Editor’s Note

Greetings to our readers. This new issue of Sephardic Horizons culminates a year of many changes for me, the editor, including a move to New York. I appreciate your patience.

Our new issue brings a variety of materials from Sephardic writers around the world. Bension Varon, our long term contributor, discusses his love of the world of books and bookmaking, and explorations of it among Jews in Turkey. Those of us who publish on the internet tend to forget the sensory pleasure provided by real physical books, something that is irreplaceable. Our long term board member and frequent contributor since the very first issue, Ralph Tarica, investigates with his customary thoroughness the origin of the name 'Turiel', his mother's family line.

My own article is related to a research interest that I have been pursuing. In the course of researching the Jewish history of southern Tuscany during the Holocaust years, I consulted the archive that Italy’s Camara dei Deputati recently made accessible online, the so-called Armadio della Vergogna, Cabinet of Shame, discovered in a ministry closet with its doors turned to the wall—documents concerning war records and trials of Nazi and Fascist criminals prosecuted and often eventually pardoned in the post-war period. I discovered a case that relates to my region of research, Tuscany, and decided to share it with our readers. 'Una storia tutta italiana', as an Italian writer, Gheula Canarutta Nemni, has characterized it.

Katharine Hall sends us a report on a scholarly conference organized in Berlin last October by the Jewish Museum of Berlin on the theme of “Jews in Muslim Societies: History and Prospects” and discusses the themes that arose and their importance for the field of Sephardi and Mizrahi studies. Readers may sense a parallel between European uses of 'Sephardism' (as examined in the work of Yael Halevi-Wise et al.) and the figure of the Jew as metaphor, as employed by Middle Eastern intellectuals of the modern period.

Our Ladino/Judeo-Spanish section has three publications. Carlos Yebra López sends us an interview concerning one applicant’s experience with her application for Spanish citizenship under what is nicknamed the ‘Spanish Law of Return’. Rivka Abiry, our long-term contributor, sends another of her entertaining stories, “Piano,” and we publish one of the last poems, a sort of living will, by the late and truly lamented Ladino-language poet, Haim Vitali Sadacca, en Ganeden ke este. His sensitive and beautiful poems will be greatly missed, along with his creativity and generosity.

The review section ranges over “Trezoros,” a film directed by Larry Confino and Larry Russo, Claudette Sutton’s book Farewell Aleppo, and a review of Zvi Keren’s Studies of Jewish Life in Bulgaria. Other reviews published here cover Nina Lichtenstein’s new book, Sephardic Women’s Voices : Out of North Africa, and Jacques Sardas, Without Return: Memoirs of an Egyptian Jew, and The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean by David Abulafia. Many thanks to our webmaster, Altan Gabbay, to David Roumani, and to all of our authors of articles, stories and reviews!

We also commemorate the lives of Ruth (Ester) Passigli Lichtner,z”l, an inspiring friend who first introduced us to the Jewish history of Pitigliano, Italy, and the life of the most impressive Lena Elias Russo, z”l of the Sephardic community of Kastoria, Greece, who appeared and spoke movingly at the United States Holocaust Museum last June when the film “Trezoros” was presented.

With best wishes for Anyada Buena, Anyada de Leche i Miel,

Judith Roumani
Editor, Sephardic Horizons

Copyright by Sephardic Horizons, all rights reserved. ISSN Number 2158-1800