Lectures and classes Feb. 27-March 5 – Arizona Daily Star

When the Nightingales Sing: The Joy of Sephardic Song Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Road. Learn about the history of Jews in Spain, listen to Sephardic music and sing some popular Ladino songs. 12:15-1:15 p.m. Feb. 27. $70. 327-4501.

Learn To Read Music Tucson Boys Chorus Center, 5770 E. Pima St. Topics will include notes, rhythm, clefts, key signatures and musical notation. 7-8:15 p.m. Feb. 27. Free. 235-4303.

Painting Party: Sandhill Cranes Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Karen Workman will lead through the painting process step-by-step. Bring an apron or smock. 1-4 p.m. Feb. 28. $35. 326-9686, Ext. 18.

Here Come the Hummers Saguaro National Park East, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail. Join a park naturalist in the visitor center theater to discover the fascinating world of hummingbirds. 2-2:45 p.m. Feb. 28. Free. 733-5153.

Javelinas: Our Desert Neighbors Saguaro National Park West, 2700 N. Kinney Road. Learn about this intriguing creature and how it survives in this arid environment. 2:15-2:45 p.m. Feb. 28. Free. 733-5158.

Meet the Cuckoo of the Desert: The Roadrunner Saguaro National Park West. Presentation about the natural history, behaviors, traits and facts. 3:15-3:45 p.m. Feb. 28. Free. 733-5158.

Get Smart About Your Vision SaddleBrooke TWO, 38759 S. Mountain View Blvd. Discussion on eye care for those who suffer from or at risk for cataracts. Call to RSVP. 4-6 p.m. Feb. 28. Free. 1-646-946-6682.

Pancake Supper Church of the Painted Hills, 3295 W. Speedway. Pancakes with butter and syrup, sausage, applesauce and drink. 5-7 p.m. Feb. 28. $6. 624-5715.

Amazing Ants in the Sonoran Desert Lutheran Church of the Foothills, 5102 N. Craycroft Road. Kim Franklin. 7-9 p.m. Feb. 28. Free. 604-6897.

Mountain Lions: Beyond the Myth Saguaro National Park West. Uncover the true nature of this predator. 10:15-11 a.m. March 1. Free. 733-5158.

Creepy Crawlers: The Silent Majority Saguaro National Park West. Learn about some of the most feared and misunderstood arthropods who call the park home. 2:15-2:45 p.m. March 1. Free. 733-5158.

Living with the Desert Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. Jo Falls teaches about a different aspect of desert home. 10 a.m.-noon. March 2. $89. 742-6455.

Play Sonoran Desert Bingo Saguaro National Park West. Learn about the plants and animals while playing bingo. 10:15-10:45 a.m. March 2. Free. 733-5158.

Living With Giants Saguaro National Park West. Learn how it provides shelter/substance for wildlife, when it flowers, growth patterns and its fight for survival. 11:15-noon. March 2. Free. 733-5158.

Beginning Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Ellit Towne Flowingn Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road. Gentle enough for seniors and those needing to improve balance. 11 a.m. March 3. $45. 742-4600.

Lizards are Hot, Lizards are Cool Saguaro National Park West. Find out what it means when they do push ups or exhibit other odd behaviors. 3:15-3:45 p.m. March 3. Free. 733-5158.

Rainwater Harvesting Class: Tucson Water Rebate Watershed Management Group, 1137 N. Dodge Blvd. Class will reimburse up to $2,000 for residential rainwater-harvesting systems. 9 a.m.-noon. March 4. Free. 396-3266.

Tucson Lifestyle Cover Dog Search La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Drive. Dogs get a chance to be on the cover of Tucson Lifestyle Magazine. Benefiting the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. March 4. $30. 321-3704.

Cooking With Prickly Pear Saguaro National Park West. A live cooking demonstration to learn how to incorporate it into a diet. 3:15-3:45 p.m. March 5. Free. 733-5158.

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Lectures and classes Feb. 27-March 5 – Arizona Daily Star

Five tips for your best Passover ever – - Sponsored content … – Chicago Parent

For many Jews, Passover is the most important of all Jewish holidays. In fact, more Jewish Americans observe Passover than any other Jewish holiday. Passover is considered a big deal because many families come together to share a special ceremonial festive meal called a seder.

The staff at InterfaithFamily/Chicago has come up with five tips to help you plan your best Passover seder.

Most people use a book called a Haggadah to guide their Passover seder. There are just short of a million different versions of a Haggadah, and while there are many similarities among them, each one is very different. You can search Passover Haggadah to find some hard copy options as well as many online, such as Haggadot.com, where you can download and/or personalize. Some focus on a theme such as Israel, women, interfaith families, cartoons or music. There are so many ways to tell the story, songs to sing, ideas to decorate your table and the room, special readings to include, that each seder (Passover service in the home) is unique, so be creative!

Yes, there is beauty and joy in tradition and repetition. You can use the same Haggadah that you have used for the last 100 years with notes and wine stains all over it. There is nothing wrong with that. However, its also fun to add a new element a new reading, recipe, song, poem, craft, etc. Ask your friends to suggest something fun and unique they do at their seder and you are likely to hear many great ideas. One of our favorites is a Sephardic (Spanish/Italian Jews) tradition of hitting each other with green onions during the singing of Dayenu, (meaning, It would have been enough! a traditional Passover song about many of Gods gifts during the exodus from Egypt. The green onions represent the whips the Egyptians used on the Israelite slaves.

Passover is meant to be experienced with all our senses. You will taste many wonderful (and some not so wonderful) foods, and each will bring a distinct smell to the room especially the horseradish! Make the seder table and the room a beautiful sight by decorating for the occasion using the theme of freedom, the Red Sea, spring, plagues or the number four (there are many fours as part of a seder). Everyone present will be listening to the stories and songs you decide to include in your seder. Feel free to use clapping and tambourines as well. There are so many things on a seder table that everyone can touch. It is a custom to lean on a soft pillow during a seder since only a free person can lean during a meal.

There are many pieces to hosting a seder, including planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, picking out a Haggadah, leading the seder, etc. You do not need to do it all yourself. It is common to ask family and friends to bring a dish to a dinner party, and you can certainly make this request for your Passover dinner, too. Passover is a time where we are encouraged to welcome the stranger. This would be a good time to invite your spouse or other relatives of another faith to take part. Each guest will enjoy being a bigger part of the seder and you will enjoy having less on your proverbial plate.

If you went into 100 homes on Passover and observed 100 seders, each one would look and feel a little different. While there are usually some common elements, part of what families tend to love about Passover is that we can each make it our own. The way you choose to do your seder is the right way; dont compare your Passover and your seder with anyone elses. What is right and meaningful for you and your family is up to you. Dont be surprised that no matter how great your seder is this year, you may decide to do things differently next yearand that seder will be the right way, also.

Want to learn more? InterfaithFamily/Chicago is hosting two free model seders on March 12 and March 19. Participants will receive a binder of recipes, readings, songs and information, taste some Passover foods and participate in a short seder.

For more information or to sign up, email JudyJ@interfaithfamily.com.

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Five tips for your best Passover ever – - Sponsored content … – Chicago Parent

Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents East of the River on 3/16 – Broadway World

Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) presents the adventurous world-music ensemble East of the River in their new program, SULTANA: Music of the Sephardic Diaspora, on Thursday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park https://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/3318684/vcsPRAsset_3318684_88987_0d249e23-ca40-4948-bb45-e6b83ee4ecb9_0.jpegSlope, Brooklyn.

The program celebrates the ancient musical world of the Sephardic Jewish diaspora in North Africa and throughout the Ottoman Empire, taking the audience on a journey through bazaars, kitchens, dance circles, prayer houses, and public spaces. Founded by woodwind virtuosos Daphna Mor and Nina Stern, East of the River explores haunting and captivating melodies from the traditional repertoires of the Balkans, Armenia, and the Middle East, as well as from the Medieval European classical repertory. SULTANA is inspired by the experiences of Mor’s own Sephardic great-grandmother, Sultana Magrisso, who emigrated with her family from Bulgaria to British Palestine in 1944, traveling through Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon.

Five Boroughs Music Festival’s 2016-17 season concludes with a performance entitled OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: Chamber Works from Moravia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and beyond by early music group Quicksilver on Friday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. at King Manor Museum in Jamaica, Queens, and on Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Tickets for the East of the River concert-priced at $25 for general admission, $15 for Congregation Beth Elohim members, seniors and students-are available by visiting http://www.5bmf.org. Tickets for all other 5BMF concerts are also available by visiting http://www.5bmf.org.

Program Information

EAST OF THE RIVER

Nina Stern, recorders & chalumeau Daphna Mor, recorders & voice John Hadfield, percussion Kane Mathis, oud Jesse Kotansky, violin

Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Congregation Beth Elohim 274 Garfield Place Brooklyn, NY 11215

About East of the River East of the River, founded by internationally-renowned recorder players Nina Stern and Daphna Mor, explores the timeless gems of the Medieval European classical repertory together with virtuosic and haunting melodies of the East. Focusing on the traditions of the Middle East, Armenia, North Africa and the Balkans, East of the River’s music is arranged and interpreted by musicians whose backgrounds include classical, jazz and world music.

The group has performed on concert series including San Francisco Society for Early Music, Early Music Now (Milwaukee), Madison Early Music Festival, Academy of Early Music (Ann Arbor), Indianapolis Early Music, Five Boroughs Music Festival (New York, NY) Chautauqua Institution, Montclair State University’s Peak Performances, the Logan Series at Penn State Erie, and in New York City venues as varied as Bargemusic, Joe’s Pub, Le Poisson Rouge, Brooklyn Public Library and often performs at WQXR’s annual Chanukah celebration at The Greene Space.

Stern and Mor, called “recorder virtuosos” by The New York Times, each have impressive careers as soloists and chamber music players and have appeared as a duo with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Music Before 1800, and the world music ensemble Pharoah’s Daughter. In East of the River, Stern and Mor are often joined by varied performers such as acclaimed Turkish kanun virtuoso Tamer Pinarbasi, Balkan violinist Jesse Kotansky, and renowned percussionists Shane Shanahan and John Hadfield. Other collaborators include hammered dulcimer star Max ZT, composer/accordionist Uri Sharlin, oud/bass player Omer Avital and percussionist Glen Velez. East of the River’s various artists have recorded and performed with artists Yo-Yo Ma, Philip Glass, Jordi Savall, Sting, Natalie Merchant, Aerosmith, Simon Shaheen and many others.

East of the River has recorded two albums: its self-titled debut album and Levantera.

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Five Boroughs Music Festival Presents East of the River on 3/16 – Broadway World

My Sephardic Valentine – Forward

Nearly five decades after our teen romance, the Internet brought word that Joyce has written a memoir.

In it, I read of my teenage self destined for an ordinary life.

In the theater of her own escape from her parents orb and adolescent angst, she never even saw me.

Joyce was among the brightest at Sandy Koufaxs Brooklyn high school, a standout among thousands of students. The glint of her earrings, her dress, her expression and mannerisms hinted her foreign origins.

I took it all in as she enthused to her friend about a poem I had written for the school magazine, eyes wide and smiling, by a corner classroom door. Soon we both won a school-wide writing contest.

We had long telephone conversations that prompted my parents to ask, What could you be talking about?

I was 15.

We stole away to the Museum of Modern Art on weekend outings, assaulted by Picassos Guernica, splashed by Monets water lilies. Midnight Bach at Carnegie Hall was followed by a walk through the booming silence of sparkling snowflakes. I donned a brown corduroy sports jacket, found a pipe and we went kite flying.

On a lurching, screeching subway, there were the first rushes of romance.

We kissed by a lake in Central Park, rushing in so quickly our front teeth clashed.

She went off to Radcliffe, I my senior year of high school. On a college scouting trip to Cambridge, I met a distracted, disinterested college girl. Months later, knuckles rapped on my parents metal apartment door and there she stood.

A summer of explorations began. We saw Renoirs Children of Paradise, Truffauts Jules and Jim. We heard afternoon madrigals at the Cloisters. We stood before Blakes watercolors, reading, He who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternitys sunrise.

Just two ordinary teens in the summer of love. Right.

She would braid her hair for a romp and leave it unbound when wildness stirred.

I turned 17 and entered Brooklyn College.

That fall I bicycled past a cemetery, gliding down Avenue J in the pre-dawn dark. We met and boarded a bus to March on the Pentagon. En route, she handed me an indigo muffler she had knitted, as long as I was tall. It was the last stitch in a relationship that fast frayed.

Standing in an ocean of Vietnam War protesters, buoyed, I told her that the government could not withstand the surge. Looking at the army of gun-toting soldiers encircling the Pentagon, she said that an order to open fire would kill all our hopes.

Equally dark were her fantasies. She told me of wanting to be grabbed by older men with rough hands and then settled for a scrawny kid I knew from Hebrew school. It sullied her, she later complained as the nighttime snow fell in Seth Low Park.

For me, it was an emotional knifing.

Days later, I walked along Gravesend Bay with my father, and he tried his best to patch me up.

Weeks later, I bumped into Joyce and a group of her friends, and she stiffed-armed me with an icy greeting. It was over.

There would be a few encounters during our college years. Once, she told a friend I will be the man she marries. It was grounded on nothing I was party to.

Once she visited and flicked the ashes of her cigarette on to my floor and I wondered when she would leave.

And yet

Her memoir described our first stirrings of intimacy as sweet. She did not describe any of her many subsequent relationships as brightly.

Joyce planted deep into my taste memories the tangy sharpness of melted kasseri cheese on pita, redolent of her Cairene origins.

At a party she introduced me to her friend visiting from Portland who sold me on Reed Colleges intense liberal arts academics.

My destiny unalterably swerved.

I soon left for the Northwest and deep dives into Moby Dick and ascents of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, encounters with 17th century French lit and chicken husbandry, calligraphy – learned from the master who taught Steve Jobs – and beer brewing in a nascent Portlandia.

Several years on, a librarian friend offered me two tickets to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, provided I ask a certain young woman to be my date. Matilda was returning from a year abroad, a volunteer in Israel during the Yom Kippur war, briefly a denizen of the caves of Crete, explorer of the byways of Turkey.

She was lovely. Sweet. Kind. With an easy laugh. Dedicated to her family. Intent on her studies. Serious.

Immediately, Matilda and her mother embraced me with a moveable feast, featuring the sun kissed cuisine of Jewish northern Greece. There was plenty of boisterous fun topped off with Ladino sayings like El ke no kere a la ermoza beza la mokoza: If you dont want the beautiful one, you will end up kissing the one with a perpetual runny nose.

Our kiss took place at dusk one fall evening as we stood in her apartment on now trendy Hawthorne Boulevard located next to a movie theater, appropriate for this most cinematic moment. The kiss lasted a half hour or more as we thrilled each other, wordlessly declaring that we are all in, that we totally revel in each others company and that we intend to do so for a lifetime.

Matilda opened the world with me, as we traveled with our first born, age two, on our first foreign journey to Greece and Israel. Seven years later, our family of five embarked on a six-month Fulbright odyssey to Japan.

On our first foreign foray, the Parthenon in Athens and Temple Mount in Jerusalem riveted. The ethereal Mediterranean light defining both immediately became of central, transcendent significance.

Somehow my late mother-in-law, Alegre, among the elite Sephardic cooks of the world, took that light and kneaded it into her pastries and breads, her humor and powerful family bonds.

My wife has taken that light to warm every corner of our marriage.

Our children refract it magnificently. Our youngest son like me, fascinated by emerging energy technology pitches the business viability of solar power. Our daughter – heir to her social worker mothers compassion – works with some of the worlds most vulnerable refugees. Our oldest son – like me, a journalist – tells significant stories to new audiences.

It has been an ordinary life for me, if you can somehow wrap that around a career that has included an afternoon with the Nobel laureate discover of the Big Bang, cocktails with the Crown Prince of Japan, a hike with an Israeli architect who arranged to have Israelis and Palestinians work together on a riverine environmental win, or a winter morning when I was serenaded by wide-eyed children in a Moscow orphanage as communism crashed.

There is no knowing who or where I would be today if not for an encounter with a Jewish girl from Cairo in a Brooklyn high school.

Or if Esther, working the stacks of the Multnomah County Library on 10th Avenue in Portland, did not gratuitously come to imagine that Matilda and I could write a volume, together, way more captivating than any of the classics she handed over to patrons.

Or if Matilda and I did not believe it was worth embracing, together, the ordinary, day by day, for four decades and now more, to get to the poetry of the extraordinary.

She has walked side by side with me though the sands of Spains Costa Brava, across the bristly-turfed soccer fields of Kansas; along Japans Tokaido, down our childrens school hallways and across their college campuses, through Knossos on Crete and to doctors appointments and music lessons.

Without this daughter of Greece, I would never have gained entry into the cultural kingdom of Sepharad and all the riches it has bestowed.

We would never have had forged a family, and our individuality, the bedrock upon which all else rests.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

The Forward’s independent journalism depends on donations from readers like you.

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My Sephardic Valentine – Forward

What a family heirloom taught me about my ancestors, and the mysterious parts of my Jewish history – Tablet Magazine


Tablet Magazine
What a family heirloom taught me about my ancestors, and the mysterious parts of my Jewish history
Tablet Magazine
Besides what it held on the inside, I also loved the small silver vessel for what was engraved on its outside: the initials E.G., for Estrella Galante, my Sephardic great-grandmother, whose exotic life story sparked my first forays into genealogical

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What a family heirloom taught me about my ancestors, and the mysterious parts of my Jewish history – Tablet Magazine

Sephardic Chief Rabbi: Do not fear the women’s organizations – Arutz Sheva

Rabbi Yosef at Rabbinical Convention

Court’s Spokesman

Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef related for the first time to attacks aimed at him by womens organizations following the bill of divorce episode involving a woman from Tzfat in northern Israel.

In 2014, S. was given a get (halakhic divorce) in a rare and unprecedented move by a religious court in the northern city of Tzfat, seven years after her husband was severely injured in a car accident and left in a vegetative state. A halakhic divorce must be granted by the husband and accepted by the wife. The rabbinic court in this case decided that they could be the husband’s legal guardian and that he would have wanted to grant the divorce, calling it a get zicui.

That halakhic concept’s only precedents were when the woman receiving the divorce needed someone to take her place, but have never been used actively by someone who is in a position to grant a divorce. The late Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog was opposed to the use of the concept, as is YU’s Rabbi Herschel Schachter; the rabbinic court judges consulted with other well-known judges in Israel, but not with the Chief Rabbinate.

Shortly after the ruling was issued and the divorce granted, Reuven Cohen, who opposed the decision but is unconnected to the couple in question, filed an appeal with the Supreme Rabbinic Court the Chief Rabbinates highest judicial body to challenge the divorce on halakhic grounds.

Upon the decision to reopen the case, the Rabbinical Court was met with vocal opposition from womens groups and Knesset members. In addition, there was criticism from other sources about reopening a get which had already been granted and about the plaintiff not having standing in the case. The Chief Rabbi intends to convene a committee of rabbinic judges to decide on halakhic policy regarding the get zicui.

At the opening of the annual convention for rabbinical judges, taking place this week, Rabbi Yosef told the other judges: We hold by the standard among ourselves of Fear no one [when making a judgement]. If there are womens groups that want things from us, that we should allow them to do anything – do not be afraid! Fear no one. Be strong.

Theyre representing me as if I was stringent on a matter, which I was not. Almost all the rabbis were stringent on this matter. I spoke for the sake of heaven without personal concerns and they stood and disgraced me. I fulfilled the injunction of Fear no one. I call on all judges of Israel – do not fear the womens organizations, hold by Fear no man and adjudicate only according to Jewish law.

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Sephardic Chief Rabbi: Do not fear the women’s organizations – Arutz Sheva

Artist-in-residence will spotlight traditional Sephardic music during weekend of events – St. Louis Jewish Light

Gerard Edery, an expert in the wide-ranging music of the Sephardic Diaspora, will serve as artist-in-residence during the JEWbilation Celebration Weekend Feb. 24 to 26 at Congregation Bnai Amoona.

The weekend of events will culminate in a free concert by Edery and noted Flamenco guitarist and singer Cristian Puig at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26 in the synagogues sanctuary, 324 S. Mason Road.

Sephardic Jews trace their ancestry primarily to Spain and Portugal and have built a rich and distinctive cultural tradition that encompasses influences from around the Mediterranean region.

Edery was born in Casablanca and raised in Paris and New York City. He graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with bachelors and masters degrees in operatic performance and has sung more than 30 roles with opera companies around the United States. Widely regarded as a master singer and guitarist, Edery performs a range of ethnic folk styles and traditions from around the world, interpreting them for contemporary audiences.

The artist-in-residence weekend is part of Bnai Amoonas yearlong JEWbilation theme, exploring the diversity of Jewish traditions from around the world. Other highlights of the weekend include special Friday night and Saturday morning religious services infused with Sephardic melodies from around the world, led by Edery and Cantor Sharon Nathanson of Bnai Amoona.

The weekend is supported by the Fivel Music Fund in loving memory of Sally and Jack Fivel. Additional support for the Sunday concert is provided by the Hazzan Leon and Michal Lissek Music Endowment Fund. Beth Saltzman is chair of the committee planning the artist-in-residence weekend.

RSVPs for the Feb. 26 concert are required by Friday, Feb. 17 to 314-576-9990, ext. 126, or online at bnaiamoona.com.

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Artist-in-residence will spotlight traditional Sephardic music during weekend of events – St. Louis Jewish Light

Sephardic Cuisine – My Jewish Learning

An overview of the wide variety of food eaten by the descendants of the Spanish exile. By MJL Staff

Get Sephardic (and other) Jewish recipes sent straight to your inbox! Sign up for The Nosher newsletter here.

Sephardic cuisine refers to the foods eaten by a large and diverse group of Jews that bear the unique stamp of their regions of origin, which include Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, and Turkey. Italian, Indian, and other non-European Jewish foods are also sometimes included in this mix.

There is logic to this broad grouping: Almost all of these lands were part of the Islamic world. The Arab conquest of the 7th and 8th centuries united land from the Iberian peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean to China and India. Active trading went on between these lands, spreading new food all over the region. Eggplant from India, spinach from Nepal, and spices from the Near East are examples of foods that spread throughout the Islamic empire.

Jews participated actively in Islamic society. They were successful in cultural, political, and financial arenas. Thus Sephardic cuisine often represents refined, even aristocratic, food. Besides the quality of the food, the Jews of the Islamic world stressed quantity as well. Asceticism was not valued, and lifecycle celebrations such as circumcisions and weddings were lengthy and luxurious.

RECIPE: Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice

Cookbooks that cataloged medical advice alongside recipes were a common genre of literature in the Muslim world. The 13th-century Cookbook of the Maghreb and Andalusia, one of the most important of these books, lists five Jewish recipes. All of these are full of spices and aromas and are detailed in their ingredients and preparation. One such dish, a chicken with giblets, was made with, among other things, fennel stalks, coriander, oil, citron leaves, eggs, flour, and chicken liver. The dish is first roasted and then left to sit in murri a fermented condiment used in medieval cooking vinegar, rose water, onion juice, and spices. All the dishes in the book, including the Jewish ones, exhibit delicate attention to flavor, texture, and presentation. Jews also authored recipe and dietetics books. Isaac Israelicus 10th-century Book of Foods was translated into Latin in the 15th century and used in medical schools until the 17th century.

When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, most made their way to North Africa and Ottoman lands such as Turkey and the Balkans. Half of the North African Jews lived in Morocco, and the Jewish style of food that was common there is still considered one of Moroccos four national food styles. The Jews who settled in the Ottoman lands were typically upper class, and their foods resembled the foods of the urban nobility. The kebabs, pilafs and dolmades (stuffed vegetables) of Turkish Jewry are still some of the most recognizable Sephardic dishes.

RECIPE: Sumac Chicken and Rice

Fruits, vegetables, spices, and grains were plentiful in the Mediterranean climate, and thus plant foods figured heavily into Sephardic cuisine. Indeed, Jews were responsible for spreading the use of certain plant foods. Italian Jews prepared artichoke in an innovative way. Leeks and fennel, first used in Jewish cooking, were also later used in non-Jewish cooking in the area. Meats were eaten by Mediterranean Jews, butexcept for Shabbat (the Sabbath)fish was more often on the menu.

The Sephardic Jewish communities began to decline in the 18th century. Colonialism and natural disaster hit these communities hard and, on the whole, the Sephardic communities became impoverished. Nonetheless, Sephardic cuisine still retains the character of its unique heritage, a panoply of foods from many different lands that reflect an intense intermingling of cultures that were often well-to-do and sophisticated.

RECIPE: Stuffed Grape Leaves

It is difficult to identify particular Sephardic foods as Spanish or Greek or Arab. The movement of the Sephardic community and the unique blending of cultures gave rise to an assimilated and variegated cuisine.

Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

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Get Sephardic (and other) Jewish recipes sent straight to your inbox! Sign up for The Nosher newsletter here.

Sephardic cuisine refers to the foods eaten by a large and diverse group of Jews that bear the unique stamp of their regions of origin, which include Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, and Turkey. Italian, Indian, and other non-European Jewish foods are also sometimes included in this mix.

There is logic to this broad grouping: Almost all of these lands were part of the Islamic world. The Arab conquest of the 7th and 8th centuries united land from the Iberian peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean to China and India. Active trading went on between these lands, spreading new food all over the region. Eggplant from India, spinach from Nepal, and spices from the Near East are examples of foods that spread throughout the Islamic empire.

Jews participated actively in Islamic society. They were successful in cultural, political, and financial arenas. Thus Sephardic cuisine often represents refined, even aristocratic, food. Besides the quality of the food, the Jews of the Islamic world stressed quantity as well. Asceticism was not valued, and lifecycle celebrations such as circumcisions and weddings were lengthy and luxurious.

RECIPE: Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice

Cookbooks that cataloged medical advice alongside recipes were a common genre of literature in the Muslim world. The 13th-century Cookbook of the Maghreb and Andalusia, one of the most important of these books, lists five Jewish recipes. All of these are full of spices and aromas and are detailed in their ingredients and preparation. One such dish, a chicken with giblets, was made with, among other things, fennel stalks, coriander, oil, citron leaves, eggs, flour, and chicken liver. The dish is first roasted and then left to sit in murri a fermented condiment used in medieval cooking vinegar, rose water, onion juice, and spices. All the dishes in the book, including the Jewish ones, exhibit delicate attention to flavor, texture, and presentation. Jews also authored recipe and dietetics books. Isaac Israelicus 10th-century Book of Foods was translated into Latin in the 15th century and used in medical schools until the 17th century.

When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, most made their way to North Africa and Ottoman lands such as Turkey and the Balkans. Half of the North African Jews lived in Morocco, and the Jewish style of food that was common there is still considered one of Moroccos four national food styles. The Jews who settled in the Ottoman lands were typically upper class, and their foods resembled the foods of the urban nobility. The kebabs, pilafs and dolmades (stuffed vegetables) of Turkish Jewry are still some of the most recognizable Sephardic dishes.

RECIPE: Sumac Chicken and Rice

Fruits, vegetables, spices, and grains were plentiful in the Mediterranean climate, and thus plant foods figured heavily into Sephardic cuisine. Indeed, Jews were responsible for spreading the use of certain plant foods. Italian Jews prepared artichoke in an innovative way. Leeks and fennel, first used in Jewish cooking, were also later used in non-Jewish cooking in the area. Meats were eaten by Mediterranean Jews, butexcept for Shabbat (the Sabbath)fish was more often on the menu.

The Sephardic Jewish communities began to decline in the 18th century. Colonialism and natural disaster hit these communities hard and, on the whole, the Sephardic communities became impoverished. Nonetheless, Sephardic cuisine still retains the character of its unique heritage, a panoply of foods from many different lands that reflect an intense intermingling of cultures that were often well-to-do and sophisticated.

RECIPE: Stuffed Grape Leaves

It is difficult to identify particular Sephardic foods as Spanish or Greek or Arab. The movement of the Sephardic community and the unique blending of cultures gave rise to an assimilated and variegated cuisine.

See the article here:
Sephardic Cuisine – My Jewish Learning

Ashkenazic And Sephardic Jewry – Jewish History

The transition from the Jewish community in Babylonia to Jewish communities in other parts of the world began already at the end of the eighth century. By the eleventh century the fulcrum of Jewish life had moved from Babylonia to new places in the world.

The Jewish community of Babylonia had connections with a small but growing Jewish community in North Africa, countries that are today Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. There were many centers of Jewish settlement in Morocco, including the cities of Kairouan, Fez and what is today Casablanca and Tunis. These Jews had loyalty to the Geonate (the Rabbinate) in Babylonia and supported the great academies and institutions there. But, physically speaking, especially in those times, they were a long way from Babylonia. It took almost a year for questions of Jewish law to come to Babylonia and then almost a year for the answer to come back. For various reasons, those communities were not equipped with their own scholars. Therefore, the Jewish communities there could not grow, expand or flourish unless they were somehow able to end their dependency on Babylonian Jewry and the Geonate/Rabbinate.

There is an interesting legend how the Jewish community spread beyond the borders of Babylon. It is important to remark that although legends may not necessarily be fully accurate, they accurately portray the people and circumstances of the time.

At the end of the eighth- beginning of the ninth century the academies in Babylon faced a serious economic crisis. They decided to send out emissaries to collect money. Usually, emissaries were not top echelon scholars. However, because the situation was so desperate they sent the leading members of the Talmudic community, the heads of the academies themselves.

Three of the names are known to us. One was Rabbi Chushiel, the father of Rabbi Chananel, whom we will discuss ahead. Second was Rabbi Moshe, the father of Rabbi Chanoch, another famous Torah scholar. The third was Rabbi Shmaryahu. The fourth man has remained anonymous.

These four great rabbis set out with their families to collect funds in faraway lands on behalf of the Babylonian academies. The Mediterranean was a dangerous place. Aside from the storms and the uncertain fate of ships, pirates abounded. And not only did these pirates look for booty, they looked for people they could kidnap and sell on the slave market.

The pirates knew that if they could capture Jews, especially prominent Jews, they could collect a great ransom. Informers told them that there were four great rabbis on this ship and not two or three days out of port they were captured.

The rabbis were first brought to Alexandria where Rabbi Shmaryahu was ransomed. But the pirates were unable to get a high enough price for four, so the remaining captives were brought west to the slave markets of Tunis and Fez.

Back then, Tunis and Fez were like the Western frontier. There were Jews, but they were never able to attract great rabbinic leadership. Now they saw a golden opportunity and struck a deal. Then they made the rabbis an offer. They would ransom them, but on the condition they stayed and helped build a thriving Jewish community.

Rabbi Chushiel and his son Rabbi Chananel agreed. Rabbi Moshe was ransomed in Spain. The fourth rabbi was sold in Sicily.

From these rabbis grew strong Jewish communities, and that is how the center of Jewish life began to shift. Within 50 to 80 years (by the year 900) North African Jewry no longer felt subservient to Babylonian rule.

Simultaneously, this contributed to the decline of Babylon as the center of world Jewry. Now outlying communities no longer were limited to addressing their questions there. They had their own great scholars. Economically too, Babylon was no longer necessarily the first address to send money to.

At that time, North Africa was populated by two tribes, the Berbers and the Moors. The Berbers were Arabs or close to the Arabs. The Moors were Africans of dark skin but Caucasian features. The Moors were sophisticated, cultured and technologically advanced for their time. They were, in fact, the cutting edge of civilization. They were poets, artists, artisans, mathematicians, merchants and ship builders. And they were very tolerant probably the most tolerant of all the Muslims. At the same time, they were probably the least religious of all the Muslims.

The Moors and Jews struck an alliance that would last almost 400 years an alliance that would carry the Moors to Spain at the same time the Jews would experience a Golden Age unequaled, perhaps, until the modern era.

The Berbers, on the other hand, were cavalrymen of note and fearless warriors. They were also good farmers and knew how to live in the mountains. Together, the Berbers supplied the brawn while the Moors supplied the brains and together they became the leading force of civilization.

North Africa became the land of opportunity for the Jews just as the United States would later become the land of opportunity for Jews in Eastern Europe. That opportunity was immeasurably increased by the existence of great rabbis and academies in North Africa. It meant that a Jew could go to where opportunity existed without really sacrificing or compromising his religion.

That, of course, only further undermined the Babylonian Jewish community. From the letters of the times, it is obvious that it increasingly became an older community, a community only for people who were well-established. Younger people who did not have much began to move to North Africa. That explains how that within the timespan of a century almost 150,000 Jews arrived in North Africa.

The great rabbis of North Africa included Rabbi Chananel, the son of one of the four captives, Rabbi Chushiel. He was the rabbi in Kairouan. He wrote a commentary to the entire Talmud. The great rabbis of the early Middle Ages based much of their commentary on his. Rashis seminal commentary on the Talmud, for instance, bases many things upon Rabbi Chananels pioneering work. No one equaled Rashi he was a gift from heaven that never came before or since but the groundwork for his and other commentaries were laid during this era.

Rabbi Chananel built an enormous academy in Kairouan and was extremely influential. In particular, he had a tremendous influence on one of the great men of not only North African Jewry but one of the great men of all Jewish history, Rabbi Isaac of Fez, known in Jewish scholarly circles by his acronym, the Rif.

The Rif lived more than 100 years and had five distinct generations of disciples because he headed an academy by the age of 20. His influence spanned not only that century but later centuries.

The Rif composed the first of the basic books of Jewish law upon which the Shulchan Aruch, the codebook of Jewish law, was based. Therefore, while Rabbi Chananel wrote the Talmudic commentary that all future Talmudic commentaries were built upon, Rabbi Isaac, the Rif, wrote the Jewish law book that all future Jewish law codifications were built upon.

Thanks to efforts from people like Rabbi Chananel and Rabbi Isaac the Jewish community in North Africa became very strong. Jews from that community would move into Spain when the Moors invaded and colonized Spain. At the same time the Sephardic communities were developing in North Africa and Spain, the Ashkenazic Jews were developing in France and the German Rhineland. Even though these two Jewish communities developed at the same time they occupied two completely different worlds, so to speak.

The Jews in North Africa and Spain lived in a Muslim world. They lived in a sunny world, a world that was tolerant toward them (at least relatively speaking). The Ashkenazic Jews lived in a colder climate in more ways than one. They lived in a superstitious, primitive Christian world; in a world of constant danger and hatred; a world that would produce the Crusades; a world of fanaticism and feudalism; a world of the Black Death. It is mind-boggling to consider how Ashkenazic Jewry survived during those early centuries of its development.

The spiritual founder of Ashkenazic Jewry was Rabbi Gershom ben Judah, known as Rabbeinu Gershom. He was the last of the Geonim. Born in 960 CE in Mainz (he died in 1030 CE), he lived most of his life in the French Rhineland, though he did travel as far as todays Yugoslavia on the Adriatic. He is the father of Ashkanazic Jewry in the same way that Rabbi Chananel and Rabbi Isaac, the Rif, were the fathers of Sephardic Jewry.

He is best known and most remembered for a number of decrees mentioned in his name which have become binding upon Ashkenazic Jewry. The most famous of those decrees was the ban against polygamy.

Under the laws of the Torah a man was allowed to have more than one wife at one time though as a social and practical matter, monogamy was by far the accepted norm for the traditional Jewish home. Polygamous marriages existed in the Torah, Prophets and Talmud and especially in Jewish communities in the Arab countries.

Rabbeinu Gershom came and banned polygamy. He did not spell out his reasons for the ban, but many have been advanced since. One reason mentioned by the commentators was to prevent licentiousness. A second reason was that they lived in a Christian society that was not only against polygamy, but against marriage! A religion that allowed or encouraged polygamy could not survive in that type of Christian-dominated society. Other reasons were advanced as well. Whatever the reason, the ban against polygamy took hold.

Another decree Rabbeinu Gershom made was that a woman could not be divorced against her will. The ban in effect opposed frivolous divorce. If the woman did not agree, then the divorce could not be granted. Even today both parties have to agree to a Jewish divorce.

Another decree of Rabbeinu Gershom had to do with apostate Jews. We cannot imagine the pressure Jews were subject to in medieval Europe to convert to Christianity. The pressure was not only economic and social, but came with the threat of death and torture. Many of these Jews recanted on their deathbeds. Others wanted to be accepted back into the Jewish community or at least be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

There were many Jews who resented that especially those who suffered under the same trying circumstances but did not succumb. They harbored an understandable feeling of animosity and bitterness toward those who did give in. Nevertheless, Rabbeinu Gershom defended the right of apostate Jews to return to Judaism. This policy was a milestone in Jewish history.

These were only some of Rabbeinu Gershoms decrees. All told, they helped lay the groundwork for European Jewry until this day. That is why he was considered the father of Ashkenazic Jewry.

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Ashkenazic And Sephardic Jewry – Jewish History

Sephardic law and customs – Wikipedia

Sephardic law and customs means the practice of Judaism as observed by the Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, so far as it is peculiar to themselves and not shared with other Jewish groups such as the Ashkenazim. Sephardim do not constitute a separate denomination within Judaism, but rather a distinct cultural, juridical and philosophical tradition.

Sephardim are, primarily, the descendants of Jews from the Iberian peninsula. They may be divided into the families that left in the Expulsion of 1492 and those that remained as crypto-Jews and left in the following few centuries.

In religious parlance, and by many in modern Israel, the term is used in a broader sense to include all Jews of Ottoman or other Asian or North African backgrounds, whether or not they have any historic link to Spain, though some prefer to distinguish between Sephardim proper and Mizrai Jews.

For the purposes of this article there is no need to distinguish the two groups, as their religious practices are basically similar: whether or not they are “Spanish Jews” they are all “Jews of the Spanish rite”. There are three reasons for this convergence, which are explored in more detail below:

Jewish law is based on the Torah, as interpreted and supplemented by the Talmud. The Talmud in its final form dates from the Sassanian period and was the product of a number of colleges in Babylonia.

The two principal colleges, Sura and Pumbedita, survived well into the Islamic period. Their presidents, known as Geonim, together with the Exilarch, were recognised by the Abbasid Caliphs as the supreme authority over the Jews of the Arab world. The Geonim provided written answers to questions on Jewish law from round the world, which were published in collections of responsa and enjoyed high authority. The Geonim also produced handbooks such as the Halachot Pesuqot by Yehudai Gaon and the Halachot Gedolot by Simeon Kayyara.

The learning of the Geonim was transmitted through the scholars of Kairouan, notably Chananel Ben Chushiel and Nissim Gaon, to Spain, where it was used by Isaac Alfasi in his Sefer ha-Halachot (code of Jewish law), which took the form of an edited and abridged Talmud. This in turn formed the basis for the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides. A feature of these early Tunisian and Spanish schools was a willingness to make use of the Jerusalem Talmud as well as the Babylonian.

Developments in France and Germany were somewhat different. They too respected the rulings of the Geonim, but also had strong local customs of their own. The Tosafists did their best to explain the Talmud in a way consistent with these customs. A theory grew up that custom trumps law (see Minhag): this had some Talmudic support, but was not nearly so prominent in Arabic countries as it was in Europe. Special books on Ashkenazic custom were written, for example by Yaakov Moelin. Further instances of Ashkenazic custom were contributed by the penitential manual of Eleazar of Worms and some additional stringencies on sheitah (the slaughter of animals) formulated in Jacob Weil’s Sefer Sheitot u-Bediqot.

The learning of the Tosafists, but not the literature on Ashkenazic customs as such, was imported into Spain by Asher ben Yeiel, a German-born scholar who became chief rabbi of Toledo and the author of the Hilchot ha-Rosh – an elaborate Talmudic commentary, which became the third of the great Spanish authorities after Alfasi and Maimonides. A more popular rsum, known as the Arba’ah Turim, was written by his son, Jacob ben Asher, though he did not agree with his father on all points.

The Tosafot were also used by the scholars of the Catalonian school, such as Nahmanides and Solomon ben Adret, who were also noted for their interest in Kabbalah. For a while, Spain was divided between the schools: in Catalonia the rulings of Nahmanides and ben Adret were accepted, in Castile those of the Asher family and in Valencia those of Maimonides. (Maimonides’ rulings were also accepted in most of the Arab world, especially Yemen, Egypt and the Land of Israel.)

Following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Jewish law was codified by Joseph Caro in his Bet Yosef, which took the form of a commentary on the Arba’ah Turim, and Shulan Aruch, which presented the same results in the form of a practical abridgement. He consulted most of the authorities available to him, but generally arrived at a practical decision by following the majority among the three great Spanish authorities, Alfasi, Maimonides and Asher ben Yeiel, unless most of the other authorities were against them. He did not consciously intend to exclude non-Sephardi authorities, but considered that the Ashkenazi school, so far as it had anything to contribute on general Jewish law as opposed to purely Ashkenazi custom, was adequately represented by Asher. However, since Alfasi and Maimonides generally agree, the overall result was overwhelmingly Sephardi in flavour, though in a number of cases Caro set the result of this consensus aside and ruled in favour of the Catalonian school (Nahmanides and Solomon ben Adret), some of whose opinions had Ashkenazi origins. The Bet Yosef is today accepted by Sephardim as the leading authority in Jewish law, subject to minor variants drawn from the rulings of later rabbis accepted in particular communities.

The Polish rabbi Moses Isserles, while acknowledging the merits of the Shulan Aruch, felt that it did not do justice to Ashkenazi scholarship and practice. He accordingly composed a series of glosses setting out all respects in which Ashkenazi practice differs, and the composite work is today accepted as the leading work on Ashkenazi halachah. Isserles felt free to differ from Caro on particular points of law, but in principle he accepted Caro’s view that the Sephardic practice set out in the Shulan Aruch represents standard Jewish law while the Ashkenazi practice is essentially a local custom.

So far, then, it is meaningless to speak of “Sephardic custom”: all that is meant is Jewish law without the particular customs of the Ashkenazim. For this reason, the law accepted by other non-Ashkenazi communities, such as the Italian and Yemenite Jews, is basically similar to that of the Sephardim. There are of course customs peculiar to particular countries or communities within the Sephardic world, such as Syria and Morocco.

An important body of customs grew up in the Kabbalistic circle of Isaac Luria and his followers in Safed, and many of these have spread to communities throughout the Sephardi world: this is discussed further in the Liturgy section below. In some cases they are accepted by Greek and Turkish Sephardim and Mizrahi Jews but not by Western communities such as the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. These are customs in the true sense: in the list of usages below they are distinguished by an L sign.

For the outline and early history of the Jewish liturgy, see the articles on Siddur and Jewish services. At an early stage, a distinction was established between the Babylonian ritual and that used in Palestine, as these were the two main centres of religious authority: there is no complete text of the Palestinian rite, though some fragments have been found in the Cairo Genizah.[1]

Some scholars maintain that Ashkenazi Jews are inheritors of the religious traditions of the great Babylonian Jewish academies, and that Sephardi Jews are descendants of those who originally followed the Judaean or Galilaean Jewish religious traditions.[2] Others, such as Zunz, maintain precisely the opposite.[3] To put the matter into perspective it must be emphasized that all Jewish liturgies in use in the world today are in substance Babylonian, with a small number of Palestinian usages surviving the process of standardization: in a list of differences preserved from the time of the Geonim, most of the usages recorded as Palestinian are now obsolete.[4] (In the list of usages below, Sephardic usages inherited from Palestine are marked P, and instances where the Sephardic usage conforms to the Babylonian while the Ashkenazic usage is Palestinian are marked B.) By the 12th century, as a result of the efforts of Babylonian leaders such as Yehudai Gaon and Pirqoi ben Baboi,[5] the communities of Palestine, and Diaspora communities such as Kairouan which had historically followed Palestinian usages, had adopted Babylonian rulings in most respects, and Babylonian authority was accepted by Jews throughout the Arabic-speaking world.

Early attempts at standardizing the liturgy which have been preserved include, in chronological order, those of Amram Gaon, Saadia Gaon, Shelomoh ben Natan of Sijilmasa (in Morocco)[6] and Maimonides. All of these were based on the legal rulings of the Geonim but show a recognisable evolution towards the current Sephardi text. The liturgy in use in Visigothic Spain is likely to have belonged to a Palestinian-influenced European family, together with the Italian and Provenal, and more remotely the Old French and Ashkenazi rites, but as no liturgical materials from the Visigothic era survive we cannot know for certain. From references in later treatises such as the Sefer ha-Manhig by Rabbi Abraham ben Nathan ha-Yari (c. 1204), it appears that even at that later time the Spanish rite preserved certain European peculiarities that have since been eliminated in order to conform to the rulings of the Geonim and the official texts based on them. (Conversely the surviving versions of those texts, in particular that of Amram Gaon, appear to have been edited to reflect some Spanish and other local usages.)[7] The present Sephardic liturgy should therefore be regarded as the product of gradual convergence between the original local rite and the North African branch of the Babylonian-Arabic family, as prevailing in Geonic times in Egypt and Morocco. Following the Reconquista, the specifically Spanish liturgy was commented on by David Abudirham (c. 1340), who was concerned to ensure conformity with the rulings of halachah, as understood by the authorities up to and including Asher ben Yehiel. Despite this convergence, there were distinctions between the liturgies of different parts of the Iberian peninsula: for example the Lisbon and Catalonian rites were somewhat different from the Castilian rite, which formed the basis of the later Sephardic tradition. The Catalonian rite was intermediate in character between the Castilian rite and that of Provence: Haham Gaster classified the rites of Oran and Tunis in this group.[8]

After the expulsion from Spain, the Sephardim took their liturgy with them to countries throughout the Arab and Ottoman world, where they soon assumed positions of rabbinic and communal leadership. They formed their own communities, often maintaining differences based on their places of origin in the Iberian peninsula. In Salonica, for instance, there were more than twenty synagogues, each using the rite of a different locality in Spain or Portugal (as well as one Romaniot and one Ashkenazi synagogue).[9]

In a process lasting from the 16th through the 19th century, the native Jewish communities of most Arab and Ottoman countries adapted their pre-existing liturgies, many of which already had a family resemblance with the Sephardic, to follow the Spanish rite in as many respects as possible. Some reasons for this are:

The most important theological, as opposed to practical, motive for harmonization was the Kabbalistic teachings of Isaac Luria and ayim Vital. Luria himself always maintained that it was the duty of every Jew to abide by his ancestral tradition, so that his prayers should reach the gate in Heaven appropriate to his tribal identity.[10] However he devised a system of usages for his own followers, which were recorded by Vital in his Sha’ar ha-Kavvanot in the form of comments on the Venice edition of the Spanish and Portuguese prayer book.[11] The theory then grew up that this composite Sephardic rite was of special spiritual potency and reached a “thirteenth gate” in Heaven for those who did not know their tribe: prayer in this form could therefore be offered in complete confidence by everyone.

Further Kabbalistic embellishments were recorded in later rabbinic works such as the 18th century emdat Yamim (anonymous, but sometimes attributed to Nathan of Gaza). The most elaborate version of these is contained in the Siddur published by the 18th century Yemenite Kabbalist Shalom Sharabi for the use of the Bet El yeshivah in Jerusalem: this contains only a few lines of text on each page, the rest being filled with intricate meditations on the letter combinations in the prayers. Other scholars commented on the liturgy from both a halachic and a kabbalistic perspective, including ayim Azulai and ayim Palaggi.

The influence of the Lurianic-Sephardic rite extended even to countries outside the Ottoman sphere of influence such as Iran, where there were no Spanish exiles. (The previous Iranian rite was based on the Siddur of Saadia Gaon.[12]) The main exceptions to this tendency were:

There were also Kabbalistic groups in the Ashkenazic world, which adopted the Lurianic-Sephardic ritual, on the theory of the thirteenth gate mentioned above. This accounts for the “Nusach Sefard” and “Nusach Ari” in use among the Hasidim, which is based on the Lurianic-Sephardic text with some Ashkenazi variations.

From the 1840s on a series of prayer-books was published in Livorno, including Tefillat ha-odesh, Bet Obed and Zechor le-Abraham. These included notes on practice and the Kabbalistic additions to the prayers, but not the meditations of Shalom Sharabi, as the books were designed for public congregational use. They quickly became standard in almost all Sephardic and Oriental communities, with any local variations being preserved only by oral tradition. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many more Sephardic prayer books were published in Vienna. These were primarily aimed at the Judaeo-Spanish communities of the Balkans, Greece and Turkey, and therefore had rubrics in Ladino, but also had a wider distribution.

An important influence on Sephardic prayer and custom was the late 19th century Baghdadi rabbi known as the Ben Ish ai, whose work of that name contained both halachic rulings and observations on Kabbalistic custom based on his correspondence with Eliyahu Mani of the Bet El yeshivah. These rulings and observations form the basis of the Baghdadi rite: both the text of the prayers and the accompanying usages differ in some respects from those of the Livorno editions. The rulings of the Ben Ish ai have been accepted in several other Sephardic and Oriental communities, such as that of Jerba.

In the Sephardic world today, in particular in Israel, there are many popular prayer-books containing this Baghdadi rite, and this is what is currently known as Minhag Edot ha-Mizra (the custom of the Oriental congregations). Other authorities, especially older rabbis from North Africa, reject these in favour of a more conservative Oriental-Sephardic text as found in the 19th century Livorno editions; and the Shami Yemenite and Syrian rites belong to this group. Others again, following R. Ovadia Yosef, prefer a form shorn of some of the Kabbalistic additions and nearer to what would have been known to R. Joseph Caro, and seek to establish this as the standard “Israeli Sephardi” rite for use by all communities.[13] The liturgy of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews differs from all these (more than the Eastern groups differ from each other), as it represents an older form of the text, has far fewer Kabbalistic additions and reflects some Italian influence. The differences between all these groups, however, exist at the level of detailed wording, for example the insertion or omission of a few extra passages: structurally, all Sephardic rites are very similar.

(The Od Abinu ai series, mentioned under “North African Jews” below, is based on these editions.)

(for fuller list see Spanish and Portuguese Jewish prayer books)

(see also under Vienna editions)

(and many others)

Originally posted here:
Sephardic law and customs – Wikipedia

Sephardi Jews – Wikipedia

Sephardi Jews (Yahadut Sfarad) Total population 2,200,000 up to 16% of world Jewish population Regions with significant populations Israel 1.4 million France 300,000400,000 United States 200,000300,000 Argentina 50,000 Spain 40,000 Canada 30,000 Turkey 26,000 Italy 24,930 Mexico 15,000 United Kingdom 8,000 Panama 8,000 Colombia 7,000 Morocco 6,000 Greece 6,000 Tunisia 2,000 Algeria 2,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2,000 Bulgaria 2,000 Cuba 1,500 Serbia 1,000 Netherlands 600 Languages Historical: Ladino, Arabic, Haketia, Judeo-Portuguese, Berber, Catalanic, Shuadit, local languages Modern: Local languages, primarily Hebrew, French, English, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Italian, Ladino, Arabic. Religion Judaism Related ethnic groups Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions, Samaritans, other Levantines, Assyrians, other Near Eastern Semitic people, Spaniards, Portuguese and Hispanics/Latinos

Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim (Hebrew: , Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddim, Tiberian: Spraddm; also Y’hudey Spharad, lit. “The Jews of Spain”), are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced in the Iberian Peninsula around the start of the 2nd millennium (i.e., about the year 1000). They established communities throughout Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity. Their millennial residence as an open and organised Jewish community in Iberia was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain’s Catholic Monarchs in the late 15th century, which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions.

Historically, the vernacular languages of Sephardim and their descendants have been:

More broadly, the term Sephardim has today also come to refer to traditionally Eastern Jewish communities of West Asia and beyond who, although not having genealogical roots in the Jewish communities of Iberia, have adopted a Sephardic style of liturgy and Sephardic law and customs imparted to them by the Iberian Jewish exiles over the course of the last few centuries. This article deals with Sephardim within the narrower ethnic definition.

The name Sephardi means “Spanish” or “Hispanic”, derived from Sepharad (Hebrew: , ModernSfard, TiberianSpr ), a Biblical location.[1] The location of the biblical Sepharad is disputed, but Sepharad was identified by later Jews as Hispania, that is, the Iberian Peninsula. Sepharad () still means “Spain” in modern Hebrew.

In other languages and scripts, “Sephardi” may be translated as plural Hebrew: , ModernSfaraddim, TiberianSpraddm; sefard or Spanish: Sefardes; Portuguese: Sefarditas; sefardita or Catalan: Sefardites; Aragonese: Safards; Basque: Sefardiak; French: Sfarades; Galician: Sefards; Italian: Sefarditi; Greek: Sephardites; Serbian: Sefardi; Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian: Sefardi; Bulgarian: Sefaradi; Turkish: Sefarad, Judaeo-Spanish: Sefaradies/Sefaradim; and Arabic: Safrdiyyn.

In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century, immediately prior to the issuance of the Alhambra Decree of 1492 by order of the Catholic Monarchs in Spain, and the decree of 1496 in Portugal by order of King Manuel I.

In Hebrew, the term “Sephardim Tehorim” ( , literally “Pure Sephardim”) is used to distinguish Sephardim proper “who trace their lineage back to the Iberian/Spanish population” from Sephardim in the broader religious sense.[2] This distinction has also been made in reference to genetic findings in research on Sephardim proper in contrast to other communities of Jews today termed Sephardi more broadly[3]

The modern Israeli Hebrew definition of Sephardi is a much broader, religious based, definition that generally excludes ethnic considerations. In its most basic form, this broad religious definition of a Sephardi refers to any Jew, of any ethnic background, who follows the customs and traditions of Sepharad. For religious purposes, and in modern Israel, “Sephardim” is most often used in this wider sense which encompasses most non-Ashkenazi Jews who are not ethnically Sephardi, but are in most instances of West Asian origin, but who nonetheless commonly use a Sephardic style of liturgy.

The term Sephardi in the broad sense, thus describes the nusach (Hebrew language, “liturgical tradition”) used by Sephardi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition’s choice of prayers, order of prayers, text of prayers and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Sephardim traditionally pray using Minhag Sefarad. The term Nusach Sefard or Nusach Sfarad does not refer to the liturgy generally recited by Sephardim proper or even Sephardi in a broader sense, but rather to an alternative Eastern European liturgy used by many Hasidim who are in fact Ashkenazi.

Additionally, Ethiopian Jews, whose branch of practiced Judaism is known as Haymanot, have recently come under the umbrella of Israel’s already broad Sephardic Chief Rabbinate.

The divisions among Sephardim and their descendants today is largely a result of the consequences of the royal edicts. Both the Spanish and Portuguese edicts ordered their respective Jewish populations to choose from one of three options:

In Spain, the Jews were only given four months from the time the decree was issued before the expiry of the set deadline. Under the edict, Jews were promised royal “protection and security” for the effective three-month window before the deadline. They were permitted to take their belongings with them except “gold or silver or minted money”. It has been argued by British scholar Henry Kamen, that “the real purpose of the 1492 edict likely was not expulsion, but compulsory conversion of all Spanish Jews. Yet in giving Jews a choice and three months to think about it, the plan backfired; many opted to leave the country rather than convert”,[4] which ultimately was to Spain’s detriment. Between a third to one half of Spain’s Jewish origin population opted for exile, many flooding into Portugal.

Foreseeing the economic aftermath of a similar Jewish flight from Portugal, King Manuel’s decree five years later was largely pro-forma to appease a precondition the Spanish monarchs had set for him if he wished to marry their daughter. While the stipulations were similar in the Portuguese decree, King Manuel then largely prevented Portugal’s Jews from leaving, by blocking Portugal’s ports of exit. This failure to leave Portugal was then reasoned by the king to signify a default acceptance of Catholicism by the Jews, and the king then proceeded to proclaim them New Christians. Actual physical forced conversions, however, were also experienced throughout Portugal.

Sephardi Jews, therefore, encompass Jews descended from those Jews who left the Iberian Peninsula as Jews by the expiration of the respective decreed deadlines. This group is further divided between those who fled south to North Africa, as opposed to those who fled eastwards to the Balkans, West Asia and beyond. Also included among Sephardi Jews are those who descend from “New Christian” conversos, but then returned to Judaism after leaving Iberia, largely after reaching Central and Northern Europe. From these regions, many would again migrate, this time to the non-Iberian territories of the Americas. Additional to all these Sephardic Jewish groups are the descendants of those New Christian conversos who either remained in Iberia, or moved from Iberia directly to the Iberian colonial possessions across what are today the various Latin American countries. The descendants of this group of conversos, for historical reasons and circumstances, were never able to formally return to the Jewish religion.

All these sub-groups are defined by a combination of geography, identity, religious evolution, language evolution, and the timeframe of their reversion (for those who had in the interim undergone a temporary nominal conversion to Catholicism) or non-reversion back to Judaism.

It should be noted that these Sephardic sub-groups are separate from any pre-existing local Jewish communities they encountered in their new areas of settlement. From the perspective of the present day, the first three sub-groups appeared to have developed as separate branches, each with its own traditions.

In earlier centuries, and as late as the editing of the Jewish Encyclopedia at the beginning of the 20th century, they were usually regarded as together forming a continuum. The Jewish community of Livorno acted as the clearing-house of personnel and traditions among the first three sub-groups; it also developed as the chief publishing centre.[improper synthesis?].

The relationship between Sephardi-descended communities is illustrated in the following diagram:

See the rest here:
Sephardi Jews – Wikipedia

Jewish Community of Thessaloniki … – Sephardic Studies

Jewish Community Of Thessaloniki

The monument in memory and honor of the fifty thousand Jewish Greeks of Thessaloniki, who met a horrible death in the nazi death camps, stands erected at the intersection of Alexandrou Papanastasiou and Nea Egnatia streets. It was unveiled by the president of the Republic Mr. Konstantinos Stefanopoulos on Sunday, November 23, 1997 CE. It was designed by the brothers Glid, and depicts the seven candled menorah and flames all entangled in a mesh of human bodies.

Menorah Monument

The Jews of Thessaloniki March Through Time

For more than twenty centuries, Thessaloniki was the shelter for the persecuted Jews of Europe. Uprooted throughout their long history from other historical centers of the Diaspora, they were transplanted in this city, creating a large and vibrant Jewish Community, indisputably one of the most important ones in the world, especially during the period 1492-1943.

Precise indications about the chronology of the first settlement of Jews in Thessaloniki are lacking. They may have arrived from Alexandria, Egypt, around 140 BCE. However, we do not possess any hard evidence that would have allowed us to nail down with certainty this event, that remains to this day, an unsolved historical problem.

The ancient Jewish Community of Thessaloniki constituted a typical example of a Judaic community in a Mediterranean urban center of the Hellenistic and Roman era. Its members were called Romaniotes. They adopted the Greek language, while retaining several elements of Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as the Hebrew script. Paul visited this community during the early formative years of Christianity. And it is in his travelogue, described in the Christian Acts of the Apostles, that we come across the first written proof of Jewish presence in the city.

According to tradition, the oldest synagogue in Thessaloniki was called Ets Ahaim (The Tree of Life). During the Ottoman era and intersection of the present-day Kalapothaki and Dimosthenes streets, near the city port.

During the Roman era, the Jews of Thessaloniki enjoyed wide autonomy. Later, after the East-West division of the Roman empire, certain Byzantine emperors cast their eyes on the Jews, imposing special taxation and/or restrictive measures on religious freedom and worship. A few attempts at forced conversion did not produce appreciable results, since even the ecumenical synods disapproved of the practice, stating repeatedly that Jews had the right to live in freedom and according to the laws and traditions of their religion.

Mid-Byzantine Thessaloniki flourishes in spite of wars in the region, as well as the successive raids of the Slavs and Bulgarians. Its population exceeds 100,000 inhabitants in the middle of the 12th century. Around that time (1159), Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela departs from Saragossa, Spain, on a long journey that will last more than 13 years. Upon arriving at Thessaloniki he notes: “After a two-day sea voyage, we arrive at Thessaloniki, a big coastal town, built by Selefkos, one of Alexanders four heirs. Five hundred Jews live here, headed by Rabbi Samuel and his sons, well known for their scholarship. Rabbis Sabetal, Elias, and Michael also live there as well as other exiled Jews who are specialized artisans.”

During the two following centuries, Thessaloniki was plagued by many misfortunes: its siege and destruction by the Normans (1185), its conquest by the Franks of the Fourth Crusade, and its subsequent occupation, first by the Epirus Principality (1244), and then by the Empire of Nikaia (1246).

Raids by Serbs, Bulgarians and Catalans followed, as well as the Zealots uprising (1342-1349), and its first conquest by the Turks (1387).

It is during that time (1376), that the first settlement of Ashkenazi Jews takes place in Thessaloniki. They arrive, persecuted, from Hungary and Germany, throughout the 15th century.

A small group of Jews from Provence will settle in Thessaloniki in 1394, while during the period of the Venetian rule (1423-1430), large numbers of Jews from mainland Italy and Sicily will also settle here, establishing new synagogues and creating, in turn, their own distinct communities.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 26, 1430, the army of Sultan Murat II appears before the city gates. Thessaloniki will capitulate after a three-day siege. Generalized looting, massacres, enslavement and deportations occur, perpetrated by the invading troops. Murat II will be forced to personally intervene, on behalf of the population, in order to put an end to the bloodshed. He will personally set free, at his own expense, many prisoners, and he will take measures for the revival and repopulation of Thessaloniki. To that end, he will resettle into Thessaloniki, Turks from Yiannitsa, as well as Christians to whom he grants certain privileges such as communal autonomy and various tax exemptions.

All of the above can be considered as pre-history of the Jewish presence in Thessaloniki. The pivotal point is the settlement of 15,000-20,000 Spanish (Sephardic) Jews after 1492, who will make a lasting and seminal contribution to the destiny of the Jewish Community, but also to that of the city as a whole. Those persecuted Jews found shelter in the capital of Macedonia, thus giving her a new profile for the future.

The event that sealed the fate of Spanish Jewry was the Reconquista, i.e. the bloody, step-by-step recovery of the Iberian peninsula into Christian hands, at the expense of the Arabs who were entrenched there since the beginning of the 8th century. The end of the Reconquista occurs on January 2, 1492, when the Arab state of Granada is conquered and dissolved forever. It is then that the political and economic circumstances that had in the past dictated the official policy of tolerance towards minorities and the absence of preferential treatment based on race or religion, seized to be operative, and that policy was immediately reversed. Ferdinand and Isabella now become Catholic Kings exclusively, whereas during the war years, they wished to be called King and Queen of three religions.

Thus dawns 1492, the fateful year for the Spanish Jews. A royal edict on March 13 of that year, forces all Jews to either convert to Christianity, or leave the country b the coming August at the latest. It is estimated that around 50,000 Jews were nominally baptized and remained in Spain. The rest, more than 250,000 strong, opted for the road to exile. Some went north, to France, England, the Netherlands. Others chose Italy or Northern Africa. However, the majority settles in areas under Ottoman jurisdiction.

Sultan Bayazit II, at the request of Chief Rabbi of Istanbul, Eliyia Kapsali, allowed their entrance into the realm, and ordered local commanders to extend a cordial and warm welcome, and to help them settle down.

Rare picture of the Cemetery in Thessaloniki (Salonika) before it was destroyed by the nazis during WWII

(Note the horizontal orientation of the tombstones)

(Click to enlarge)

Thus, the Spanish Jews, the Sephardim, will settle in all the large urban centers of the Ottoman Empire. Most of them, around 20,000 will perfer Thessaloniki, which still hadnt recovered from the destruction incurred during its conquest by the Turks. Maybe they were attacted to the citys strategic location as a key port in the Eastern Mediterranean. Alternatively, they may have been encouraged by the Sultan, seeking to re-populate the deserted city with a fresh, dynamic, urban population.

With their arrival, the deserted city wakes up from its torpor and gradually becomes again a first class financial center. Comparable to that of the Roman and Byzantine years. The Sephardim gave commerce a new push, and exploited the mines of the Gallikos river and those of Sidirokapsa. The first printing shop in Thessaloniki, around 1510, was established by the immigrants.

The century that followed the expulsion from Spain is also a cultural golden era. Thessaloniki becomes an important center of theological studies, attracting students from around the world, while giving rise to scholars of high repute, such as Rabbis, poets, physicians. Their reputation will spread across Europe. It is during that era, in 1537, that Thessaloniki will be honored with the title Mother of Israel, by Samuel Usque, the Jewish poet from Ferrara.

The fame of the community will attract other persecuted Jews who will seek refuge in its welcome embrace. Jews from Sicily and Italy, also persecuted by Ferdinand and Isabella, will follow the exiles of 1492.

Emmanuel, King of Portugal, will follow the example of Ferdinand and Isabella, a few years later. On December 5, 1496, he orders the Jews of Portugal to either convert or leave. The Exodus of the Portuguese Jews starts at the end of October 1497, and a large number head towards Thessaloniki. However, even the ones nominally baptized who stayed behind, the so-called Conversos or Maranos, will be forced into exile during the period between 1536 and 1660, victims of the purity of blood ideology (Limpieza de sangre).

New waves of refugees arrive during the 16th century, coming from Provence, Poland, Italy, Hungary, and Northern Africa. Until the end of the 17th century. It was very rare for a ship to dock at the Thessaloniki seaport without disembarking a few Jews, writes P. Riscal (J. Nehama).

Thus, Jews will prevail in numbers. In 1519, according to Ottoman archives, 1,374 Muslim families, along with 282 singles, in all 6,870 persons, inhabited Thessaloniki. The Christian population is comprised of 1,078 families along with 355 singles, to a total of 6,635 persons. The Jews number 3,143 families together with 530 singles, or approximately 15,715 persons.

The Jews will settle in the almost deserted neighborhoods of the area below Egnatia street, spanning the length from the Vardar square to the current Diagonios (crossroads of Tsimiski and P. Mela streets). Ottoman files record 16 Jewish neighborhoods since the beginning of the 16th century. There, the Jews will congregate separated into autonomous communities according to their place of origin.

The center of each community is the synagogue. In fact, it is not only a religious and administrative center, but also an indication of the tendency of each group of immigrants, to preserve its individuality and autonomy with respect to each other. However, the fluidity of the dividing lines between the communities, as well as the business activities that some of them undertake from the beginning of the 16th century onwards, and particularly in textile manufacturing, give birth to intense political infighting. The quarrels manifest themselves especially at times such as the election of the Rabbi or secular administrators, or when some notables seek to arbitrarily impose their own opinions.

Furthermore, the increasing business activities, as well as the fact that the various communities have to deal with the Turkish authorities, give rise to a growing need for a common front. Thus, the seed of the union of the independent synagogue/communities into one federation is planted. This federation is loose in the beginning, but gradually, conditions dictate a closer cooperation. An off spring of this unifying trend is the joint establishment of the Talmud Torah a Gadol synagogue-school, in 1520.

Sixteenth century sources inform us that light industry, especially textiles, is the main occupation of the majority of the Jewish immigrants imported production know-how and methods previously unknow in the region.

From 1515 onwards, the Ottoman State covers all its requirements in textiles for army uniforms from Thessaloniki Jewish textile manufacturers. Furthermore, it is agreed that, using these products as a medium of exchange, the poll tax levied on the community members, is paid in kind. Starting in 1540, the synagogues become themselves producers, employing their poor members as salaried workers. The profits from these business ventures are used for the maintenance of their charitable and educational institutions.

In 1568, a Community delegation to Constaninople, under the leadership of Moshe Almosnino, succeeds in securing a new Sultan edict, reconfirming all the written priviledges that were initially granted by Suleiman the Magnificent and were burned during the fire of 1545. Thereafter, the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki is treated as Musselnik, i.e. and autonomous administrative unit, reporting directly to the Sublime Porte. It also secures the right to acquire raw materials at prices lower than market prices.

Thus the Jews of Thessaloniki will enjoy a period of prosperity, that will not be curtailed before the beginning of the 17th century, with the discovery of the new sea routes, the decline of Venice, and the involvement of the Ottoman Empire in a succession of destructive military campaigns. As a consequence of the economic malaise, cultural decline will follow. It is during this period that biblical studies will decline in favor of mysticism in the form of the study of the Cabbala.

It is within this setting of mysticism and spiritual turmoil that Sabbetai Sevy of Smyrna (Izmir), appears in 1655 in Thessaloniki, declaring himself to be the long-expected Messiah, self-appointed King of Israel, and savior of the Jewish people. The appeal of his message will worry the Turkish authorities, causing his arrest and condemnation to death in 1666. Sabbetai Sevy is forced to convert to Islam in order to save his life. The Jews had been already split into those who believed in him, and those who considered him a crook and an imposter. The former, around 300 families, will follow him in defection, thus creating the peculiar social minority of Judeo-Muslims, that came to be known as Donmeh.

This group defection shook the community. Hundreds of families as well as professional guilds were split, making it impossible for the independent community-synagogues to function effectively and cope with the problem. The situation was further aggravated by the economic crisis, hindering the ability of the separate communities to support their cultural and welfare institutions. This gradually set off a process of integration, whereby the individual communities had to relinquish authority and rights to a more centralized federal governing body, in order to achieve better administrative control, and face the new challenges more effectively. Finally, around 1680, the small independent communities formally unite under the leadership of a single council comprised of three Rabbis and seven secular members.

Thus, it is apparent that the Jews managed to maintain their sense of communal organization and solidarity even during those years of material and cultural stagnation caused by the religious strives and divisions, the unfavorable economic circumstnces, and the oppression of the Yenitsars.

The Community will emerge from this Middle Age era to its Renaissance, around the middle of the 19th century. Material well-being and cultural awakening go hand-in-hand, influenced by the European Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the neocolonial campaigns of the European powers towards the East. The new trends and ideas take shape in the Haskala movement among the Jews, with intellectual ventures beyond the narrow confines of the biblical and post-biblical tradition, and towards the study of contemporary secular thought and art. This process of emancipation is further assisted by the new socio-political conditions prevailing in the Ottoman territories as a result of the Portes attempt to move away from medieval despotism, towards a new, modernized image. The Yenitsar body is dismantled in 1826, while for the first time, some civil rights are being granted to the non-Muslim constituents of the Empire, with the edicts (firmans) of Hati Humayan and Giulhade (1836 and 1854).

The increasing appearance of western industrial products will also contribute to the citys overhaul and expansion, transforming it into a city-agency of commerce and industry. Part of the Byzantine fortifications are torn down in 1869. The fires of 1890, 1896, and 1898 will offer the opportunity for an urban transformation. The burned down districts are being redesigned, narrow streets are widened, fresh running water is being introduced along with electricity and the streetcar, as well as the railroad, which from 1871 onwards, will connect Thessaloniki with Constantinople to the East, and Europe to the West. New infastructure works at the port are being inaugurated, modern banking institutions open to the public, and in 1854, the first modern industrial complex is created: the Allantini flour mill, owned by the Allatini family, Jewish immigrants from Italy. Jews own 38 out of the 54 commercial enterprises of the city, and constitute the overwhelming majority of its workforce.

Even though Thessaloniki retains its multinational structure, the demographic and financial superiority of the Jewish Community, will constitute one of its more distrinct features. By the end of the 19th century, Thessaloniki will number more than 70,000 Jewish souls, i.e. about half of the total population.

Social welfare is broadened and dispensed through modern charitable institutions, such as Matanoth Laevionim which provides student meals. Torah Umlahu supporting financially poor students and taking care of their eventual professional arrangement, the Allatini and Aboav orphanages, the Lieto Noah psychiatric asylum, the Baron Hirsch hospital (today the Ippocrates), the Bikour Holim health care institution, and, later, the Saul Modiano home for the elderly.

Education is reformed with the modernization of dozens of district schools and the traditional Talmud Torah school, and with the inauguration of the Alliance Israelite school in 1873. Jewish children constitute the majority within the numerous foreign schools.

Inside of the Jewish Primary School of Thessaloniki

The Community will receive thousands of refugees, victims of the pogroms in Czarist Russia. In 1891, housing them, along with the victims of the fire of 1890 (and later the fire of 1917) in the newly created neighborhoods of Baron Hirsch, Kalamaria, Rezi Vardar, etc. The first two above mentioned districts constitute the first attempt at modern city planing in Thessanloniki.

It is also interesting to note that the first newspaper to circulate in Thessaloniki in 1864, is the Jewish El Lunar, La Epoca will follow in 1875 and, later, La Imparciale, Le Progrns, Journal de Salonique, La Libertn, Opinion, L Independent, and the Zionist La Nation, El Avenir, Renacencia Judia, La Esperanza, Pro Israel, and others.

Continued on Page 2

This document was made available with the permission of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki [September 2000 CE]

Read more from the original source:
Jewish Community of Thessaloniki … – Sephardic Studies

Sephardic Songs Add Merriment to Purim | Jewish& – My …

And what is a drinking party without drinking songs? As in other Jewish communities, drinking alcohol was part of the celebration of Purim, and an extensive corpus of rhymed, Ladino poems known askoplas(orkomplas) developed by Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire. Arranged in stanzas, often with refrains, sometimes as acrostics, and intended to be memorized and sung in groups during moments of recreation and celebration, mourning and lamentation,koplasdealt with myriad Jewish themes, including holidays, faith, history, morality, life cycle events, religious practices, folkways, hopes and fears, and politics and satire. Initially composed by rabbis, who sought to make traditional Jewish knowledge more accessible to the Jewish masses in their spoken language, and later by popular authors, koplasserved as a foundation of Sephardic Jewish culture for generations.

Perhaps the most famous genre ofkoplasdealt with the holiday of Purim.

At the Sephardic Studies Program of the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies,, we are fortunate to draw on our large Sephardic collection as well as the personal recollections from first-generation Seattle Sephardim whose families came to the United States from the Ottoman Empire todays Turkey and Rhodes during the early 20thcentury, to learn more about the songs and their role in the Purim celebrations.

Several forgotten drinking songs for Purim are preserved in two books in our Sephardic Studies collection. Notably, several copies of each of the two books have surfaced a testament to how widespread thesekoplasonce were.

Isaac Azose, Hazzan (Cantor) Emeritus of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, shared with usKomplas de Purim: Saludar el Purim,printed in Istanbul in the Hebrew year 5683 (1922 or 1923). Published by Benjamin Raphael ben Yosef, one the most prolific printers of religious and secular books in Ladino and Hebrew in the Ottoman Empire during the early 20thcentury,Komplas de Purim, with its bright pink cover, introduces readers to its contents in an equally colorful manner:

And what is a drinking party without drinking songs? As in other Jewish communities, drinking alcohol was part of the celebration of Purim, and an extensive corpus of rhymed, Ladino poems known askoplas(orkomplas) developed by Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire. Arranged in stanzas, often with refrains, sometimes as acrostics, and intended to be memorized and sung in groups during moments of recreation and celebration, mourning and lamentation,koplasdealt with myriad Jewish themes, including holidays, faith, history, morality, life cycle events, religious practices, folkways, hopes and fears, and politics and satire. Initially composed by rabbis, who sought to make traditional Jewish knowledge more accessible to the Jewish masses in their spoken language, and later by popular authors, koplasserved as a foundation of Sephardic Jewish culture for generations.

Perhaps the most famous genre ofkoplasdealt with the holiday of Purim.

At the Sephardic Studies Program of the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies,, we are fortunate to draw on our large Sephardic collection as well as the personal recollections from first-generation Seattle Sephardim whose families came to the United States from the Ottoman Empire todays Turkey and Rhodes during the early 20thcentury, to learn more about the songs and their role in the Purim celebrations.

Several forgotten drinking songs for Purim are preserved in two books in our Sephardic Studies collection. Notably, several copies of each of the two books have surfaced a testament to how widespread thesekoplasonce were.

Isaac Azose, Hazzan (Cantor) Emeritus of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, shared with usKomplas de Purim: Saludar el Purim,printed in Istanbul in the Hebrew year 5683 (1922 or 1923). Published by Benjamin Raphael ben Yosef, one the most prolific printers of religious and secular books in Ladino and Hebrew in the Ottoman Empire during the early 20thcentury,Komplas de Purim, with its bright pink cover, introduces readers to its contents in an equally colorful manner:

Saludar al Purim Buen Purim, buenos anyos sinyores, ke gozen kon gusto kon todo el deredor kon kondjas amores. Porke kanten estas komplas por Ester una de las flores, beved vino viejo i de todo modo de kolores, i al dio baruh u dar las loares, ke mos regmio de mano de angustiadores, por mano de Mordehai uno de los sinyores

Purim Greetings

Happy Purim, good year, sirs, may you delight with gusto, Together with those all around, with flower buds of love. Sing thesekomplasfor Esther, one of the flowers. Drink old wine of all varieties, and to God, blessed be he, give praise, for he redeemed us from the hands of our persecutors, through the hand of Mordechai, one of the men

The Sephardic Studies Digital Library also has several copies ofSefer Alegria de Purim, published in Livorno in 1902 by the well-known printing house established in the nineteenth century by Solomon Belforte (1806-1869). That such a book was published in Italy demonstrates that cultural links tied together Sephardic Jews in Italy and the Ottoman Empire during the early 20thcentury.

Rabbi Solomon Maimon of Congregation Sephardic Bikur Holim donated one copy of Sefer Alegria de Purimwhereas another comes from the library of the late Sam Bension Maimon. An inscription in the latter book reads, The material, poems, and prose-like compositions here were authored mostly by a certain Ribi Yaakov Uziel and by Ribi Yom Tov Magula and others. Uziel and Magula numbered among the most famous composers ofkoplasin the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth century and their verses continued to accompany the celebration of Purim into the twentieth century.

Here are some other little ditties fromAlegria de Purim(See Sam Bension Maimon,The Beauty of Sephardic Lifefor additional examples):

(53) La vizindad adjuntavos, Beve i enborachavos, A baylar alevantavos Ke ansina eseldever. [Refrain:] Bivaelrey, Biva yo, Bivan todos los djudios, Biva la reyna Esther, Ke tanto plazer mos dyo (56) Beveelvinoa okas, Munchos biskochos i roskas, Ke no esten kedas las bokas, De komer i de bever. [Refrain] (58) No bevesh vino aguado, Preto, puro i kolorado i blanko muy alavado No lo deshesh de bever. [Refrain] (63) Los Frankos uzan pedrizes, Buen tabako de narizes De afera bilibizes, Ke es meze para bever

Translation:

Get the neighborhood together, Drink and get drunk, Get up to dance, For thus is our duty.

Refrain: Long live the king, Long live I, Long live all the Jews, Long live Esther the queen, That she gave us so much pleasure.

Drink the wine by the gallons, Many cookies and pastries, That the mouths should not be still, From eating and drinking

(Refrain)

Dont drink diluted wine. Dark, pure and red And white are praiseworthy. Dont stop drinking.

(Refrain)

The Europeans make partridges, Good snuff To enjoy dried chickpeas, Which is an appetizer for drinking.

(Refrain)

This Purim as you add a little cheer to your celebration, bring in a bit of Sephardic culture too!

A version of this piece appeared on the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies blog.

Photo credit Meryl Schenker Photography.

Link:
Sephardic Songs Add Merriment to Purim | Jewish& – My …

Sephardic Genealogy The Western Sephardim A Nao …

In 1492 the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, captured the last Muslim stronghold in the Iberian peninsula. Isabella sent Christopher Columbus sailing west to find a new route to Asia. The king and queen also gave their Jewish subjects a choice convert or leave.

Many converted, as had other Jews during previous generations of persecution. Some took ship to North Africa, Italy and eventually the Ottoman Empire. A smaller group tramped west, across the Portuguese border. There they found an established Portuguese Jewish community. Just five years later in 1497, the King of Portugal demanded that all Jews convert, without the right of emigration (except for a handful of families).Many of these New Christians received little or no formal instruction in Roman Catholicism and continued to secretly adhere to Judaism, or what they could remember of it.

This site addresses the genealogy of these New Christians, some or all of whom are also know to history asWestern Sephardim,A Nao Portuguesa, Men of the Nation,Spanish &Portuguese Jews. Other names have been applied and misapplied including: anusim, bnei anusim, crypto-Jewsandmarranos. On this site I will use Sephardic as shorthand for descendants of New Christians. This single word covers a wide and fluctuating set of identities from fervent Catholic to fervent Jew, everything in between, and eventually even Enlightenment philosophers. It is anerror to imagine our ancestors as normative Ashkenazi Jews forced to adopt a public cloak of Catholicism. This was a group of people on a temporal journey from medieval Iberian Judaism to what we would recognise as a modern identity. This site will focus on what historians call the Early Modern period, roughly from 1492 to 1750. The reality is that there is little genealogical evidence before the Council of Trent (1545-1563) instructed Catholic parishes to maintain baptism, marriage and death records.

I recognise that other communitiesare also called Sephardic, including the Eastern Sephardim of the former Ottoman Empire (our kinsmen who went east, when our ancestors went to Portugal) and many Jews from the Near East and Middle East who share our core religious traditions. In Israel Sephardic can often mean not Ashkenazi. I have included a Terminology page.

Read more from the original source:
Sephardic Genealogy The Western Sephardim A Nao …

Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

I would like to start by stating that I am not a professional genealogist. As I worked at developing the family tree on my Sephardic side I gradually discovered that there were fertile areas of research that were different from the sources I used for my Ashkenazi half. Furthermore, these sources were far less known than the sources for Ashkenazi genealogy. The purpose of this article is to help others also attempting to research their Sephardic ancestry and maybe reduce their frustration levels in discovering these sources. By no means is this an exhaustive list of sources. It is just a sampling to get you started and encourage others to share their knowledge as we all grow and learn together. For a much more complete treatment of Sephardic Genealogy, with country by country resources, see my book on the subject.

Differences in Sephardic and Ashkenazi genealogy

Areas of the world Among the most obvious differences in researching Sephardic and Ashkenazi ancestry is that they lived in different areas of the world. Ashkenazim lived primarily in Europe and eastern Europe whereas Sephardim lived in countries around the Mediterranean, the Ottoman empire, which welcomed them after their expulsion from Spain, and in the Americas particularly south America. A lot of Jewish genealogists have focussed on researching eastern European government records and US naturalization related records. Though sometimes helpful, these sources are of relatively less value to Sephardic researchers who would be more interested in early Iberian notarial records, Inquisition records in Spain, in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Old family names Whereas most Ashkenazi surnames are of relatively recent origin, many, though not all, Sephardic surnames go back many centuries and sometimes a millennium or more. Whereas it is dictum in Ashkenazi research that a family name is of less importance than the name of the ancestral shtetl, this is not true when dealing with Sephardic names. Sephardic family names do suggest kinship, though the common ancestral link may have lived 5 or 600 years earlier. As such, the implication is that as we go further back in the centuries it becomes more likely that the person found bearing that surname is a common though distant ancestor but this does not hold true for contemporaries or in the recent past. Although one needs to strictly follow the genealogist’s rule of going from known to unknown when building a personal family tree, there is some validity in researching an ancient Sephardic family name and this coupled to the fact that many Sephardim can list several generations in their family, sometimes back to 1492 the date of the expulsion from Spain, makes such research of added interest.

Researchers of Sephardic genealogy also need to be aware of the differences in child naming patterns among Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The most singular difference being the Sephardic tradition of naming children after their grandparents, especially if alive to honor the grandparent whereas Ashkenazim avoid naming children after living relatives. For more information on naming patterns go to my page on this topic.

SourcesTraditional Sources

So how does one go about researching Sephardic ancestry. Some of the traditional sources used by Ashkenazi genealogists still apply here. Among these are:

Interviewing the eldest members of your family is definitely where to start. Not only can names of previous and related generations be obtained in this manner but also information on countries they resided in and hints about other sources for documentation. As usual and especially here, one must be careful of family legends and try to document and verify the information received.

Marriage registers, cemetery records, old letters, diaries and photographs are other classic sources for Jewish genealogic information that are just as useful for Sephardic genealogists as they are for Ashkenazim. Since these are detailed in great depth elsewhere (such as on Jewishgen), I will not discuss them here.

US naturalization records, turn of the century passenger lists and similar are just as useful for Sephardim. During the large Jewish immigration to the U.S. from eastern Europe around the turn of the century, many Sephardim came to the US at that time and that is the period when such records are of the most value. Sephardim also came many centuries earlier or in the mid 20th century as part of the exodus from Arab countries resulting from the Arab Israeli wars.

Holocaust records such as the Arolsen records at the International Red Cross or Yad Vashem and the Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem can be useful for Sephardim too because a significant number of Sephardim from places like Salonika and elsewhere were also victims of the Nazis. The recent decision by Yad Vashem to finally create a listing of the names they have of Holocaust victims and making it available in an electronically accessible database possible is therefore excellent news to genealogists. It is a great shame that Arolsen records at the International Red Cross are not yet available to searching families unless these families can provide the exact first and last names (reminiscent of the recent Swiss banks stance to release records to relatives). Let’s hope this will change sometime soon. Again these sources are well discussed in forums such as Jewishgen and I will not get into it further here. However I would like to mention Serge Karlsfeld’s “Memorial de la Deportation des Juifs de France, 1942-1944″. Paris, 1978.

Sephardic Sources Sephardic researchers have many other sources to draw upon and I will discuss some of these in more detail here.

Notarial records in Spain These are extremely voluminous and useful. I have discussed them extensively in another section to which the reader is referred.

Inquisition Archives in Spain I have discussed in another section to which the reader is referred. Inquisition Archives in South America I have also described these elsewhere and would refer the interested reader there.

Ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts) are obviously of great value in Jewish genealogy. Sephardic Ketubbot frequently, though not always, may document several generations on both sides. Such finds are obviously of wonderful value to the genealogist. An interesting example of the value of Sephardic ketubot can be found in my description of the Sephardic “Grana” community from Leghorn (Livorno) that settled in Tunis in the 16th century.

Alliance Israelite archives In the 19th and early 20th century the Alliance Israelite made a massive effort in setting up schools and aiding Jews in North Africa, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Palestine and wherever the need was noted. It’s archives in Paris (49 rue Labruyere, 75009 Paris) therefore hold tremendous and, until recently, relatively little tapped genealogic data and is a fertile field for researchers.

Synagogue records are obviously of great value to the genealogist. Those of Jews in Sephardic countries are no exception and in countries like Egypt can go back many centuries. Unfortunately access to these records is often hampered by political and other considerations.

Cemetery tombstones can also yield information of great value and a systematic listing of this information would be of great value. Such an effort is in process through Jewishgen and Sephardim who have access to cemeteries in Sephardic countries need to provide what information they can provide before time and politics ravages this source further.

Passengers to the Indies. The passenger lists of Spaniards who left for the Americas from 1500 to 1800 is preserved in an archive in Seville, the Archivo General de Indias. Besides listing all passengers who sailed in every ship to America up to 1800 but they provide such data as the passenger name and place of birth, name of parents and their brithplaces, the job and destination of the passenger after arrival in the Americas.

This information is electronically searchable databases which can be easily searched by the archivists. Requests for information should include the passenger name and the approximate date of the trip to America and should be addressed to: Archivo General de Indias, Avda. Constitucion s/n, SEVILLA – SPAIN Phone: +34-95-4500530. Fax: +34-95-4219485.

A partial List of passengers has been published in about 12 volumes, but not in searchable electronic format so far.

Books and Journals It is essential to know the history of the period one is researching. Not only does the knowledge of the history allow an understanding of the why of the events that occurred to the families researched but it also points one in directions one would not otherwise have considered. This is true both in Ashkenazi and Sephardic research. The difference is Sephardic history is often more ancient and thus less likely to be known without study.. The reader is therefore advised to acquire a good working history of the period and may wish to peruse the section on Sephardic books and my brief history of Sephardim before the expulsion.

Selections of Notarial records Although only a tiny portion of Notarial and Inquisition records can be accessed through books, there are some books that contain excerpts of these documents. I have listed some of them in my section on books. Among these that can be of considerable value to the armchair genealogist are books such as:

Assis: Jews in the Crown of Aragon (Part II 1328-1493); Regesta of the Cartas Reales in Archivo de la Corona de Aragon. Ginzei am olam:Central Arch Hist of Jewish People, Jerusalem

Beinart: Conversos on Trial. The Inquisition in Ciudad Real. Magnes Press, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1981

Raphael: Expulsion 1492 Chronicles. Carmi House Press

Tello: Judios de Toledo – 2 Vols. Instituto B Arias Montano. Consejo Sup de inverstigacions Cientificas.

The reader is encouraged to review my section on books.

Sephardic names studies I have already pointed out the value of researching ancient Sephardic family names. It is important to differentiate between contemporary or recent past individuals who share your researched ancient family name as compared to an individual who carried that same family name 700 years ago. Assuming we are dealing with an ancient Jewish name rather than an area name, the recent individuals are usually not related closely enough to matter, whereas the individual 1,000 years ago has a mathematically high chance of being a legitimate ancestor.

Some of the most useful books in Sephardic genealogy are some of the books on onomastics (the study of names). Prominent among these is Abraham Laredo’s book “Les Noms des Juifs du Maroc”. This terrific work lists names of Jews from Morocco with explanation of the origins and variants of the name and provides information extensive lists about rabbis, authors and other notables who had carried the name and complete source references.. Similar but less extensive are such books as Toledano’s “La Saga des Familles”, Moissis’s “Les noms des Juifs de Grece”, Abecassis’s “Genealogia hebraica: Portugal e Gibraltar, secs XVII a XX”,, Eisenbeth’s “Les Juifs de l’Afrique du nord”, etc. Extensive name lists giving sources can also be found in this website and on the internet.

ETSI Just like Avotaynu is the premier Jewish genealogy journal, ETSI is a new journal dedicated to Sephardic genealogy and history. Published in Paris by a group of Sephardic genealogists that include Abensur, past president of the French Jewish genealogy Society, and his wife Laurence Abensur-Hazan, organization chair of the 1997 Paris seminar on Jewish genealogy, and several others, it is the only journal dedicated specifically to Sephardic genealogy and a must for Sephardic genealogists and Jewish genealogy libraries.

Information about subscription can be obtained at the ETSI site.

Internet The internet is a great resource for information about Jewish and Sephardic genealogy but it is important to verify information obtained in this manner by checking out the sources of the information. That said, among these resources are:

Jewishgen at http://www.jewishgen.org is a tremendous resource for the Jewish genealogist and a great resource to learn proper techniques for genealogy.

Websites There was a time when it was difficult to find anything of use to a Sephardic researcher. This has fortunately changed and there are now numerous sites of interest to Sephardim if one knows where to look. I have made a listing of such sites on my Websites by Country pages (see index at bottom of this page).

Family Finder (JGFF) Jewishgen has an extremely useful database listing researchers and the families they are researching. Listing the family names and towns you are researching allows other genealogists researching these families to discover you and share resources. It is therefore highly recommended that you register there which can be done very easily at their site.

Namelists Namelists giving you sources where these family names are mentioned can also be very useful while remembering the importance to work methodically in developing your family tree. Such lists exist at:

Newslists Newslists are internet discussion groups where questions can be asked and answered in a spirit of helping each other. A list of Sephardic newslists can be found in my newslist page.

Name lookups. There are several sites on the internet (like http://www.google.com) that allow you to find peoples’ names and email or snail mail addresses. This is a good way to find the addresses and phone numbers of people having your family name. Usually these people are unrelated, but occasionally one can be lucky and discover an unknown distant cousin. I have not found it useful but some have.

Israel Sephardic Jews had lived in Palestine long before the European Zionist movement. They have therefore left traces of their lives in the cemeteries, chevrot kadisha (burial society) records, books written, etc and this too can be a fruitful source of research. For settlers in the more recent past Batya Untershatz is an invaluable resource. She can be reached at Batya Unterschatz, Director, Jewish Agency Bureau of Missing Relative, P.O.Box 92, Jerusalem 91000 and can be of tremendous help because she has access to the government immigration records back to the early 20th century. Resources in Israel can be found in my Israel page.

Specific country resources. Obviously it would be of great value to research the local resources of the countries where your ancestors had lived. I have discussed the resources in Spain, but there are resources in many other countries where Sephardim have lived such as countries in North Africa and the Ottoman empire. I discuss this information in my recent book on Sephardic Genealogy.

Shalom and good hunting.

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Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

The Sephardic Studies Collection – content.lib.washington.edu

The Sephardic Studies Collection at the University of Washington is one of most expansive and fastest growing repositories of source materials pertaining to the Sephardic Jewish experience. The Collection showcases a wide array of published and unpublished materials, including novels, prayer books, bibles, manuscripts, and letters, as well as audio.

Documents produced by Sephardic Jews between the 17th and mid-20th centuries with a particular emphasis on the Ladino language (also known as Judezmo or Judeo-Spanish).

Over 140 recordings of Sephardic Jews who were born and raised in the former Ottoman Empire and who immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, collected by Professor Rina Benmayor beginning in 1972.

The Sephardic Studies Collection at the University of Washington is one of most expansive and fastest growing repositories of source materials pertaining to the Sephardic Jewish experience. The Collection showcases a wide array of published and unpublished materials, including novels, prayer books, bibles, manuscripts, letters, newspapers, magazines, songbooks, poetry, theater scripts, marriage contracts, photographs, postcards, and books on religion, history, grammar and more. These documents were produced by Sephardic Jews between the 17th and mid-20th centuries with a particular emphasis on the Ladino language (also known as Judezmo or Judeo-Spanish). The languages contained in these documents also include Hebrew, Aramaic, Turkish, Arabic, Yiddish, French, English, Greek and Italian. Most of the artifacts originated in the former Ottoman Empire, from Turkey and Greece as well as Israel and Egypt. Others were published in Vienna, Livorno, Seattle, New York, Baghdad and Amsterdam.

Until now, the written record of the experiences, anxieties and aspirations of Sephardic Jews remain dispersed and largely shrouded in mystery. Assembled from the bookshelves, closets and basements of residents and institutions in the greater Seattle region, and increasingly elsewhere in the country and abroad, this collection of books constitutes one of the largest Ladino libraries in the United States and the most extensive repository of digitized Ladino texts in the country with more than 500 original works written in Ladino. The collection sheds light on the lesser known history and culture of Sephardic Jews, and it has sparked a revival of interest among academics and community members alike. As the Collection continues to expand, new acquisitions are constantly made and new contributions are always welcomed.

The Sephardic Studies Collection also includes over 140 recordings of songs from the Benmayor Collection of Sephardic Ballads and other Lore. Professor Benmayor began recording these songs in 1972, for her PhD dissertation, and she published her findings in the book Romances Judeo-Espanoles de Orient [Judeo-Spanish Ballads from the Eastern Tradition]. These songs, known as romansas, were sung by Sephardic Jews who were born and raised in the former Ottoman Empire, mainly from Rhodes, Marmara and Tekirdag, all of whom immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

Learn more about the Sephardic Studies Collection in this article about the project.

Dr. Devin E. Naar, The Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies and Chair of the Sephardic Studies Program, and Ty Alhadeff, the Sephardic Studies Research Coordinator, have prepared and continue to manage the Collection. The database will be updated periodically as new artifacts are added to the digital collection. In addition our staff will continue to update the information attached to each artifact as new research enhances the descriptive records.

Both Naar and Alhadeff, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, and other partners, both academic and lay, publish regular articles highlighting “treasures” from within the Sephardic Studies Collection. These articles both situate texts and artifacts within their historical context and often include excerpted translations from Ladino (and other languages) into English. These articles appear on the Sephardic Studies webpage of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies website.

Sephardic Studies Founders Circle members: The Isaac Alhadeff Foundation, Eli and Rebecca Almo, Joel and Maureen Benoliel, Richard and Barrie Galanti, Harley and Lela Franco, and Marty and Sharon Lott

The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies

The Digital Strategies Office of the University of Washington Libraries

The Washington State Jewish Historical Society

Numerous community partners and supporters

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The Sephardic Studies Collection – content.lib.washington.edu

Sephardic Studies | UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

Housed in the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, the Maurice Amado Program in Sephardic Studies offers students at the undergraduate and graduate level the rare opportunity to focus intensively on the study of Sephardic history and culture. It also hosts lectures, workshops and symposia open to the academic and wider Los Angeles community that cultivate and stimulate this field and situate UCLA as one of its principle hubs. It has supported international scholarship, building on the solid research and teaching program erected over the course of a decade and a half of Maurice Amado Lectures and more recently by the Maurice Amado Chair.

Since 2008, the Maurice Amado Program in Sephardic Studies at UCLA has been led by Prof. Sarah Abrevaya Stein, the Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies. Professor Steins appointment was the result of a nearly twenty-year search. Author of five books and an extensive body of scholarly articles, Steins research has been lauded and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, American Historical Association, and National Jewish Book Council, which awarded her the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. An elected member of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Stein is co-editor (with David Biale of UCD) of the distinguished Stanford University Press Series in Jewish History and Culture and co-editor (with Tony Michels and Ken Moss) of Jewish Social Studies.

UCLA has supported programming in Sephardic Studies since receiving an endowment from the Maurice Amado Foundation in 1989. Initially UCLA hosted a series of distinguished and diverse scholars to serve as Visiting Maurice Amado Professors for one quarter each year. Among the visitors were Professors Yom-Tov Assis, Jonathan Israel, David Gilitz, Moshe Idel, Moshe Lazar, Edward Seroussi, Jonathan Ray and Shalom Sabar.

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Sephardic Studies | UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

More reading on Sephardic Jews – caller.com

Nelida Ortiz

More reading on Sephardic Jews

RE: “Tracing roots of Sephardic Jews of Spain,” April 17

Recently, Herb Canales wrote a forum with Jackie Ben-Efraim on the Sephardic Jews and the Carvajal family. Luis Carvajal was a “converso,” one of the Spanish Jews who adopted the Catholic faith under pressure from the Spanish Inquisition.

If anyone is interested in learning more about this time period and this remarkable man, I recommend that they read a book in the genealogy reference section of the La Retama Central library. This book tells the story of the Carvajal family and how the Inquisition killed most of the members of the family. The book is called “The Carvajal Family, The Jews and The Inquisition” and was written by Alfonso Toro.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this letter included incorrect information about the founder of Monterrey. Diego de Montemayor was the founder.

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More reading on Sephardic Jews – caller.com

The Sephardic House Hotel – Hotels in Jerusalem

A unique hotel in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter in the Old City.

The Sephardic House hotel nestles at the very heart of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City an exquisite jewel offering the ultimate hospitality in the magical atmosphere of Jerusalem. The building was first built some 200 years ago and completed towards the end of the 19th century. From the residence, there are superb views of the Old City and the City of David. The complex boasts 51 guest rooms located in three separate wings, each offering a different level of accommodation and hospitality: Deluxe wing – offers superb and luxurious accommodation in 12 rooms and 3 suites. The entire storey of deluxe accommodations faces towards the charming patio with its echoes of a traditional Spanish courtyard orchard. Rishon LeTzion wing a wing suitable for private events, such as family gatherings, with 6 rooms. Economy wing with 30 standard guest rooms for dual and single occupancy. Our guest rooms have been designed meticulously in order to carefully conserve their historical features create a harmonious blend with modern luxury and comfort, so that guests can enjoy a truly unique holiday experience. Sephardic House is a unique building in the Jewish Quarter, located within walking distance of the magical alleyways of the Old City of Jerusalem, the ancient Hurva Synagogue, the Kotel (Western Wall), Mt. Zion, the Kotel tunnels, the Armenian Quarter, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Mamilla District, the Jerusalem Cinemathque and town center. This location provides an extremely convenient starting point for walks around the Old City, while its proximity to the Western Wall transforms it into an attractive venue for hosting Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and other family events. We invite you to come and enjoy the attention of our friendly, professional team and experience our exceptional standard of service and hospitality. Take in the magical views, the atmosphere of holiness and peacefulness, alongside the life of a vibrant modern city that offers you countless leisure options and facilities

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The Sephardic House Hotel – Hotels in Jerusalem

Jewish-Sephardic song, Flory Jagoda – Oco Kandelikas …

Hanuka linda sta aki Oco kandelas para mi. O…

Una kandelika Dos kandelikas Trez kandelikas Kuatro kandelikas Sintju kandelikas Se kandelikas Siete kandelikas Oco kandelikas para mi. O…

Mucas fiestas vo fazer Kun alegrijas i plazer. O…

Una kandelika… Loz pastelikos vo kumer Kun almendrikas i la mjel. O… Una kandelika…

Hanukah… what exciting memories. Beside the joy of lighting Hanuka candles and recieving small presents on each of the eight nights “matchmaking parties” were held; and while the young sang and danced their parents and grandparents enjoyed planning their children’s weddings. Little almond honey cakes were eaten to assure luck and happiness- a good match. The next year at the wedding the bridewas customarily asked “At which Hanukah party did you meet?”

Note: In the album, it’s written “lyrics and the music by Flory Jagoda”. But I should add this there’s a Turkish folk song called “Bir mumdur” (One candle) with similiar lyrics and music. There are also Arabic and Kurdish versions. So I won’t argue which one is the original. Just wanted to add as a note.

Any clear information on this subject from anyone will be welcomed, if you message me.

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Jewish-Sephardic song, Flory Jagoda – Oco Kandelikas …