Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

‎11 Av 5782 | ‎08/08/2022

Scroll to top


Sephardic Jews in the US, with Devin Naar.  Part I:  Some History

Sephardic Jews in the US, with Devin Naar.  Part I:  Some History

ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question:  What were the causes of Jewish emigration from the former Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century?

Dr. Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies, Associate Professor of History, and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. A former Fulbright scholar with a PhD in History from Stanford University, Dr. Naar founded and serves as the chair of the Sephardic Studies Program, which has transformed the University of Washington into a nationally and internationally recognized center for the study of Sephardic history, culture, and language. The Program houses a major digital repository of Ladino texts and a robust online and digital humanities presence. Dr. Naar’s first book, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, won a 2016 National Jewish Book Award and the 2017 prize for best book awarded by the Modern Greek Studies Association. His current book project investigates the multifaceted experiences of Sephardic Jews from the Ottoman Empire who migrated to the United States. Some of Dr. Naar’s articles and essays may be read here.

As the chair of the Sephardic Studies Program, Dr. Naar has begun a pilot project entitled, “Sephardic Studies digital collection,” which seeks to collect, preserve and disseminate the rich Sephardic and Ladino historical, literary and cultural heritage. The first major Sephardic Studies Digital Library and Archive–an online Sephardic Museum–is in the works based on the more than 1400 artifacts, books and letters collected so far from residents of the Seattle area. In addition to the digital initiative, the Sephardic Studies Program also hosts a wide range of student, scholarly and public programs that each draw hundreds of participants. The program has received extensive local, national and international media attention.

This week Dr. Naar will tell us about the history of the Sephardic Jews in the United States and in next week’s program he will speak with us about their life in this country, their culture and language.