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PLUMES Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost History of Global Commerce
Wednesday, March 8 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
The thirst for exotic ornament among fashionable women in the metropoles of Europe and America prompted a bustling global trade in ostrich feathers that flourished from the 1880s until the First World War. From Yiddish-speaking Russian-Lithuanian feather handlers in South Africa to London manufacturers and wholesalers, from rival Sephardic families whose feathers were imported from the Sahara and traded across the Mediterranean, from New York’s Lower East Side to entrepreneurial farms in southern California, Jews fostered and nurtured the trade across the global commodity chain and throughout the far-flung territories where ostriches were reared and plucked, and their feathers were sorted, exported, imported, auctioned, wholesaled, and finally manufactured for sale. Join us on March 8th when Sarah Abrevaya Stein will share the singular story of Jewish culture, global commerce, colonial economic practices, and the rise and fall of a glamorous luxury item.
Sarah Abrevaya Stein is Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, and Viterbi Family Chair in Mediterranean Jewish Studies at UCLA. She is the author and editor of ten books, including, Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce (Yale Univeristy Press, 2010), Wartime North Africa: a Documentary History, 1934-1950 (Stanford University Press, with the cooperation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2022) and Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century (FSG/Macmillan, 2019). Stein’s books, articles, and pedagogy have won numerous prizes, including two National Jewish Book Awards, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Stein is also co-editor (with David Biale of UCD) of Stanford University Press Series in Jewish History and Culture.
CSP Partners: Beth Israel (San Diego, CA), Brotherhood Synagogue (Gramercy Park, NYC), Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Elkins Park, PA), Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Jewish Collaborative of Orange County, Shomrei Torah Synagogue (San Fernando Valley, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth David (Westminster, CA),Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Temple Emanuel (Newton, MA), Temple Judea of Laguna Woods, CA, The Boston Synagogue (Boston, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY), University Synagogue (Irvine, CA), Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA) & Walnut Street Synagogue (Chelsea, MA)