|Advancing Mizrachi Remembrance: NIF Sponsors Successful Festival in Yeruham|
|Written by Tamara Symonds|
This Sukkot, NIF was one of the sponsors of a hugely successful three day festival in Yeruham, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the aliyah of North African Jews. The festival included performances all over the town, culminating in a special celebration of North African Jewish music featuring the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra and three generations of singers.
NIF's International Council (IC) - a diverse group of public intellectuals including Amos Oz and Avram Burg - has been working in Yeruham for over a year, marking the first time NIF has given a grant to a local municipality. The IC is active in organizing cultural events, bringing speakers, and developing a leadership center in the town, with the goal of increasing the residents' involvement in social activities and municipal decision-making. NIF is involved in other initiatives in the town, as is SHATIL.
Dr. Yiffat Bitton
Despite a renewal of interest in Andalusian music over the last ten years, Mizrachi music continues to receive far less public funding than European classical music or theatre. Roni Somek, poet and IC member, spoke at the opening event, while board member Dr. Yifat Bitton spoke at the finale, which took place in front of a packed audience at the town's cultural center and was attended by Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron.
"Wonderful work is being done here in Yeruham to give the immigrants from North Africa pride," Dr. Bitton said. "Local culture is being developed, and the population is being strengthened – this is why the town has become a strategic partner of NIF. Our shared goal is first and foremost to make sure that the residents of Yeruham and elsewhere on the periphery receive what they deserve."