Sosland Foundation Fellow Dr. Judith Roumani
Dr. Judith Roumani is Director, Jewish Institute of Pitigliano (Italy). She earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. She speaks English natively but possesses linguistic skills in French, Hebrew, Italian, Ladino, Portuguese, and Spanish. Dr. Roumani has given lectures on Sephardic literature at several academic institutions, including the Modern Language Association’s Annual Meeting (Boston) in January, 2013; Georgetown University’s Center for Jewish Civilization (Washington, DC) in 2011; and the B’nai B’rith Museum and Spanish Embassy exhibit for Remembering Sepharad (Washington, DC) in 2003. Dr. Roumani is the founder and editor of the quarterly academic journal Sephardic Horizons, which was first published in 2010. While in residence in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Dr. Roumani worked on her project entitled “The Holocaust in Sephardic Literature: Responses in Prose.”
Dr. Roumani has several published works to her credit, including two monographs: Jews in an Arab Land: Libya, 1835-1970 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985), which was written by Renzo De Felice and translated by Dr. Roumani; and Albert Memmi (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987), which was the second book in the CELFAN Editions Monograph Series on Maghrebine Literature. Dr. Roumani has also authored numerous book chapters and scholarly articles, including “Sephardic Literary Responses to the Holocaust,” in Literature of the Holocaust, Cambridge University Press (2013), edited by Alan Rosen; “From Pitigliano to Tripoli, via Livorno: The Pedagogical Odyssey of Giannetto Paggi,” with Ariel Paggi for Sephardic Horizons (2012); “‘Le Juif Espagnol’: The Idea of Sepharad in Colonial and Post-Colonial Judeo-Francophone Fiction” in Sephardism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), edited by Yael Halevi-Wise; “A Short History of Ladino: From Roots to Branches” in Midstream (2011); and “The Jewish Community in Tunisia” in Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora, vol. 2 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2008), edited by Avram Ehrlich.
For her Sosland Foundation Fellowship Dr. Roumani examined the Museum’s collections of both published and unpublished Sephardic literature written during and after the Holocaust as well as the Museum’s archival collections on the historical background of the Sephardim in the Holocaust. The destruction of Sephardim has largely gone unresearched, and Dr. Roumani, one of the leading scholars on the subject of Sephardic literature, attempted to shed some light on the subject. Sephardic Jews lived mainly in the Balkan States, North Africa, and the Middle East, and many were murdered during the Holocaust but have largely been forgotten by history.
Dr. Roumani was in-residence at the Mandel Center from December 1, 2013 to February 29, 2014.