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Tikkun Olam: Indigenous Wisdom and Love, Lessons from Zazu Dream

Multicultural Jewish histories and climate justice; the intersection between global ecological extinction and cultural extinction of ethnic minorities—Sephardim, Mizrahim, and more

Zazu Dreams: Between the Scarab and the Dung Beetle, A Cautionary Fable for the Anthropocene Era is a tale of decolonization and environmental justice. It is divided into two sections—image and narrative, and about 400 endnotes of scientific, economic, historical, and literary references. In his dreams, Zazu, an Arab-Jewish boy travels the globe on a humpback whale, crossing both temporal dimensions and international borders—overlapping vast space and time. The language of Zazu’s family is Ladino—a hybrid of ancient Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, and Greek—depending on where the Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews had fled. According to UNESCO’s Red Book, Ladino is a seriously endangered language. In our story, we are talking about an endangered cultural species: Spanish Sephardic and Arab Mizrahi Jewish peoples are not assimilated into the United States the same way that Jews from other cultural backgrounds have been absorbed into the norm. Sephardim and Mizrahim share common histories with both Latinx and Muslim communities in the U.S. Each chapter in Zazu Dreams focuses on social justice in relation to a different ecological catastrophe. In each case, the characters become more aware of the environmental relationship to humanitarian crises; while in each country, they witness historic examples of social permaculture and symbiosis among humans and within the natural world. Along the way, Zazu learns from historic heroes such as Spinoza, Rachel Carson, Harriet Tubman, Doña Grasi Nasi, Sol Hachuel, Inyat Noor Khan, and ibn Sina, as well as 21st century villains like Nestlé, Merck, Exxon, and Monsanto—Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Agribusiness giants that stalk planet Earth.

This is a story about unlearning what we think we know, and learning love along the way.

Dr. Cara Judea Alhadeff, Executive Director of Jews Of The Earth (JOTE), engages embodied feminist theory, publishing essays in philosophy, art, gender, ethnic, and cultural studies’ journals and anthologies. Alhadeff has exhibited her photographs and performance videos internationally, and her work is in numerous public and private collections including MoMA Salzburg and San Francisco MoMA. Her theoretical and visual work is the subject of several documentaries for international public television. In addition to Zazu Dreams: Between the Scarab and the Dung Beetle, A Cautionary Fable for the Anthropocene Era (Eifrig Publishing, 2017) (endorsed by Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, James Hansen, Paul Hawken, SHK-G, Thom Hartmann, Eve Ensler, & Rabbi Lerner along with a host of other activists, scholars, and artists), her social ecology book, Viscous Expectations: Justice, Vulnerability, The Ob-scene (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014) (endorsed by Alphonso Lingus, Avital Ronell, Lucy Lippard, & Robert Mailer Anderson), explores the intersections of eroticism, global corporatocracy, petroleum-parenting, and the pharma-addictive health industry. Alhadeff is professor of Critical Philosophy at The Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS). ( /

Earlier Event: April 16
Weekly | Member Monday
Later Event: April 19
City Club Social