Zion Zohar

President Navon Program for the Study  of Sephardic/Oriental Jewry
Department of Religious Studies
Florida International University
3000 NE 151 Street
North Miami, Florida 33181-3000

19531 NE 22nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33180

 Birthdate: May 13, 1957,  Birthplace: Casablanca, Morocco
 Personal Status: Married, 1 child

  The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York City
 Doctor of Hebrew Letters, 1998.
  Research Supervisor: Professor Leonard Kravitz
  Dissertation: "The Concept of Kavvanah (Intention) in the Halachic and Philosophic
    Thought of Maimonides and its Roots in Rabbinic Literature”
  Major Field: Jewish Philosophy, Minor Field: Jewish Mysticism

 New York University, New York City
 Ph.D. program in Jewish Mysticism, Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, completed class work , 1990-1992.
 The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem
 M.A. in Hebrew Literature, (work completed) 1990, (degree awarded) 1992.

 The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
 M.A. awarded “with Distinction” in Jewish Philosophy and Mysticism, including two years of study in the Department of Comparative Religions,(work completed)1990, (degree awarded) 1991.

 The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem
 Rabbinic Ordination, (work completed) 1990, (degree awarded) 1991.
  Thesis: “An Inter-Biblical Commentary on the Book of Jonah”
  Referee: Professor David Weisberg, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati
 Beit Berl College, Kfar Saba, Israel
 B.Ed. awarded “with Distinction” in Education and Land of Israel Studies, 1985.
 (i.e., the history of Israel, archaeology, Christianity, Islam, geography, geology, etc.)

 Beit Berl College, Kfar Saba, Israel
 Certified Guidance Counselor concentrating upon underprivileged children, 1979-1980.
 Fluent in English; Ancient, Medieval and Modern Hebrew; Moroccan Arabic
 Additional Reading Knowledge of Aramaic, Classical Arabic

Professional Experience (more than 20 years, of which the following are only recent highlights)

 Associate Director, Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies-
 Sephardic/Oriental Studies Program, Florida International University, 2001-

  Visiting Professor, Sephardic Studies Program, Department of Religion,
 The University of Miami, 1999-2001.

 Adjunct Lecturer in Judaic Studies,  Judaic Studies Program and Department of Religion
 The University of Miami, 1995-1996.
 Senior Rabbi, Temple Shir Ami, Miami, Florida, 1994-1997.

 Adult Education Instructor, various South Florida congregations, 1992-2000.
 Lecturer, (Graduate classes-Rabbinic program)
  The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, Spring semester 1991.
 Lecturer, (Graduate classes-Cantorial program)
  The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, 1990-1991.
 Lecturer, (Graduate classes-Rabbinic program)
  The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem, 1988-1989.

 Director, Community Outreach Program (Israeli Adults)
  The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem, 1988-1989.

Publications: Books (In progress and completed)

Song of My People: A High Holy Day Machzor, (editor and translator), Miami: WordWorks Publications, 1995.

 Peace in the Abrahamic Traditions, editor and contributor, (work in progress).

 From the Golden Age of Spain to the Age of Gold of America: Case Study of Sephardic Jewry
    in Florida, (work in progress).
 Intention in Maimonides’ Philosophical and Jurisprudence Literature, (work in progress).

Publications: Papers and Articles

“Spirituality, Kavvanah (Intention) and Ethics: The Case of Rabbi Bahya Ibn Pakuda,” Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Klutznick-Harris Symposium, (Forthcoming, 2002).

“Plato and Maimonides: A Comparative Study of the Parables of the Cave and the Palace,” (work in progress).

“Intention–A Study in the Evolution of Talmudic Law,” (forthcoming).

“To Pray with Intention: A Maimonidean Perspective,” (forthcoming).

Publications: Book Reviews
Katz, Nathan, Who Are the Jews of India?, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), (work in progress).

Shokek, Shimon, Kabbalah and the Art of Being, (London: Routledge Press, 2001), (forthcoming).

Publications: Other
Encyclopedia of New York State, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, publication anticipated 2003:
  “Sephardic Jews of New York State”
  “Hasidic Jews of New York State”

 “A Sephardic Perspective on Various Passover Customs,” at website: www.yovel.org. march 2001.

Awards and Honors
Inducted into Theta Alpha Kappa, National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology, for Excellence in Teaching and Research, 2000.

Scholarship Grant, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University, 1990-1992.

Student Leadership Intern, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (C.L.A.L.), (one of nine rabbinical students chosen nationally from within all four major Jewish denominations), 1990-1991.

 Women of Reform Judaism Scholarship, 1985-1991.

International Sephardic Federation Scholarship, Hebrew University Chapter, Jerusalem, 1987-1989.

Grant Award for Academic Excellence, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1986.

Van Leer Award for Academic Excellence, Israel Academy of Science, (a national grant award, given to approximately 50 students nationally per year), 1984.

Invited Presentations

“Yeshayahu Leibowitz as Biblical Commentator: His Lessons on the Weekly Portion and Other Writings,” Thirteenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem,  August 2001.

“The Concept of Kavvanah (Intention) in Rabbinic Literature,” AAR/SBL Southeastern Regional Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 2001.

“The Influence of Moroccan Kabbalist Rabbi Haim Ben-Atar on the Hassidic Movement: A Case Study in Honor of the Three Hundredth Year Anniversary of the Birth of Hassidut,” Scholar-in-Residence Lecture, (part of the South Dade Sephardic Festival), Young Israel of Kendall, Miami, Florida, February 2001.

“Spirituality, Kavvanah (Intention) and Ethics: The Case of Rabbi Bahya Ibn Pakuda,” The Thirteenth Annual Klutznick-Harris Symposium on Spiritual Dimensions in Judaism, Creighton University, September 2000.

“History, Culture and Tradition of Sephardic Jewry,” Lecture Series, Aventura-Turnberry Beth Jacob Synagogue, Aventura, Florida, Spring 2000.

“Sephardic Customs of Chanukkah,” Lecture for the Sephardic Studies Program of the University of Miami, Golden Beach, Florida, December 1999.

“The Heritage of Maimonides: His Legacy, Philosophy, and Jurisprudence,” Lecture Series, Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, North Miami Beach, Florida, Spring 1999.

Courses Taught
 Judaic Studies:
  “Jewish Culture and Tradition,” The University of Miami
  “Jewish Mysticism,” The University of Miami
  “The History of Judaism,” The University of Miami
  “Introduction to Midrash,” (graduate course), H.U.C.-J.I.R., New York and Jerusalem
  “Introduction to Mishnah,”(graduate course), H.U.C.-J.I.R., New York and Jerusalem
  “Introduction to Rashi,” (graduate course), H.U.C.-J.I.R., New York
  “Classical and Modern Hebrew,” (graduate course), H.U.C.-J.I.R., New York
  “Midrash: An Interpretation of Bible,” Temple Beth Am, Miami
  “Mishnah: Second Holiest Book of Judaism,” Temple Beth Am, Miami
  “The Evolution of Jewish Law,” Temple Beth Am, Miami
 “The Midrash: The Ancient Approach to Reading the Bible Creatively,” Temple Sinai  of ND
  “Jewish Mysticism: The Way of Splendor,” Temple Sinai of North Dade
  “Our Biblical Matriarchs: Role Models for our Times,” Temple Sinai of North Dade
  “Stories of Creation in Legend and Biblical Narrative,” Temple Beth El, Boca Raton,
  “Jewish Business Ethics,” Temple Beth El, Boca Raton, Florida
  “Midrash on the Book of Genesis,” Temple Beth El, Boca Raton, Florida

Courses Taught
 Sephardic Studies:
  “The Golden Age of Spain,” The University of Miami
  “Judaism and Jewish Thought,” The University of Miami
  “Maimonides: The Man and His Message,” Temple Beth Am, Miami
  “Origins of the Sephardic Kabbalah,” Temple Beth El, Boca Raton, Florida
Recent Service to the Community

 Co-Founder, Board Member and Vice-President, "YOVEL: The Organization for Israelis and  Jews with a Vision for the Future," 1998-present

 Co-Founder and Member, the Israeli Academic Circle of South Florida, 1992-present

Member of the "Vision Quest" Committee, Miami Chapter, American Sephardic Federation (A.S.F.), 1998- 1999.

Current Professional Memberships

American Academy of Religion, Association for Jewish Studies, Central Conference of American Rabbis

Professional Training, Seminars, and Other Life Experience

 Certification as a Family Mediator, Florida Atlantic University, 1998.
 Certification as a Master Hypnotist, Omni Hypnosis Training Center, 1996.
 Vipassana Meditation Training, Vipassana Center, Kaufman, Texas, 1995.
Hebrew Language and Text Resource Person, Klau Library, Hebrew Union College-Jewish
  Institute for Religion, Jerusalem, 1988-1989.
Hebrew Center Coordinator, Olin-Sang-Ruby UAHC Summer Camp, Wisconsin, 1987.
Advisor on Religious Issues to the Student Branch of the Labor Party (Ofek), The Hebrew
  University, Jerusalem,1986-1987.
Coordinator for “Perakh,” (outreach project for underprivileged children), Kfar Saba, Israel,
Student Body President, Beit Berl College, 1984.
Cultural Coordinator, Kfar Saba Absorption Center for new immigrants to Israel, 1983.
High School Teacher, Nir HaEmeq High School, Afula, Israel, 1981-1982.
Guidance Counselor for delinquent and underprivileged  adolescent boys, Agricultural Boarding School, Nahalal, Israel, 1980-1981.
Sergeant, Israeli Air Force, 1976-1979.
Certified Hebrew Scribe (sofer stam musmakh), Yeshivat  Achei T'mimim, Rosh Ha'ayin, Israel, 1972.