The first annual New York Sephardic Jewish Book Fair on July 25th at the [Center for Jewish History] was a quiet success. What started as a push by the American Sephardi Federation to sell marked-down books by Sephardic authors snowballed into a day-long event featuring 11 speakers, a constant flow of about four dozen patrons, and the guests of honor: hundreds of books.
“We had both Sephardi and Ashkenazi patrons and everyone was very interested and supportive. We also learned a few things for next year: we need a larger space and more vendors,” said organizer Shelomo Alfassa, the coordinator of Special Projects for the American Sephardi Federation.
In addition to book vendors the fair featured author lectures, including a keynote speech by Marc D. Angel, the Rabbi emeritus of the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel. One of the most moving speakers of the day was Professor J. Daniel Khazzoom, who flew in from Sacramento to give an account of his flight from Iraq to Israel. Khazzoom’s newly published book “No Way Back: The Journey of a Jew from Baghdad” discusses his resentment of his family’s status as “tenth class citizens in our homeland.”
Khazzoom, the first Israeli college graduate accepted by a Harvard University graduate school, was visibly emotional at the fair. “This fair should have been put on a long time ago and the recognition is overdue. But it’s never too late, the Sephardi Jewry has a responsibility to write down our stories before we all forget and so we don’t forget,” he said.
: http:// www.cjh.org/