Inaugurating the fifth volume of Sephardic Horizons, issues 1-2 bring our readers both important and weighty, and ostensibly lighter creations, all examples of Sephardic ingenuity and creativity.
This issue is dedicated to the memory of two of our contributors, Matilda Tagger, z”l, and Elisabetta Cabbibe Paggi, z”l, both of whom passed away recently. Matilda was a renowned Sephardic genealogist who had contributed several articles to Sephardic Horizons, and was the creator of numerous databases, including one of Medieval Spanish Jewish surnames, which can be found here. Many of our readers may have an interest in consulting the database, especially with the passing of laws offering Portuguese and Spanish citizenship to Jews of Iberian origin. This is the legacy that Matilda has left us, together with the rest of her important work, but I would also like to mention that both Matilda and Elisabetta were kind and generous hostesses, even when quite disabled. Elisabetta Cabibbe Paggi was a member of the Jewish community of Livorno, a community of Spanish and Portuguese descent, and an accomplished poet. Her humor and incisive intelligence, as well as poetic talent, which earned her several prizes even though she hid this talent out of modesty, are revealed in the poem she gave us, “The Tortoise.”
We are honored to publish a very recent interview, exclusive to Sephardic Horizons, with Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, in which he discusses what European governments might do more to help their Jewish citizens feel secure right now. Linda Martz discusses the social aspirations of converso families in sixteenth century Toledo, always under the threat of the inquisition, in the age of El Greco, and Eugene Normand and Albert Maimon address happier hours in their study of a Sephardic drinking song in America.
Our Ladino/Judeo-Spanish section is enriched with contributions from Jean Carasso of France, Rivka Abiry of Israel and Hernán Rodríguez Fisse of Chile. Our review section contains valuable reviews by Albert Garih on Holocaust poetry, Steven Sage on Bulgaria, and Paulette Schuster on Mexico and the Caribbean.
Welcome to our new webmaster, Joshua Clark, and many thanks again to Elliott Blufer, our outgoing webmaster. Mersi muncho to all the contributors in this issue!
Best wishes to our readers!
Editor, Sephardic Horizons