Professor Devin Naar continues to impress the Seattle community and global community of Jewish Studies scholars with his work preserving the Ladino language and the culture of Seattle's Sephardic Jewish community. His work and community engagement were recently highlighted in a story in Tablet Magazine as well as in a radio interview aired on KUOW.
Tablet Magazine Feature: "Seattle’s Sephardi Jews Brought Us Starbucks: Now They’re Trying To Bring Back Ladino"
A recent story in Tablet Magazine does not exaggerate when it observes that "at 31, Naar is almost single-handedly saving the Ladino language and the customs of Seattle’s Sephardi Jews from vanishing along with its aging community."
Naar... joined the University of Washington faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor of history and quickly emerged as a salvific figure. An expert in Salonika and the fate of that Greek community’s Jews during World War II, he is one of the few people in greater Seattle fluent in Ladino—also known as Judeo-Spanish, Judezmo, or any number of other names no one can quite agree on—a dialect that mixes Medieval Spanish with elements of Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, French, and Italian that Jews who were cast out of Spain into the Mediterranean world picked up in the 500 years following the Expulsion.
Perhaps the only person in Seattle who can read the ancient Hebrew-based Ladino script, Naar has spear-headed an effort to create a digital archive of local Ladino language books and artifacts. When he put out a call to the Seattle Sephardic Jewish community asking to borrow documents to add to his archive, the response was overwhelming.
University of Washington History Professor Susan Glenn presented the annual David Belin Memorial Lecture in Jewish Public Affairs at the University of Michigan in March, where she spoke about “The Jewish Cold War: Anxiety and Identity in the Aftermath of the Holocaust.” Concurrently, a profile of Professor Glenn was featured in the March 2014 issue of the Washtenaw Jewish News in which she discussed her own Jewish identity.
The first comprehensive English-language biography of this important monarch, Emperor Huizong is a nuanced portrait that corrects the prevailing view of Huizong as decadent and negligent. Patricia Ebrey recasts him as a ruler genuinely ambitious—if too much so—in pursuing glory for his flourishing realm.