Focusing on the distinctive Judaeo-Spanish cultural entity that flouri shed in the Balkans and Asia Minor between the 14th and 20th centuries, this text shows how Sephardi society and culture developed in the Levant, sharing language, religion, customs and communal life as they did nowhere else, both during prosperous times and during the declining fortunes of the 17th and 18th centuries. The impact of westernization, the end of Ottoman power, and the rise of fragmenting nation-states transformed this vital community in the modern era. And, like many other Jewish communities, the unique Judeo-Spanish culture was dispersed and destroyed by the Holocaust and the migrations of the 20th century.
Esther Benbassa is Professor of Jewish History at the Universite de Paris IV, Sorbonne, and Director of Research at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique. Her books Jews in France (1999) and Haim Nahum (1995) are available in English. Aron Rodrigue is Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at Stanford University and the author of Images of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries in Transition (1993) and French Jews, Turkish Jews (1990).