JIMENA Experience Oral History Program was created in 2010 to record and preserve the testimonies and narratives of Jews displaced from the Middle East and North Africa. This project enables former Mizrahi and Sephardic refugees an opportunity to assert their history and document their stories of human rights abuse, denationalization, displacement, fractured identities, material losses, resettlement and integration in new societies. The Mizrahi and Sephardic Oral History project also provides an opportunity for participants to preserve their positive memories and document their rich traditions as practiced in the countries their ancestors lived for over 2,500 years. For many participants, this is the first time they have talked openly about their experiences as Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. All of JIMENA’s Sephardic and Mizrahi Oral History testimonies and associated materials are transcribed and digitally preserved for the benefit of researchers and to provide the public with access to information on Jews from the Middle East and North Africa.
JIMENA’s Oral History Program is made possible thanks to the guidance and support of many project partners and mentors and our entire collection is preserved in perpetuity at Ben Gurion University’s Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel Studies. Many full length testimonies from our collection can be found on BGU’s youtube page.
JIMENA Experience Website and Social Media Project
The JIMENA Experience Website Project provides an educational, multi-lingual, on-line digital platform that presents the story of Mizrahi and Sephardic refugees in the first person. The project, composed of 11 country specific websites, in both English and Arabic, focuses on Jewish history, culture and displacement from the Middle East and North Africa. The sites serve as an online depository of select JIMENA Mizrahi and Sephardic Oral History testimonies and written narratives of our members. JIMENA maintains active on-line communities through twitter, facebook, vimeo, youtube and through our own websites. Each month JIMENA’s websites receive over 80,000 visits from around the world and we are dedicated to maintaining a strong and active online presence through social media and digital technologies.
“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