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Global Jewish Communities

FIU Libraries/ JMOF Campaign: The Center for Global Jewish Communities Campaign

Throughout history, vibrant Jewish communities with far reaching family, commercial and cultural ties have flourished throughout the world. Ever since the dawn of the Diaspora, Jews have been building Jewish communities throughout the world with global Jewish connections.

The very diverse South Florida Jewish community is a paradigm of a global Jewish community with multiple and varied cultural roots, family ties and commercial connections throughout the world… from the country of origin to a country of transit, to South Florida, with always a link to the land and people of Israel.

Close family ties to their country of origin, expanding business opportunities in distant countries and a commitment to religious traditions, have enabled far flung Jewish communities not only to survive but to thrive as well. To cite just 2 examples, in medieval Spain, the Jewish community of Cordoba’s influence spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East while in the 19th century, Calcutta’s sphere of influence spanned from London to Tokyo.

The Center for Global Jewish Communities to be based at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU will promote innovative research and education about the diverse Jewish communities throughout the world that have played pivotal roles in the survival of the Jewish people despite overwhelming odds.

The Jewish Community of South Florida is a living laboratory and model for this rigorous academic pursuit as the archives and exhibitions at JMOF-FIU, with its unique and extensive collection of documents and artifacts, will provide unique insight into the globalization of the Jewish community. These global Jewish networks throughout the centuries, have been key factors in sustaining the Jewish People in the face of devastating religious persecution, oppression and intolerance

Philanthropic funding from the community is being sought to strengthen cutting edge research efforts; enhance the quality and frequency of public educational programs; provide increased fellowship support for graduate students as well as the recruitment of internationally distinguished scholars for educational seminars and academic symposia that will bring global recognition and prominence to this Center and the University.

The (Named) Special Collection & Archives on Global Jewish Communities

To support advanced research by academics globally, FIU Libraries and the Jewish Studies Initiatives seek to establish a worlds ahead library collection and archives on Jewish communities around the world.

Longtime FIU professor Nathan Katz is generally regarded as the top authority on Jewish communities in India. New colleague Tudor Parfitt is, similarly, at the pinnacle of studies on Jews of Africa, as well as Judaizing movements around the world. Over decades of research, these two distinguished scholars have individually developed private collections to rival any university libraries. Both professors are prepared to donate their collections to Florida International University. This will result in a special collection and archives of extraordinary quality; it will attract research schools from around the world and enhance the status of FIU’s Jewish Studies profile.

A gift of $100,000 would cover processing; cataloguing, and maintenance of this exceptional academic resource, and the collection could be named for the donor.

Named Graduate Assistantships and Lecture Series

Offering graduate level training in Jewish Studies is central to our mission, and a key to attracting top students is financial support. We welcome the establishment of Graduate Assistantships in Jewish Studies, which could become a legacy of the donors.

Similarly, a robust lecture series benefits the campus and the community, and so we look to establish lecture series of such topics as Hokocaust Studies, Latin American Jewry, Indo-Judaic Studies, Women and Judaism,F the Florida Jewish Experience, etc, according to the donors’ special interests.

Muslim Jewish Relations Initiative

The Muslim-Jewish Relations Initiative explores the historical, cultural, sociopolitical, economic and geographic linkages that exist between Jews and Muslims. The initiative fosters interdisciplinary scholarship in these areas, supporting teaching and research activities that examine and create new avenues of engagement among Jews and Muslims. The initiative also sponsors thought provoking discussions and artistic events that highlight the historical and cultural intersections between Muslims and Jews and how these intersections can serve as point of departure for meaningful dialogue and the celebration of shared human values.

Holocaust Studies Initiative

The FIU Holocaust Studies Initiative seeks to establish a university-community partnership in expanding our offerings related to the study of the Shoah. Building on our past history of high quality lecture series, invited speakers, and museum exhibitions, and continuing our Annual Holocaust Lecture and annual educational concerts by the Amernet Quartet, FIU’s string quartet in residence, we also draw on the collective strengths of our faculty and facilities, including the collections of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU and The Wolfsonian-FIU. Our increased engagement will include online course development, lecture series, continuing education, scholars-in-residence, and more. Our aim is to strengthen university and community Holocaust education for the 21st century from an integrated and multidisciplinary perspective.

Latin American Jewry Initiative

A collaborative project between Jewish Studies Initiatives and the Latin American and Caribbean Center, the Latin American Jewry Initiative seeks to explore Latin American Jewry from a multidisciplinary perspective. Through lectures, workshops and symposia, this initiative examines the Jewish experience throughout the Americas. Past events have included “The Jewish Cuban Community in Miami” with Caroline Lopez; “My Panama: Refugee Snapshots” with Murray Baumgarten; “Jewish Migrants in Brazil” with Rene Decol; “Searching for Home in Argentina and Israel: On History and Identity Among Jewish-Argentines and Argentine-Israelis” with Raanan Rein; “The Chosen Island: Jews in Cuba” with Maritza Corrales; and “Identity in a Time of Peril: Nazis and Jews in Latin America During the Second World War” with Max Paul Friedman.

To learn more about Giving please contact Nathan Katz at or 305-348-3909.