Sephardic Identity: Essays on a Vanishing Jewish Culture

Sephardic Identity: Essays on a Vanishing Jewish Culture


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The Sephardim, a fast-disappearing group of Jews whose ancestors were exiled from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the fifteenth century, have fought to retain their identity while necessarily assimilating to the surrounding society. This culture was changed by settlement and residence in non-Spanish areas for over four centuries, a Diaspora in the late nineteenth century, and the Nazi Holocaust. Sephardic settlements in Latin America, the United States, Israel, and elsewhere were the result. Because Judaism is as much a culture as a religion, any move toward assimilation into a non-Jewish culture has historically been seen as a threat to Jewish identity: this is an ongoing crisis in Sephardic life. These essays, representing some of the most innovative work being done in Sephardic studies, are divided into sections exploring history, sociology, anthropology, language, literature and the performing arts. Topics include the possibility that the Sephardim are Judaized Arabs, Berbers and Iberians; the role of Spanish exiles in the Ottoman Empire; Sephardic remnants in Greece; Sephardic philosophy; the literature of New Christians (the community that arose out of forcibly converted Jews) whose works reveal Jewish roots; the Judeo-Spanish press in Salonika; and the influences of Sephardism on contemporary Argentine literature. An introduction to Sephardism begins the work and a conclusion discusses the Sephardic Education Center, which hopes to assure the culture's future. -- Provided by publisher


Sephardim -- History; Sephardim -- Intellectual life; Jews -- Civilization;

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Publication Date



McFarland & Co.


Jefferson, NC


Department of Languages and Literatures

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viii, 230 p. ; 23 cm



Sephardic Identity: Essays on a Vanishing Jewish Culture