Reveries by Hank Halio Published by the FASSAC
introduction by by
The first column of 'Ladino Reveries' appeared nationally in the
December 1986 issue of the Sephardic Home News. Mark Alhadeff,
then the assistant editor of the Sephardic Home News, asked
for permission to reprint an article of mine which he had read in
the newsletter of the Sephardic Social Club of Florida, Inc. Permission
was gladly granted, and the rest, as they say, is history.
did I know then that EN MI VIEJES (in my old age) I would be making
a new career for myself. Over the years I have received many compliments,
and many of the readers have shared their experiences and anecdotes
with me. I thank all of them for their generosity. Some of you have
asked if a collection of columns would ever be available electronically.
The answer to that is, HERE IT IS!
these columns I hope to share with you my appreciation of the beauty
and wisdom of the Ladino language, including personal experiences
and those of my friends and relatives. It is not an attempt to give
an in-depth history of the Spanish-Jewish dialect, or of Sephardic
Jewry. Rather, the goal is to preserve the rich culture, language
and folklore of our recent past, and to evoke the loving memories
of our parents and grandparents who spoke Ladino.
We are aware of a lot of apathy toward our culture and heritage.
DJUDEO-ESPANYOL, (or Ladino), is no longer the language of the house,
it has been replaced by the national language. There is no doubt
that DJUDEO-ESPANYOL has been undergoing a steady decline and is
on the verge of total extinction as a spoken language. However,
lately there has been a strong revival due to the recent celebration
of the 500th anniversary of the migration from Spain to Turkey,
and the publicity commemorating it. The Sephardic saga began in
Spain and the Iberian Peninsula, and in the course of one thousand
five hundred years, has encompassed many other countries as well.
It was only natural that the Sephardim had developed an extensive
culture rich in spirit that has been unique. Among its components
for the most part have been the retention of 'Spanish' as the language
of the family and the synagogue. Concomitantly there has been the
carry-over of the customs, foods, and family traditions that started
in Spain and were subsequently modified in accordance with the lands
in which the Sephardim lived, and passed on from generation to generation.
would think that the memory of the cruel and unjust punishment inflicted
on them by the Spanish Inquisition would dictate an erasure of any
memory of that country. Evidently the millennium the Jews lived
in Spain was too deeply ingrained in them to forget. That the Sephardic
culture has been able to endure into the present time is truly a
miracle. With the secularization of education and the external influences
of the modern world, the old ways are being eroded. For those of
us who were fortunate enough to have been active participants in
that saga, I hope that these stories engender many warm and rich
memories. For those who were not as fortunate, it is hoped that
they will serve as reference to that which once was. In any event,
the Sephardic story will always be a meaningful part of history.
pages, 6" x 9", b&w photos, Ladino glossary
| Paper, ISBN# 1-886857-01-6 $14.95.
signing autographs in Palm Beach, Florida.
REVERIES can be ordered direct from
the Foundation, for $15.95 + $4.30 shipping.
can send a check or money order
for $20.25 to the following address:
Foundation for Sephardic Studies and Culture
34 West 15th Street
New York, NY 10011
Attn: Ladino Reveries