Sephardic wisdom and tradition is largely left out in many Jewish institutions. When people think of Sephardic tradition, they often know the food or the music. But Sephardic tradition is so much more than what we eat or sing. It is a vibrant canon of teachings that are incredibly relevant to our modern times.
Tamar Zaken is working to change the discourse in the Jewish world through teaching the wisdom of Sephardic ritual, culture, and teachings. Based in Oakland, she translates Sephardic texts into English and advocates for inclusion of Sephardic voices.
As the Chief Program Officer at HaMaqom, an organization that creates inclusive communities through Jewish learning and practice, Tamar uses her platform to illuminate Sephardic tradition. She teaches courses such as “Sephardic Sages Bringing Peace to the World,” and in the spring Tamar and I will be speaking together on The Racial Identity fo Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews.
“Growing up, I knew I was Sephardic. I felt special, I have cool traditions and it’s different from everyone else. It took time to realize how forgotten and erased the history of Sephardi Jews is. The process of awareness was a long and slow one. It took time to realize what was happening to my culture and identity,” she says.
Upcoming JOCSM FREE course led by Hadar Cohen & Tamar Zaken