A wind of Sephardic culture at International Ladino Day

The 5th International Ladino Day- Dia Internasyonal Del Ladino was held on Sunday, February 18th, at Ulus Jewish School’s auditorium, this year. The event attracted considerable attention. Not only were there people who speak and understand Ladino/Judeo Espanyol, but also people who want to learn this language and people who speak modern Spanish and willing to learn about Sephardic culture and cuisine.
A wind of Sephardic culture at International Ladino Day
Ladino Day Organizers

The event kicked off at 11.00am and lasted until 07.30pm. The guests enjoyed unique and exquisite tastes from Sephardic cuisine at the breaks throughout the event. At the event, organized by Sephardic Culture Research Center, the books and CD’s published and released by the center were put up for sale. At the venue, the guests also enjoyed Kula ‘930 photograph exhibition by photographer Alberto Modiano. 

This event is being organized around the world, annually. For the 5th year of the event in Istanbul, the organizational committee consisted of more people compared to recent years who did their best to attract a younger audience this year. The committee organized activities such as interactive games and contests. 

Zelda Ovadia, the editor of Aki Yerusalayim magazine, which unfortunately had to shut down its operations temporarily due to economic shortcomings, was one of the speakers at the event.  Ovadia who came to attend the event from Israel gave a speech about Refranes/ Idioms. Ovadia, who is still writing for monthly for El Amaneser magazine published in Turkey, explained that idioms prosper based on regions people live in and that they are indeed a summary of their experiences. Following Ovadia’s speech, Karen Sarhon, Anna Eskinazi and Suzet Herman took the stage. They entertained the audience with funny stories- kuentos depicting how computers and evolving technologies do reflect differently on different generations. Later, Israeli Consul General Yosef Levi Sfari was invited to stage. Sfari gave a speech about Sephardic culture. 

Following Sfari’s speech, Can Evrensel Rodrik, who despite his young age speaks fluent Ladino, took the stage. In his speech titled, ‘La Valor i La Rikeza de La Lingua Djudeo Espanyola/ The Value of Judeo Espanyol Language’ Rodrik said that language is a living element that grows and evolves through the years. 

Director of Cervantes Institute Gonzalo Manglano De Garay also gave a speech at the event. After De Garay’s speech, lunch was served. The guests had the chance to taste various Sephardic dishes. Deniz Alphan’s short documentary “A Fading Language, A Fading Cuisine” was screened after lunch break. 

At the interactive section of the event, several contests were organized for audience and children. At the event there was also dance and music. Goztepe Cultural Community Center’s Women’s Folk Dance Group performed their show followed by Nes Women’s Choir’s music performance conducted by Izzet Bana.  The guests also had fun watching Jojo Gozcu’s stand-up show at the event.

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