Ari Afilalo is a law professor by day, who has co-authored ‘The New Global Trading Order: The Evolving State and the Future of Trade’ with Dennis Patterson, a book published by the Cambridge University Press. He is also an avid researcher and consumer of Sephardic texts, poetry, music and religious interpretations.
Ari Afilalo has started several projects that he plans to complete over the summer, present at his synagogue, the West Side Sephardic Synagogue, and other venues. The first project is a compilation of traditional blessings given to congregants called to the Torah in a Sephardic synagogue.
Ari stumbled upon the job of giving the blessings when the then Rabbi of his community, who had been in charge, moved to a new congregation. Instead of using the traditional, fixed text that has been developed by the compilers of the Moroccan prayer book used in the shul, Ari developed his own blessings (brahot) based on the needs of each congregant: children, marriage, a better living, good health.
His new project blends the text that Ari developed with the traditional text of the blessings canon, and comments on the sources that he uses for this project.