2019-04-05 | Upcoming Events

Stories and Outlooks of Jews from Arab countries

San Francisco, CA. Sunday, April 28th. 2PM

Join us at Temple Emanuel we hear the compelling personal stories of former Jewish refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. JIMENA leaders will reflect on the current rise of antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and attitudes towards Israel and the Middle East. This event will include a moderated panel discussion and Moroccan desserts.


Semha Alwaya was born in Iraq and grew up in Turkey, Iran and Israel.  Her parents were among 125,000 Iraqi refugees whose citizenship was revoked and their property confiscated by the Iraqi government in the middle of the 20th century.  Her family left Iraq in 1951 and, like many other Jewish refugees, lived in temporary refugee camps in Israel. Alwayaspeaks Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew.  She has a Master’s degree in Near Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley and has taught Arabic and Farsi at UC Berkeley and Stanford.  Currently, Alwaya is the owner of a law firm which she started in 2003.

Gina Waldman is a survivor. Born Gina Bublil in Tripoli, Libya to a family that had lived in Libya for centuries, she was brutally expelled from her homeland in 1967. Gina and her family fled to Italy and then immigrated to San Francisco as a refugee at the age of 21. She has dedicated the past 45 years to the cause of freedom and the defense of human rights. Her accomplishments earned her several human rights awards including the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award for her work on behalf of Soviet Jews. Together with Joseph Abdel Wahed, Gina co-founded JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) in 2002 to bear witness to the suffering of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. As JIMENA president, she testified in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the United States Congress Human Rights Caucus, the Canadian Parliament, and the Israeli Knesset as an expert witness, to ensure that every time government officials discuss the issue of Palestinian refugees on the global stage, they must mention Jewish Refugees.   Gina has made presentations to major universities such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford and numerous others. She speaks about her own experiences living as a Jew under Islam.

This program is sponsored by Emanu-El Israel Action Committee and in partnership with JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.

Join us as we secure the rights of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East