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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)October 22, 2009

(MAHWAH, NJ) – Lorry Salcedo-Mitrani, filmmaker and photographer, will screen and lead a discussion of his film “The Fire Within” at Ramapo College of New Jersey in November.

A moving documentary that is a reflection of the survival of spirit, belief, and heritage, it is the story of the unique Jewish community of Iquitos, Peru. In the late 19th century, among the adventurers who came to the Amazonian rainforest following the great rubber boom, were Jewish men from Morocco. Some of these men settled in the isolated town of Iquitos. There, they married indigenous women, raised families, and maintained names such as Cohen, Pinto, and Khan. Their original Jewish traditions became mixed with indigenous Amazonian life creating an authentic and practically unknown Jewish tradition.

Following the “discovery” of the Iquitos Jewish community, interested and well-meaning rabbis and scholars have become part of their “return” to a more normative Jewish tradition. While in the distant capital of Lima, the Jewish community is reluctant to recognize the Iquitos Jews as their own, a group of Iquitos Jews has undergone a process of conversion, and many have immigrated to Israel. Others have remained in Iquitos in hopes of helping the community flourish and grow.

Lorry Salcedo-Mitrani was born on the north coast of Peru. He is trained both as a photographer (at the International Center of Photography in New York) and as a filmmaker (at Newsreel, New York University and Armando Robles academy in Peru).
Salcedo-Mitrani has exhibited his work in 15 solo exhibits and 11 group shows, received several awards and fellowships for his work, and been the subject of two books.
Among the institutions that have his photographs in their collections are Yale University, the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Stanford University and the Museum of African-American Life and Culture.

The talk will be sponsored by the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Ramapo College’s Latin American Studies Convening Group, the Communication Arts Major, and with the support of the Office of Student Affairs Platinum Series.

The presentation is free and open to the public.  For more information or to reserve a seat, please call 201.684.7409.  The entire film will be shown in the H-Wing Auditorium (H-129) on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at  8:15 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 6:45 p.m. as part of the Communication Arts Cinematheque series. The film will also be screened Monday, Nov. 9 at 3:45 p.m. in the H-Wing Auditorium.


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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