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The Untold Story of Syrian Jews: Commemoration of Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands
In June 2014, the Government of Israel adopted a law which designates November 30th as an annual, national day of commemoration for the 850, 000 Jewish refugees who were displaced from Arab countries and Iran in the 20th century.

This year, the Consulate General of Israel to New England will be hosting a virtual program commemorating the expulsion of Jews from Syria which occurred in the wake of the establishment of the State of Israel. Our program will feature leading expert Dr. Mijal Bitton, whose research focuses on the Jews of Syria, as well as an interview with Dr. Mayer Ballas, a Syrian Jew who played a key role in the rescue of this community.

*Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mijal Bitton, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America

*Special Guest: Dr. Mayer Ballas, Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews

*Introductory Remarks: Ambassador Meron Reuben, Consul General of Israel to New England

*Hanukkah candle lighting with representatives of the Sephardic congregations of Beth Abraham in Brookline and Beit Sasson in Newton.

This event is co-sponsored by AJC New England, Lappin Foundation, American Sephardi Federation, JIMENA, Beth Abraham Sephardic Synagogue, Beit-Sasson-The Sephardic Congregation of Newton, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine.

Nov 30, 2021 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

* Required information


Dr. Mijal Bitton
Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
Dr. Mijal Bitton is a Scholar in Residence at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, and the Rosh Kehilla (communal leader) and co-founder of the Downtown Minyan in New York City. Mijal received a BA from Yeshiva University and earned her doctorate from New York University, where she conducted an ethnographic study of a Syrian Jewish community with a focus on developing the field of contemporary Sephardic studies in America.  She is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. In 2018 Mijal was selected for inclusion in  ’36 under 36′ in New York Jewish Week. She lives in Manhattan with her husband Sion and their two children.
Dr. Mayer Ballas
Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews
A native of Damascus, Dr. Mayer Ballas is a practicing cardiologist in Forest Hills, New York. Facing anti-Jewish discrimination and immigration restrictions, Dr. Ballas immigrated to the United States in 1978. For the next two decades, Dr. Ballas advocated on behalf of Jews remaining in Syria and for their rights to leave. He was the founding President of the Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jews and brought the issue to the attention of the US congress and president Clinton. Once the Assad regime allowed Syrian Jews to emigrate, Dr. Ballas worked to help resettle thousands of Syrian Jews in the New York Sephardic community. Dr. Ballas served as the President of Sephardic Bikkur Holim and has been recognized by communal leaders as well as American presidents for his advocacy work.
Ambassador Meron Reuben
Consul General of Israel to New England
Ambassador Meron Reuben has served as the Consul General of Israel to New England since November 2020. Ambassador Reuben has a diplomatic career spanning over three decades, during which he has served in various positions, including roles at the Israeli embassies in Chile​ and Mexico, and as Ambassador to Paraguay, Bolivia and Colombia. Ambassador Reuben served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN between 2010-2011, and as Israel's Chief of State Protocol from 2015 to 2020. ​ Ambassador Reuben was born in South Africa in 1961, and immigrated to Israel from the UK in 1974, where he studied Diplomacy and International Relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During his military service, Ambassador Reuben was an air traffic controller in the Israeli Air Force. Ambassador Reuben is father to Jen and Liad, and partnered to David.