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Sephardi Voices UK

Audio Visual Histories of Jews from North Africa, the Middle East and Iran

Dangoor Family Archive, Baghdad, ca 1913

FEATURED

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Jews have lived in the Islamic world since ancient times. The Mizrahi (Oriental) Jews spread across the region after the destruction of the First Temple in the 6th century BCE.  When the Sephardi Jews of Spain and Portugal were expelled in the late 15th century, many were welcomed by the former Ottoman Empire. They joined and established thriving communities in cities like Aleppo, Cairo, and Baghdad, which produced some of the greatest scholars and personalities of the Jewish world and contributed significantly to the cultural and economic development of those countries.

The rise of nationalist movements, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and broader global politics threatened the situation of Jews in Islamic countries. Most were dispossessed and expelled, some left to escape a worsening political and economic climate. Jewish communities in the Arab and Muslim world massively reduced in number, some have today totally disappeared.

"The Jews from Arab Lands have become part of many different nations and cultures… Their stories need not just to be told, but to be recorded and available. Sephardi Voices can help all those who are going to write or teach Jewish history to have a superb source of something which should be as widely known as possible"

– Sir Martin Gilbert z”L, SVUK interview

Revisit the SEPHARDI VOICES exhibition at the Jewish Museum, London