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Sephardic Academia and Research

Academic Programs and Institutions

Muestra Istoriya - La Influensa Espanyola

Looking back at our history, I decided to search through the old Sephardic Newspapers in the United States, specifically in the city of New York, to see if they were reporting on the Spanish Flu that broke in 1918, a bit over one hundred years ago.

The two newspapers that I was able to locate and that published reports on the pandemic were, La Boz Del Pueblo and La America.

It seems that La America was the first to publish a report on this matter on Friday, October 4, 1918, page 6. The heading states, “La Hazinura Influensa Espanyiola puja.”

University of Washington Sephardic Studies Program

Partnering with community leaders, the Sephardic Studies Program of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington aims to establish a world-renowned program for the study, teaching, and perpetuation of Sephardic culture and the Ladino language. As home to one of the largest and most vibrant Sephardic communities in the United States, Seattle offers an ideal environment in which to preserve the legacy of the Sephardic Jewish experience. The University of Washington is uniquely situated to serve not only as a center for the study of the Sephardic experience by students and scholars, but also a multifaceted resource center for Sephardic Jews in the community and worldwide.


The Sephardic Studies Program has already energized student, faculty, and community involvement in Sephardic history and culture through innovative research opportunities, new courses, and public lectures. Our three mutually enriching areas of focus are research, teaching, and community engagement.

The American Sephardi Federation

The American Sephardi Federation (ASF) is a membership and research organization that works to preserve and promote the rich mosaic culture of Jews from the Middle East and throughout the greater Sephardic Diaspora. 

UCLA Sephardic Studies Program

Housed in the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, the Maurice Amado Program in Sephardic Studies offers students at the undergraduate and graduate level the rare opportunity to focus intensively on the study of Sephardic history and culture.  It also hosts lectures, workshops and symposia open to the academic and wider Los Angeles community that cultivate and stimulate this field and situate UCLA as one of its principle hubs.  It has supported international scholarship, building on the solid research and teaching program erected over the course of a decade and a half of Maurice Amado Lectures and more recently by the Maurice Amado Chair.

The Izmir Project

The Izmir Project is an international initiative led by the Kiriaty Foundation to save Izmir's unique synagogues, and create a living cultural monument to the rich Jewish heritage of the city. The Izmir Project cooperates with the local Municipality and the Jewish community to restore and reconstruct seven of Izmir's synagogues and historic community buildings, and construct a museum with a cultural center. 


The aim of this project is to turn the old Jewish quarter of Izmir into an exciting historical, cultural, educational and touristic site as a tribute to Turkish history and world monuments, and an accolade to the rich architectural legacy of the Jewish community that once flourished in Izmir. The Izmir project involves synagogue restoration, creation of a “Living Museum of Jewish Heritage” and a cultural center to cover 2000 sqm of built area with additional adjacent courtyard areas. The Living Museum of Jewish Heritage will serve as an academic center for multi-cultural research and dialogue.


Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum

Kehila Kedosha Janina (the Holy Community of Janina) is the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Romaniote Jews are a unique community of Jewish people whose history in Greece dates back over two thousand three hundred years to the time of Alexander the Great. The Romaniotes are historically distinct from the Sephardim, who settled in Greece after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

The synagogue is a designated New York City landmark and continues to hold services every Shabbat as well as all Jewish holidays. In addition, it houses a museum about Greek Jewry that is open to the public every Sunday, as well as by appointment. The museum serves as a repository for Romaniote and Sephardic Greek Jewish history, both in Greece and on the Lower East Side, and hosts many educational events including lectures, book signings, movie screenings, and concerts. 

Yeshiva University Sephardic Studies Program

The YU Sephardic Community Program (SCP) was established in 1964 for the purpose of assisting Sephardic and Near Eastern communities in establishing a strong and vital presence in North America. Today these communities are growing by leaps and bounds and are in dire need of proper resources that will help them to develop the communal and organizational infrastructure that will keep their communities spiritually thriving for generations.

The SCP was co-founded by Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky and Hakham Solomon Gaon A'H with the vision of having YU's community service division play a vital role in nurturing those communities by assisting them to build properly run synagogues and educational institutions. Today, more than 50 years later, their vision has yielded tremendous results and won the respect and admiration of Jewish religious and lay leaders and of countless Sephardim throughout North America. Currently, the SCP still benefits from the leadership of Dr. Dobrinsky. Among his many duties at YU, he still serves as special consultant to the SCP and is integrally involved in its day to day operations.

Stanford University Sephardic Studies Project

The Sephardi Studies Project is an initiative by the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford in conjunction with the Mediterranean Studies Forum. It focuses on the written production in Ladino of the Judeo-Spanish communities of the Ottoman Empire. The website presents representative samples of Ladino texts over the centuries. Directed by Aron Rodrigue.

UCLA Mediterranean Studies Program

The Viterbi Family Program in Mediterranean Jewish Studies is the first of its kind at a university.  Endowed by Erna and Andrew Viterbi and their children, the program builds on a trend in historical studies to look beyond traditional political boundaries in order to understand transnational commercial and intellectual connections between different groups of people.  The Viterbi program brings an emerging or a distinguished scholar to campus for one or more quarters of instruction.  The endowment also funds quarterly seminars on Jewish communities in Italy, France, Spain, the Balkans, North Africa, Egypt or Israel. We are grateful to the Viterbi family for their vision in establishing The Viterbi Family Program in Mediterranean Jewish Studies and are deeply honored that they chose the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies as the Program’s home.

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New Research in Sephardic Academia
The Making of the Brotherhood
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