Florida International University research professors Nathan Katz and Tudor Parfitt, considered to be the world’s leading authorities on Eastern Jewish communities, will explore the Jewish experience in Asia and Africa in a new, 13-week course to be offered at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.
The course will look at the Jewish experience far beyond Florida, which has been the traditional focus of the museum. Among the Jewish populations of Africa to be explored include the Lemba of Zimbabwe, the Beta Israel of Ethiopia, and the Ibo of Nigeria. The Asian communities include the Jews of Kochi; Mumbai and northeastern tribal peoples of India; Shanghai, China, a home in the 19th century to Sephardic Jews seeking business opportunities and refuge in the 1930s-40s to European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution; and a "Judaizing " movement in Papua New Guinea.
Classes start in January and are open to both degree-seeking FIU students and community members interested in taking it on an auditing
basis. The class will be the first FIU offering at the Miami Beach museum, which recently joined the FIU family.
The classes will feature guest speakers, including a visiting member of Zimbabwe’s Lemba Jewish community.
Before joining FIU earlier this year, Parfitt was director of the Jewish Studies Center at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where he was dubbed "Britain’s Indiana Jones" for his pursuit of the Ark of the Covenant and his discoveries of remote Jewish communities.
Katz is Bhagwan Mahavir Professor of Jain Studies and is director of FIU’s Program in the Study of Spirituality. He spent many years living in South Asoa and is a recipient of four Fulbright research and teaching awards. He was instrumental in bringing the Dalai Lama to Miami three times and has played an influential role in the interreligious dialogues between Jews and Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.
Degree-seeking FIU students may register for the class though Nov. 18. Community members who want to audit the class should contact the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education at 305-576-4030, ext. 128 or by emailing email@example.com. The cost for the 13-week course is $295.
Books club at the garden
The Green Book Club will begin its monthly meetings on Nov. 13, at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr. in Miami Beach.
My sources tell me the meetings, which are from noon to 2 p.m., are a great place to meet new people and become a better reader/writer by experiencing books in a whole new way.
The group reads and discusses environmentally-themed books chosen and read during the month preceding each meeting, which is on the second Tuesday of every month. This month’s pick is "Vita’s Other World: A Gardening Biography of V. Sackville-West," by Jane Brown (Viking, 1985).
Also, floral design classes, taught by accredited floral designers, will begin at the garden on Nov. 27. The designers will combine lectures, demos, and critiqued hands-on workshops to develop an understanding of the art of flower arranging. The class runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is the first part of a six-part floral design study hosted by the Miami Beach Garden Club.
The cost is $26 per class, or $150 for all six. A certificate from the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs will be awarded those who complete the six courses. Lunch is included in the cost. To register, email Nina Worth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-532-9987.