Sephardic Studies Initiative

Ladino Theater

A Ladino theater production. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Jewish Historical Society Photo Archive, UW Special Collection

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.

Partnering with community leaders, the Sephardic Studies Initiative of the Stroum Jewish Studies Program 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.

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.

Sephardic Treasure: A rare Ladino language textbook published in Salonica, 1929. Courtesy of Isaac Azose.

The Sephardic Studies Initiative 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.


Find out more about our ground-breaking academic venture:


Sephardic Studies Initiatives:

  • Pilot Project: Seattle Sephardic Treasures: The First Online Ladino Library
  • New Voices in World Jewish Music: Sephardic & Ladino Musical Performances
  • Symposium with U.S. Holocaust Museum: Sephardic Jewry & the Holocaust
  • Visiting Scholars in Sephardic Studies: Sephardic history, language, and culture.
  • Sephardic Studies Student Programming: Internships and student group


Meet Dr. Devin Naar, the Sephardic Studies Initiative Coordinator

Naar headshotClick here for Professor Naar’s faculty page on JewDub.

Click here to contact Prof. Naar.




Sephardic Studies at UW in the News:

  • New Jersey Jewish News: Scholar with NJ roots creates digital Ladino library by Jill Garbi (September 25, 2012)
  • The Daily of the University of Washington: UW Professor Preserves Endangered Ladino Language by Joe Veyera (August 8, 2012)
  • 97.3 KIRO FM interview with Prof. Devin Naar: UW professor seeks to save a dying language by Brandi Kruse (August 6, 2012)
  • JTA article on the Sephardic Treasures Initiative: Rushing to Preserve Ladino Legacies, by Charlotte Anthony (July 25, 2012)
  • JTNews names Devin Naar one of their top 10 under 40 for 2012: It’s all Greek to him. Really. by Diana Brement (June 20, 2012)
  • JTNews feature on Dr. Naar’s arrival to UW: Mystery, Intrigue and the ‘Seattle of the Balkans’, by Emily K. Alhadeff (July 20, 2011)

Sephardic in Seattle: Solomon Calvo and Fred August, Pike Place Market, Seattle, ca. 1918. Photo Courtesy of the Washington State Jewish Historical Society Photo Archive, UW Special Collection


Contribute to the Sephardic Studies Initiative:

Support the growth of scholarship, teaching and community engagement in this important field.

Click here to make a gift.