Ladino Preservation Council of the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture

May 27, 2002

The Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture (Foundation), would like to announce the formation of the Ladino Preservation Council (LPC). The LPC supports and produces practical and academic projects which aid in the preservation and study of Ladino (Judeo-spanish), its literature and culture. The nucleus of a special fund dedicated to this aim was established by Rachel Amado Bortnick and her associates in November of 2000, and quickly became the LPC with the enthusiastic support and co-operation of Robert Bedford, Executive Director of the Foundation, and David Siman, Ladino linguist and teacher.

As its first project, the LPC has supported the publication of Matilda Cohen-Sarano's Ladino course book for English speakers, available in June of 2002. A manual for writing and transcribing Ladino is now being prepared and will be published soon by the LPC. Most recently, S.Alfassa Marks, a vice-president of the of Foundation, helped establish a Ladino audio voice chat room on the Internet using the services of Paltalk. The "Salon de Mohabet" as the participants call it, is especially enjoyed and utilized by members of Ladinokomunita, a Ladino correspondence list established by Rachel A. Bortnick in January of 2000.

We have confidence that, as the LPC projects are completed and disseminated, more and more people will join the ranks of supporters of the LPC and the Foundation as a show of their love and appreciation of Ladino as a beautiful and rich language which is an integral part of Jewish culture.
For nearly 40 years the Foundation has been dedicated to preserving and promoting the complex and centuries-old culture of the Sephardic communities of Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the U.S. Emigration, and the devastation of the Holocaust, have combined to weaken historic communities which had resisted assimilation, where Ladino, the Sephardic language, was used continuously and unique cultural traditions were practiced.

In these early years of the 21st century, the Foundation seeks to vigorously renew and preserve the heritage and culture of our ancestors. Local community and organization events are sponsored and new documentaries and presentations on Sephardic life and culture are prepared and exhibited across the country. With extensive archives gathered over the decades from numerous sources, including early leaders of the Sephardic communities, the Foundation has been able to produce, support and enrich numerous research projects and published works.

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