The Sephardim who went to North America

On 23 August 2015, an important conference was held in Montreal, Canada by the Dahan Center, based at Bar Ilan university in Israel.

The conference looked at Sephardi communities from North Africa and the Middle East who settled in North America. It is no accident that Montreal was chosen as the venue: as one of the speakers explained, half the Jewish community was Sephardi (mainly Moroccan); as it was growing faster and was more religious, there was every expectation it would become dominant.

Here is the video of the speeches at the opening dinner, introduced by Dr Shimon Ohayon of the Dahan Center. At 40 minutes into the clip, the seven Moroccan musicians get an opportunity to play music from the Judeo-Arabic Andalusian tradition. The band leader explains that this style of music predates the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from 15th century Spain, and goes back as far as the 9th century.

In the 16th century, there were 200-member orchestras playing to audiences of
1, 000.


Point of No Return hopes to upload more videos of this conference as we get them.

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This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

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Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

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forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.