Sephardi Voices gives voice to the one million Jews who were uprooted from their homes, neighborhoods, and ancestry in North Africa, the Middle East, and Iran – to learn more visit http://sephardivoices.com/.
In 2005, Dr. Henry Green, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami, began the first comprehensive effort of preserving the Sephardi legacy of those displaced from North Africa, the Middle East and Iran. The result was the creation of Sephardi Voices. Similar to the Shoah Foundation (USA) and Yad Vashem (Israel,) Sephardi Voices is an audio-visual archive that documents and preserves life stories and photographs.
The Sephardi Voices archive holds recordings, documents and photographs from around the world. Interviews are conducted in three major languages, Hebrew, French and English, as well as Judeo-Arabic, Ladino and Haquetia. An international oral history advisory committee oversees the project. The archive will soon be available on an internet portal at the National Library of Israel.
Sephardi Voices Executive Director Henry Green and Media Director David Langer held production workshops here at the American University of Rome in 2017 and there was a pilot project to interview members of Libyan Jewish community in Italy. Rome is home to thousands of Libyan Jews who fled their country after the 1967 Arab-Israel war. The last Jew in Libya was an 80-year-old woman who left the country in 2003. “They were displaced and persecuted,” said AUR's Professor Villani (Film and Digital Media). “These are stories of people starting a new life somewhere else, stories of loss and dealing with psychological issues. Students interested in writing get lots of stories, some sad, dramatic, even tragic. But it’s an all-around positive experience. Everyone has a different, unique take on it.”
We are now in the second year of the ongoing Sephardi Voices in Rome project. 2017 saw eight students participate in the production of content though AUR’s for-credit Internship Program and in 2018 the University is actively seeking a second cohort of enthusiastic and active interns.
“This is a cultural awareness opportunity to give voices to people who don’t have a voice,” said Terry Vick, an AUR graduate (Film & Digital Media 2017) who is Production Assistant on the project. “You get to see what’s involved in a real production, and it's a fantastic opportunity to work on something very important."