Hebrew teacher, Brandeis Jewish Day School
Program Manqager, Bend the Arc
Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School 5th grade Jewish Studies teacher and Learning and Prayer Coordinator at Congregation Etz Chayim Palo Alto
Executive Director, At the Well
Member of the Stanford Jewish community. PhD Candidate Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, JD Student Stanford Law School.
Director of Campuses, SF Hillel
“Mizrahi Jews as an intersectional bridge.” This session presented an opportunity for fellows to explore how Mizrahi Jews can serve as a bridge between the American Jewish communities we serve and diverse Middle Eastern populations in and from North America and in the Middle East. By highlighting the work of communications experts whose focus is elevating Jewish heritage and narratives in Arabic, fellows were able to begin thinking about how the diverse intersectional identities of Mizrahi Jews can provide opportunities for peace-building and normalization between Jews, Arabs, and Israelis.
Our hope is that fellows will begin to think about and engage their own Mizrahi communities in interfaith initiatives and in efforts to build Jewish communal cultural competency and continuity with Israel and the larger Middle East. Fellows were introduced to JIMENA’s Arabic Outreach initiative and other projects in the Middle East that are bringing Jews and Arabs together through shared culture and language.
This session was facilitated by Linda Menuhin Abdel Aziz, an Arabic language communications expert who currently serves as the senior Arabic Digital Media Consultant at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Linda is an award winning journalist who left her native country of Iraq in the 1970s and has been an instrumental figure in international initiatives to pursue recognition of Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.
The session was co-led by Hadeel Ouies who serves as JIMENA’s Arabic Outreach manager. Hadeel Oueis is a writer and journalist focusing on the Middle East. She majored in political studies and in 2011, at the age of 18, was arrested by the Assad regime for playing a key role in the early days of Syrian protests. In 2012, the United States delegation in Geneva met with Hadeel and helped her relocate to the United States. She currently analyzes U.S. policies in the Middle East for major Arabic networks.
During this session fellows explored how the experiences of former Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa shapes current Sephardic attitudes and approaches to contemporary manifestations of antisemitism. By learning about the experiences of Iranian Jews in particular, fellows gained a deeper understanding of how antisemitism is connected not only to white supremacy, but to a history of state-sanctioned anti-Zionism in the Middle East. Fellows began to understand that current Jewish communal conversations on antisemitism are incomplete without the participation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews.
This important and timely conversation was led by Dr. Sharon Nazarian. Dr. Nazarian is the President of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation and the founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at (UCLA). The Center is housed in the International Institute at UCLA in order to provide a systematic and academic study of Israel.
Sharon previously served as the vice chair of the West Coast Board of the American Society of the University of Haifa, sat on the Board of Governors of Haifa University, and was a member of the Chairman’s Circle of the National Democratic Institute. She also sat on the boards of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and Center of Middle East Public Policy at RAND Corporation.
In 2017, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) appointed Sharon as Senior Vice President of International Affairs. Sharon heads ADL’s work fighting anti-Semitism and racial hatred globally and also oversees ADL’s Israel office.
April 13, 2021
Adam Eilath introduced our fellows to Sephardic Pedagogy and the application of Sephardic Studies into contemporary Jewish Day School classrooms and Jewish learning spaces. Focusing on contemporary trends and issues impacting middle and high school aged Jewish students, his talk was grounded in the fundamental question facing Jewish students today which is, “why be Jewish?”
Adam Eilath has been the Head of School at Ronald C Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City since 2019. At Wornick Jewish Day School he leads a dedicated team of creative educators who are committed to developing the next generation of leaders steeped in Jewish values. Prior to joining Wornick, Adam was the Dean of Jewish Studies and Hebrew and the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. Adam holds degrees from McGill University and Tel Aviv University. He holds educational certifications from Yeshiva University, the Shalom Hartman Institute, The Jewish Theological Seminary and M2. He is also currently a Wexner Field Fellow.