationalists: Moroccan Jewish Communists 1925-1975,” has taken me to Morocco, France, and Israel in addition to archives in Washington, DC. This project examines Jewish political participation in Morocco’s struggle for independence from France (Protectorate years 1912-1956). Of those Moroccan Jews engaged in nationalist political activism, most did so through membership (and leadership) in the Moroccan Communist Party. The four chapters of the dissertation wend through the establishment of the party in a heady political alphabet soup of (inter)nationalist (and Zionist) possibilities of the interwar period, through the Vichy period and the betrayal of a French Republican citizenship ideal in France’s colonies, the struggle for independence, and ultimately the oppression of the Left as it coincided with the massive Jewish exodus from Morocco to Israel in the 1960s and 70s. One of the central figures of my dissertation, indeed, the inspiration for the project, was Simon Lévy (1934-2011). I met Simon Lévy for the first time in the fall of 2009, while I

My dissertation explores the conquest of Algeria and how religious toleration functioned as an instrument of colonial control and negotiation. This principle was enshrined in the Treaty of 1830, which signaled the abdication of the Ottoman dey and the beginning of French rule in North Africa. This treaty legally committed France to “respect” Algerians, their religion, and their property. In so doing, French military leaders believed that they would win the strategic support of local Jewish and Muslim communities. In 1861, Eli Léon Enos, an Algerian Jew, was denied admission to the bar in Algiers. Due to the Treaty of 1830 he was regarded as a French subject under the purview of Jewish law, rather than French common law. As such, he could not enjoy the privileges of French citizenship. A year later this ruling was overturned on the basis of a fundamental reinterpretation of the boundaries

Classroom in the Lycée Maimonide in Casablanca. Hebrew lesson and photo of former King Hassan II. Courtesy Alma Heckman

was volunteering with the Moroccan Jewish Heritage Museum and Foundation in Casablanca as part of a Fulbright grant. He had been a leading member in the Moroccan Communist Party in addition to his scholarship and teaching–he established the museum in the 1990s and served as its director until his death. Over our months working together, Simon Lévy told me astonishing stories and introduced me to a chapter of Moroccan and Jewish history that had been as yet unwritten. When I arrived at UCLA’s history department in the fall of 2010, I began building on the research I started in Morocco, with a devoted interest in the Moroccan Jews who chose to remain in Morocco and commit themselves to Moroccan independence.


received her Ph.D. in History form UCLA in 2015 and is now an Assistant Professor of History at UC, Santa Cruz. Dr. Heckman speaks French fluently and possesses linguistic skills in Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew and Ladino.

of French citizenship. Enos, and by extension all Algerian Jews and Muslims, were welcomed to apply for citizenship so long as they renounced their “tolerated” right to be governed by cadis and rabbis in exchange for French common law. By conditioning French citizenship for Jews and Muslims on renouncing their “protected” religious rights, religion, thus, became the basis for legal discrimination under French colonial law, a legal precedent that continues to resonate for these communities today.

Treaty of 1830 at issue. 15


SEEKS TO PRESERVE LA'S DIVERSE PAST “We’ve learned to wear work clothes because of all the dust,” chuckles Caroline Luce, curator of Mapping Jewish Los Angeles, speaking of her efforts to organize, assess, and digitize materials collected lovingly over nearly a century by members of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, founded in 1920. Minutes handwritten in the flowing Rashi script used for Ladino, brittle photographs, and scrapbooks in varying stages of decay, are among the finds Luce and two graduate student researchers on the UCLA Sephardic Archive project, a dimension of the Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern Jewish Archive at UCLA, have discovered while working at Tifereth Israel, whose immigrant pioneers came from Turkish Anatolia and the Balkans, areas of expertise for project director, Sarah Abrevaya Stein. “This archive represents one of the most important repositories of data on Los Angeles’ Sephardic past,” according to Stein, UCLA’s Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies and professor of History. “A collaboration with Temple Tifereth Israel is significant not only because of the collection’s inherent importance and quality, but because this institution represents a crucial gate-way to the wider Sephardic community.” Los Angeles is home to one of the most important, oldest, and largest Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Jewish (or “Sephardic”) communities in the United States, second in population only to New York City’s community. Yet far less institutional attention, in Los Angeles or anywhere else, has been devoted to preserving documents and objects of this history than the European Jewish past, such that there is no single archive, library, or museum in the United States with a significant collection in this vein. “The sources of interest are now acutely vulnerable, and at risk of being lost forever,” Stein noted. “Many are written in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language that is now endangered, while others are languishing in garages and the like, little understood and prone to destruction.” The new project aims to reverse the historic neglect of sources of Los Angeles’ diverse Sephardic heritage beginning with the Ladino speaking community, in cooperation with the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, the UCLA Libraries, and local congregations. Stein has already assembled a Community Advisory Board

Examining an old photo at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel’s archives are (l. to r.) Joanna Chen Cham, Temple librarian Annette Goldsmith, Caroline Luce, and Deborah Anne Lewis. (David Wu)

whose members have taken a keen interest in preserving this history and will help identify collections. Key goals of the project are to gather sources, catalogue them in tandem with the UCLA Libraries, digitize selections, and avail the sources to scholars, students and the community. A Mapping Jewish LA exhibit will highlight some initial discoveries. Future phases will focus on the collections of families and diverse parts of LA’s North African and Middle Eastern Jewish communities and institutions. Photographs, family papers and documents, recordings, and ephemera are among the items targeted for collection.

Archive Team Project Director: Professor Sarah Abrevaya Stein Project Manager 2015-16: Chris Silver Summer Researchers: Caroline Luce (Summer Project Manager) Deborah Anne Lewis Joanna Chen Cham UCLA Advisory Committee: Professor Todd Presner Dr. Caroline Luce Dr. Mary Pinkerson Dr. Saba Soomekh David Hirsch, UCLA Libraries


CHIEF CURATOR CAROLINE LUCE NAMED ROSS POST-DOCTORAL FELLOW AND RESEARCH & DIGITAL PROJECTS MANAGER Dr. Caroline Luce, who took over the role of Chief Curator of the "Mapping Jewish Los Angeles" project last year, has been appointed the Ross Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research and Digital Projects Manager for the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. She will also teach a service-learning class, Jews in Los Angeles: Representation, Memory and History in the Digital Age, through the History department in Winter quarter. The new role caps a big year for the Mapping Jewish LA project. Three major new exhibitions are expected to come on line by December, and in 2016, Luce and the MJLA team will be launching a significant new initiative about Boyle Heights. It Did Happen Here: Mapping Anti-Nazi Activism in Los Angeles, 1933-1941 details the activities of domestic fascist groups locally, as well as the Jewish community’s responses. To create the exhibit, Luce and Dr. Laura Rosenzweig of San Francisco State University, turned geospatial data from a variety of archival collections into a sliding timeline and interactive map that illustrate how LA’s Jewish residents mobilized to expose local fascist organizations, increase public awareness of the Nazi threat, and raise relief funds for Jews in Europe.

Luce is also bringing together scholars and translators from across the country for the first phase of a landmark project called Recovering Yiddish Culture in Los Angeles. Scholarship related to Yiddish writing in the United States has focused primarily on the writers of New York, and much of the Yiddish poetry, stories and essays produced by the writers who settled in Los Angeles has been lost to history. This project aims to recover these forgotten works by creating a rich digital anthology of Yiddish writing published in Los Angeles in the early 20th century, offering translations from a variety of local authors, as well as complete, untranslated texts, accompanied by biographies and essays and photos. “By using digital tools to identify shared topics, motifs and literary influences, the anthology will allow us, for the first time, to characterize the Los Angeles style of Yiddish literature, thereby expanding our understanding of Yiddish literature in the American West,” Luce noted.

In that same period, 1933-1941, some 10,000-15,000 exiles and émigrés sought refuge in Los Angeles, many of whom were renowned artists, authors, musicians, and composers seeking work in the studios of Hollywood. Their performances in Los Angeles brought new energy to the local arts scene, enlivening cultural institutions like the Hollywood Bowl and the UCLA Walter Arlen Center for the Performing Arts. Es Geht Wohl Anders (Things Turn out Differently): The Unexpected Life of Walter Arlen, explores the work of an émigré critic, composer and educator who was part of this cultural revitalization. Arlen, the founding director of Loyola Marymount University’s music program, covered the music scene for the Los Angeles Times for over thirty years, forging relationships with émigré luminaries like Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. In the process, he developed a unique musical style that blended European and American influences in poignant songs about his experiences. (The exhibit is named for a song Arlen wrote as a teenager in Austria before escaping the Nazis.)

In addition, Mapping Jewish LA will launch a major new initiative this year about the History of Boyle Heights. Students in Luce’s class, which is supported by the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, will mount a series of History Fairs at local institutions such as the Los Angeles Jewish Home and the Israel Levin Center. The fairs will give longtime members of the community opportunity to share their own recollections as well as their family histories, and contribute historical materials they have saved. Students will record the memories and digitize materials so they can be preserved for future generations. The History Fairs will be followed by a series of events and programs both in the neighborhood and on campus next year, as the project grows. Public participation is welcome. For more information, email


FELLOWS AND VISITING SCHOLARS RENATA FUCHS: EXPERT IN CULTURAL SALONS OF GERMAN JEWISH WOMEN Renata Fuchs, Lecturer in Germanic Languages and Fellow at the Alan D. Leve Center, completed her Ph.D. in German Literature at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign in 2014. Her dissertation focused on the correspondence of Rahel Levin Varnhagen and two other female romantic writers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Levin Varnhagen, the first Jewish woman to establish herself as an important intellectual and political figure in a German culture dominated by Christianity, was famous for hosting cultural salons and promoting letter writing as a literary form. At present, Dr. Fuchs

is working on a chapter of a book project in which she analyzes letters and works of Dorothea (Brendel Mendelssohn) Veit Schlegel, the daughter of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, leading spirit of Haskalah. Fuchs has researched a variety of themes in contemporary German literature such as migration, Heimat, alterity, hybridity, and neo-nomadism. Her work goes beyond the Romantic era and encompasses the Enlightenment period, Contemporary German literature, German-Jewish literature, Holocaust Studies, Women’s Studies, Literary Multilingualism, Minority Literatures, and Transnational Studies. While at UCLA, she will also lead a monthly German-Jewish Book Club (in English) open to the community. The reading group activities will include a Symposium in which Dr. Fuchs will be part of a panel in the spring.

BRYAN KIRSCHEN: COMMITTED TO SAVING LADINO LANGUAGE FROM EXTINCTION Bryan Kirschen recently began a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor in Hispanic Linguistics at State University of New York, Binghamton. While working on his doctorate in Spanish Linguistics, Kirschen cofounded ucLADINO, a student run organization whose classes, programs and annual conference have revived interest in the endangered Judeo-Spanish language that Spanish Jews took with them after they were expelled in 1492. Spoken Ladino sounds a lot like Spanish, however, much of its vocabulary comes from Hebrew, as well as Greek, Arabic and Turkish—languages spoken in the countries where Sephardic Jews sought refuge. Last year Kirschen was Maurice Amado Sr. Fellow at the Leve Center and his work was assisted by Payton Phillips Quintanilla, Maurice Amado Jr. Fellow. This year Phillips Quintanilla and ucLADINO co-founder Cheri Robinson are Maurice Amado Fellows and ucLADINO co-directors. The two Ph.D. candidates in the department of Spanish and Portuguese are currently planning ucLADINO’s 5th annual Judeo-Spanish Symposium, Networks, Relationships, and Zones of Contact, March 2-3, 2016. 18

First held four years ago, the event is believed to be the U.S.’s only ongoing scholarly conference dedicated to Ladino. It has since grown from a one- to a two-day affair, and attendance has tripled, drawing Ladino experts from all over the world as well as community members—many in their 70s and 80s— who grew up speaking the language or hearing their “nonas” or “papus” doing so. “Fifty years ago nobody would’ve imagined that Ladino would have a second life,” according to Rachel Bortnick, a retired teacher from Dallas, Texas who runs a 16-year-old Yahoo group for Ladino speakers that has followers in 40 countries. “The conference gives me hope that it’s possible.” Conference highlights will include a Community Panel modeled after last-year’s successful prototype, a community choir performance and sing-along, and an opportunity for Ladino speakers to share, and possibly record their experiences with the language and culture. In addition, for the first time, Ladinospeaking community members are invited to participate in ucLADINO’s weekly student-led language workshops. More information on the conference and workshops is at:

STUDENT NEWS CLASS WITH SURVIVORS INSPIRES FILM PROJECT Light out of Darkness, Andrew Rosenstein’s OUT OF senior project in Film and Television, documented MEMORIES OF THE HOLOCAUST together with Fawad Assadullah, will screen on Wednesday, February 17 at 4pm in Royce 314. The full length film is dedicated to the memory of Sophie Hamburger, a Holocaust survivor with whom Rosenstein worked as a freshman, and whose compassion continues to inspire OPENING MAY 20,him. 2015




The film tenderly documents the loves—both lost and found— of 17 survivors have participated in Bearing Witness, a white rose PRODUCTIwho ON BRETTLER,joint KURT BRONNER, ROSZA BRONNER, MINA COLTON, STELLA ESFORMES, LYA FRANK, NATALIat E GOLD, ALLENUCLA GREENSTEIN, DOROTHYand GREENSTEIN, the Alan D. Leve Center. In SURVIVORS EVAa project of Hillel EMIL JACOBY, ERIKA JACOBY, RITA KAHANE, ETA MOSS, JULIUS ROTHSCHILD, SERENA RUBIN, TOBY TAMBOR AND MIRIAM TASINI DOCUMENTED BY ANDREW ROSENSTEIN AND FAWAD2012, ASSADULLAH A SPECIAL THANKAndrew ELI N OR MARKS-GORDON THE JEWI S H FEDERATI O N DAVI D YOU TODD PRESNER, MARY PINKERSON, AND POSTER ART was a student inWU Between Memory & History: Interviewing Holocaust Survivors in the Digital Age, the class Professor Todd Presner teaches in conjunction with Bearing Witness, and Presner continues to mentor him. Like Sophie, most of the survivors in the film are members of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles’ Café Europa, which is also a program partner. They include Eva Brettler, Kurt and Rosza Bronner, Mina Colton, Stella Esformes, Lya Frank, Natalie Gold, Allen and Dorothy Greenstein, Emil and Erika Jacoby, twin sisters Rita Kahane and Serena Rubin, Eta Moss, Julius Rothschild, Toby Tambor and Miriam Tasini. Many are in their late 80s or early 90s, and one is 103 years old. Rosenstein and Assadullah first assembled 51 hours of raw footage which was edited with the help of Esther Shubinski and Battiste Fenwick. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust archivists Jillian Churchill and Hannah Franklin also assisted, and UCLA music student, Stephen Spies, provided piano accompaniment. Rosenstein was awarded a Sarah & Eugene Zinn Memorial Scholarship for Holocaust Studies from the Alan D. Leve Center to complete the film. For more info on the film, visit Presner’s class is offered as part of UCLA’s Service Learning initiative led by the UCLA Center for Community Learning. In 2015-16 the Alan D. Leve Center, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, will sponsor three other service learning courses connected with the digital project Naya Lekht’s From Russia with Love: Russian Jews in Los Angeles, Caroline Luce’s Jews in Los Angeles: Representation, Memory & History, and Saba Soomekh’s Iranian Jews in Los Angeles.

UNDERGRADUATE READING GROUP TO FOLLOW GRADUATE CONFERENCE The 63 graduate students and faculty at the March 2015 conference, Thinking Beyond the Canon: New Thoughts and Approaches in Jewish Studies, came away delighted. Not only were they able to showcase their work and gain confidence presenting their research, they received helpful feedback and built ongoing relationships with likeminded, up and coming academics in Jewish studies from around the U.S. and three other countries. A survey of the participating graduate students showed a growing sense of community: they felt inspired and invigorated by learning about the creative work that other students are doing, widened their understanding of the field, and forged meaningful connections with invited faculty. Taly Ravid ( Ph.D. candidate, English), one of the conference organizers, plans to turn her attention to undergraduate students this year with a reading group that will meet twice quarterly at a local coffee house for informal discussions. The group will read contemporary works of American fiction, starting with The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis, who will be speaking at UCLA, on November 5. Contact for more details.

STUDENTS LEAD PROGRAMS Members of the Leve Center’s Student Leadership Council organized diverse programs and built relationships across campus in 2014-15. (From left) Daniel Sarraf held a celebration of Israel’s Independence Day featuring Dr. Anat Gilboa; Akiva Nemetsky co-founded the UCLA chapter of Students Supporting Israel; Marnina Wirtschafter organized a film screening about a civil rights leader, Rabbi Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent, and a Jewish World Watch photography exhibit at Hillel of UCLA; Moshe Kahn arranged interfaith discussions on the Family of Abraham with Professor Carol Bakhos, director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion, and a study group on Jewish thought with Hillel Rabbi Chaim SeidlerFeller. Andrew Rosenstein (not pictured) invited Professor David N. Myers to interview photographer Louis Davidson about his work documenting synagogues around the world. 19



David Wu

$5 million gift to name the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

From left: Al Finci, Alan D. Leve, Todd S. Presner

Alan D. Leve, a UCLA alumnus and the founder and president of Culver City-based Ohmega Technologies, Inc. will establish several endowments at the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies with a visionary $5 million donation. Leve said he hopes the gift, to benefit students, faculty and the community, will honor his family’s legacy of giving—one that started with his grandmother, Hinda Schonfeld, and continues with his daughters, Elise D. Leve and Laura Leve Cohen, and sonin-law, Larry Cohen. Leve vividly recalls leaving the Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights for his grandmother’s funeral on a cold, rainy day in 1941. He was amazed at the rows of mourners standing shoulder to shoulder for three city blocks, umbrellas over their heads, to pay their last respects to a woman recognized for her warmth and generosity of spirit. “It was a revelation to me,” said Leve, “My grandmother had no fame or tangible assets of any value. I realized then that who you are is more important than what you have.” His grandmother’s legacy of generosity lives on through her grandson. In recognition of his gift, the center is being renamed the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. Laura and Larry Cohen are joining Leve as members of the Advisory Board. Laura is also active with the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, Hillel 818 and Temple Aliya, Woodland Hills. Laura said she was inspired by her husband’s example and her participation in the Florence Melton Adult Jewish Education Program. Larry, a board member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Shalom Institute, co-founded the Valley Alliance’s Jewish Business Leaders Roundtable. A Wexner Heritage Program graduate, he is President and CEO of Glyphix, Inc., a boutique advertising and branding firm. Daughter Elise, a real estate executive in Manhattan who is involved with the UJA-Federation of New York and their professional women’s group, recently organized and led her group’s mission to Morocco. Leve noted with appreciation that Professor Aomar Boum was extraordinarily helpful in arranging key introductions and contacts in Morocco. 20

Leve’s gift will be divided into four endowments which will be established over the next several years and will help ensure that the Leve Center remains a leading Jewish studies resource nationally. The Alan D. Leve Endowment for Student Excellence will fund graduate fellowships and undergraduate awards in Jewish studies. The Alan D. Leve Endowment for Teaching Innovation will support curricular innovation in Jewish studies and will establish the Etta and Milton Leve Scholar-in-Residence program. The Alan D. Leve Endowment for Research Innovation will support both faculty and graduate student research, and provide travel grants and conference support.

Leve, who was born in Boyle Heights when it was the focus of local Jewish culture, has also made sure that scholars won’t forget that history, nor his grandmother’s sense of community. A fourth endowment, The Alan D. Leve Endowment for Public History and Outreach, will establish the Hinda and Jacob Schonfeld Boyle Heights Collection of archival materials and artifacts in collaboration with the UCLA Library, and a public history program on Jewish Los Angeles. The collection will debut at an inaugural celebration for the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies planned for Fall 2016. This fund will also establish the biennial Leve Award, to recognize an outstanding scholar, leader, philanthropist, artist or humanitarian working within or impacting the Jewish community.

 HONOR ROLL  The UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies is extremely grateful for the generosity and visionary support of our alumni, parents, and community members who have helped build a vibrant program for research, teaching and life-long learning in all facets of Jewish Studies. Thank you!  MANHIGIM (Leaders) Annette & Alan D. Leve Rose & Al A. Finci Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Stephen O. Lesser Elaine & Richard Lindheim Maurice Amado Fdn. Lynda & Stewart Resnick Shirley & Ralph Shapiro Sidney Stern Memorial Trust

 AMUDIM (Pillars) Phyllis & Philip Colman Benita & Bertrand I. Ginsburg Gertrude Goetz Roslyn & Abner D. Goldstine Sheila & Milt Hyman Lori & James Keir Lee & Luis Lainer David H. Simon Lucille Ellis Simon Fdn. Elaine Meyers & Daniel Spitzer

 BONIM (Builders) Phyllis & Stanford Beim Gregory L. Charlop Donna Black & Harvey Englander Elena & Michael Deutsch Randi & Jerome Greenberg Bea & Leonard Mandel Myra & Bruce H. Newman Mehry & Marvin L. Smotrich Nathan Strauss Marilouise & Albert Zager

 CHAVERIM (Friends) Nancy & Emanuel M. Abrams Sara & James N. Adler Sara & David E. Aftergood Basil Anderman Eva Ballo Leah Barshap Susann & Stephen Bauman Sadelle Brussell & George Birnbaum Barbara T.H. Brandon Rochelle Browne

Rita L. Chotiner Adele Clark Laurel Clark Laura Leve Cohen & Larry Cohen Sharleen Cooper & Martin Cohen Loretta & Marshall B. Drazen Diana S. Dreiman & Stephen A. Gilula Shirley H. & Joseph A. Falcon Susan & Thomas J. Fineman Bernard Friedman Lesley & Kenneth Geiger Sandra D. & Lev Aaron Ginsburg Harriet B. & Manuel Glaser David A. Gorlick Carol G. & Harry L. Green Lee & Harvey M. Grossman Lois G. & Richard S. Gunther Esther & Herbert Hecht Ellen B. & Mark D. Hurwitz Sharon D. Jacobson Nancy L. & Sheldon M. Jaffe Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles Brenda & Haskel E. Joseph Rita Kahane Helen & Isaac R. Kaplan Paula & Myron H. Kayton Hannah G. & Marshall F. Kramer Marsha D. Lewin & Forrest Latiner Ursula F. Levi Alicia Rufman-Levine & Allan M. Levine Sarah Manson Fang Morgan Esther Kleitman & Steven Moszkowski Walter Arlen & Howard K. Myers Bette & Jeffrey L. Nagin Mark Pick Sylvia C. Price Fradya & Joel E. Rembaum Bertha & Jorge Rivera Adrienne & Robert W. Ross Barbara & Peter L. Rothholz Dorothy A. & Avram Salkin Mary J. & Ernest M. Scheuer Natalie & Kevin B. Shrock

Judy & Michael I. Stern Lillian & Charles Trilling Renee & Charles Weisenberg Mary R. Weissmann Marion &Frank F. Werle Diane & George S. Wolfberg Jason K. Youdeem Marcie & Howard Zelikow

 AMITIM (Fellows) Lilla & Edgar Aftergood Penina P. Alexander Gail D. Aspinwall Heather & Jason K. Axe Miryam Bachrach Tal Marom & Mory Barak Barbara Bensoussan Arthur Benveniste Marlene & Stuart N. Bernstein Barbara Bilson Barbara L. Braunstein Karen & Vincent Brook Sandra & Jerome Brown Manny Chait Rebecca & Stephen Feingold Joan F. Forman Carol & James T. Gaspar Gordon Gerson Sandra & Henry Gass Hanna Grinberg Deborah Schmidt & Abraham Havivi Debbie T. Hopp Laraine & Allen Kokin Nancy Lewis Eleanor & George Lindenbaum Connie & Leslie H. Martinson Ruth & Daniel J. Merritt Marlene & Stephen J. Miller Patti & Albert Mizrahi Carolyn & William Mooso Marilyn & Mark Nataupsky Sandra Nisley-Leader & Lewis Leader Michele Paskow Piper & Edward Paul Susan & Richard Polep Lola & Jerry Rabow

Sylvia & Herbert J. Rose Marlene Rotblatt Lois & Moshe Rothblum Arnold Sandlow Renee & Albert Sattin Leah & Norman Schweitzer Eileen D. Sever Melody Shamouelian Michelle & Josef Shwartz Kenneth R. Silk Andrea & Gregory R. Smith Barbara & Roy Sommer Louise Spitzer Rose & Andrew R. Steinberg Marjorie A. Taylor Shirley Shore Williamson Diane & Joshua Wirtschafter

CJS ADVISORY BOARD Al Finci, Chair Larry Cohen Laura Leve Cohen Milt Hyman James Keir Lori Keir Luis Lainer Stephen O. Lesser Alan D. Leve Dr. Elaine Lindheim E. Randol Schoenberg Dr. Andrew Viterbi Elaine Wolf* Rabbi David Wolpe* Zev Yaroslavsky* *Honorary Member



ANNUAL OPEN HOUSE Funding Provided by the Monkarsh Family Fund


From the Osirak Raid to Iran: A Discussion of a Nuclear Free Middle East

Conversation with Israeli Brig. Gen RELIK SHAFIR (Pilot) & Prof. STEVEN Moderated by: SABA SOOMEKH (UCLA)


What is the aftermath of the Iranian Nuclear Deal? Join us for an in-depth analysis of the strategic interests and perspectives of the Israeli and American governments in regards to the deal's implementation. Shafir and Spiegel will discuss how the nuclear deal will affect other countries in the region and provide a broader historical framework for analysis. Sponsored by the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies Funding Provided by the NEH Jewish Civilization Endowment Cosponsored by the UCLA Center for Middle East Development UCLA Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies Israel Air Force Center Foundation






Center for Near Eastern Studies

This program is made possible thanks to a gift from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.

Be part of LA History! Contribute to Mapping Jewish LA! Using innovative digital technologies, the Center’s Mapping Jewish Los Angeles Project ( delivers access to historical materials that locate Jews on Los Angeles’ landscape and explore Jewish contributions to the region. This year we will be expanding our Boyle Heights initiative in exciting new ways, and we need your help! Do you have old photographs, letters, citizenship and/or military records, yearbooks, flyers, newsletters, ritual objects or other family treasures that would help to paint a richer and more nuanced portrait of Jewish life in Boyle Heights? Would you like to share your personal recollections and family history? All the materials and memories will be preserved digitally and returned. To participate, write to


center at the

Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies


At the Center 302 Royce Hall, Box 951485 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1485

Phone: 310.825.5387 Business hours: M-TH 9am-12 pm, 1-5pm Facebook:

Prof. Todd S. Presner Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director

Saba Soomekh, PhD Associate Director of Research

Vivian Holenbeck Assistant Director

Caroline Luce, PhD Ross Post-Doctoral Fellow Research & Digital Projects Manager

Mary Enid Pinkerson, PhD Community Affairs Coordinator Chelsea White Event Coordinator

David Wu Digital Projects & Marketing Coordinator Reina Cabebe Financial & Administrative Coordinator

UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies Newsletter 2015-2016  

UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies Newsletter 2015-2016. Issue 23.

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