CFP -- Tunisian Rabbinic Creativity since 1850

Zvi Zohar's picture

Bar-Ilan University

The Aharon and Rachel Dahan Center for Culture, Society and Education
in the Sephardic Heritage


Call for Papers

You are cordially invited to participate in an International Conference devoted to:

The Writings, Activities and Influence of
Rabbi Khalfon Moshe HaCohen
and the Sages of Tunisia in  Modern Times


To take place on Monday, Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5780 (January 27, 2020)
at Bar-Ilan University


Rabbi Khalfon Moshe HaCohen (1874-1950) was the greatest sage of Djerba in the twentieth century, and had a significant impact upon the religious, educational and cultural spheres of  Jewish communities in Tunisia, Israel and elsewhere. Tevet 5780 (January 2020) will mark the 70th anniversary of Rabbi Khalfon’s passing, and upon this occasion we seek to convene  an international research conference devoted to the creativity and to the halakhic and ideational world of Rabbi Khalfon and of the Sages of Djerba and Tunisia in  the past two hundred years.


We invite researchers to propose topics for lectures that will present new research on a range of topics, including (for example):

  • The Creativity and Halakhic Thought of Rabbi Khalfon and of other Tunisian Sages
    • Their methodology of halakhic decision making
    • The principles and values expressed in their halakhic rulings
    • Comparative analysis of the similarities and differences between the Sages of Tunisia and other halakhic decisors in modern times
    • Comparative analysis of the halakhic creativity  of Rabbi Khalfon and other Tunisian sages, and the approaches of Muslim scholars active in Tunisia and North Africa in modern times.
  • The Conceptual and Ideational Creativity of Rabbi Khalfon and of other Tunisian Sages, in areas such as:
    • Service of God
    • Mending our world (Tikkun Olam)
    • Zionism
    • Society, economics, and interpersonal matters
    • Community
    • Couples and Family
    • Relations between Jews and non-Jews
    • Comparative analysis of the views of Tunisian sages and of the views of other rabbis in the modern period, with regard to the above topics.
    • Comparative analysis of the views of leading Tunisian sages and the views of Moslem thinkers and sages in the modern period (in general), and in North Africa in particular.
  • Rabbi Khalfon’s Teachers
    • Their thought and writings
    • How they influenced Rabbi Khalfon’s creativity and activity
  • Rabbi Khalfon’s Colleagues and  Contemporaries
    • Their thought and writings
    • The mutual influences and interactions between themselves and Rabbi Khalfon
  • The Disciples of Rabbi Khalfon and of other Tunisian Sages
    • Their thought and writings
    • How they continued the path of their teachers, and in what ways they forged new approaches
  • The Influence of Rabbi Khalfon and Other Tunisian Sages on Torah Literature and on Jewish Life in Israel and in the Diaspora, from 1950 to the Present


Researchers specializing in any of the relevant areas are invited to submit a proposal for a paper to be presented at the conference, accompanied by an abstract not exceeding one page in length. The final date for proposal submission is Thursday, 21 Av 5779, August 22, 2019. Replies will be sent by Rosh Hashanah 5780 / end of September 2019.

Proposals/abstracts should be sent to:

Proposals on topics not listed above are welcome, and will be accorded equal consideration by the Conference Academic Committee.

Articles based on papers presented at the Conference will be collected in a special volume, and published by an academic press after double-blind peer review.

We look forward to seeing you among the Conference participants.



                             The Conference Academic Committee:


Prof. Zvi Zohar, Prof. Yaron Harel, Prof. Rabbi Moshe Amar,
Dr. Ronel Atia, and Dr. Shimon Ohayon