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Jewish Communities Around the World

Past Sessions
Sunday, February 27, 2022 26 Adar I 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Sunday, February 20, 2022 19 Adar I 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Sunday, February 13, 2022 12 Adar I 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Sunday, February 6, 2022 5 Adar I 5782 - 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Grab your passports and prepare your snacks!  Hop on the Beth Ahm tour bus as we virtually visit Jewish communities around the world. 
Each Sunday, we'll meet a different travel guide specialist who will present the history and cultural background of important sites central to the Jewish communities in China, India, the Netherlands, and Spain. We'll also learn about how each community is faring today.
This 4-part virtual travel series is hosted and underwritten by Congregation Beth Ahm's Sisterhood. There is no charge and open to all.  Contact Sharona Shapiro at with questions. 
Click here to register and receive the Zoom link.
Feb 6: The Bene-Israel of India: An Ancient Living Community
Overview: The Bene-Israel is the largest Jewish historical community from the Indian subcontinent.  According to their oral tradition, they arrived in India sometime in the first or second century BCE.  We will explore their history, culture and heritage.  How did it all begin?  What part did they take in the history of today's India and Pakistan?  What was their role under British colonial rule, and in the creation of the Bollywood film industry?  Of some 100,000 Bene Israel at the turn of the 21st century, less than 4,000 remain in India. The great majority have immigrated to Israel, thus realizing their motto: "Mother India, Father Israel". 
Our Guide: Eliaz Reuben-Dandeker is a 4th generation Israeli and descendant of leaders of the Bene-Israel community.  Eliaz is the founder and owner of the "Kammodan Mocadem" publishing house.  He is also a
co-founder of the "Next Generation Group" of Jewish-Indian activists in Israel.
Feb 13: Jewish Life in China: Tales from the Far East
Overview: For many people it is surprising to learn that there is a long and rich history of Jewish communities in China.  In this tour we will explore the three places with the most relevant historical presence of Jews: Kaifeng (where a community was established in the Middle Ages and whose descendants still live today); Harbin (where a community from Russia thrived around the Trans-Siberian Railway), and Shanghai (where thousands of Jews came as refugees during WWII).  We will also learn how Jewish life is today for those who currently live in China.
Our Guide: Originally from Argentina, Pablo Faivel Levinton is a fluent Yiddish speaker currently studying for a Master’s degree in China.  He runs the popular traveling YouTube channel "A Mole Around the World" dedicated to show faraway Jewish communities to his more than 24,000 subscribers.
Feb 20: Crypto-Judaism: Keeping the Faith During the Inquisition
Overview: The Spanish Island of Majorca is known for its beach resorts, limestone mountains, and being home to tennis celebrity Rafa Nadal.  But Majorca holds a secret, never discussed in most travel guides.  During the Inquisition, the Crypto-Jews or Chuetas publicly professed Catholicism while privately adhering to Judaism.  Still, hundreds of Jews were murdered and only 15 families survived.  Today some are returning to their ancestors’ faith and inspiring a Jewish Renaissance on the island after 600 years of societal repression.
Our Guide: Dani Rotstein moved from New Jersey to the island of Majorca in 2014.  There he learned of the taboo history of the Conversos of the island. In 2018, he founded Limud Majorca and has run over 50 successful events promoting diversity and inclusion in the small, yet growing, Jewish community.
Feb 27: Jewish Amsterdam: A Small Community with a Giant History
Overview: The Amsterdam Jews had a huge impact on the Dutch economy, infrastructure and the Dutch language.  Find out how this community was shaped as a result of the Spanish Inquisition, and how, in its turn, it shaped its environment.  How much of the community was lost during World War II (it was here where Anne Frank and her family had to hide in the secret annex) and what is left now of this historic community?  A compelling journey enhanced with music, visuals and anecdotes.
Our Guide: Nachshon Rodrigues Pereira is the community leader and Chazzan (Cantor) of the Bendigamos community in Amsterdam.  His family has been part of the Portuguese Jewish community of the Netherlands for four centuries.  After studying political science and a short political career, he decided to spend most of his time teaching and rebuilding the Jewish community in Amsterdam.  The community is still suffering greatly from the WWII atrocities.  Today, he works for the Jewish Seminary of Amsterdam, teaches many bar- mitzvah students, writes for a Jewish news website and organizes Jewish concerts.
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Thu, September 28 2023 13 Tishrei 5784