Sephardic Jews and the Spanish Language
Publisher: Steven Capsuto
With letters and photos from Jews in early-1900s Turkey, Morocco, Palestine, Austria and Romania
In 1903, four centuries after Spain expelled the Jews, a Spanish senator launched a campaign to have his country reopen relations with their descendants, the Sephardic Jews, and to let them know they could return to Spain if they wished. To promote the campaign, Senator Ángel Pulido wrote the classic book Sephardic Jews and the Spanish Language, now available in English for the first time.
Eager to let Jews speak for themselves, he devoted a third of the book to photos and letters from Sephardim in different countries, describing their communities, synagogues, schools, families, literature and aspirations. They also wrote to him about Ladino--the Judeo-Spanish language that many of them still used at home and in worship. The book documents Sephardic life at a turning point: the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when many young Sephardim were starting to reject the Spanish language that their ancestors had passed down from generation to generation since 1492.
The senator's writings, lectures and organizing earned him the nickname “the Apostle of the Sephardic Jews.” His books on this topic continue to be cited frequently by scholars of Sephardic history.
This annotated translation is the first book in the Between Wanderings collection.