The Jews of Egypt in Modern Times


Call for Papers:

International Research Conference on The Jews of Egypt in Modern Times

To take place on 5-7 January 2004


Organized by: Interdepartmental Division of Jewish Studies and The

Institute for Research on Sephardi and Oriental Jewry, Faculty of Jewish

Studies, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.


The goal of the conference is to identify and discuss new issues and new

directions in the research of Egyptian Jewry in modern times, from a broad

spectrum of perspectives and research methodologies.


Suitable topics and issues include:


1. History and Society

1.1 Demography: The geographical dispersion of the Jewish communities in

Egypt, at different points in time, and its significance. Including, inter

alia: Jewish migration to Egypt (whence, when, why, numbers) and from

Egypt (whither, when, why, numbers); ^?liyya of Jews from Egypt to

Eretz-Israel/Palestine, and emigration from Eretz-Israel/Palestine to

Egypt. 1.2 Center and periphery in the Jewish communities of Egypt

(Alexandria vs. Cairo, and each of those to the smaller communities of

Egypt). 1.3 Relations and links between Jews/Jewish institutions and

frameworks in Egypt, and Jews/Jewish communities and Jewish

organizations/frameworks in other countries. E.g., relations between

Bnei-Brith Lodges and in Egypt and Bnei-Brith frameworks in other

countries and regions. 1.4 Relations between Jews and non-Jews: personal,

communal, and other contexts. Including, inter alia: social ties and

relations; joint activity in various contexts; relations between

Jews/Jewish institutions and the British civil authorities and personnel;

relations of Jews/Jewish institutions with the Egyptian authorities,

bureaucracy and personnel. 1.5 Relations within Jewish society between

various social strata and ethnic groups, on personal and institutional

levels. aspects of stability and of change. 1.7 Organizational aspects:

communal organization, institutions of leadership and other organizations

and institutions, over the course of time. 1.8 Families and family life

"stability, dynamics and change; including: Patterns of authority and of

roles within the family; mapping of the division of responsibility for

aspects of family life between the marriage partners; parent-child

relationships; relations between the parents; the nuclear and the extended

family; other members of the household, e.g., the life and function of

servants (male and female) and their relations vis-?-vis the family;

relations and links with family members residing in other towns or abroad;

modes of socialization and of transmitting family culture and traditions.

1.9 Women and gender issues. 1.10 The Karaites (including all the above

sub-headings). 1.11 Economic activities of Egyptian Jews and the place and

function of Egyptian Jews within the Egyptian economy. 1.12 Political

activity and involvement of Jews in general Egyptian politics. 1.13 The

Egyptian Jewish Diaspora: (a) before the "Second exodus" (b) during and

after the ^?econd exodus^? (c) today. 1.14 The attitudes and relations of

Egyptian Jews and Egyptian Jewish institutions to the Zionist yishuv in

Eretz Israel and to institutions and individuals within the yishuv. 1.15

Religion and religious life: the degrees and modes of attachment of

Egyptian Jews to Judaism and to Jewish religious praxis; characteristic

customs and religious behaviors; proselytes and apostates. 1.16 Education:

educational institutions (both Jewish and ^?eneral^? that Jews attended

^?from nursery to university; the educational goals and values of these

institutions; school life; curriculum; institutional culture;

teacher-student relations; relations of principals and teachers with the

parents of their students; links and tensions between Jewish and general

content and curricula; the background, training and educational

orientation of principals and teachers; educational funding and financing;

relations with the Egyptian educational bureaucracy, hierarchy and



2 Cultural Life

2.1 Theatre and Cinema: the activities of Jews in these realms, and their

influence on, and place in, general Egyptian activity in these fields. 2.2

Jewish newspapers/periodicals and Jewish journalists in Egypt: content,

style, goals and activities; views and values reflected in this genre. 2.3

Jewish literature and Jewish authors in Egypt. 2.4 Adolescence and youth,

including, inter alia: Jewish youth movements, and participation of Jews

in ^?eneral^?youth movements; recreation and leisure activities of Jewish

adolescents; culture and values of adolescents; courting and relations

between the sexes. 2.5 Egyptian Jews vs. Nationalism (Egyptian and

Zionist) and Communism; the variety of attitudes and ideologies, and

contributions by Jews to the general Egyptian discourse on these issues.

2.6 Music: The musical culture(s) of Egyptian Jews, and their involvement

in non-Jewish Egyptian musical activity, Oriental or Occidental. 2.7 The

material culture of Egyptian Jews in modern times, and the contributions

of Jews to non-Jewish Egyptian material culture. 2.8 Languages: The spoken

and written languages of Jews in Egypt in modern times. 2.9 The

participation of Jews in general Egyptian intellectual life and in

varieties of Egyptian cultural and public discourse. 2.10 Karaite cultural

creativity and its relation to other cultural worlds: to Karaite culture

in other Karaite centers; to Egyptian Rabbanite Jewish culture; to

general, non-Jewish Egyptian culture. 2.11 Activities (and lack of such)

of Egyptian Jews in Egypt and in other countries to preserve and develop

their heritage. 2.12 Jewish religious-intellectual and religious-popular

cultural creativity. 2.13 The Jewish Identity of Egyptian Jews: varieties,

contents, tensions and developments.


The steering committee of the conference includes:  Dr. Nahem Ilan

(co-ordinator), Prof. Ariel Toaff, Dr. Yaron Harel, Dr. Bracha Yaniv, Dr.

Zvi Zohar.


It is intended to publish a volume of academically qualified articles

based on lectures presented at the conference. Each submission will be

anonymously be evaluated by a ^?lind^?lector, according to usual academic



All are invited to submit a proposal for a lecture topic, before

31.3.2003, accompanied by a brief abstract explaining the main innovation

of the proposed paper.


Please disseminate this Call for Papers to others whom you consider might

be interested in participating.


Correspondence relating to the conference, inquiries etc. should be

addressed to Dr. Nahem Ilan, The Interdepartmental Division of Jewish

Studies, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel 52900, or via e-mail to