First Annual Sephardic Jewish Book Fair - July 25, 2010 in NYC

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The first annual New York Sephardic Jewish Book Fair will take place on Sunday July 25, 2010 with book readings, author signings, book sales and tours at the Center for Jewish History. Hosted by the American Sephardi Federation (ASF), the book fair will bring together authors and book lovers that write about and enjoy books relating to the culture, history, philosophy, religion, languages and experiences of the Sephardic Jews, past and present.

Hundreds of Sephardic-oriented books, including both new and hard to find titles, as well as antiquarian books, will be available.

The first annual New York Sephardic Jewish Book Fair will take place on Sunday July 25, 2010 with book readings, author signings, book sales and tours at the Center for Jewish History.

Hosted by the American Sephardi Federation (ASF), the book fair will bring together authors and book lovers that write about and enjoy books relating to the culture, history, philosophy, religion, languages and experiences of the Sephardic Jews, past and present. Hundreds of Sephardic-oriented books, including both new and hard to find titles, as well as antiquarian books, will be available.

Several visiting authors will discuss a wide range of topics including personal histories, Sephardic history, philosophy, culture and religion. The program starts at 12pm with Jean Naggar who will be reading from her memoir from Egypt, 'Sipping From the Nile'; At 12:30pm Marc Kligman, Professor of Jewish Musicology, at Hebrew Union College will read from his award winning book, 'Maqam and Liturgy: Ritual, Music, and Aesthetics of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn'. At 1:00pm Andrée Aelion Brooks will read and discuss the life of a Sephardic banker and heroine, from her book, 'The Woman who Defied Kings: The Life and Times of Doña Gracia Nasi'.

Young adult hour will start at 1:30pm with Peninnah Schram, Professor of of Speech and Drama at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University, sharing a Sephardic tale for youths from her work, 'The Hungry Clothes – And other Jewish Folktales'; This will be followed at 2:00pm by Mara Cohen Ioannides, Professor of English at Missouri State University, reading a story about Sephardic and Romanoite Jews from her award winning book, 'A Shout in the Sunshine'.

At 2:30pm Jessica Jiji will read from her novel, 'Sweet Dates in Basra', a tale of friendship and family, set in Iraq during the Second World War. The key speaker will be Rabbi Marc D. Angel, Ph.D., founder of The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals and Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Shearith Israel, North America’s oldest Jewish congregation. Rabbi Angel will speak from 3-4pm on his books, 'Foundations of Sephardic Spirituality' and 'Maimonides, Spinoza and Us'. At 4:00pm, Abraham Sutton will read from 'The Aristocrat', a book about his father, the illustrious Rabbi Hillel Menashe Sutton, a leading member of the Sephardic community in Aleppo, Syria and Jerusalem; at 4:30pm, J. Daniel Khazzoom, professor emeritus, will be reading from his book, 'No Way Back: The Journey of a Jew from Baghdad'. The day will conclude with a reading by Mitchell James Kaplan from his beautifully written tale of ordinary men and women swept up in the chaos and upheaval of the Inquisition and the 1492 expulsion, 'By Fire, By Water'.

Participating vendors include Dan Wyman Books, specialists in out-of-print Jewish books and Blue Bird Books who focus on both modern and rare Jewish titles, some from the 18th-20th centuries, including antique volumes in Ladino and Hebrew from Salonika, Livorno, Tunis, Venice and Jerusalem.

A selection of rare Sephardic books from the ASF Library and Archives will be on display and Yeshiva University Museum will be offering tours of their current exhibitions, including ‘A Journey Through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books.’ This exceptional collection includes hand-written manuscripts and printed books from Holland, Italy, Spain, Greece and India.

The New York Sephardic Jewish Book Fair will be held in The Steinberg Great Hall of the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th St. Manhattan) The event will be free and open to the public from 12pm-5:30pm. For more information please call Shelomo Alfassa, ASF Special Projects Coordinator, at 212-294-8350 x8262.

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Shelomo Alfassa
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