Judisk Kultur

J! Talks
Jewish Salonica

Jewish Salonica - Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece
Elisabeth Åsbrink i samtal med Devin Naar och Anders Hammarlund

Måndag 8 mars kl. 19:00 CET

Touted as the "Jerusalem of the Balkans," the Mediterranean port city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) was once home to the largest Sephardic Jewish community in the world. The collapse the Ottoman Empire and the city's incorporation into Greece in 1912 provoked a major upheaval that compelled Salonica's Jews to reimagine their community and status as citizens of a nation-state.

In his book, Jewish Salonica, historian Devin Naar describes the transition the Greek community underwent from being Ottoman subjects to Hellenic Jews during a period marked by rising nationalism and economic crisis as well as unprecedented Jewish cultural and political vibrancy.

Salonica's Jews—Zionists, assimilationists, and socialists—reinvigorated their connection to the city and claimed it as their own until the Holocaust. Through the case of Salonica's Jews, Naar recovers the diverse experiences of a lost religious, linguistic, and national minority at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East.

Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies and Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Washington.

Dr. Anders Hammarlund is a writer, ethnomusicologist, historian and musician, specializing in the cultures of Turkey and South-eastern Europe, with a special focus on Jewish history and culture. Among his publications A Prayer for Modernity: Politics and Culture in the world of Abraham Baer, which deals with one of the 19th-century pioneers of the scholarly study of chazzanut, the music of Jewish cantors.

Music as an arena of cultural integration in Salonica’s Ottoman society will be the main topic of Dr Hammarlund’s contribution to the Salonica program. Jewish musicians were deeply involved in the creation and cultivation of the makam, the Ottoman world of music.

Elisabeth Åsbrink is an award winning writer, translated into many languages. Her grandfather emigrated from Salonica to London in 1912. In her latest book, Abandonement (Övergivenhet, Polaris 2020), she tells his and her family’s history, as well as the fate of the Spanish Jews.

The Discussion will be held in English. 

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