A Tribute to Solly Levy
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – Solly Levy has left us, after suffering from a long illness. Solly was a teacher, writer, actor, singer and one of the last speakers of Haketia, Moroccan Judeo-Spanish. Born in Tangiers in 1939, he received a degree in Humanities from the University of Bordeaux in France and a PhD from the University of Montreal after emigrating to Canada in 1968.
Solly was very active in many aspects of Jewish cultural life in Canada. He was the artistic director of the theatre company of the Jewish Cultural Center in Montreal and founded and directed choirs in Montreal and Toronto. In 1980, along with Judith Cohen and Oro Anahory-Librowicz, he co-founded the musical group Gerineldo, which specialized in the research and performance of traditional Judeo-Spanish music of Morocco. Levy also participated in the biennial Erensya conferences, which are organized by Centro Sefarad-Israel to promote contact and cooperation among global Sephardic communities.
As one of the few remaining speakers of Haketía in the world, Solly was an expert in the language and its culture, and one of its ardent defenders. Between 2008 and 2011 he had a weekly program in Haketia on Radio Sefarad. In 2012 he presented his project La Vida en Haketía, para que no se pierda (Life in Haketía, so as not to lose it). The project consists of a book and a set of five CDs, titled: Initiation, Games, Music, Professing and Farewell.
In 2005 we spoke with Solly about Haketia and this week we have decided to bring you that program again, as a tribute to this multifaceted, versatile lover and transmitter of Moroccan Sephardic Jewish culture. We will all deeply miss him.