by Arthur Benveniste
February 11, 2001 was an historic day for Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel. That day marked the inauguration of the Levy Family Library and Exhibition Center. The center features a major photographic exhibit showcasing architectural, historical and artistic aspects of the former Samuel Ha-Levy Abulafia synagogue of Toledo. The synagogue, now known as El Transito, is a must-see for all Jewish visitors to Toledo. STTI has acquired the exhibit for its permanent collection through a grant from the Fund for Higher Education (Max Candiotty, Amnon Barness and Nessim Tiano) and a donation from Jebb Levy.
The center includes a multimedia section with internet access to all Sephardic web sites and a computer with a database for research into Sephardic history, culture, genealogy and much more. There is also be a large collection of videos available.
The exhibition center committee, chaired by Sandy Candiotty, has been working feverishly for several months to prepare for the opening.  They are proud to have acquired the services of Victor Raphael as curator. Raphael is a noted artist who has had several showings of his work locally, most recently at Pepperdine University.
Professor Moshe Lazar, former Dean of the Faculty of arts at Tel Aviv University and presently professor of Comparative Literature at USC, is a member of the committee and an important advisor to the center.  He was instrumental in getting the exhibit for STTI and, with his contacts in Spain, is negotiating to get loans of other exhibits of Sephardic interest.
Plans are being made for future exhibits which would include: photos and artifacts showing life in Turkey, Greece, Morocco, Iran, Egypt and other areas from where Sephardic Jews emigrated to the U.S.; the history of the Sephardim in Los Angeles; the STTI collection of ancient books and documents; and other exhibits from Iberia and Israel.
Hebrew schools, havurahs and all other Jewish and non Jewish groups are invited to make reservations for a tour of the center. Docents are  available.

click here for a tour of the Moseo Sefardi (el Transito) in Toledo

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