11 October 2007

Digitized Ladino Library at Stanford University

Thanks to Joy Rich, who noted this on one of her many lists:

Sephardic researcher Aron Rodrigue - director of the Mediterranean Studies Forum and chair of the Department of History - is a professor Jewish studies and history at Stanford University.

Rodrigue announced the inauguration of the Digitized Ladino Library by the Sephardi Studies Project at Stanford's Taube Center for Jewish Studies and the Mediterranean Studies Forum.

Periodic additions are expected.

The Sephardi Studies Project will explore the history and culture of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries and develop a website to representative samples of writings in various Judeo languages of the Sephardim over the ages, starting with Ladino.

The Digitized Ladino Library introduction was written by Isaac Jerusalmi, Professor of Bible and Semitic Languages at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio: "The purpose of this Digitized Ladino Library is to place on the Internet a corpus of Ladino printed books, or even a few manuscripts, for easy access by scholars as well as students of Ladino throughout the world."

Currently online:

*Kanunnâme de Penas - the Ladino translation by Judge Yehezkel Gabbay of the first Ottoman Legal Code adopted in 1860. It appears in Hebrew characters and in Romanized form with a full glossary of all legal Turkish terms. The original Ottoman-Turkish text in Arabic characters and transliteration into Modern Turkish characters is being prepared.

*Poezias Ebraikas de Rosh ha-Shana i Yom Kippur - a popular Ladino compilation by Rabbi Reuven Eliyahu Yisrael of High Holiday piyyutim. Rabbi Yisrael was born in Rhodes, spent his life in Kraiova, Rumania and returned to Rhodes as its last Chief Rabbi. Writes Jerusalmi, "His Ladino is saturated with Gallicisms made fashionable by those educated in the schools of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, yet universally derided by those who had not been exposed to it. He even provides a brief glossary for those with no knowledge of French!"

*From Ottoman Turkish to Ladino - a unique Ladino pamphlet on morality by Gabbay (see above), the founder of the Djurnal Yisraelit.
Gabbay's Ladino had to be forced to express Turkish concepts.

*The Selihoth of the Sepharadim - self-published by Joseph Alschech in Vienna (1865), is, to Jerusalmi's knowledge, the first bilingual, Hebrew-Ladino Sephardic Selihoth book produced by Eastern Sepharadim. Its methodology is the traditional verbum e verbo or palavra por palavra approach used by Jews since the days of the Septuagint in Alexandria and continued in the various Targumim throughout the ages.

*The Song of Songs - was intended as a textbook for the study of the Aramaic Targum of the Song of Songs. The Ladino version of this Targum in Roman characters - Paraphrasis Caldaica was printed in Amsterdam (1664). Jerusalmi includes fully vocalized square Hebrew letters as well as the text in Rashi letters and Romanized versions. The Ladino version is from Salonika (1600). There is also a Ladino-English Glossary.

For much more information, click here.

Take a look at the texts and transliterations, which are fascinating.

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