Arts and Culture | Local

JHM to debut Sephardic and Mizrahi Festival

Miriam Peretz, left, and Rachel Valfer of the Ladino Project will perform ‘MADRE’ in Tucson on Feb. 2.

The Jewish History Museum is sponsoring “In Diaspora We Are Many,” a festival that explores the Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish cultures. The festival will take place Friday, Jan. 31 through Sunday, Feb. 2. 

This is the museum’s first Sephardic and Mizrahi festival.   

“We are holding a Sephardic and Mizrahi culture fest because we strive to present Jewish histories and identities in their full, expansive, and global complexity,” says JHM Executive Director Bryan Davis. “Many people in the U.S. have a sense of Jewish history and identity that is limited to the Ashkenazi experience. While the majority of Jewish people in the U.S. do come from an Ashkenazi heritage, we are committed to expanding awareness of Jewishness and Jewish possibilities beyond this limited frame.”

The festival has a full schedule of activities, many of them free. On Friday, Jan. 31 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, “Mapping Migrations” will look at the migrations of Sephardic and Mizrahi families to Southern Arizona. From noon to 3 p.m. the museum will present the testimony of the late Isaac Senor, a Holocaust survivor from Salonika, Greece. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. there will be a Moroccan Shabbat with Micah Chetrit, a child of revered Moroccan-Israeli poet Sami Shalom Chetrit. Micah lives in Tucson and is co-founder of The Midbar Project, Tucson’s first Jewish farm project. 

On Saturday, Feb. 1 a Moroccan Havdalah with Micah Chetrit at 6 p.m. will be followed at 7 p.m. with a concert by Qadim, an ensemble hailing from the Bay Area,  playing music from the Near East. Tapas will be served. Tickets are $25. 

Festival activities on Sunday, Feb. 2, include a lecture from 12:30-1:45 p.m. by University of Arziona master of fine arts student Matisse Rosen on the poetry of Edmond Jabès, an Egyptian Jew who wrote in Paris after being forced into exile by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Finally, from 2-4 p.m. the festival will end with the Ladino Project presenting MADRE, a Sephardic dance and musical performance. There will be a Moroccan mint tea ceremony and Mizrahi desserts will be served. Tickets are $30. 

“Anyone who enjoys music, dance, poetry, and learning about underrepresented histories and cultures will find something of interest and joy at this festival,” Davis says. 

Tickets for individual events and festival passes for $75 are available at For more information, call 670-9073.