I’m convinced that the pillars of my grandmother’s home are seasoned with allspice—the indispensable condiment that flavors many of the Egyptian and Syrian dishes she cooked for us growing up. It’s clichéd to say that food is the lifeblood of Sephardic Jews, yet anytime an outsider asks what differentiates my Middle Eastern community from others of, say Eastern European origin, I’m compelled to address our diet.
With a new study showing the strength of Canada’s Jewish communities compared with the U.S., maybe it’s time American Jews took some lessons from their neighbors to the north
A deeper look into Sephardic traditions, spirits, and culture.
Devin Naar wasn’t hired at the University of Washington to teach Sephardic studies. The young scholar, only in his late 20s at the time, actually came to the university in 2011 to teach modern Jewish history. Then the local Sephardic community found out that Naar could speak and read Ladino — the language of the diaspora resulting from Spain’s expulsion of the Jews in 1492, a mixture of Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, Greek and other languages picked up in the lands where they settled.
She may currently live on the Upper East Side, but Simone Weichselbaum, 31, remains a Brooklyn girl. Raised in Williamsburg and Crown Heights by her Ashkenazi Jewish dad (who freelances for The Jewish Week) and Jamaican mom, Weichselbaum, a Park East Day School grad (she formally converted to Judaism at age 7), covers Brooklyn for the Daily News.