What does that even mean?


Collage:  Child in a corporate culture

(Art work on this blog is copyrighted.)

The first post didn’t dilly dally around, did it?  It said that Ladino is the heart of Sephardic culture.  But heavens, what does that even mean?

In rummaging around looking for a Ladino saying that might help convey some sense of the meaning that language carries, I ran across Sephardic Proverbs by Michael Castro.  For him, language goes beyond mere words.

Proverbs …. articulated  the  unwritten  laws  of how to be and  how  to  see,  and represented the distilled wit and wisdom of Ladino, or  Judezmo, the medieval  Spanish with a dash of Turkish, Hebrew and  other  influences, spoken  as  the  main  language  in  Sephardic communities throughout the world until the devastation of the Holocaust.

So, what is it today that tells us “how to be and how to see” or that gives us “distilled wit and wisdom”?  Commercials?  Kids’ peers  who though they are too young to have their identity or sense of morality screwed in yet, are full cool or snide remarks?  And where did those cool and snide remarks come from?  TV?  Movies?  Corporate T-shirts?

Who is defining Sephardic identity this way?

It's not a party without a Sephardi Is this how Sephardic culture differs from other cultures?  Sephardic T-shirts read “Love me I’m Sephardic.”  For the Irish culture,  it’s “Love me I’m Irish.”  One Irish T-shirt reads “I’m tired of all these Irish stereotypes.  As soon as I finish this drink, I’m going to punch someone.”   Is “It’s not a party without a Sephardi” a stereotype?Is any of this satisfying?   Does it substitute for young people having a language that is uniquely their own and one that carries wisdom and poetry within it?

Michael Castro goes on to say that

Sephardic  proverbs  speak  [in Ladino] with  an  ancient  authority  of  the collective consciousness. Their particular perspectives subtly remind Sephardim, whether they come from communities in Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, North or South America, of  their identity. Their beauty, grace and worldly wisdom evoke a proud heritage in Spain and its golden age of poetry and philosophy.

Hard to get that from TV or on a T-shirt.

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