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Welcome...Shelomo Alfassá's Bio

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Hello! My name is Shelomo Alfassá, I am glad you stopped by my home on the Internet. I live in Brooklyn, New York, a portion of New York City home to at least 550,000 Jews (the majority are Ashkenazic Jews) with the preponderance being religiously observant 'Orthodox.'

My part of Brooklyn is called 'Midwood' and while the majority of Jews here are Ashkenazic, this small area is also home to the largest religious Sephardic community outside of Jerusalem. Here, some 75,000 Syrian, Egyptian, and Lebanese Jews live among smaller pockets of Moroccan, Turkish, Iraqi and other Jews.

I am from a family of Ladino speaking Spanish Jews from Ottoman Turkey and the island of Rhodes. My family roots are among the musta'arabi traditions from Al-Andalus (Jews from pre-Christian Spain) as well as North Africa. My minhag is one based on roots in Andalusian Judaism and steeped in the Geonic tradition; this is a God-fearing tradition based upon rationality, respect and intellectualism, as practiced by Jews such as Maimonides.

I am a writer, author, editor, curator and historian of the Jewish world. My studies have focused on Iberian and Ottoman Jewish history, culture and halakha (Jewish law) for over 20 years and I continue doing so today. Over the years, I have lectured on these and other subjects in Boston, Denver, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orlando, Palm Beach, Princeton, Washington D.C. and Jerusalem.

I attended college in southern California as well as in central Florida and New York City; and Yeshiva (Rabbinical School) in Jerusalem. My interests include halakha (Jewish religious law), world history, Colonial American history, geography, politics (and the media), English, biology, paleontology, geology and pretty much everything else at some level. Oh, and cooking!


My professional bio:

Shelomo Alfassá is a well known international Jewish advocate. Currently, he is Director of Special Projects for a national American Jewish organization. Mr. Alfassá has worked on four Jewish cultural exhibitions, this includes developing and curating two of his own exhibitions, at the Center for Jewish History (an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution) in New York City: Jerusalem and the Jews of Spain: Longing and Reality [in 2009] and Looking Back: Jewish Life in Morocco [in 2010]. Both of these exhibitions received the support of the New York Council for the Humanities and opened to a reception of several hundred persons respectively.

Mr. Alfassá is a consultant to the Ottoman-Turkish Sephardic Culture Research Center in Istanbul and was the former Executive Director of the International Sephardic Leadership Council in New York. He served as former Director of Research and Development for Sephardic House in New York City and for four years he served as a vice-president of the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture. He was a staff consultant to both the Sephardic Educational Center and the Shehebar Sephardic Center (Midrash Sefaradi) in Jerusalem. He is a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

In 2003, Mr. Alfassá traveled to Poland representing Sephardic Jews in the United States as part of Judéo-Espagnol A Auschwitz, a multi-national campaign that sought-and received-recognition for Turkish/Greek and Balkan Holocaust victims that perished at Auschwitz. In 2006, he successfully worked with the U.S. Congress to bring about greater representation for Sephardic victims of the Holocaust at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

From 2006-2009 he was U.S. Director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) and was involved full-time in Track-II diplomacy. There, he successfully helped promote H.Res.185, an historic resolution recognizing rights of Jews displaced from Arab countries which was unanimously approved by the U.S. Congress. In 2010, Mr. Alfassá (I-NY) announced the formation of a Congressional Exploratory Committee for New York's 9th District, as a delegate for the 2012 seat in the United States House of Representatives.

Mr. Alfassá was the editor-in-chief of the award winning International Sephardic Journal and his essays and papers on Jewish history and politics have appeared in numerous media outlets. His books include Ethnic Sephardic Jews in the Medical Literature, (2005); Reference Guide to the Nazis and Arabs During the Holocaust, (2006); A Window Into Old Jerusalem, (2007); History, Politics & Loss, (2008); The Palm Tree of Deborah, (2009) and The Sephardic Anousim, (2010). Mr. Alfassá's family is from the Ottoman island of Rhodes and Ottoman Edirne, Turkey.

Bio from my past career.... Mr. Alfassá served in the United States Public Health Service as a sworn federal employee. He was an executive officer on one of three national terrorism response teams. This team specialized in medical decontamination and treatment for mass casualty incidents involving chemical and/or biological weapons. Mr. Alfassá was deployed to several national incidents around the United States during his tenure and trained with the U.S. Marine Corps Chemical Biological Incident Response Force and the U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams. Mr. Alfassá is a certified hazardous materials incident commander and medic (certified for over 20 years), and is an educator on the effects of chemical and biological weapons on the body. He has been licensed as an Emergency Medical Technical (both ALS and BLS) and was trained as a SWAT team medic. Living in Florida for many years, Mr. Alfassá graduated from the Community Law Enforcement Academy, where he studied among many subjects, Patrol Operations, Domestic Security, Crime Prevention, Major Crimes Investigations and Special Teams (SWAT). He later patrolled as a uniformed civilian for his county's Sheriff's Department. As a young man, he was a Cadet in Squadron 88 of the Civil Air Patrol, the U.S. Air Force auxiliary. Today, he continues to provide public service by being a federally licensed radio communicator on a State emergency response team.

Here is a page on his experiences at the WTC "Ground Zero," where he dug and fueled generators for a week, the site of the Arab attacks on America in September of 2001.



(646) 470-3499

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