30 November is the official memorial day in Israel to mark the departure and expulsion of more than 850,000 Jews from Arab countries and Iran in the 20th century.
Once again, JW3 is hosting the official UK commemoration in the presence of communal leaders and senior diplomats, and in partnership with Harif (the UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa) and Sephardi Voices UK. This year our theme will be ‘The Jews of North Africa.’
The Jewish communities of North Africa date back at least 2,000 years. Today Morocco and Tunisia each have just one percent, respectively, of their 1948 Jewish populations, while Algeria and Libya have no Jews at all.
We will hear testimonies from Jews whose families suffered under Vichy rule during World War II. When North African countries became independent, Jews found that they had no future, and were exposed to a frequently violent backlash from the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Eastern Beats will be providing a musical interlude and the event will be followed by light refreshments.
Harif (www. Harif.org) is a volunteer-run, UK charity founded in 2005 to raise awareness of the history and culture of MENA Jews. It has arranged and participated in hundreds of events, nationally and internationally, and its online programme of ‘Lockdown Lectures’ attracts a global audience. This year will be the ninth that Harif has marked the Exodus of Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries and Iran.
Sephardi Voices UK
Sephardi Voices UK (sephardivoices.org.uk) have recorded and captured the experiences of Jews from the Middle East North Africa and Iran who settled in the UK. They have carried out over 100 interviews.
The S&P Sephardi Community
The S&P Sephardi Community (sephardi.co.uk) – originally founded as The Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation of London – was founded in 1657 as a consequence of the famous petition to Cromwell in 1656. The community is comprised of Synagogues in Bevis Marks, Lauderdale Road and Wembley as well as many sister and affiliated Synagogues. They have a wide range of programming and activities open to all.