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Gormejano (Gormezano) Goren, Itzhak

(373 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Itzhak Gormejano (Gormezano) Goren was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1941. He and his family emigrated to Israel in 1952, where they lived in transit camps ( maʿabarot) for four years. He studied English literature and French Culture (Department of French Culture) at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University, and theater arts at a graduate school in the United States (1974–80). From 1970 to 1974 he worked for the Israel Broadcasting Authority, first as a programs editor,  then as an assistant director in the Drama Department, and during this period he wrote sketc…

Harel-Dagan, Anda

(420 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Anda Harel-Dagan (née Andrée Wahba) was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1934, and immigrated to Israel with her family in 1949. She lived on a kibbutz and studied at the teachers’ college of the kibbutz movement (Seminar ha-Kibbutzim), Tel Aviv University, and the Sorbonne. Harel-Dagan writes lyrical poetry. The themes of her first two volumes, Yamim Rabbim (Many Days - Tel Aviv: Sifriyyat Poʿalim, 1972) and  Avraham Hayah (Abraham Was - Tel Aviv: Ṭraklin, 1974)and the fourth, Minshar  (Sexpoems - Tel Aviv: Alef, 1986) include reflections about family, her father, nature, love…

Chetrit, Sami Shalom

(300 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Sami Shalom Chetritwas born in Ksar es-Souk (now Er Rachidia), Morocco, in 1960 and immigrated to Israel with his family in 1963. He received a Ph.D. in political science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2001 after writing a dissertation about the political history of Mizraḥi Jews in Israel. He was for a time the principal of a school for underprivileged children and has taught in universities in Israel and the United States. Chetrit’s work, both political and poetic, focuses on issues of identity, integration, and protest. His writings about Jewish ethnic t…

Burla, Yehuda

(772 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Yehuda Burla was born in Jerusalem in 1886 to a highly educated Sephardi family, originally from Izmir, that had been rooted in Palestine for three hundred years. Educated in yeshivot and at a teachers college in Jerusalem, he worked from 1908 as a teacher and educational administrator, including five years as the director of Hebrew schools in Damascus after the First World War, during which he was drafted into the Turkish army as a translator. Subsequently he held high posts in the civil service and was the chairman of the Hebrew Writers Association. Burla's first published story, "Luna" (…

Modern Hebrew Literature by Sephardi/Mizraḥi Writers

(1,198 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Literary historians once treated modern Hebrew literature written in the era before Palestine and then Israel became the center of modern Hebrew culture as exclusively an Ashkenazi phenomenon, and did not acknowledge the contribution of Sephardi/Mizraḥi authors. The scholarly focus on works by Ashkenazim defined the way the history of modern Hebrew literature and its canonized works was depicted. All this is now being reexamined. Hakak’s systematic study of the writings of the Jews of Iraq between 1735 and 1950, for instance, is an illustrative instance of th…

Katav, Shalom (Salīm al-Kātib)

(380 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Shalom Katav was born Salīm al-Kātib in Baghdad in 1931. As a youth he attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle School there and became a member of the  Zionist underground movement (He-Halutz). He began publishing in Arabic in Iraq and continued to do so after he immigrated to Israel in 1950, but in time he shifted mainly to Hebrew. In  Israel, he was a teacher, elementary school principal, and school district superintendent. From 1969 to 1972 he was the World Zionist Organization’s educational and cultural director for southern France. Katav’s first book, Muwākib al-Ḥirmān (Carava…

Ezra ha-Bavli

(377 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Ezra ha-Bavli was a rabbi and Hebrew poet who lived in Iraq during the first half of the eighteenth century. His Tokheḥot Musar (Heb. Moralistic Reproofs), completed in 1731, was published in 1735 in Castaneda. His Netivot Shalom (Heb. Paths of Peace), which included castigations, homilies, and biblical exegesis, was published in 1742. Ha-Bavli had a phenomenal knowledge of the Bible,the Babylonian Talmud, and other Jewish sources. His aesthetic achievement in   Tokheḥot Musar was remarkable. The book is a poetical guide to the ethical life intended to keep readers from strayin…