Greetings to the readers of Sephardic Horizons!
This new issue inaugurates our sixth year of publication, and brings some new kinds of creativity. We have an emphasis on poetry in this issue, with contributions by Michal Mahgerefteh, formerly of Morocco, now of Virginia, our frequent contributor Haim Vitali Sadacca’s moving new poems, and Bension Varon’s review of Moshe Ha-Elion’s translation into Ladino of Homer’s Odyssey. In art, we present some iPad art by Michal Mahgerefteh, and Nava Barazani’s paper collages relating to the experience of Libyan Jews during the Shoah.
Food is an art as well, and Rosemary Levy Zumwalt presents stories and photos of food, intertwined with the saga of her husband’s arrival and integration in the United States. And Katharine Hall discusses the difficulties of reading letters from the past in the Sephardic solitreo script and in cursive Arabic script.
In Ladino/Judeo-Spanish, three long-term contributors, Rivka Abiry, Hernán Rodríguez Fisse, and Haim Vitali Sadacca, have generously sent us their new efforts. In the review section, in addition to Bension Varon’s review article, Rabbi Haim Ovadia of Magen David Sephardic Congregation of Greater Washington sends us a review of Yaron Harel’s new book on the chief rabbis of Aleppo, Baghdad, and Damascus, going back to 1744.
We mark with sadness the passing of one of the Sephardic language’s most effective and faithful supporters, Itzhak Navon, z”l. I won’t forget that when I met him ten years ago in Livorno for the first time, he immediately honored me by including me in the category of ‘lokitos’ who try to preserve Ladino. Descendant of an old and well-known Jerusalem family, which included a Navon who built the railway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Itzhak was a founder of the National Authority for Ladino, and promoted the language in every way he could. He wrote the very popular musical, Habustan hasefaradi, performed with great frequency in Israel, and supported Aki Yerushalayim and many other projects. He also found time to be the fifth president of Israel (the first Sephardi), and his kindly air and good humor are sorely missed.
With many thanks to all the contributors to this new issue for their support, and to David Roumani for help with some of the illustrations, and especially to Elliott Blufer for his expert help.
Lektura agradable a todos los meldadores!
Editor, Sephardic Horizons