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A Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Family: Challenging Stereotypes

  • Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies 1140 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

Join IIJS for the Salo Baron New Voices Lecture with Dr. Liat Maggid-Alon.

Since the 1960's, the history of the family has become an important branch of social history. In Middle Eastern studies, however, its' impact is still quite limited. Modernization theories often present the family as a social institution in decline. In the context of Middle Eastern societies, the family is also described as a "traditional" player, halting "progress" and restricting liberal processes. This lecture will call this perspective into question.

In this discussion, information gleaned from life stories of former members of the Jewish community in Egypt during the first half of the 20th century will be explored. In addition, we'll compare this new knowledge with documents from a partial archive of the Jewish Sephardi community and Grand Rabbinate of Cairo, which has not been systematically researched or analyzed until now.

Supported by the generosity of the Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Foundation.

Dr. Liat Maggid-Alon is a Post-doctoral Associate, Department of History, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She received her PhD entitled Family and Gender: The Jewish Bourgeoisie of Egypt during the First Half of the 20th Century - from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva. She is the recipient of the Council for Higher Education of Israel prestigious doctoral scholarship, her Masters' thesis and Doctoral dissertation won additional awards - among which are the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy Award and The Joseph and Racheline Barda Chair for the Study and Research of Jewish Heritage in Egypt award. Her first paper, titled "Modernity, Socio-Cultural Practises and Oral Testimonials: The Jewish Bourgeoisie of Egypt" had won the The Jama'a Bilingual Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Middle East's Annual Papers Competition for Young Scholars Award (to be published in the May 2019 issue), and her Master's thesis will be published as a book [in Hebrew] in 2019. She is also the proud recipient of the Baron New Voices in Jewish Studies Award. Her post-doctoral research is a comparative one, that focuses on Family, Gender and Modernity in additional Middle Eastern Jewish Communities mostly those of the Shaam and Iraq.  

Additional Information: Seating will be available on a first-come first-served basis. Doors open at 5:45 pm.