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German Jewry and the Allure of the Sephardic: A presentation by John M. Efron

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115 (map)

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

As German Jews sought legal emancipation and social acceptance in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, they embarked on a program of cultural renewal. Distancing themselves from their fellow Ashkenazic Jews in Poland, they accorded a special place to the Sephardic Jews of medieval Spain. Where they saw Ashkenazic Jewry as insular and backward due to Christian persecution, they depicted the Sephardim as worldly, morally and intellectually superior, and beautiful, products of their tolerant Muslim host culture.

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Based on his new book, German Jewry and the Allure of the Sephardic, historian John Efron will examine the influences of Sephardic aesthetics on a changing German Jewry.

John Efron, PhD, is the Koret Professor of Jewish History at the University of California at Berkeley, where he specializes in the cultural and social history of German Jewry.  He also has written on Jewish political and popular culture in Central Europe, Yiddish political satire in Poland and Israel, and the role of sport in the modern Jewish experience. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Efron earned his PhD at Columbia University.

Co-presented by Lehrhaus Judaica.