• Tuesday Nov. 26, 2019 6:30 PM

    Katz Center
    420 Walnut Street
    Floor 6
    Philadelphia, PA 19106

    Open to the public, RSVP required


    Dajana Denes Walters

Course: Middle Eastern Jews in Israel

Home and Homeland

This mini-course offers an in-depth look at the history, culture, and contemporary experiences of Middle Eastern and North African Jews in Israel, focusing in particular on the various meanings and implications of home and homeland for those communities. Among other things, we will briefly explore the historical background of the Jewish communities in the Ottoman and Colonial Middle East, before their immigration (aliyah) to Israel, as well as the experiences of these new immigrants settling into their newly established homeland during its first decades. We will also learn about the contemporary issues facing third-generation Mizrahi Jews in Israel today, especially social and economic issues, and we will finish by discussing identity politics, political activism, Mizrahi women, and the revival of Mizrahi home-culture.

Course information:

Katz Center mini-courses offer a chance to re-experience the college seminar, taught by international visiting faculty to small groups of adult learners. This course is designed to be discussion-based and cumulative so we ask that participants plan to attend all three sessions. There will be a short reading for each week, provided in advance, and each 90-minute session will include lecture and discussion portions. The cost is $30 for the whole course (free to PennCard holders); scholarships are available, please contact us for information. Class size is limited.

The class will meet three times: November 12, 19, and 26.

Please note that this course is now full but that a waiting list is in place on Eventbrite.


Alon Tam

University of Pennsylvania

Alon Tam is a social and cultural historian of the Middle East and North Africa. His research interests include urban history; the social history of Jewish communities in that region; historical anthropology; gender, race and ethnicity in the Middle East; language politics; Arabic literature, theater, and film; Islamic art, visual culture, and architecture.

Tam received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation titled “Cairo’s Coffeehouses in the Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Centuries: An Urban and Socio-Political History.” He is currently working on Jewish social identities in twentieth century Cairo, and has previously studied language politics among the Jewish community in Morocco, the construction of collective memory in Egypt, and blackface in Egyptian theater.


We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Klatt Family and the Harry Stern Family Foundation.