♦ Editorial ♦
Issue No. 1 (2013)
The research papers in the first issue of Journal of Sefardic Studies are based on lectures that were delivered in the First International Conference of the Society for Sefardic Studies that took place in Jerusalem in January 2011. The conference was dedicated to the topic The Position and Self-Image of Women in Sefardic Sources. The topic was chosen in the hope that practically all the members of the Society had something to contribute to the subject. In fact, more than thirty members participated in the conference.
The interest of modern society in the position of women in society in general and in Jewish society in particular needs no explanation. The voice of women was almost totally silent in Sefardi sources as was the case in other types of material from Jewish and non-Jewish origins dealing with Jewish themes. Practically all the sources related to the position of women in the Sefardi world were written by men and we can hardly know the feelings, dreams, aspirations and thoughts of Sefardi women throughout the ages. These writers were invariably educated people who belonged to the upper classes, so that the voice of the poor was equally absent.
Since we cannot possibly reconstruct an imaginary description of the position of Jewish women, the most we could do, so we thought, was to try and analyze the existing sources and try to define women's position in the Sefardi world. The articles that appear here in the first issue of our electronic journal can be considered an attempt to remedy a fault in society in the past that cannot be possibly corrected retrospectively.
The Executive Board and the Editors of this issue believe that by having chosen the position of women to be the topic of the First International Conference of our Society and by presenting the articles based on lectures given in that conference to open the first issue of our journal, a statement has been made as to the importance and precedence attached to this topic that is related at least to half of the Sefardi population throughout the ages. History cannot be revised to suit our tastes and fashions, our understanding and evaluation, but research can present at least partially the story of Sefardi women that has remained for so long in the dark.
If the articles included in this first issue of Journal of Sefardic Studies inspire some colleagues to devote their attention to the position and self-image of Sefardi women, the work that has been done by ourSociety would be worthwhile.