The Jewish Community of Lebanon: 

Erasure and Memories

Sunday, December 10

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 09:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 90 minutes

About this talk

The Lebanese Jewish Community reaches back to Biblical times, but hardly has any remaining presence today. With a lack of awareness and acknowledgment, the younger generations don't even realize that Jews were part of their land's history.

A complex mosaic of more than 20 religious denominations, Lebanon was a prosperous and tolerant society. As Lebanese Jews, we lived an idyllic and plentiful life being one minority among many others, free of the persecutions or discrimination of other Jews in the Middle East. However, after the Six-day war, fault lines started to appear, triggering the first major wave of migration. In 1975, the rest of the Jews had to escape a war-ravaged country. 

I will be drawing on my own family history, memories plus historical books. Furthermore, as a visual artist, I will also be presenting some of my photo-text series which often focus on the experience of war and displacement and the undeniable attachment to my birthplace, Beirut.

About Leslie

Leslie Hakim-Dowek was born and grew up in Beirut but had to leave at the beginning of the civil war in 1975. She is a visual artist based in London and a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth involved in both art and academic projects. Her practice often focuses on issues of identity, memory and migrancy combining photography, archival material, and creative writing.

As part of the AHRC project Ottoman Pasts, Present Cities: Cosmopolitanism and Transcultural Memories Research project, she was its visual advisor and helped to organize a conference and workshops at Birkbeck College, London. An important focus was to highlight all the invisible histories of minorities of the Middle East such as the Sephardi/Mizrahi, the Armenian, and Kurdish ones, which were persecuted and displaced with no acknowledgement or compensation so far. For the latter, she also curated the exhibition East and West: Visualising the Ottoman City.

Choose your contribution amount

With your contribution, you will also be donating to  Sephardi Voices UK, an organization founded with the mission to record and capture the experiences of the Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews from the Middle East, North Africa and Iran who settled in the UK.

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