Elon hosts the event that celebrates Sephardic heritage for the second year in a row
Last fall, Elon hosted a celebration for International Ladino Day for the first time, and this year, a group of Elon faculty, students, and members of the community will be participating in another event to spread awareness about the fascinating history, culture, language, food and music of the Sephardim.
Since their expulsion from Spain in 1492, the Sephardic Jews who were sent into exile traveled throughout many other countries through the Ottoman empire, including Turkey, Italy, Greece, Morocco, the Balkans, and many other places. The saying goes that when the Sephardim left their beloved Spain, the only thing they took with them was the language, known commonly as Ladino or Jewish Spanish.
Ladino or Jewish Spanish is based on the medieval “romance” of the Iberian peninsula and that was then mixed or “karishtreada” with many other languages of their different countries of exile. In Jewish Spanish, you can find a lot of linguistic influence from Hebrew, French, Turkish, Greek, Arabic and other languages. After the Holocaust, this language and culture became endangered, but its heritage still lives on today in different communities around the world.
This event is called “Ladino Lives at Elon” because (as is often the case) vibrant remnants of Sephardic culture are all over the place, if you know how to look.
When Elon hosted “Ladino Lives” last year, the Sephardic community worldwide took note. Here is an example of a news article that was published by a Sephardic journal called El Amaneser. The editors of El Amaneser researched Elon’s event and wrote the article in Jewish Spanish. Sephardim all over the world read this and were commenting about it on the Ladino online forums. El Amaneser put Elon on the map as a “haver” (friend) of Sephardic studies! The first line is the most important: “Ladino Lives at Elon University.” Elon’s event made a lot of people very happy.
Thanks to several sponsors and collaborators at Elon and from the community, including the World Languages and Literatures department, Jewish Studies, Elon Hillel, Religious studies, and the College of Arts and Sciences, we are expecting to have an amazing event again this fall.
Come and bring a friend to the Isabella Cannon Room at the Center for the Arts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The event will be conducted in English. Mersi i al vermos!