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Levantine: Documentary

 Jacqueline Kahanoff

This FREE screening of the documentary, "Levantine," will take place on Tuesday, February 18, at 7:00 pm in the Willard Straight Theatre, Cornell University. Professor Deborah Starr, who features in the film, will lead a discussion with Director Rafael Balulu following the screening. "Levantine" (Israel 2019), is about the life and work of Egyptian Jewish novelist and essayist Jacqueline Kahanoff, who wrote about the Levantine and Mizrachi identities in Israel. Professor Starr co-edited the only edition of Kahanoff’s work in English," Mongrels or Marvels" (Stanford University Press, 2011). It was on the basis of this scholarship that Starr was invited to be interviewed for the film. "Mongrels or Marvels" will be for sale at the Cornell Store on Ho Plaza leading up to the date of the screening. The abstract for "Mongrels or Marvels" reads: The writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff (1917–1979) offer a refreshing reassessment of Arab-Jewish relations in the Middle East. A member of the bourgeois Jewish community in Cairo, Kahanoff grew up in a time of coexistence. She spent the years of World War II in New York City, where she launched her writing career with publications in prominent American journals. Kahanoff later settled in Israel, where she became a noted cultural and literary critic. "Mongrels or Marvels" offers Kahanoff's most influential and engaging writings, selected from essays and works of fiction that anticipate contemporary concerns about cultural integration in immigrant societies. Confronted with the breakdown of cosmopolitan Egyptian society, and the stereotypes she encountered as a Jew from the Arab world, she developed a social model, Levantinism, that embraces the idea of a pluralist, multicultural society and counters the prevailing attitudes and identity politics in the Middle East with the possibility of mutual respect and acceptance. This event is sponsored by the Cornell University Department of Near Eastern Studies and Jewish Studies Program with the generous support of the Hope and Eli Hurowitz Fund.
Documentary Trailer

Time and Place
February 18, 2020, 7:00 pm
Willard Straight Theater - Cornell Cinema
Free and open to the public