An online exhibit created by the University of Pennsylvania’s Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies presents the evolution of the academic field of Jewish studies from 1818 to the 21st century, with documents and information about such compelling figures as Elia Benamozegh, author and prodigious publisher of Sephardi and Mizrahi liturgical works:
An Italian rabbi, kabbalist, and thinker of Moroccan descent who lived in the Tuscan port city of Livorno, Elia Benamozegh (1823-1900) authored an abundance of works encompassing exegesis, historical studies, and various newspaper contributions, written in Hebrew, Italian, and French. Through his posthumous masterwork, Israel and Humanity (1914), he significantly influenced the Christian-Jewish dialogue in Europe. . . . In his books penned in French or Italian, brimming with references to Western philosophy and literature, he never made mention of his oriental roots and rarely cited contemporary Sephardi authors. . . .
[However], Benamozegh seems to have used his press as a way to publish his likeminded contemporaries, thus mapping out a landscape of modern Sephardi and Mizrahi thought. This is certainly the case for the haggadah revised by Shelomoh Bekhor Hutsin (1843-1892) which Benamozegh published in 1887. This book, printed in Judeo-Arabic, Arabic, and Hebrew, according to the Baghdadi minhag (liturgical custom), lies at the juncture of tradition and modernity. . . . Hutsin . . . was an advocate of a version of Jewish enlightenment that was respectful of Jewish values and modern culture.