Mizrahi era dawns in Israeli theatre

Two Israeli actors of Iraqi origin have founded a multicultural repertory theatre dedicated to staging the heritage and forgotten stories of Jews from Arab lands.  The project is called ‘Shahar’ (Dawn).

Actor  Uri Gabriel and actor and playwright Gilit Yitzhaki were inspired to start their project following the success of ‘Eliyahu’s Daughters’ (Habanot shel Abba), a play about two generations of an Iraqi-Jewish family which survived the Farhud pogrom, escaped from Iraq and came to Israel. The play, which was written by Yitzhaki,  has been playing to packed houses up and down the country.

 Introducing the Shahar project in a Facebook video clip, Uri Gabrieli  says:” this is the dawn of a new day!״
He and Gilit Yizhaki have set up a website (English version available – click top right) to
attract funding.

Backers purchase tickets from the website for a play to be staged in February. The aim is to collect the 120, 000 shekels needed to finance Shahar’s first production. If the target is not met, contributors will receive a refund.

The next production, The Rebel from Tetran, will be based on Salim Fattal’s memoir In the alleys of Baghdad. Shahar will also run workshops, discussions and social activities.


  • Sephardi has come to be a 'catch-all' termm to cover all Jews who are not Ashkenazi. You are right – Jews are one people. Th eproblem is that post-colonialists are re-imagining Jews from Europe as privileged whites.

  • I don't consider Moroccan Jews, Turkish Jews, Portuguese Jews, Italian Jews or other Jews that settled in the mediterranean basin to be 'mizrahi'.

    Sepharadi, yes. Mizrahi, no. Mizrahim are from the east, Iraq/Iran, Uzbekistan, the Caucasus, etc.

    I am so sick of identity politics anyway in Israel and in America and this "jews of color" crap. Jews are one people, and most are the same color historically, originating from palestine/eretz yisra'el.

    Lee Strasberg (Hyman Roth from the Godfather) is the same color as all the italians/sicilians around him, and this holds true for many other ashkenazi jews. Some are darker than sepharadi jews (Andre Azoulay) from Morocco.

    Ashkenazi Jews suffered horribly throughout history, ironically because of their skin color being darker than the europeans. They stood out like a sore thumb. That is how the term anti-semitic got its name essentially. A reference to their own near eastern origins.

  • No this heritage is not just being discovered now. The difference is that this theatre project aims to specialise in Mizrahi themes

  • how is it that thirty years ago in Avignon Fringe Festival I saw a one man production of the folklore of Moroccan Jews? I don't know if it originated in Israel or France but it's not like this heritage has been buried only to be discovered now. He thought I was going to produce him in New York apparently misunderstanding my poor French….I only recommended he bring it to NYC.
    There were theaters and Jewish organizations that would have gladly and enthusiastically helped him to produce his theater here in NYC. And the same goes double for today if Mizrahi Jews want to produce "THEIR" theater in the USA. If they are tired of Fiddler and Kazablan.


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