“As you know, I sit on the board of the Federation’s Young Adult Division. I have given much of my time to organizations as the CICC, JSN, NIF, AJC and of course Federation. Yet despite the variety of groups and causes, I feel incomplete in my Jewish life because of an important gap: that of an organization representing Jews who share my particular heritage. Many friends have shared with me the tenuous connection with their Mizrahi heritage and wondered about the community’s resources for others like them.”
- Nathaniel Malka, Former Board Member of the Federation’s Young Adult Division & Iraqi Jew
“The JIMENA websites are a remarkable, and indeed unique, achievement that will help all those who realize that now is a last chance to capture the history of more than a quarter of a million Jewish refugees from Muslim lands. JIMENA ensures that their story of struggle and perseverance will be recorded and preserved for future generations. Jimena’s websites also include fascinating insights, photographs and mementos of one of the great branches of world Jewry, whose creativity and culture are one of the glories of the Jewish story.”
- Sir Martin Gilbert, Author & Winston Churchill’s official biographer.
“JIMENA’s presentation was both captivating and educational. The story they tell is an important one which Jews and non-Jews alike should hear. JIMENA keeps this narrative alive both for the sake of the memory of the Jewish communities in the Middle East and North Africa which were destroyed, and to support Israel, the home and the future for many of these communities’ descendants. It is an important part of Jewish history and of the Zionist narrative today.”
- Brain Maissy, UC Berkeley Student. In reaction to JIMENA’s Presentation at Israel Peace and Diversity Week
“The Last Jews of Yemen photo exhibit, produced by JIMENA, has been a smashing success. The opening event, at which we hosted a panel discussion about the dwindling Jewish community of Yemen, attracted some 200 individuals. It was absolutely one of the best attended gallery and most vibrant art openings at the Osher Marin JCC. It was a pleasure to work with the JIMENA staff and I couldn’t be happier with how the exhibit was received by our members and by various media outlets in the San Francisco Bay area. I would encourage any JCC to host an exhibit of The Last Jews of Yemen.”
- Joanne Green, Director of Koret Taube center for Jewish Peoplehood.
“There are many important roles for JIMENA, and JIMENA is engaged in all of them. One is preserving Mizrahi and Sephardic culture and another is telling the story of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. So few European Jews know the story of Middle Eastern Jews and the world has really ignored this piece of history. Another important role of JIMENA is marshalling the claims of Middle Eastern Jews for the sake of balance and reciprocity.
Everyone talks about the claims of the Palestinians, but very few talk about the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were driven out from Arab countries after Israel declared independence. It is important that the claims of Middle Eastern and North African Jews be documented and preserved so that when the issue of Palestinian claims is dealt with during the peace process, the involved parties can take into account and properly address the claims of Jews from Arab countries as well. JIMENA has done a great deal to preserve these claims and popularize this issue.”
- Abraham Sofaer, Former Federal Judge, legal advisor to the US State Department, and current George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and National Security at the Hoover Institute, 2010
“As an educator I am impressed by JIMENA’s ability to impact students understanding of the conflict by effectively re-framing the conversation, in a more nuanced, in-depth manner, which also respects the history and plight of Jewish refugees to Israel from throughout the Middle East region. Amazingly, these Jewish refugees from the region and their decendents, which comprise the largest group of Israelis, have been largely ignored. This despite the central role they play in the history of the conflict, and the profoundly rich culture and heritage they developed over the thousands of years living in the region.
JIMENA’s talented and insightful speakers provide crucial first hand accounts of life and the exodus from the Middle East and North Africa. This is a powerful tool in helping to shape public opinion of the conflict in a more balanced manner. JIMENA fills an important gap in the discourse, especially on college campuses, by challenging the widely adopted revisionist history of the Middle East, which ignores the plight of Jewish refugees and mistreatment of minorities.”
- Charles Asher Small (D.Phil). Director, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) and Koret Distinguished Scholar, Stanford University
“We were impressed by the Oral History Project of JIMENA, and would like to congratulate you for the achievement of having collected 80 interviews in a relatively short period of time. We are interested to receive a copy of your collection, and we consider it as a most valuable contribution to our archive. We hope that your visit will be a first step towards future collaborations between the Avraham Hartman Institute of Contemporary Jewry and JIMENA.”
- Dr. Margalit Bejarano, Professor Emeritus of the Oral History Division of Hebrew University
“Members of JIMENA’s Speakers Bureau tell a remarkable story that needs to be told and retold. The plight of Palestinian refugees is a tragic story that has been seared into the minds of every student in the world. Why then, has the history of nearly one million Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands disappeared so quickly from our collective conscience? JIMENA’s message and the re-telling of their speakers personal histories, make the forgotten story of Jewish refugees come alive. Their message is helping to balance the inaccurate adopted history of the Middle East, which only recognized the plight of the Palestinians and fails to tell the story of oppression and displacement of Jews from Arab lands. In order to have peace and reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, the issue of Jewish refugees had to also be addressed.”
- Aaron Tartakovsky, Tufts Undergraduate Student