We hope you will enjoy the new issue of Sephardic Horizons.
This issue is largely devoted to the Sephardim of Italy, and of Italy’s former colonies. It includes articles on the Jews of Ferrara, on the version of Ladino spoken in Livorno, on a prominent teacher from Pitigliano, Tuscany, who studied in the rabbinical college of Livorno, and then became an educator in Tripoli, Libya, and an interview with the former president of the Jewish Community of Livorno on his childhood in Benghazi. Our reviews include reports about new books on Ferrara, on the Sephardim of Italy, on the Holocaust in Italian culture, and on Rhodes (itself at one time controlled by Italy) as well as a review of a youtube video.
The cultural patchwork that is Italian Jewish life today can be traced back over five hundred years, to when large numbers of Jews and former Jews fled the Iberian Peninsula. Many had the ambition to reach the lands of the Ottomans or even the holy land, part of the same empire, and they filtered across Italy from west to east. Whether beguiled by Italy, or simply viewing travel as too difficult, many did not move on, and formed vibrant Sephardic communities in such towns as Livorno and Ferrara, as well as having a cultural impact all over central and northern Italy. Thus Italy, like Greece and Turkey, though not quite to the same extent, has reflected a strong Sephardic influence. The articles in this issue try to portray various aspects of it, one hopes casting light on this diverse community. In the Ladino/Judeo-Spanish section we publish a language lesson prepared by Haim-Vidal Sephiha, explaining why he believes the term ‘Ladino’ is inaccurate to describe modern-day Judeo-Spanish, as it is usually called in Europe today (in the United States we still use the name ‘Ladino’ as an easily recognized shorthand). Readers’ views on this question would be welcomed.
The Spanish government has recently issued a directive to grant Spanish citizenship, without residence requirements, to Sephardic Jews who can show that they are of Iberian origin. For those interested, please see http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=293702. The possibility exists for Sephardim “whether they live in Spain or abroad” and requires “recognition of Sephardi status from the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain.” We would also appreciate hearing about your experience at Sephardic Horizons, so please do write to us on the subject, if you decide to pursue this.
With much appreciation to all our authors, Haim-Vidal Sephiha, Andree Aeolian Brooks, Ariel Paggi, RalphTarica, Shoshana Segal, Gabriele Bedarida, to Jacques Roumani and Samuele Zarrugh, to Vivienne Roumani-Denn and Elisa Septimus for assistance with photographs, and to the members of the editorial board for all their help. Appreciation too to our webmaster, Elliott Blufer, for all his hard work.
Please do send us your comments, as we are eager to hear from the readers of Sephardic Horizons.
If you enjoy reading this journal, please consider sending us a tax-deductible donation, of any amount, to help cover the costs of publishing and delivering Sephardic Horizons to your email address four times a year.
Mersi muncho i todo bueno,