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Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin

maniacal-renderings:

Hello, Tumblr! I want to share this amazing project with you.

Blue Like Me is a documentary about the art of painter Siona Benjamin and the compelling thematic elements contained in her work. Born and raised in a Bene Israel Jewish community in the predominantly Hindu and Muslim society of India, and currently living in the US, Siona focuses on the themes of cultural, religious, feminine, and personal identity based on her experiences.

Her work draws inspiration from everything from traditional Indian miniature paintings, to illuminated manuscripts, to modern pop art. The result is vibrant, iconic compositions with powerful narratives about finding a sense of home and self.

Producer Hal Rifken and his team, the creatives behind the making of the documentary, have set up a Kickstarter to help fund the project. Their goal is to reach $20,000 by the end of July, and as of now they’re at about $3,500, so there’s still quite a way to go.

If you could make a pledge, it would be hugely appreciated - but if you can’t, please at least pass this post along to your followers! Please help this great project become a reality!

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peashooter85:

The Jews of Ancient China —- The Kaifeng Jews

The destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD would create a wave of Jewish diaspora as Jewish rebels were sold into slavery or exiled to locations all over the Roman Empire.  However the spread of Jewish peoples would expand beyond the borders of the Roman world, as Jewish genes can be found all over Europe, Africa, and Asia.  One far flung Jewish community can be found in China, one of the most extreme examples of Jewish immigration in the ancient world.

After the Jewish revolt against Rome many thousands of Jews headed east to enjoy the wealth and riches of the Silk Road to Asia.  Jewish merchant communities sprang up all over Persia, Afghanistan, and Northern India.  One Jewish group traveled as far as Henan Province (Eastern China) and settled in the cosmopolitan city of Kaifeng between 600 – 900 AD.  By the year 1100 the Jews of Kaifeng had established a large and healthy community with a synagogue, communal kitchen, kosher slaughterhouse, ritual bath, and Sukkah (special building used to celebrate the festival of Sukkot).  During the Ming Dynasty the Kaifeng Jews took Chinese surnames which corresponded with the meanings of their original Jewish names.  One Kaifeng Jew, Zhao Yingcheng (Moshe Ben Abram) made his mark in Chinese history by being named the Director of the Ministry of Justice by the Emperor in the mid 1600’s. The religious traditions of the Kaifeng Jews remained the same through most of their history, corresponding exactly to the religious practices of Jews in the west.  However, in the 1860’s the community would be uprooted due to the chaos caused by the Taiping Rebellion.  The synagogue was destroyed and much of the ancient practices of the Kaisheng Jews were lost or forgotten.  The war caused a mini-diaspora of Chinese Jews as they sought refuge all over China.  After the war many Jews returned to Kaifeng to rebuild their community.  Today the Kaifeng Jews still maintain a small community with a rebuilt synagogue.  Today 1,000 Jews still maintain a prosperous community in Kaifeng.

(via internationalthot-deactivated20)

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whoweretheqajars:

Another reason why Qajar Iran is my favorite—beautiful documents like these. 

This document is two-page Jewish marriage contract (ketubah) in Arabic and Hebrew. The first page, in Arabic, is indistinguishable from Muslim marriage contracts from Qajar Iran. It starts with “bismillah irrahman irrahim” (In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind). The next line praises God for allowing the marriage—literally thanking God for “halal-ifying” the marriage. The second page is in Hebrew, which I suspect expresses the same beautiful sentiments. 

1902, Iran. 

(source

(via ajammc)

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touba:


Kāhen family. The mahalleh in Golpaygan, 1941. Rabbi Shemu’il Kāhen (third person from left) was educated in Iraq. He was the head rabbi in Golpaygan. The photograph was taken in his personal library, which is only partially visible here. The books, all in Hebrew, were brought to Iran from Iraq on camel back. The men’s hand gesture — a gesture used by the Cohanim during the priestly benediction in the synagogue in front of the arc — signifies their status as Cohanim. The men on either side of Rabbi Shemu’il are his sons. The child is his grandson.

Photograph from Esther’s Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews, edited by Houman Sarshar.

touba:

Kāhen family. The mahalleh in Golpaygan, 1941. Rabbi Shemu’il Kāhen (third person from left) was educated in Iraq. He was the head rabbi in Golpaygan. The photograph was taken in his personal library, which is only partially visible here. The books, all in Hebrew, were brought to Iran from Iraq on camel back. The men’s hand gesture — a gesture used by the Cohanim during the priestly benediction in the synagogue in front of the arc — signifies their status as Cohanim. The men on either side of Rabbi Shemu’il are his sons. The child is his grandson.

Photograph from Esther’s Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews, edited by Houman Sarshar.