We present the fourth issue of Sephardic Horizons to our readers.
The issues have grown larger since we started a year ago, and continue to present a mixed bag of articles and stories on Sephardic culture and the arts, in both English and Ladino. The Ladino section has two pieces this time, an account by Jacques Cory of “Komo deskuvri la sinagoga de Coria,” the home that his ancestors left behind in Spain, and a story by Shalach Manot, “Pasha: Pensamientos de David Aroughetti.” This story has been published before in English translation, but Sephardic Horizons is privileged to present it for the first time in the original Ladino. The name ‘Aroughetti’--the French-influenced spelling of an Italian-sounding name (actually derived from ‘Aruete’, a Spanish name) borne by a Jew from Turkey—is typical of course of the cultural minestrone that many Sephardim are. The story itself brings more surprises.
In the English-language section, we present an original essay (in all senses) by the novelist Ruth Knafo Setton, of Moroccan origin, accompanied by some of her unpublished poems. We are also proud to bring you an essay by Marc Shanker about Sephardic proverbs, together with one of his series of etchings that illustrate the proverbs with acerbic wit. Leon Taranto’s essay in the discipline of Sephardic genealogy, based on extensive research into the history of the Rhodesli and Turkish families of Taranto, Kapouya, Crespi and Bonomo, and including the latest genetic data, is published here in the first of three parts.
We also present two interviews, the first being the second part of the interview with the singer Flory Jagoda, conducted by Rosine Nussenblatt, and the second being an interview with the Israeli scholar Sasson Somekh, who has also recently co-edited, together with Deborah Starr, a collection of the writings of the Egyptian-Israeli writer, Jacqueline Shohat Kahanoff. We also present an essay by Sasson Somekh on Arabic as a Jewish language in medieval and modern times. This is the first of three on the subject.
Which takes us to the book review department, brimming over with a number of reviews that we have received. We wish to emphasize that the opinions expressed in the reviews are solely those of the reviewers.
Sephardic Horizons takes this opportunity to support an appeal for the release of the American citizen, Alan Gross, imprisoned in Cuba for two years and who received a sentence of fifteen years, on charges of attempting to help the Cuban Jewish community achieve better internet access. He and several of his family members are now in poor health, and those wishing to support an appeal for his release may sign it online at www.jcouncil.org/gross . We support this because the culturally impoverished Cuban Jewish community is partially Sephardic, because we support freedom of access to the internet for Jews wishing to learn more about their heritage, and above all on humanitarian grounds.
Many sincere thanks to our authors, readers, reviewers, interviewers, and webmaster, and the editorial board members, and a special thank you to Elisa Septimus, for proofreading and formatting everything in this issue.