Lesson Purpose and Overview:
This two-part lesson introduces students to antisemitism and its manifestations through the lens of Middle Eastern Jews whose history of the past are defined by recent struggles of discrimination and prejudice in the United States. Students will analyze narratives, primary and secondary sources of the forgotten indigenous Jews of the Middle East and North Africa while contextualizing them within the larger framework of systems of power (economic, political, social) that manifested in the forms of forced migration, prejudice, and oppression. Their personal histories are defined by past and recent struggles of discrimination, prejudice and hate crimes in the United States.
There is a dearth of scholarship on non-Ashkenazi Jews in America, including lack of clarity, scholarly investigation, and consistency in the categories used to describe them. Middle Eastern Jews have been referred to as Mizrahi, Sephardic Jews, Arab-Jews, or labeled with a sub-ethnic identifier such as Iranian or Moroccan. We have no clear demographic data on the number of non-Ashkenazi Jews in America, but estimate that they comprise 10-20% of America’s total Jewish population.
The lesson plan, Antisemitism and Middle Eastern-American Jews (c) is not for reproduction or distribution without consent of JIMENA INC.