September 26, 2005 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Who are the Sephardim? provides a short history of Sephardic Jews. The Ladino language website has a more complete introduction to Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language. Included are a brief descriptive grammar, stanzas from Joseph the Wise, a long Ladino poem, and a translation of The Story of Gerineldo, a folktale. There are very good primary sources at the Medieval Sourcebook, and a Yahoo Ladino discussion group. This essay about the interactions between Moorish and Jewish cultures and their collective effect on European culture seems quite good (and is in Spanish). See also this Spanish-language article about exploring Ladino. There are more good Spanish-language resources on Sephardic history here.
posted by OmieWise (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fascinating post. Thanks!
posted by shoepal at 6:28 AM on September 26, 2005

Really interesting.
posted by grouse at 6:32 AM on September 26, 2005

Nice post.
posted by unreason at 6:36 AM on September 26, 2005

Much more here, packed with archival materials. And most issues of Los Muestros - a very active sephardic newsletter based in Brussells - are on line, with content in English, French, and Ladino.

You should note the distinction between forms of the language: Ladino tends to refer to the literary language, or to the Western forms which are closer to pure old Spanish. Dzudezmo is what people call the spoken form in the eastern mediterranean - lots of Turkish and Slavic borrowings in the vocabulary. Here's an example of Turkish Ladino. It is still widely used by Jews in Turkey, and still spoken by the middle aged in Bulgaria.
posted by zaelic at 8:23 AM on September 26, 2005

Here's an example of Turkish Ladino.

That's interesting, I just studied Castillian Spanish in high school and visited Spain once, but I could understand a lot of that.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:35 AM on September 26, 2005

Great post, and great additions by the learned zaelic. As my contribution I'll recommend Ammiel Alcalay's Between Jews and Arabs, which discusses the rich history of Sephardic Jews, their long intermingling with Arabic culture, and the sad story of their reception in Israel; I quote from it here and here (self-links).
posted by languagehat at 8:46 AM on September 26, 2005

Thank you for this post. My wife is a Sephardic Jew and has schooled me pretty well on what that means. Shes an amazing woman, raised as a Jew in Guadalajara Mexico and speaks Hebrew and Spanish better than I speak English.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:55 AM on September 26, 2005

OmieWise, you're obviously a keen student of history, so tell me: What are the predictable consequences of teaching a version of history that deals only with the contributions and sufferings of one racial group?

What do you think of the way the modern state of Israel treats Palestinians? Can comparisons be drawn with the way the medieval Moorish state (or medieval Christian states) treated the Sephardim? Do you think this area of history has anything to teach us about the present?
posted by cleardawn at 11:38 AM on September 26, 2005

cleardawn, you have a bee in your bonnet about Jews, as shown by your efforts in earlier threads. If you want to see posts about other ethnic groups, or about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, why don't you make them yourself instead of derailing other people's posts?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:36 PM on September 26, 2005

cleardawn: What joe's spleen said, seriously.

This is a case where Wikipedia actually has some quite good articles on the subject of Sephardim, namely History of the Jews in Spain.
posted by blahblahblah at 1:43 PM on September 26, 2005

Mmmm yes, let's pretend it doesn't matter what happens in Palestine. Or that it's irrelevant to a discussion of Jewish history. Or that I'm the only one who objects to it. Or that my comments are somehow impolite or inappropriate. In fact, let's pretend anything, rather than discuss the questions I asked.

Far from "derailing the thread", I actually waited, deliberately, for several hours, for people to finish making comments on the historical material before I made my post. Partly because I didn't want to get in the way of genuine discussion, and partly because I was hoping someone else, preferably OmieWise, who would be far better qualified than I am, would point out the obvious parallels, and ask the obvious questions. But sadly, no.

I'd much rather he had pointed it out, so I wouldn't have had to, believe me.
posted by cleardawn at 4:30 PM on September 26, 2005

Cleardawn: Israelis are people who live in violent politcal dispute with Palestinian Arabs. Granted.

Israelis, however, do not "own" Jewish identity and history throughout the world. If somebody wants to talk about Sephardim, or Ashkenazim, or Judeo-Tat speaking Daghestani Jews or Matzoh balls or Manischebitz wine or Sandy Koufax' batting average, why do we need to use that as a forum to discuss the Israeli's relationship to the Palestinians?

Don't bother answering. We've heard it before.
posted by zaelic at 5:13 PM on September 26, 2005

There's a lot of great Ladino music out there as well, which may or may not include this.

zaelic: right on.

cleardawn: troll on, troller.
posted by kosem at 6:31 PM on September 26, 2005

"Partly because I didn't want to get in the way of genuine discussion..."

That says it all, really. Take your barrow and push it somewhere else.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:27 PM on September 26, 2005

posted by blahblahblah at 8:07 PM on September 26, 2005

This is another lovely post. Thanks, OmieWise!
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:04 AM on September 27, 2005

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