Salonica and Sarajevo:
Balkan Sephardi Metropolises
Wednesday, February 16
USA (10:30 am PST / 1:30 pm EST)
UK 6:30 pm / France 7:30 pm / Israel 8:30 pm
The talk will last approximately 90 minutes
About this talk
As Sephardi Jews settled in the Ottoman Empire, Salonica became one of the most important centers of Jewish life. The city thus earned the monikers "Madre de Israel" ("Mother of Israel") and "Jerusalem of the Balkans." Further inland, multiethnic Sarajevo was also home to a thriving Jewish community and was sometimes referred to as "Little Jerusalem". Our talk will highlight some of the most important figures and events from the Jewish histories of Salonica and Sarajevo. How did the famous Sarajevo Haggadah survive both Nazi occupation and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s? Learn about a notable moment in the history of Bosnian Jews known as the Sarajevo Purim. What effect did the charismatic false messiah Sabbatai Zevi have on the Jews of 17th-century Salonica? We will also travel through the picturesque sites of Salonica and Sarajevo and visit their sumptuous synagogues, the iconic White Tower of Thessaloniki, the colorful Old Bazaar of Sarajevo, and much more.
Joseph Benatov holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He is originally from Bulgaria and a member of Sofia's Jewish community. Joseph has over 15 years of experience leading travelers across the Balkans, including UNESCO representatives, 92nd Street Y visitors, JDC board members, and Anti-Defamation League officials. He lectures regularly on the history of Jewish life in Bulgaria and on Balkan Sephardic culture. Every summer Joseph leads Sephardic trips to the Balkans. You can find out more at https://sephardicbalkans.com/
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With your contribution you will also be donating to the publication of a collection of Ladino proverbs and sayings from the Balkans.
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This event is a live experience. RECORDINGS WON'T BE AVAILABLE AFTER THE TALK