Author’s Note

Dear Readers,

It is such an honor to help in the creation of the JIMENA’s Journey to the Mizrah curriculum for Jewish Day and High Schools. With this curriculum, students will be able to discover and celebrate the roots of Sephardic and Mizrachi students in their schools and classrooms. Through an exploration of music, food, cultural celebrations and symbols, the curriculum seeks to give ideas and tools to Jewish educators who wish to create an inclusive environment in their Jewish Studies classroom. 

While researching texts in preparation for the curriculum, I came upon this beautiful text by Khacham Isaac Farhi, born in Safed in 1782, active in the land of Israel and Turkey. This text speaks to the importance of everyone’s “piece of the torah” everyone’s story that must be told:

“Every person in Israel received his or her own piece in the holy Torah from Sinai, a Torah that is “longer than the land and wider than the sea, and one cannot know where that piece is …”

Our role at JIMENA is to help reveal these missing pieces and to create an educational curriculum where all parts of this torah are learned.

Wishing us all B’Hatzlacha in this important endeavor,

Tamar Zaken 


Tamar Zaken is an educator and community worker, who lives in the East Bay of the San Francisco region. For many years, Tamar directed service learning programs at Memizrach Shemesh, the Center for Jewish Social Activism based in Jerusalem. She graduated from the Joint Program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and received a MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in New York.

Tamar is currently Associate Director at HAMAQOM|The Place (formerly Lehrhaus Judaica). In her spare time, Tamar translates Sephardic Rabbinic texts to expose English speaking audiences to their inspiring message of inclusion and justice.