Devin e. naar and sarah aroeste adzkkr

Sarah Aroeste and Devin Naar in 2013


A singer and a scholar will bring their insights to an intellectually rich dialogue about their experiences with Sephardic culture and reimagining it for today’s world at Transmitting Jewish Culture Across the Generations, a special presentation that will take place February 25 as part of Seattle University’s Search for Meaning Festival.

International Ladino singer and songwriter Sarah Aroeste and University of Washington Sephardic Studies Program Chair Devin Naar will discuss their ideas for bringing Sephardic culture and consciousness to modern audiences. Their discussion will draw from Aroeste’s recently published bilingual children’s book, Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up) and Naar’s 2016 book, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece.

The dialogue is co-presented by the Search for Meaning Festival, Maureen and Joel Benoliel, the Seattle Sephardic Network, and the University of Washington’s Sephardic Studies Program.

Aroeste has spent the past 15 years bringing her contemporary style of original and traditional Ladino music to audiences around the world. Aroeste was trained in classical opera as a teen, but was drawn to Sephardic music after performing at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where she studied with Nico Castel, a Ladino singer and coach at the Metropolitan Opera. Her vocal repertoire combines traditional Mediterranean Sephardic sounds with contemporary rock, pop, electronica, and jazz influences. Since 2003, she has released five recordings.

Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff professor of Sephardic studies and associate professor of Jewish studies and history at the University of Washington. He chairs the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies’ Sephardic Studies Program, a world center of research, teaching, and dissemination of Sephardic culture and the Ladino language. He teaches courses on Jewish history and culture, Sephardic history and culture, the Holocaust, relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the former Ottoman Empire, and migrations of Jews from the Mediterranean world to the Americas.

The February 25 presentation will begin at 1 pm, and will be held in the LeRoux Room, Student Center 160, at Seattle University, 901 23th Ave., Seattle. A kosher reception will follow. Space is limited; registration is required by February 16. RSVP here


Other Jewish-related presentations not to miss:


Estelle Frankel, MS, MFT: Wisdom of ‘Not Knowing’: Spiritual Tools for Thriving in These Uncertain Times


Elizabeth Rosner: How Do We Heal the Wounds of History? Understanding and Addressing Intergenerational Trauma


Rabbi Elana Zaiman: How Do We Connect with the People We Love in These Disconnected Times?


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