Reprinted with permission from The Jewish Week.


Growing up in Israel in the 1950s as a child of Yemenite émigrés, I learned the standard Zionist Israeli narrative. It was of the great sacrifices made by Ashkenazi European Jews — settling and cultivating the land, building kibbutzim and the city of Tel Aviv out of the sand. All of this, decades before the State of Israel won independence in 1948.

Of course, there were already indigenous Jews in the land, in places like Jerusalem, Safed and Tiberias — those who lived there for many generations, as well as Jews who arrived in the 19th and early 20th centuries from Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and North Africa. Yet, their story, their history and suffering under Islamic rule, was hardly told. And that narrative was buried further in the years following the Holocaust.

Read more at The Jewish Week.

Zion Ozeri is one of the world’s leading photographers exploring the Jewish experience. His photographs are widely published in books and museum exhibitions. He received a Covenant Award in 2013.  His innovative curricula, The Jewish Lens and Diversity Lens, are used in many schools worldwide. Zion has photographed for The Wexner Foundation and is also married to Wexner Heritage Program alum Ellen DeJonge-Ozeri (NY/Seagram). He can be reached at