ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sephardic Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943. A web companion
to a new history.
has been said that patriotism is just happy memories of
childhood. If that is so, Mark Cohen is a Sephardic patriot.
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.
publications feature Last Century research
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 The history, an unpublished manuscript,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.
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.
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.
lives in California with his wife, Danielle, and their