Welcome to volume three, issue three of Sephardic Horizons. This issue brings an article on the Holocaust in Salonika by the Greek historian, Paul Hagouel, an onomastical history of the family name Sasportas and its multiple variants such as Porta, Sportiche, and so forth, by the Hebrew University scholar Matilde Tagger, and two accounts of Jewish life in Algeria, by members of the Karsenti family, Albert Karsenti and René Karsenti. Matilde Tagger is to be warmly congratulated on her completion of a six-year project resulting in a new database of Medieval Spanish Jewish Surnames (see letter from Jeff Malka on our letters page).
Our Ladino/Judeo-Spanish section includes two moving poems by the accomplished poet Haim Vitali Sadacca, and a new story by Rivka Abiry.
The review section has expanded this time, to include two book reviews and two reviews of films of Sephardic interest.
Please also view our letters page which includes recent letters concerning the Jews of Bulgaria during the Holocaust, and a letter with a link to an article by Batya Fonda on the connection between Sephardic food and Sephardic music.
Sephardic Horizons marks with great sadness the passing of the eminent scholar, who did so much for Sephardic studies, Samuel Armistead, z"l. He has been described as "a towering figure" (Sandra M. Cypess). Here is a link which explains his legacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_G._Armistead.
At this time in Washington DC, an exhibit is opening at the National Archives on the "Iraqi Jewish Archive," rescued ten years ago from Baghdad, restored, digitized and being prepared for return to Iraq. The policy analyst and scholar Harold Rhode has kindly made available to us his account of discovering the archive in the basement of Saddam Hussein’s security services and its rescue largely at his initiative. You may read his account here (article published in PJMedia, August 26, 2013) as well as his argument for returning the archive to its original owners, the Jews of Iraq now resident in Israel, a community with its own Babylonian Jewry heritage center. Within the article, you may find a link for a petition to return the archive to the Iraqi Jewish community in Israel rather than to an uncertain future in Iraq. In addition, for a somewhat alternative point of view, you may read here (September 17, 2013), of a Iraqi Jewish descendant’s dream, that the archive might one day be returned to Iraq where it might be successfully preserved and curated and even, in an ideal future, visited by Israeli scholars or families with their children. This article has been translated into Arabic by a freelance journalist of Iraqi origin and published in the Iraqi newspaper Almada. We thank the authors and www.jns.org for allowing us to present these links. In terms of both justice, and practicality, we urge you to sign the petition.
Future issues will bring an article by A.B. Yehoshua and a study of his latest novel by Yael Halevi-Wise, and reviews of Corrie Gutstadt’s study on Turkey and the Holocaust, as well as of books on Sephardic music, on the Mexican Angelina Muñiz Huberman’s novel Mystical Journey, on Sephardim in the Americas, on Montaigne and his possible Sephardic connections, and on the Jews of Iraq.
We are also pleased to introduce our new editorial assistant, Chelsie May, of Brandeis University, who has worked hard on this issue, and also to thank Dr. Dana Hercbergs of the University of Maryland for her editorial contribution. Wishing you all happy reading,
Editor, Sephardic Horizons