By Leila Issacharoff, Work Experience 2021
I was very grateful to secure work experience with Dr Bea Lewkowicz and Daisy Abboudi and had the opportunity to work at Sephardi Voices UK.
First of all, it was really special to learn in-depth about a most valuable oral history project relating to all the Sephardi dispersed communities. And of course, this was especially valuable to me because it is relevant to my own family history and indeed, my late grandmother, Rebecca Hakim-Dowek, whose story is documented in the project.
The work I carried out largely focused on transcripts, mainly correcting them to match the audio recording as best as I could and towards the end, even transcribing an entire audio recorded interview from scratch. Other tasks included proof-reading and selecting various quotes from many transcripts for an upcoming project that significantly portrays each interviewee's story. From reading many transcripts, I learnt that by documenting the history of people from North Africa and the Middle East to Iran and South Asia, oral history and spoken testimony is one of the most powerful ways to record and share stories that would have otherwise have remained untold due to conflict and persecution.
Hearing about various troubling and upsetting past events documented in many of the interviews has really put my life into perspective, and has further inspired me to study Social Anthropology at University.
Being Jewish, I have felt that since Jews faced persecution in the past, Sephardi Voices’ mission, which aims to reach the general public, allows in the first instance, for the interviewees communities to preserve their memories and sense of identity across generations.
Bea and Daisy would like to extend their thanks to Leila, who went above and beyond during her fortnight at Sephardi Voices. We wish her all the best as she embarks on University life.