In 2005 in Jerusalem, I invited other Jewish scholars to join me in launching a new ambitious project. I called it “The Forgotten Exodus”. There was sparse information on the remarkable Sephardi population who had to flee their native lands in North Africa, the Middle East and Iran. Following Steven Spielberg’s Shoah model, the idea was to collect as many testimonies as possible of the near-million Jews who were now scattered far and wide.
Sephardi Voices International was born in 2009, with its core initiative the International Audio-Visual History Project.
Over the last decade, more than 400 people have been interviewed in Canada, the USA, the UK, France, Italy, and Israel. We have produced two films and are in the process of developing portrait exhibitions that will soon open in Montreal, Toronto and Miami. The Sephardi Voices archive collection will be hosted by the National Library of Israel and available online to everyone for free.
Sephardi Voices’ mission is a simple one: to foster the legacy of Jews from Islamic lands and to reframe the narrative of Jewish history and Zionism—one that has a Sephardi voice.
We are grateful for the many volunteers who have supported us in so many ways. I look forward to continuing to share the funny, touching, insightful and heroic voices of the Sephardi with all of you.