Egyptian Karaite Jews in the US: An Evolution of Identity | Rebecca (Aliyah) Black | Global Studies

Rebecca (Aliyah) Black (she/her), Global Studies; Minors: Jewish Studies, Gender Studies

Instagram: @beccaliyah
Twitter: @beccaliyah
Research | Social Justice

Project Description
For my senior thesis, I conducted an oral history project that records how discussion and approach to Karaite identity have changed for Egyptian Karaite Jews and their descendants upon their arrival in the United States. I traveled to the Boston area as well as conducted interviews over Zoom.

What Form will your Final Project Take?
Senior Thesis Paper

Who was supporting you in with work?
Alexandra Delano

How has this project has been impactful or transformative — for you personally or for those this work has impacted:
I was proofreading my paper out loud while my mom was on the phone. There’s a section specifically about food, as I found that people really enjoyed talking about eating and sharing meals. As I was reading, there were several instances where my mom, who is Karaite expressed excitement about how she had similar memories or was reminded of food that she had forgotten about. It was that experience that really made me feel like I met my goal. I had captured an experience and recorded it for other people to learn about.

What would you do differently? How would you advise a student who is going to do something similar?
When going into this project I was not aware of how exhausting interviewing people would be. I had set up some ways of helping myself reflect, but I had not accounted for the physical exhaustion. I would have planned ahead to implement more instances of self-care to ensure that I would not be as tired as I had been.

Are you going to publish or print your work? If so, where?
I would like to, but I’m not sure where yet!

Watch the senior thesis presentation (at the 2:30 mark)!

Short summary
I went into this project with a clear vision of an oral history project. I was able to complete that and with the help of my thesis committee also analyzed my results creating a finding that I hope will add to the field of Jewish Studies.

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