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A Three-Part Learning and Cultural Series on the Greater Sephardic Communities of the Former Soviet Union

At the Intersection of Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Russian-Speaking

Monday, February 26 at 7:00 pm — At The Center for Jewish History
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At the Intersection of Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Russian-Speaking: A Three-Part Learning and Cultural Series on the Greater Sephardic Communities of the Former Soviet Union

American Sephardi Federation’s Young Sephardi Scholars Series, in partnership with COJECO BluePrint Fellowship, is excited to host a three-part learning and cultural series about the Russian-speaking Jewish (RSJ) communities of the Greater Sephardic world. The cultures and histories of Bukharian, Georgian, and Kavkazi (Mountain) Jews are situated at the fascinating, yet lesser known, intersection of RSJ, Sephardic, and Mizrahi life. Led by Ruben Shimonov, this interactive multimedia learning series will provide a unique opportunity to explore the rich and multilayered stories of the three communities.

The dates of the series are: 2/26 (Kavkazi Jews), 3/20 (Bukharian Jews), and 4/24 (Georgian Jews). 

All sessions will begin at 7 pm in ASF’s Sephardi Scholars Center at the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street, NY, NY 10011). 

Light dinner reflecting the cuisine of Bukharian, Georgian, and Kavkazi Jews will be served. 

Registration: $10 per session or $20 for all 3.


Ruben Shimonov, 2018 American Sephardi Federation Broome & Allen Fellow, was born in Uzbekistan and grew up in the vibrant Greek and Turkish Sephardic community of Seattle. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Near Eastern Studies, and Jewish Studies from the University of Washington. As a Bukharian Jew—whose own multilayered identity lies at the intersection of Mizrahi, Sephardic, and RSJ—Ruben roots his work as an educator, social innovator, and community builder in a deep passion for the diverse cultural mosaic of the Jewish people. This has informed his active leadership and community organizing endeavors within organizations such as the American Sephardi Federation (where he is the Young Leadership Board’s VP of Education and Community Engagement), JDC Entwine, Moishe House, and OneTable. He has also brought this passion to his work at Queens College Hillel for the past four years—most recently as Director of Cross-Community Engagement and Education—where he had the unique role of engaging, empowering, and creating meaningful Jewish experiences for Sephardic and Mizrahi students. Ruben is currently pursuing Master’s degrees in both Public Administration/Nonprofit Management and Judaic Studies at New York University. Ruben was recently named a COJECO Blueprint Fellow and is working on community projects that highlight the intersectional identities of Russian-speaking Greater Sephardic Jews. He is also the founder of the Sephardic-Mizrahi LGBTQ Shabbat Dinner Series and annual retreats, which provide a one-of-a-kind platform for LGBTQ Jews from Sephardic and Mizrahi backgrounds to build a vibrant and supportive community.

This learning series is created as part of COJECO BluePrint Fellowship supported by COJECO and Genesis Philanthropy Group.