March 18 – April 1, 2009
Jews in Arab Lands: A Living Legacy
Photographs by Jordan Cassway
Objects from the Permanent Collection
Jordan Cassway was born and raised in Wyncote, PA. He attained a B.A. in Political Science from Muhlenberg College, and a Masters Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University. The focus of his thesis was "The Role of Youth in Conflict in the Middle East: Comparing Iranian Youth in the Iran-Iraq War to Palestinian Youth in the Intifada." Jordan has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East including Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Greece. He is fluent in Hebrew and has a working knowledge of Arabic
Jordan began his photographic career as part of his Masters studies focusing on children and childhood in the Middle East. Subsequently, in 1996, he was invited to return to Israel to be an Artist-in-Residence at the Arad Arts Project in the northern Negev desert of Israel where he focused on photography and poetry.
While at Arad Jordan was involved in three group shows; in Arad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Jordan’s photographs were the focus of a museum show for the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies on Arab-American Immigrants in Philadelphia, in 1999-2000. He is a free- lance photographer, is married and is a father.
Since the time of Abraham, the Jews have been known as a Wandering People. Throughout history we have made our homes in many foreign lands. These sojourns among different peoples and cultures have had an influence upon our own traditions, art, and music. For many generations Jews were permanent residents of Arab lands. Since the establishment of the modern State of Israel we have witnessed the exodus of Jews from these long time havens.
This year the Philadelphia Jewish Community selected My Father’s Paradise, the story of the Jewish community in Kurdistan, by Ariel Sabar, (the son of the last Bar Mitzvah in that country) as the title to be read for the One People One Jewish Book Program.
As part of this effort the Temple Judea Museum has gathered objects, from its permanent collection, that reflect Jewish Life in Arab Lands. During this mini-exhibition the Meyers Library will highlight the books in its collection on this same theme.