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Author(s): Nahon, Peter
Date: 2020
Abstract: This article deals with the varieties of French spoken down to our own day by the descendants of the two historic Jewish populations established in Southern France. The first of these two populations was located in Southeastern France and comprised Jews of the former Papal State of Avignon and the adjacent territories formerly known as Comtat Venaissin. The second, located in Southwestern France is of more recent vintage, having been founded in the sixteenth century by descendants of fugitives from the Iberian Inquisitions. Today neither of these two groups numbers more than a few dozen individuals. The unique varieties of French, which they use and which have replaced former varieties of Provencal and Gascon, are teetering on the verge of extinction. Hitherto there has been little systematic study of these dialects. But today, realizing their status as endangered languages, we claim that it is urgent to record and chronicle as much of them as possible. Here we provide a description based upon extant written documents and the results of an ongoing in loco investigation. This is followed by a linguistic analysis of the material, taking into account inter alia the phonetics, the phonology and the constructional morphology of the specific vocabulary. This study is then complemented by a sociolinguistic outline of the situations of use of this heretofore almost neglected linguistic material. The conclusions of our study are that, despite the apparent relationship between these two varieties, their patterns of linguistic divergence are deeply differentiated, hence our doubts about the legitimacy of a single and common denomination, i. e. of “Jewish varieties” or “Jewish languages”, for such unrelated linguistic mechanisms.
Date: 2008
Abstract: In this paper, the question of importance of Judeo--Spanish as the means for maintaining ethnic identity among the Sephardim in the territories of former Yugoslavia is investigated through an analysis of articles dedicated to the topic published in El amigo del puevlo (a Judeo-Spanish periodical which first was published in Serbia, and then in Bulgaria), fragments from the books by Angel Pulido, Los israelitas espanoles y el idioma castellano (Madrid 1904) and Espanoles sin patria y la raza sefardi (Madrid 1905),as well as unpublished documents from the Archive of Serbia and the Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade.The present analysis suggests that a specific language ideology(negative attitudes towards the minority language in question) has played a crucial role in language shift in favor of the majority languages in the region (which has not jeopardized the concept of ethnic identity and membership), thus supporting findings by other authors(e.g., Myhill 2004, Weis 2000) that the maintenance of ethnic identity among Jews over the centuries has often been strengthened bycultural (religious, traditional, literary, etc.) rather than linguistic criteria. From the theoretical standpoint, this research clearly supports the view that the construction of ethnicity and ethnic identity should be viewed as a complex process in which different factors (language being only one of them) have different values and saliency at different points in time (e.g., see Fishman 1989; 1999)
Author(s): Koch, Magdalena
Date: 2018
Date: 2017
Abstract: La tesis recoge una propuesta lexicográfica en jaquetía (etnovariedad del judeoespañol) a partir de los lemas que la comunidad judía de Melilla incluye en su habla entre 2014 y 2017. Dicha propuesta se ha elaborado combinando los datos obtenidos en entrevistas y cuestionarios de campo llevados a cabo a los miembros de esta comunidad y sus descendientes y relacionados que residen en la ciudad, en el resto de España o en el extranjero, especialmente en Israel (capítulos II y III). El marco teórico central se apoya en la sociolingüística cognitiva y las amplias posibilidades aplicadas que ofrece la corriente para el estudio de etnovariedades. La tesis igualmente relaciona el habla de las etnias con la percepción y la incidencia de esta en los hablantes y la academia. Se emplean, como novedad, distintas tomas de datos modulares que permiten reforzar la información en las diferentes fases del proceso. Asimismo, el estudio guarda una relación considerable con la antropología y la etnografía relacionándose algunos conceptos y métodos de estas ciencias con la producción lingüística de los hablantes (capítulo I). Tras presentar el papel de la jaquetía en la academia y en la política lingüística española, se contabilizan y analizan los principales rasgos y fenómenos lingüísticos observados, estos se relacionan con otras etnovariedades para comparar la similitud de patrones en cuanto a la evolución y/o vigencia de la jaquetía se refiere a la vez que se aporta una aproximación para contribuir y abordar en el futuro este tipo de estudios sobre hablas minoritarias (capítulos I, III y IV). La originalidad del trabajo reside en el enfoque comunicativo sobre un habla oral que en su estadio de extinción está incluso estandarizando su escritura a través de mensajes privados de WhatsApp y Facebook. Por otro lado, se muestra un uso intracomunitario relacionado con la intimidad de los hablantes no presentado con anterioridad para las etnovariedades, ya que normalmente estas se asocian con el humor en el caso de la jaquetía o la delincuencia si se hace referencia al caló (capítulos I y IV). El estudio trata de resolver la aparente antonimia entre lo que la jaquetía de Melilla es, es decir, energía, producción, uso, variedad cultural o etnovariedad; y lo que los lingüistas y los hablantes, aquí informantes, creen que es como resultado de sus investigaciones y percepciones respectivamente (capítulo IV). Por último, se presentan los fenómenos extralingüísticos relacionados con el habla y la evolución de esta en la comunidad de descendientes judíos melillenses en Israel así como la convergencia de la jaquetía al hebreo y al español y divergencia del elemento árabe (capítulo IV).
Author(s): Roten, Hervé
Date: 2000
Author(s): Pignatelli, Marina
Date: 2020
Abstract: Jews who remained or returned to Portugal after the Expulsion (1496) and Inquisition (1536–1821) adopted and preserved different strategies to resist total assimilation, forced conversion and antisemitism. Today, Jewish communities are small and shy. At the same time, however, many Portuguese insist on an identification with a Jewish matrix. In parallel, there is an unprecedented effort to revitalize Jewish cultural memory in the public and private spheres. This article critically discusses the broad notion of Jewish identity and its representations in present day Portugal. It gives a succinct account of its existing Jewish communities, their power interrelationships and the categorizations used to label who is identified as a Jew. The article examines the making of cultural Jewish heritage and its paradoxes, considering the variety of agents involved and their agendas. While it will be argued that Jewish identity is certainly multidimensional, there are, at the same time, several contemporary native Jewish tangible and intangible cultural traces that are being neglected in the systematization process of Jewish memory and traditions in Portugal. Given the homogenizing tendencies of globalization and the particularizing local reactions to such trends, the present article describes and reflects on how the Jewish past in Portugal is intertwined with the present, and how the plural ways of perceiving Jewish identity and its cultural manifestations can be understood in a glocal frame, in terms of both discursive and material Jewish traditions. Based on a qualitative approach and a collaborative ethnographic method, the article analyzes how the Portuguese matrix of Jewish culture remains part of the Sepharad imaginary while it is subjected to the constraints of time and space.
Author(s): Paolo, Mendes Pinto
Date: 2020
Date: 2021
Abstract: In 2015, Spain approved a law that offered citizenship to the descendants of Sephardi Jews expelled in 1492. Drawing on archival, ethnographic, and historical sources, I show that this law belongs to a political genealogy of philosephardism in which the “return” of Sephardi Jews has been imagined as a way to usher in a deferred Spanish modernity. Borrowing from anthropological theories of “racial fusion,” philosephardic thinkers at the turn of the twentieth century saw Sephardi Jews as inheritors of a racial mixture that made them living repositories of an earlier moment of national greatness. The senator Ángel Pulido, trained as an anthropologist, channeled these intellectual currents into an international campaign advocating the repatriation of Sephardi Jews. Linking this racial logic to an affective one, Pulido asserted that Sephardi Jews did not “harbor rancor” for the Expulsion, but instead felt love and nostalgia toward Spain, and could thus be trusted as loyal subjects who would help resurrect its empire. Today, affective criteria continue to be enmeshed in debates about who qualifies for inclusion and are inextricable from the histories of racial thought that made earlier exclusions possible. Like its precursors, the 2015 Sephardic citizenship law rhetorically fashioned Sephardi Jews as fundamentally Spanish, not only making claims about Sephardi Jews, but also making claims on them. Reckoning with how rancor and other sentiments have helped buttress such claims exposes the recalcitrant hold that philosephardic thought has on Spain's present, even those “progressive” political projects that promise to “return” what has been lost.
Author(s): Bush, Stephen
Date: 2021
Abstract: The brutal, racist murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 sparked a reckoning about the treatment of Black people all over the world, and the undeniable reality of systemic racism and discrimination in societies on both sides of the Atlantic. We vociferously expressed our concerns about this at the time. However, we realised that we needed to go further. No community is immune from the scourge of prejudice and ours is no exception. As society as a whole sought to examine racial diversity, the Board of Deputies became aware of moving and concerning testimonies of Black members of our own community about their experiences.

As such, we launched this Commission to learn more about the experiences of Black Jews, Jews of Colour and Sephardi, Mizrahi and Yemenite Jews, to examine the issues and make recommendations for how our community can do better. We were delighted that the eminent journalist of Black and Jewish heritage, Stephen Bush, agreed to Chair the Commission.

The report’s release in the week that George Floyd’s murderer has been found guilty, and on this year’s Stephen Lawrence Day, feels particularly poignant, especially given the Commission’s many references to the Macpherson report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Our Commission has considered 17 different areas of communal life, and the ground-breaking report makes 119 recommendations, with profound implications for British Jewry. Among them are the following:



Representative bodies and organisations involved in rabbinic training should encourage members of under-represented ethnic groups to put themselves forward for communal roles
Jewish schools should ensure that their secular curriculum engages with Black history, enslavement and the legacy of colonialism, and review their curriculum through a process led by students, particularly those who define as Black or of Colour
Jewish studies departments should ensure that their teaching celebrates and engages with the racial and cultural diversity of the Jewish community worldwide, including Mizrahi, Sephardi and Yemenite tradition
Communal institutions, particularly synagogues and schools, should commemorate key dates for diverse parts of the community, like the Ethiopian Jewish festival of Sigd and the official Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran (30th November)
Schools and youth movements should improve training for teachers and youth leaders on tackling racist incidents
Communal bodies and Jewish schools should establish regular listening exercises that seek the concerns of their members or students
Communal bodies should ensure that complaints processes are accessible, transparent, fair and robust, with all complaints related to racism handled according to the Macpherson principle, and specific new processes for handling complaints about security
Communal venues should ensure that their security guards or volunteers desist from racial profiling
Communal venues should institute bag searches for all visitors, including regular attendees, so as not to stigmatise people who look different, without compromising on security
A code of conduct should be developed for discourse on social media, making clear that attempts to delegitimise converts, calling people names such as ‘Kapo’, or using Yiddish terms such as ‘Shvartzer’ in a racist way, are completely unacceptable
Batei Din should improve processes for conversion, including stricter vetting of teachers and host families, and a clearer process for complaints
Author(s): Rock, Jonna
Date: 2019
Abstract: This study analyzes issues of language and Jewish identification pertaining to the Sephardim in Sarajevo. Complexity of the Sarajevo Sephardi history means that I explore Bosnia-Herzegovina/Yugoslavia, Israel and Spain as possible identity-creating factors for the Sephardim in Sarajevo today. My findings show that the elderly Sephardic generation insist on calling their language Serbo-Croatian, whereas the younger generations do not really know what language they speak – and laugh about the linguistic situation in Sarajevo, or rely on made-up categories such as ‘Sarajevan.’ None of the interviewees emphasize the maintenance of Judeo-Spanish as a crucial condition for the continuation of Sephardic culture in Sarajevo. Similarly, the celebration of Jewish holidays is more important for the maintenance of identity across the generations than speaking a Jewish language. At the same time, the individuals also assert alternative forms of being Bosnian, ones that encompass multiple ethnicities and religious ascriptions. All the youngest interviewees however fear that the Sarajevo Sephardic identity will disappear in a near future. Unique characteristics of Sarajevo Sephardim include the status of the Sephardim and minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina given (1) the discriminatory Bosnian Constitution; (2) the absence of a law in Bosnia on the return of property; (3) the special situation wherein three major ethnic groups, and not just a single, ethnically homogeneous ‘majority,’ dominate the country; (4) the lack of a well-developed Jewish cultural infrastructure. Despite all of this, a rapprochement between the Sarajevo Jewish Community members and their religion and tradition is taking place. This phenomenon is partly attributable to the Community’s young religious activist and chazan, Igor Kožemjakin, who has attracted younger members to the religious services.
Author(s): Rock, Jonna
Date: 2018
Abstract: This article highlights issues pertaining to the Sephardim ([-im] is the masculine plural Hebrew ending and Sepharad is the Hebrew name for Spain. Sephardim thus literally means the Jews of Spain) in Sarajevo from the time of their arrival in the Ottoman Empire in the late fifteenth century until the present day. I describe the status quo for the Sephardi minority in post-Ottoman Sarajevo, in the first and second Yugoslavia, and in today’s post-Communist Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The objective is to shed light on how historic preconditions have influenced identity formation as it expresses itself from a Sephardic perspective. The aim is moreover to generate knowledge of the circumstances that affected how Sephardim came to understand themselves in terms of their Jewish identification. I present empirical findings from my semi-structured interviews with Sarajevo Sephardim of different generations (2015 and 2016). I argue that while none of the interlocutors conceive of Jewish identification as divergent from halachic interpretations of matrilineal descent, they moreover propose other conceptions of what it means to be Jewish, such as celebrating Shabbat and other Jewish holidays, and other patterns of socialization. At the same time, these individuals also assert alternative forms of being Bosnian, one that includes multiple ethnicities, and multiple religious ascriptions. This study elucidates a little-explored history and sheds light on the ways in which historical conditions have shaped contemporary, layered framings of identification among Sarajevo’s current Jewish population. This article is relevant for those interested in contemporary Sephardic Bosnian culture and in the role and function of ideology in creating conditions for identity formation and transformation.
Date: 2020
Abstract: The 2015 Spanish and Portuguese nationality laws for descendants of Sephardi Jews are unusual in their motivation to redress wrongs committed more than half a millennium ago. Both have enabled descendants of those Sephardi Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, or forced to convert to Christianity, to claim citizenship status through naturalization. The laws have elicited ancestral and contemporary stories that speak to the personal and social meanings applicants give to these citizenships. Through extensive oral histories with fifty-five applicants across four continents, we examine our narrators’ views on the laws’ deep roots in a genealogical concept of belonging, based on familial and biological heritage and the persistent criterion of the bloodline. We argue that the responses of Sephardi applicants complicate traditional notions of genealogical inclusion, unveiling instead a multiplicity of meanings attached to identity, belonging, and contemporary citizenship. While Spain and Portugal’s offer of what we call “restorative citizenship” requires the demonstration of biological and genealogical certainties, we argue that those seeking Spanish or Portuguese nationality complicate, expand, and sometimes subvert state constructions of citizenship as well as transform their own identities and belonging. More than recuperating a lost Spanish or Portuguese identity, many Sephardi descendants are discovering or deepening their ties to ancestral history and culture. Sephardi genealogy is also being mobilized in a contemporary global and European context in which citizenship and belonging are no longer defined exclusively by nation state territoriality, but rather through claims to new hybrid, multiple, and flexible identities.
Date: 2013
Author(s): Huber, Jasmina
Date: 2017
Author(s): Roda, Jessica
Date: 2016
Author(s): Benhabib, Seyla
Date: 2015
Abstract: This article is an autobiographical contribution recounting the entanglement of Turkish, Jewish and Armenian memories in contemporary Turkey. The ‘special friendship’ between Turkey and the Sephardic Jews, who were given refuge by the Ottoman Empire after escaping the Inquisition in Spain in 1492, has always been used as evidence of the generosity and toleration of Ottoman and subsequent Turkish rule. Recent historical research shows that these claims are both historically inaccurate and politically instrumental. Nevertheless, the Sephardic-Jewish sense of gratitude towards their Turkish protectors, as well as their continuing sense of vulnerability, is acute. Particularly in the year of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide (2015), the tangled memories of Jews, Turks and Armenians have been on display with official commemorations of the tragedy of the vessel Struma carrying Jewish refugees from Romania to Palestine (1942) and the battle over Gallipoli (1915). The Battle of Gallipoli is presented by the Turkish authorities as the beginning of the Turkish war of independence (1919–23) against imperial powers, thus emphasizing that the Armenian Genocide was part of a complex history, the purpose of which was to liberate Turkey from foreign domination. The article analyses the symbolic connections among these events and concludes by looking at the geopolitics of contemporary Turkish–Israeli relations and their impact on Armenian Genocide recognition attempts in the USA.
Date: 2015
Date: 2012
Abstract: A unique moment in Sephardic music is emerging in the Republic of Serbia. Since 2000, a small but vibrant Sephardic music scene has been formed through the efforts of a small group of individuals. The scene keeps alive a repertoire that has survived many upheavals: the Holocaust and the near-total extermination of Sephardic sacred music practitioners from the region; a half-century of religious suppression under the Yugoslav government; and the political turmoil of the 1990s and the establishment of the Republic of Serbia from what was once Yugoslavia. Each of these major socio-political shifts had an impact on how today's musicians learned and contributed to the creation of Sephardic music. Since 2000, the maintenance and reworking of the Sephardic music scene in Belgrade has taken place almost entirely because of small group individuals. The Sephardic music scene that has emerged is now made up of one concert stage ensemble, Shira u’tfila [Song and Prayer], and a collection of synagogue singers. Though the scene comprises only a small number of musicians, these individuals exercise considerable power in determining how broader categories like Sephardic and Jewish are represented and contribute to the civic, state, and international public imagination.

The expression of being Serbian, Sephardic, and Jewish is shaped and transmitted by this small group of musicians as they actively engage in a variety of discourses. These discourses concern the role of technology in the transmission of their practice, historical consciousness and nostalgia, and personal and social identities. By looking at how musical and social domains are established and promoted through performance, I show how personal taste and individual creativity play a role in representing Jewish culture in Serbia and Serbian-Jewish culture to an international audience. Ultimately, Shira u’tfila helps redefine ideas of Serbian Jewishness, and articulates an understanding of music in Jewish life as behavior that embraces both sacred and
secular, both Jewish and non-Jewish, repertoire.
Author(s): Wiens, Kathleen
Author(s): Filipović, Jelena
Date: 2015
Abstract: The status and sustainability of minority/dominated languages in the 21st century are
very much influenced by general and language ideologies of times gone by. Namely,
Eurocentric modernity-driven language policy and planning, which result in the
formation of standard language culture ideologies, are at the core of the cultural,
political and historical frameworks which, since the 19th century, have influenced the
relationship between majority (standardized) languages and minority/dominated
languages spoken in political entities recognized as nation-states in Europe. It is within
this framework of standard language cultures (Milroy, 2001) that the history, the loss,
and the possible revitalization of Judeo-Spanish can and should be understood.

Na status i održivost manjinskih jezika/jezika kojima se dominira u 21. veku
umnogome utiču opšte i jezičke ideologije prošlih vremena. Naime, evrocentrična
modernost koju pokreće jezička politika i jezičko planiranje, koja ima za posledicu
oblikovanje standardnih jezičkih kulturnih ideologija, predstavlja srž kulturnih,
političkih i istorijskih okvira koja je od 19. veka uticala na odnos između većinskih
(standardizovanih) jezika i manjinskih jezika/jezika kojima se dominira kao političke
entitete koji su priznati kao nacionalne države u Evropi. Upravo se u ovom okviru
standardnih jezičkih kultura (Milroy, 2001) mogu i treba razumeti istorija i gubitak, kao
i moguća revitalizacija jevrejsko- španskog.

En relación a las lenguas minoritarias dominadas en el siglo xxi, su estado y subsistencia
están muy influidas por las ideologías generales y también lingüísticas del tiempo que
vivimos. Concretamente, la modernidad eurocéntrica de la política y de la planificación
lingüística que conducen a la formación de ideologías culturales lingüísticas estandarizadas,
están en el núcleo de los marcos históricos, políticos y culturales que, desde el siglo xix,
han influido en la relación entre la mayoría de las lenguas (estandarizadas) y las lenguas
minoritarias dominadas habladas en las entidades políticas reconocidas como son los
Estados nación en Europa. Es dentro de este marco de culturas lingüísticas estándar (Milroy,
2001) que puede y debe ser entendida su historia y su pérdida, así como la revitalización
del judeoespañol.
Author(s): Lewkowicz, Bea
Date: 1999
Abstract: This study is an ethnographic account of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki and a description and analysis of oral histories gathered during my fieldwork in 1994. The thesis looks at the intersection of history, memory, and identity by analysing how identities and memories are shaped by historical experiences and how identities shape memories of historical experiences. Thessaloniki has undergone tremendous changes in the twentieth century. The demographic, political, and architectural landscape has radically altered. In the context of my thesis, the most relevant changes concern the ethnic and religious composition of Thessaloniki's population, the city's incorporation into the Greek nation-state (1912), the subsequent introduction of nationalism, and the annihilation of 48,000 Salonikan Jews during the Second World War. The thesis explores how these historical changes and 'events' are represented in individual narratives of Jews in Thessaloniki and in the realm of Jewish communal memory, how these historical changes have affected the formulations of Jewish communal and individual identity and memory, and how Jewish memory relates to the general landscape of memory in contemporary Greece. In chapters one and two, I discuss the theoretical framework and methodology of this thesis. Discussions on ethnicity, nationalism, memory, and certain themes of the 'anthropology of Greece' form the theoretical background of this study. The methodology applied consists of ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviewing. Chapter three presents a historical overview of the history of Thessaloniki and its Jewish community, and discusses the position of minorities in contemporary Greece. I describe the current structure and organisation of the community and look at some demographic developments of the Salonikan Jewish population in chapter four. I then proceed to a detailed account of the interviews which constitutes the main part of the thesis. Chapter five deals with the pre-war past, chapters six and seven with the experience of the war, and chapter eight with the post-war period. In chapter nine I look at perception of boundaries and notions of 'us' and 'them' among Salonikan Jews. In the conclusions, I examine the changes of post-war Jewish memorial practices in the context of the changing 'memory-scape' of the city of Thessaloniki.