Between Sepharad and Jerusalem

History, Identity and Memory of The Sephardim


Sephardim are the descendants of the Jews expelled from the lands of the Iberian Peninsula in the years 1492-1498, who settled down in the Mediterranean basin. The identifying sign of the Sephardim has been, until the middle of the twentieth century, the language known as Jewish-Spanish. The history, identity and memory of the Sephardim in their Mediterranean dispersal are analysed by the author with a special reference to the Sephardi community of Jerusalem and to the cultural and social changes that characterized the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. However, because of the crucial changes related to modernization and the political circumstances that came into being at the turn of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, the Sephardim lost their unique identity.

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Alisa Ginio, Ph.D. (1989) in History, Tel Aviv University, is a Professor Emeritus of History at the Department of History, Tel Aviv University. Her publications deal with Christian polemics contra judaeos in the Iberian Peninsula; the Iberian conversos and the Jewish-Spanish speaking Sephardim.

List of Figures


Jerusalem Once upon a Time
Who is a Sephardi?
The Language of the Sephardim

1. From Expulsion to Revival

The Expulsion from Spain
To Where did the Exiled Turn to Go?
North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya
The Ottoman Empire
Leaders of the Sephardi Communities in the Ottoman Empire in the Sixteenth Century Jerusalem
The Ottoman Empire Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries
The Turkish Republic

2. The Meʿam Loʿez: The Masterpiece of Ladino Literature (Eighteenth–Nineteenth Centuries)

The Anthology Meʿam Loʿez
Everydaylife of the Sephardim in their Mediterranean Dispersal According to the Meʿam Loʿez

3. Immigrants in the Land of Their Birth: The Sephardi Community in Jerusalem. The Test Case of the Meyuḥas Family

Modernization Processes in the Ottoman Empire
The Alliance Israelite Universelle
A Jerusalemite Sephardi Family in the Change of Time: The
Test Case of The Meyuḥas Family
The History of the Meyuḥas family in the Balkans and in Istanbul (Kushta)
The Meyuḥas Family in Jerusalem: The Meguilat Yoḥasin of the Rishon Le-Zion Rabbi Refael Meyuḥas and the Purim de los Meyuḥasim
The Descendants of Rabbi Refael Meyuḥas
Shadarim of the Meyuḥas Family
The Meyuḥas Family in Kefar Ha-Shiloʾaḥ

4. Beautiful Damsels and Men of Valor: Ladino Literature Giving Us a Peek into the Spiritual World of Sephardi Women in Jerusalem (Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries)

Ladino Books Kept by Nona Flor
Nona Flor the Storyteller
Old Readers and New Readers

5.The Spanish Senator Dr. Ángel Pulido Fernández and the “Spaniards without a Homeland,” Speakers of Jewish Spanish 248

Dr. Angel Pulido Fernandez and the Sephardim
How Did the Sephardim React to Pulido’s Ideas?

6.The Lost Identity of the Sephardim in The Land of Israel and the State of Israel

The Weekly Hed Ha-Mizraḥ and its Readers
The Second World War in Greece: The Extermination of the Jews
The Sephardim of the Land of Israel Facing the Holocaust

Epilogue: History in the Eyes of the Beholder


Hebrew Bibliography
Other Languages Bibliography

All interested in the history, identity and memory of the Sephardim in their Mediterranean dispersal, with a special emphasis on the Israeli Sephardim.
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