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Sephardi Voices: Curator Talk

This video explores the origins and movement of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. Sephardi means ‘Spain’ in Hebrew and refers to Jewish people who have their cultural background in Spain, Portugal, North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Jewish communities thrived in many North African and Middle Eastern countries and Iran for centuries, enriching and being influenced by their societies. Today, very few Jews remain following mass departure and displacement since the middle of the 20th century.

This video also looks closely at a cup and saucer from Aleppo in Syria. It was made in 1920 and donated to the Jewish Museum by the Shalom family who moved from Syria to Manchester. This cup and saucer set would have been used for the Havdalah ceremony which is done at the end of Shabbat (the Sabbath) to mark the separation between the day of rest and the normal working week.

Havdalah means ‘separation’ and is the closing ceremony to Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Havdalah takes place after sundown on Saturday evenings when the first three stars have appeared in the sky. During the ceremony, Jewish people say blessings over wine, light a plaited candle, and smell fragrant spices in a spice box or spice tower.

The oral history archive Sephardi Voices UK, gathers video testimonies to keep the memories of these vanished communities alive and to document the journeys of migration, exile, and resettlement.

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