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“My Heart is in the East”:
A Celebration of Asian Jewish Cultures
March 4, 2004

Photo: Asian Jewish ArtThursday, March 4, begining at 3:00 p.m., Wang Center Theatre.

Taking its title from a verse by the medieval Hebrew poet Yehudah Halevi, this evening-long festival includes films, food, live Sephardic music, and a lecture by Dr. Houman Sarshar on the Jews of Iran. Co-sponsored by Hillel Foundation for Jewish Life and Hillel Student Club. A schedule of events is below.

3:00 p.m., Wang Center Theatre
The Jewish - Asian Experience on Film

Including films screened at the 8th New York International Sephardic Film Festival:

Searching for Baghdad: A Daughter’s Journey
(2002, dir. Carole Basri, 48 min., English)
In search of the remnants of her heritage outside of Iraq, Carole Basri’s 21st century journey leads her to Iraqi-Jewish outposts established in the 19th Century in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other cities of the Far East. She finds not only the history of her people, but also of her own family, in unexpected places.

Bombay Jews
(2002, dir. Rajesh Latkar, 30 min. English, Hindi, Marathi with English subtitles)
This documentary explores the history of the Jews of the province of Bombay (Mumbai and Thane), their acceptance under India’s tolerant views of religion, and their own unique religious practices. A loving look at a little-known Jewish community.

A discussion will follow the films.

5:30 p.m., Wang Center Theatre
Esther’s Children: The Jews of Iran
Dr. Houman Sarshar, author of the acclaimed book by the same title, will speak about this unique and ancient Jewish community, its history, its customs, and its people, accompanied by a multi-media presentation based on his book.

7:00 - 8:00 p.m., Wang Center Theatre Lobby
A Taste of Jewish Asia
Sample Sephardic Jewish foods from different countries.

8:00 p.m., Wang Center Theatre
In concert... Divahn
Performing Sephardic Jewish music of Asia and the Near East. This all-female ensemble infuse traditional songs with sophisticated harmonies using tabla, cello, rabel, doumbek, and vocals in Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Persian, Arabic, Aramaic and Turkish creating a beautiful lyricism through an intense rhythmic drive. Divahn, a word common to Hebrew, Persian, and Arabic, means a collection of songs or poetry. Through its music, Divahn seeks to underscore common ground shared between diverse Middle Eastern cultures and religions. The group captures the breadth and diversity of Mizrakhi and Sephardi music throughout the centuries, while simultaneously creating and redefining innovative directions for the music in the present. This event is Free for students, $10 General Admission.

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