The Chair of Sephardic Studies, Prof. Devin Naar, was recently featured in a Forward article about Turkish Jews. The piece “Jews Proudly Defend Last Sephardic Homeland – Even as Some Flee“, discusses the struggle by Jews in Turkey (a historically welcoming placed for Jews) to maintain their Sephardic heritage due to a political climate in which newspapers and politicians often demonize Jews.
Naar offered commentary on the current state of Ottoman Jews saying that “Jews were so successful in their efforts to show the congruence of their interests and those of the Turkish state that they became what the government has called ‘the model minority.’ Even if the government largely left Jews alone, anti-Semitism still existed in some sectors of society.”
Prof. Devin Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies in the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the Jackson School. He teaches courses linked to his areas of research, including modern Jewish history; Jewish culture from antiquity until today; Sephardic history and culture; the history and memory of the Holocaust; relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in lands of the former Ottoman Empire; migrations from the Mediterranean world to the Americas in the twentieth century; and a graduate seminar on Jews, Cities and Empires.