<i>Last Century</i> of a Sephardic Community - The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943.
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The Sephardic Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943. A web companion to a new history.

It has been said that patriotism is just happy memories of childhood. If that is so, Mark Cohen is a Sephardic patriot.

He was born in New York and raised there in an extended Sephardic family, and some of his happiest childhood memories are of his family´s boisterous and enormous Passover celebrations. Regular visits to the home of his nona and papu (grandmother and grandfather), immigrants from Monastir and Kastoria, respectively, remain cherished memories.

Scholarly publications feature Last Century research

Cohen is a graduate of Columbia University´s Graduate School of Journalism, and his writing has appeared in newspapers and scholarly publications, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, the Daily News, and Midstream.

In addition, several recent articles are based on the research performed for Last Century. The book´s first chapter appeared in The Turkish Studies Association Bulletin, and another article has been published in History of Photography. A third article is forthcoming in the prestigious Journal of Jewish Studies, which is published by Oxford University´s Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

Original research required

The writing of Last Century was a radical extension of an earlier and much more modest plan of Cohen´s to research a scrapbook on his Sephardic roots. But after a personal health crisis, halfway measures no longer interested him. He felt he had time only for something ambitious.

No documented history of the Monastir Jews had ever appeared in English, and neither did any history of Monastir itself. To produce his history, Cohen had to search out the archives that held the historical papers he needed.

Victory in Paris

His first victory was in identifying a history of Monastir's Catholic mission. The history, an unpublished manuscript, was located in the archives of a Catholic mission in Paris. Cohen set out to get it.

Phone calls were made to a local religious college. A professor had a name of priest in Los Angeles who could be helpful. Father Poole knew the name of the archivist in Paris. And his fax number. A correspondence ensued, and within a month Cohen received the manuscript. The Monastir Jews were mentioned. Their attendance at the Catholic mission school was recorded.

It was the start of a hunt that led to Canadian church archives, Jewish school archives in Paris, Zionist collections in Israel, and much much more. Last Century of a Sephardic Community: The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943, is the result.

Cohen lives in California with his wife, Danielle, and their two daughters.

<i>Last Century</i> of a Sephardic Community - The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943.

Last Century of a Sephardic Community - The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943.
by Mark Cohen

LIST PRICE: $34.95


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