An exhibit documenting a professor’s travels is now on display at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU.
“Tudor Parfitt’s Remarkable Jewish Journeys” – which can be viewed at JMOF-FIU, 301 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach, through September – documents Tudor Parfitt’s many travels over the past four decades to some of the most remote Jewish communities on the planet. .
Parfitt, who has been described as a “British Indiana Jones”, is a distinguished university professor at Florida International University and Academic Director of JMOF-FIU. He is honored to have an exhibit of his work and travels to the museum.
“It’s not often that living people can have exhibits of their travels and their work,” he said. “I am truly deeply grateful.”
In 1984 Parfitt was invited by the London-based Minority Rights Group to travel to Sudan where it was believed that Ethiopian Jews fleeing persecution and the Great Ethiopian Famine were being deliberately poisoned in the refugee camps that had sprung up along from the border with Ethiopia. As a result, he witnessed the covert Israeli Operation Moses, which saved over ten thousand Jews considered by the Israeli rabbinate to be the lost tribe of Dan from a miserable fate.
Parfitt was told the full story by the Mossad agent coordinating the operation on the condition that he would not publish until he received word from him. As the story leaked to Israel a few weeks later, he was finally free to tell the story of Operation Moses. This first encounter with the motif of the Lost Tribes marks the beginning of a lifelong journey that will take him to isolated or emerging Jewish communities, including Japan, Syria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Yemen and Papua. -New Guinea.
Susan Gladstone Pasternack, the museum’s executive director, said, “I wanted to do this exhibit because he’s the academic director of the Jewish Museum and he’s a distinguished professor at FIU.
“I felt it was important to highlight to our audience the scope of his work,” Gladstone Pasternack continued. “It’s a lifetime of work and incredibly interesting, and I thought it was important to allow members of our audience, both in person and online, to learn about this in-depth work.”
Gladstone Pasternack continued, “There are people doing interesting things in the world, but nobody else is doing anything like what he did.”
“He’s also such a prolific author, and it was a pleasure to be able to display his books for people to see what a scholar he is,” she said. “We are very lucky to have him as Academic Director.”
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Jacqueline Goldstein, the museum’s curator, described the exhibition as a “personal exhibition of one man’s thoughts on his travels”.
“It’s a travel show of a man’s life researching the lost tribes of Israel,” Goldstein continued. “The way I set it up allowed people to walk around and be able to personally connect with Tudor.”
Goldstein said, “The most important takeaway for guests is that they join a man on his adventures with his thoughts.”
Parfitt thinks the museum can show people that traveling to places like the ones he visited can be a tool for research.
“Very often people do their research on the internet or in the library,” he said. “When you think about the period of exploration of the world, great discoveries were made by people who went to Africa or elsewhere. I think the point of the exhibition is that the best way to really discover what s happened in the past and what is happening in the present is going to those places.
The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and public holidays. Visit jmof.fiu.edu to purchase tickets or more information, or call 305-672-5044.
The museum is part of the CRF through a partnership.