Conference: AJS Program Book now online (Boston, Dec 13-15, 2015)

The 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies will take place in Boston, December 13-15, 2015.

The full program is now available on the AJS website:

You may also download the program here: PDF



New Article: Ahmed & Elsharkawy, The Potential of Iraqi Cultural Identity within Two Generations

Ahmed, Mohamed A. H., and Ashraf Elsharkawy. “Tel Aviv Mizrah. The Potential of Iraqi Cultural Identity within Two Generations.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.3 (2015): 430-45.





Before immigrating to Israel, first-generation Iraqi Jews were deeply attached to their identity as Mizrahi Jews. Their mother tongue was Arabic and they had grown up in an oriental environment. Therefore, it was not easy for them to adopt the Euro-Israeli identity that the dominant Ashkenazi-European stratum in Israel compelled them to accept. Despite strong Westernizing tendencies in Israeli society, the first generation of Iraqi Jewish immigrants maintained strong links to the Iraqi customs and traditions they had acquired in Iraq, particularly with regard to the musical folklore and oriental cuisine. On the other hand, second-generation Iraqi Jews were more familiar with Israeli society than their parents; they grew up in Israel and learned Hebrew in Israeli schools along with Ashkenazi Jews and other ethnic groups. This paper establishes connections between the historical realities of Iraqi Jewish immigrants and the literary representation of their world in the trilogy Tel-Aviv Mizrah (Tel Aviv East) written in 2003 by the Iraqi Jewish author Shimon Ballas, through a comparison of Ballas’s literary vision with the historical realities of Iraqi Jewish identity in Israel over the course of two generations.



New Book: Snir, Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity?

Snir, Reuven. Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity? Interpellation, Exclusion, and Inessential Solidarities. Leiden: Brill, 2015.



In Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity?: Interpellation, Exclusion, and Inessential Solidarities, Professor Reuven Snir, Dean of Humanities at Haifa University, presents a new approach to the study of Arab-Jewish identity and the subjectivities of Arabized Jews. Against the historical background of Arab-Jewish culture and in light of identity theory, Snir shows how the exclusion that the Arabized Jews had experienced, both in their mother countries and then in Israel, led to the fragmentation of their original identities and encouraged them to find refuge in inessential solidarities. Following double exclusion, intense globalization, and contemporary fluidity of identities, singularity, not identity, has become the major war cry among Arabized Jews during the last decade in our present liquid society.

Table of contents

Chapter One: Identity: Between Creation and Recycling
Chapter Two: Arabized Jews: Historical Background
Chapter Three: Arabized Jews in Modern Times between Interpellation and Exclusion
Chapter Four: Globalization and the Search for Inessential Solidarities
Chapter Five: White Jews, Black Jews
I. Iraqi-Jewish Intellectuals, Writers, and Artists
II. Sami Michael, “The Artist and the Falafel” (short story)
Reuven Snir is a Professor of Arabic Literature and Dean of Humanities at Haifa University. He has published many books, articles, translations, and encyclopedia entries. His latest book is Baghdad – The City in Verse (Harvard University Press, 2013).

Screening and Discussion: Shadow in Baghdad (SOAS, Nov 20, 2014)

SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies

Shadow in Baghdad

Film Screening and Panel Discussion

7pm Thursday 20th November

Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS


The film will be followed by a panel discussion with

Linda Menuhin Abdul Aziz (journalist, film protagonist)

Adel Darwish (author and journalist);

Amal al-Jubouri (Director of the Arab Human Rights Academy)

Chair: Dr. Yair Wallach (SOAS)

SHADOW IN BAGHDAD (director: Duki Dror, 2013) tells the story of Linda Menuhin Abdul Aziz, who escaped the upheaval of Iraq in the early 1970’s to Israel, and her father, who disappeared shortly thereafter to an unknown fate. The film follows Linda as an unexpected connection with a young Iraqi journalist sets her back on the path towards Baghdad and the truth behind her father’s disappearance. What they ultimately uncover is not only the fate of Linda’s father but that of the once thriving Iraqi Jewish community whose glorious history came to an abrupt end in the 1970’s. At once a story of tragedy and redemption, Shadow in Baghdad tells of an important chapter in the turbulent history of the Middle East as it points to a distinct hope for the future as well.

THE PANEL DISCUSSION will consider Iraq’s Jewish past against the country’s current predicament and the question of human rights, civic solidarity and minorities in the Middle East.

All Welcome

The event is free and there is no need to book

SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG


ToC: Israel Studies 19.2 (2014)

[ToC from Project Muse; content also available at JStor:]

Israel Studies

Volume 19, Number 2, Summer 2014

Table of Contents

Special Issue: Zionism in the 21st Century

Editors: Ilan Troen and Donna Robinson Divine


Introduction: (Special issue, Israel Studies, 19.2)

pp. v-xi

Ilan Troen, Donna Robinson Divine

Articles: Zionist Theory

Cultural Zionism Today

pp. 1-14

Allan Arkush

Bi-Nationalist Visions for the Construction and Dissolution of the State of Israel

pp. 15-34

Rachel Fish

Culture: Literature and Music

Nostalgic Soundscapes: The Future of Israel’s Sonic Past

pp. 35-50

Edwin Seroussi

Cultural Orientations and Dilemmas

Remember? Forget? What to Remember? What to Forget?

pp. 51-69

Tuvia Friling

The Kibbutz in Immigration Narratives of Bourgeois Iraqi and Polish Jews Who Immigrated to Israel in the 1950s

pp. 70-93

Aziza Khazzoom

Politics and Law

Zionism and the Politics of Authenticity

pp. 94-110

Donna Robinson Divine

Law in Light of Zionism: A Comparative View

pp. 111-132

Suzanne Last Stone

Economics and Land

Some Perspectives on the Israeli Economy: Stocktaking and Looking Ahead

pp. 133-161

Jacob Metzer

Competing Concepts of Land in Eretz Israel

pp. 162-186

Ilan Troen, Shay Rabineau

Israel’s Relationship with Its Neighbors and the Palestinian Arab Citizens

The Arab Minority in Israel: Reconsidering the “1948 Paradigm”

pp. 187-217

Elie Rekhess

Israel’s Place in a Changing Regional Order (1948–2013)

pp. 218-238

Asher Susser

Religion and Society

Messianism and Politics: The Ideological Transformation of Religious Zionism

pp. 239-263

Eliezer Don-Yehiya

The Ambivalent Haredi Jew

pp. 264-293

Yoel Finkelman


pp. 294-296

New Article: Elimelekh, Fantasy as ‘Recovery, Escape and Consolation’ in the Short Stories of Isaac Bar Moshe

Elimelekh, Geula. “Fantasy as ‘Recovery, Escape and Consolation’ in the Short Stories of Isaac Bar Moshe.” Middle Eastern Studies 50.3 (2014): 426-41.





Isaac Bar Moshe (1927-2004) was born in Baghdad and immigrated to Israel in 1950. This article deals with his literary world, which is split between realism on the one hand and fantasy, mysticism and dreams on the other, with both these planes reflecting his perspective on various existential questions. The article focuses on the short stories in his book Behind the Wall (1973), which, like many of his other works, are largely anchored in his private life and depict a bleak reality, with dreams and fantasy offering the only hope of escape into a better, more spiritual world. The article concludes with an analysis of Bar Moshe’s stories in terms of the three functions of fantasy – ‘recovery, escape and consolation’ – as formulated by writer and philologist J.R.R. Tolkien in his book Tree and Leaf.

Conference Program: Jewish Languages and Contemporary Hebrew

Conference on Jewish Languages and Contemporary Hebrew

University of Haifa

Sunday, 29 December 2013

For program (in Hebrew), click here.

Cite: Elimelekh,Search for Identity in the Works of Samīr Naqqāsh

Elimelekh, Geula. “The Search for Identity in the Works of Samīr Naqqāsh.” Middle Eastern Studies 49.1 (2013): 63-75.





Samir Naqqash (1938-2004) was born in Baghdad and migrated to Israel in 1951. This article describes his divided soul, his attempts to adapt to a new homeland and his inability to develop a sense of belonging to Israeli society. The study is based on two short stories, ‘Willow Night’, which describes the collapse of an old world and the loss of Jewish values, and ‘Tantal’, a story of childhood. A major theme in Naqqash’s writings is the search for identity, a direct result of the author’s inability to detach himself from his previous identity as an Iraqi Jew. This theme is intimately connected to one of the most important motifs in his stories, rootlessness. The author feels torn from a previous perfect world, now lost – a world which he now adores and remembers with sentimental yearning. In his stories he depicts a number of characters whose emigration to Israel induced a profound shock in them, which eventually led to their mental and physical downfall.