Jerusalem’s Sephardic Community, with Abraham Haim
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: In what year did the great rabbi and philosopher Nachmanides, from Girona, Spain, arrive in Jerusalem and establish a synagogue, which revitalized the existing Jewish community there, and can be considered the beginning of the Sephardic community in Jerusalem?
This week we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, and we’ve decided to observe it by bringing you a program about Jerusalem’s Sephardic community.
Dr. Abraham Haim, President of the Sephardic Jewish Council of Jerusalem, was born in Jerusalem in 1941, into a Sephardic family. He received a degree in Middle Eastern History and Arabic Literature from Hebrew University and then a PhD in History from the University of Tel Aviv, specializing in Jews in the Arab World including the Sephardic Diaspora in those countries.
In 1999 Dr. Haim was named Commander of the Order of Civil Merit in the name of Spanish King Juan Carlos, and in 2012 the Mayor of Salamanca named him Distinguished Guest of that city.
He has held various academic and public positions, including director of the Sephardic Heritage department in the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture, professor of Sephardi Jewish Studies at the Colegio de España in Salamanca, and at many other universities in Spain.
As an internationally acclaimed specialist in Sephardic history and culture, Haim has participated in numerous conferences and seminars about Middle Eastern history, Spanish Jews, and interreligious topics. He was the General Director of Sephardic Heritage in the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture for five years. He has served as advisor to the Israeli National Authority for Ladino and as President of the Cultural Committee of the Council of the Sephardic Community of Jerusalem before becoming president of the Council in 2013.
Dr. Haim spoke with us about the history of Jerusalem’s Sephardic community, and the Sephardic Jews in Israel today.