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A Jewish Voice from Ottoman Salonica: the Ladino Memoir of Sa’adi Besalel a-Levi

Aron Rodrigue and Sarah Stein, editors, with translation, transliteration and glossary by Isaac Jerusalmi (Stanford University Press, 2011)

03/23/2012

Composed over a nine-year period (1881-1890)—with numerous additions made until 1902, when the author was 82 years old and one year from his death—the first Ladino memoir ever written outlived wars; the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in which it was conceived; a major fire in 1917; and the Holocaust, during which Jewish texts and libraries, as well as Jewish bodies, were targeted by the Nazis for annihilation.  The document passed through four generations of the memoirist’s family, traveling from Salonica to Paris, from Paris to Rio de Janeiro and, finally, to Jerusal

The Ladino Memoir of Sa’adi Besalel a-Levi

Going Digital

03/23/2012

On November 9th and 10th of 2011, the Center for Jewish History gathered a remarkably diverse and distinguished group of 150 library and archival professionals, scholars, private collectors and community leaders.  This moment in time was part of a year-long set of events marking the 10th anniversary of the Center. Scheduling the conference during the two calendar days that mark the commemoration of Kristallnacht was self-conscious, though not made explicit in the public program.

Center for Jewish History Photograph by John Halpern

New York Places, Jewish Spaces: Life in the City, 1700-2012

03/23/2012

New York City’s Jews have helped shape the city and, in turn, been shaped by it ever since the 17th century, when they first arrived in what was then New Amsterdam. Never a majority of the population, even in their 20th-century heyday, Jews carved out a variety of public and private spaces as their own within the larger city. These spaces—synagogues, lodge rooms, businesses, neighborhood streets, tenement apartments and leafy, semi-suburban blocks—reflected the wide array of secular and religious Jewish identities that Jews in New York fashioned for themselves.

The corner of Essex Hester Streets. Drawing by John Durkin in Leslie’s Weekly. September 12, 1891.

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