New Book: An Ode to Salonika

An Ode to Salonika

The Ladino Verses of Bouena Sarfatty

Renée Levine Melammed

“An important contribution to Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) studies as well as to the history of Greek Jews during Holocaust. Melammed has done her best to present Bouena’s impressive text.” —Shmuel Refael, Bar-Ilan University

Through the poetry of Bouena Sarfatty (1916-1997), An Ode to Salonika sketches the life and demise of the Sephardi Jewish community that once flourished in this Greek crossroads city. A resident of Salonika who survived the Holocaust as a partisan and later settled in Canada, Sarfatty preserved the traditions and memories of this diverse and thriving Sephardi community in some 500 Ladino poems known as coplas. The coplas also describe the traumas the community faced under German occupation before the Nazis deported its Jewish residents to Auschwitz. The coplas in Ladino and in Renée Levine Melammed’s English translation are framed by chapters that trace the history of the Sephardi community in Salonika and provide context for the poems. This unique and moving source provides a rare entrée into a once vibrant world now lost.

Indiana Series in Sephardi and Mizrahi Studies

336 pp., 16 b&w illus.

cloth 978-0-253-00681-3 $35.00

ebook 978-0-253-00709-4 $28.99

More information at:

Symposium: Sephardic Jewry and the Holocaust: The Future of the Field

Co-organized through the Sephardic Studies Initiative of the University of Washington’s Samuel & Althea Stroum Jewish Studies Program and the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, this symposium explores the unique history of Sephardic Jewry and the Holocaust.

Although extensive research has been conducted on the Holocaust in recent decades, the experience of Sephardic Jews on the periphery of occupied Europe, along the Mediterranean, and in Vichy-controlled colonies in North Africa has remained relatively unexplored. Understanding the Sephardic experience during the Holocaust forces us to refine our assumptions about its scope and the qualitative differences in the persecution, destruction, resistance, and survival of varied Jewish communities under occupation.

Read more information about the symposium here.

Keynote address by Dr. Aron Rodrigue: “Sephardim, Memory & the Holocaust.”

Documentary: “The Last Karaim of Istanbul”

Based on oral histories, the documentary “The Last Karaim of Istanbul” is a testimony to a community on the verge of “extinction.” Fiercely protective of its uniqueness and discreteness, demographic (and socioeconomic) changes during the last decades have resulted in the community’s decline. Although this documentary is in Turkish, non Turkish-speaking list members will find engaging the rich archival material, views of the city, and music.

The documentary is part of a 26-episode series, based on 150 oral histories of the “Live Memory” project.

CFP: Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies Conference


23rd Annual Conference Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies
Colorado Springs, CO
July 28-30, 2013

We invite papers on crypto-Judaism from any discipline (e.g., anthropology, history, sociology, philosophy, literature, music, etc.) and from any geographic location or time period. We also welcome papers on all aspects of the Sephardic experience and that of other communities exhibiting crypto-Jewish phenomena. Papers breaking new ground in research on crypto-Jews in New Mexico and Southern Colorado are particularly welcome. Interested scholars and professionals, including advanced graduate students, are invited to submit proposals for papers, presentations, or workshops.  Conference presentation proposals must include a title, a 200-word abstract, and a brief bio.

Download the complete Call for Papers for more information.

Please send proposals or inquiries to Matthew Warshawsky, International Languages and Cultures, University of Portland (warshaws[at]

Proposal Deadline: April 1, 2013
For more information on the society, on this conference, and on past meetings, see

CFP: Rabbi Ben-Zion Uzziel: Halakhist, Thinker, Leader

Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uzziel (1880-1953) served as rabbi of  Jaffa (and Tel Aviv) from 1912 to 1939, and subsequently as Rishon Le-Zion, Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Mandatory Palestine and (from 1948) of Israel. He was one of the most original and interesting rabbis of the 20th century, and wrote on many aspects of halakha and Jewish thought. In addition, he was active as a public leader, both on the local and the national levels.

Some aspects of his rich and diverse published legacy have attracted scholarly attention, but much more remains to be brought to light, researched and analyzed. With this in mind, we have decided (sixty years after his decease) to convene an academic conference devoted to the halakhic and ideational creativity of Rabbi Uzziel and to his wide ranging activities in the public sphere.

The conference will be held at Bar Ilan University from Sunday evening October 20th 2013 through Tuesday afternoon, October 22nd.

We invite proposals for presentation of original previously unpublished research on all aspects of rabbi Uzziel’s writings and public activities. One-page proposals, including title and brief explication should be sent no later than April 28th 2013 (Lag ba-Omer) to one of the following addresses:

Prof. Zvi Zohar             Prof. Elimelech Westreich         Prof. Amihai Radzyner

zvi.zohar[at]    westreic[at]      amihai.radzyner[at]

For more information, please download the call for papers.