Sephardic Jews as an Intersectional Bridge

“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.

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