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.
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.
Sephardic Jews in Turkey were told to assimilate. Today’s generation is reclaiming its identity through the Ladino language
For student Nesi Altaras, studying Ladino isn't only about learning the language of his family: it means reversing an assimilationist agenda against Turkish Jews that began in the 20th century — and continues today.
For some descendants of Sephardic Jews who were forced to convert, learning the Ladino language is an act of restitution
Student Victor Alejandro Castillo shares the importance of Ladino for those of "converso" (converted Jewish) descent.
Student Abby Massarano explains why changing her name was an important step in connecting with her Sephardic heritage.