Religious services minister wants Sephardic Jewry center

Minster Margi demands ministers implement law legislated seven years ago calling for establishment of center for the preservation of the heritage of Sephardic Jewry. Center to include memorial, archives and research institute

Minister of Religious Services Yakov Margi on Thursday sent a letter to Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, requesting a meeting be called in order to execute the law that calls
for the establishment of a center for the “preservation of the heritage of Sephardic Jewry, its rabbis and its poets.”

In 2002, the Knesset passed the “council for the preservation of the heritage of Sephardic and eastern Jewry” bill according to which the science and technology minister, the culture and sports minister and the minister of religious services are to consult with the education minister to appoint a council in the matter.

However, Minister Margi stressed that to this day, in November, 2009, the council has yet to be appointed.

“In order to fill the educational, historical and national need to preserve the heritage of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry,” Margi wishes to appoint the council swiftly in order to establish the center for the preservation of the heritage of Sephardic Jewry.

The center will include a memorial, archives and a research institute, similar to the memorial centers for former prime ministers Rabin and Begin.

The bill’s backers believe there is an educational, historical and national need to commemorate the image and works of the Sephardic rabbis.

According to the bill, the center will include three main components:

* A memorial – which will include a display commemorating the lives, heritage and activity of the Sephardic rabbis and will hold commemorative activities for the public, as well as education and PR in these matters.

* An archive – which will include material directly pertaining to the activity and heritage of the Sephardic rabbis and poets.

* A research institute – which will work to deepen, enrich and publish information on the issue, and will set up a research library specializing in the matter.

The center will operate as a government body, headed by a management committee, which will answer to the minister for religious services.

The center will be funded by the state and donations.

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