Education, Preservation, & Community Building
Ladino, also known as Judeo-Spanish or Judezmo, is the language of Sephardic Jews, or Sepharadim, who originated from the Iberian Peninsula (what is now Spain and Portugal). Following their expulsion from Spain in 1492, Sepharadim sought refuge across the Mediterranean and the Middle East and beyond, primarily in the Ottoman Empire, where they developed the Ladino language. While based in Spanish and other Iberian languages with a strong Hebrew-Aramaic component, Ladino incorporated many elements from the languages of the Mediterranean world including Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, and Arabic. It was a language for all occasions: of the home, the street, the marketplace, and the synagogue; for humor and satire, politics and literature.
Explore videos, podcasts, and essays to get you started on your Ladino language journey.
Read a translation of Albert Levy's poem about bedikat hamets, the Jewish ritual that involves cleaning one's home for Passover.
In a virtual conversation, Devin Naar interviews David Bunis about his path to becoming the leading authority in the Ladino language after beginning as a Yiddish linguist, and inquires on the fate of Ladino today.
In this summer’s Ladino class, students translate historic Sephardic songs into English for the first time
Read a Ladino song in three formats: the original Ladino, a transliteration, and a translation, developed by students in the summer 2020 Ladino Language and Culture course.
Since its inception in 2013, International Ladino Day at the University of Washington has become a hallmark of campus programming where more than 300 community members, students, faculty, and scholars come together to discuss the past, present, and future of Ladino.
Past programs have included lectures from national and international scholars of Sephardic studies and the Ladino language; performances by professional musicians and local hazzanim (cantors); film screenings; sharing refranes, or Ladino sayings; and involvement from participants young and old. Learn more about Ladino Day >
Reflections on Ladino
Students and faculty reflect on learning and teaching an endangered Jewish language in the 21st century.
Ladino letters written and dictated by women between Rhodes and Seattle offer a rare insight into the concerns and aspirations of Sephardic women in the early twentieth century.
A cache of letters and government documents, translated by visiting student Dimitris Mitsopolous, reveal the life and survival of Salonican-born Pepo Allalouf.
During our summer 2020 Ladino class, UW Ph.D. candidate Jorge Bayona discovered a surprising thread of international coverage in the Ladino press.