Ladino theater

Photo of Ladino Theater. Courtesy of Washington State Jewish Historical Society Photo Archive, UW Special Collection.

Devin Naar and his ground-breaking Sephardic Studies Initiative at the University of Washington have made national and international news!

JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) writer Charlotte Anthony, a UW student and Jewish Studies blogger, published a story entitled “Rushing to Preserve Ladino Legacies” on July 15th, 2012. The article highlights Devin Naar’s Seattle Sephardic Treasures project and features quotes from Professor Naar as well as Professor Noam Pianko, chair of the Stroum Jewish Studies Program at UW.

The story was then picked up by Haaretz Online and the Times of Israel, giving readers around the world a lens on the fantastic archival project  being carried out in Seattle.

“I want to make the materials available in their original form so you can see the handwriting, the coffee stains and the lived lives of the owners,” Naar said.

Nuevo Silibaryo Espanyol: A rare Ladino language textbook published in Salonica, 1929. Courtesy of Isaac Azose.

Items like the rare Ladino textbook (featured right) from the private collection of Isaac Azose, a leader of the Sephardic community in Seattle, are generating excitement among scholars and community members alike. Some of these valuable  Ladino artifacts have been stashed in basements and boxes for years. They will now benefit from digitization, cataloguing, and, Naar hopes, the attention of students and professional scholars. These treasures, and the various academic initiatives they are inspiring, are putting the Stroum Jewish Studies Program and UW on the map as a major center for the study of Sephardic culture and history.

Click here for the full story!

Click here for another recent profile of Devin Naar from UW’s The Daily.

Note: The opinions expressed by faculty and students in our publications reflect the views of the individual writer only and not those of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.