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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


November 7, 2014  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Tampa Sephardic Festival to feature lectures, henna body art, concert

Celebrate Sephardic Jewish traditions with henna body art, a Ladino concert and a three-part lecture series in December at the Tampa JCC & Federation’s Maureen and Douglas Cohn Jewish Community Campus.

The Sephardic Festival will kick off Dec. 3, with the first of three lectures on the history of Sephardic Jewry, presented by Tampa resident George Zucker, author of Sephardic Identity: Essays on a Vanishing Jewish Culture. Zucker is professor emeritus of Spanish at the University of Northern Iowa.

On Monday, Dec. 8 from 2-3:30 p.m. there will be an intergenerational “henna and hamsa” program involving residents of Weinberg Village Assisted Living Facility and children in the JCC Preschool, the PJ Library and the Club J afterschool program.

The Weinberg residents, as well as the children and some of their parents and grandparents, will celebrate ancient Sephardic customs, get painted with henna body art and create crafty hamsas. A hamsa is a Middle Eastern hand-shaped charm believed to ward off the evil eye.

Henna has a rich history among Sephardic Jewish communities worldwide. Beginning in the late Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean, henna body art has been used for a number of social celebrations.

Traditional Sephardic Hanukkah treats will be provided for participants in this program. The cost is $5 for JCC members and $6 for non-members. Children under age 12 are free.

A Ladino concert, featuring Joy Katzen-Guthrie, cantorial leader of Congregation Beth Am, and Andres Kornworcel, cantor at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, will be held Monday, Dec. 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event will include latkes. The cost is $5 for JCC members and $6 for non-members. Children under age 12 are free.

Zucker’s lectures will be presented on consecutive Wednesdays from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Each program will include a kosher lunch. The schedule is.

• Dec. 3, the history of Sephardic Jews in Spain through 1492, when the Spanish king and queen, Ferdinand and Isabella, ordered all Jews in the country and its territories to be expelled;

• Dec. 10, the period from 1492 through the late 19th century,

• Dec. 17, Sephardic Jews from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century.

Cost to attend the series of lectures is $25.

An RSVP is required for all three programs. RSVP to Rachel Tilow at (813) 769-2809 or email her at The RSVP deadline for the lecture series is Nov. 28; for the henna and hamsa program it is Dec. 5 and for the concert, it is Dec. 12.

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