A Revival of Ladino

During the Diaspora, one of the places Jews settled in was Spain. Mixing their Hebrew tradition with Spanish, the Sephardi (Spanish) Jews developed the Ladino (lad) language or Judaeo-Spanish. When they were exiled from Spain in 1492, they spread out again, and Ladino incorporated elements of Turkish, Greek and other languages.

According to the Ethnologue, there are some 110,000 speakers, about 90 percent of which live in Israel, most of the rest residing in Turkey. Wikipedia notes that the language is endangered as many Jews who moved to Israel did not pass the language along.

Aviya Kushner gives a nice overview of Ladino in her article “Is the language of Sephardic Jews, undergoing a revival?” on the site My Jewish Learning. Among the many things she discusses is the production of plays in Ladino and class offerings in New York and elsewhere.

For music, check out Yasmin Levy. Daughter to the head of the Ladino department at Israel’s national radio station, she is well recognized for her talents and efforts in maintaining the rich Ladino culture.

This post was inspired by “Yasmin Levy: Keeping An Ancient Language Alive Through Song,” a post on the Radio Boston website.

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