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In the the Lands of Sultans, Kings, and Pharaohs: Part 3 – Between the Nile and the Pyramids

Hosted By: Orange County Community Scholar Program (CSP)

In this final session guided by Dr. David Mendelsohn, you’ll uncover the timeless narratives of Jewish life in the mystical landscape of Egypt. Home to one of the oldest Jewish communities globally, Egypt offers a fascinating backdrop for exploring Jewish history, culture, and identity. In this session, delve deep into the enigmatic story of Akhenaten, the Egyptian Pharaoh who is often considered the world’s first monotheist. Explore his unique role in shaping religious thought and his potential influence on early Jewish monotheism. Next, you’ll navigate the time-worn tales of Elephantine Island, nestled in the Nile River. This thriving Jewish community of the 5th century BCE stands as a testament to endurance and religious fervor, having constructed a temple modeled after the one in Jerusalem. Excavate the stories of this island community, shedding light on how they forged a unique identity amidst the cultural intersections of ancient Egypt. Trace the community’s journey through millennia, examining how Jews navigated life amidst Pharaohs, Islamic caliphates, and the shifting sands of modern society. From the ancient synagogues of Alexandria to their influential roles in Egypt’s cosmopolitan culture, this session will illustrate how this community crafted a distinct Egyptian Jewish identity.

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