JGSCV April 7 Program- Sephardic Jews in Los Angeles

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will hold a general meeting, co-sponsored with and located at Temple Adat Elohim, on Monday, April 7, 2014 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Temple Adat Elohim 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive,
Thousand Oaks, CA.  NOTE: Different day of week and time for this meeting only

The Program:   Sephardic Jews in Los Angeles    

Arthur Benveniste grew up in a tight community of Sephardic Jews from the island of Rhodes. Most of them lived within walking distance of the Sephardic Hebrew Center on 55th and Hoover. Until he was in high school, he thought that all Jews spoke Spanish.

Benveniste interviewed many of the founders of the community and videotaped several of them giving their memoirs. As director of the archives at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, he had access to the original minutes of La Comunidad Sefardi, written in Ladino and dating back to 1920, and to many other documents including photos from the synagogue files and from private collections.

The presentation will cover:
1. The history of the Spanish speaking Jews from around the Aegean, the Balkans and North Africa;
2. Settlement in Southern California and founding their Synagogues;
3. Benveniste’s discovery of Ashkenazi Jews and the differences in our cultures;
4. The differences between Ladino and Castilian Spanish and the many misinterpretations they have had; and
5. Sephardic culture, including folklore, cuisine and music, etc.

Speaker: Arthur Benveniste. His parents were from the Island of Rhodes where his ancestors lived for four hundred years. For many years, he has been interested in tracing the roots of Sephardic culture.  Benveniste has been active in the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies since 1993, where he was president of the society from 2001 to 2003. He served as the co-editor of Halapid, the newsletter of the society.

Arthur Benveniste has graced our society several times with his excellent presentations-each one different—all on Sephardism. For those of us who come from Eastern Europe and believe we are “only” Ashkenazi—unless you have traced your family back to the late 1400’s we can’t be 100% certain—as Jews fled the Inquisition and many went east.  Whether or not you have Sephardic roots you will find Arthur’s presentation of interest.

Arrive at 6:30 pm to use the traveling library.  Starting at 6:40 pm the schmoozing corner is available to ask a senior member about your genealogy. Warren Blatt, founding member and board member of JGSCV will be facilitating the schmoozing corner.

There is no charge to attend the meeting.  Anyone may join JGSCV. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family.  Join now for 2014!

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.

For more information, including directions to Temple Adat Elohim please see the JGSCV website:  www.jgscv.org

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

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