Neveh Shalom – Dwelling Place of Peace – was one of the first synagogues built in Spanish Town, Jamaica during the 17th century. The Neveh Shalom Institute is chartered to promote projects to preserve the history, culture, and artifacts of the Jewish existence in, and contribution to Jamaica, from the 17th century.  > „Holy Congregation Dwelling Place of Peace“ <

The Jüdisches Museum Wien, or the Jewish Museum Vienna, is a museum of Jewish history, life and religion in Austria. The present museum was founded in 1988 in the Palais Eskeles in the Dorotheergasse, Vienna, and has distinguished itself by a very active programme of exhibitions. Read More: > HERE <

Sephardi Jews (Hebrew: סÖפÖרÖדÖÖי, Modern Sefaraddi Tiberian Səp̄Äraddî, plural: Hebrew: סÖפÖרÖדÖÖים, Modern Sefaraddim Tiberian Səp̄Äraddîm; Spanish Sefardíes; Portuguese Sefarditas, Greek Σεφάρδοι Sefardoi, Bulgarian сефаради sefaradi, Turkish Sefarad, Judaeo-Spanish Sefardies, Arabic: سفارديون) are Jews who define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and traditions which originated in the Iberian Peninsula before the expulsion of Jews from that area in the late fifteenth century (after Islam left it), and usually defined in contrast to Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews. The Sephardim have distinguished themselves as physicians and statesmen, and have won the favor of rulers and princes, in both the Christian and the Islamic world. That the Sephardim were selected for prominent positions in every country in which they settled was only in part due to the fact that Spanish had become a world-language through the expansion of Spain into the world spanning Spanish Empire—the cosmopolitan cultural background after long associations with Islamic scholars of the Sephardic families also made them extremely well educated for the times, even well into the European Enlightenment. Read More: > HERE <

The year 1492 was a fateful one for Spain. It was the year in which the Reconquista finally ended eight hundred years of Arab Muslim rule, the Jews were expelled from the country, and Christopher Columbus set off on a journey that was to lead to the discovery of the New World.

The exhibition „The Turks in Vienna“ looks at the impact of one of these significant historical events that marked the end of the Middle Ages in Europe, namely the expulsion from Spain of the Jews, who found refuge in North Africa, some Italian cities and, above all, in the Ottoman Empire. They fled initially to Portugal before leaving the Iberian Peninsula for Holland and northern Germany. Following the Ottoman conquests, Jews of Spanish descent-called „Sephardim“-were able to form culturally and economically significant communities in the Balkans. There were contacts between the Jews in Vienna and the Sephardim, or Turkish Jews, even during the era of the ghetto in Unterer Werd, but it was not until the peace treaties between the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the eighteenth century that Turkish Jews were able to move freely in the Habsburg Empire.

After the establishment of the Turkish Jewish community in Vienna, an imperial patent gave it permission to hold religious services. The community had its prayer house from the outset in the 2nd district. In 1887, the impressive Moorish-style Sephardic-Turkish temple was inaugurated in Zirkusgasse, with portraits of the Habsburg and Ottoman regents in the foyer as indication of the community’s loyalty to both rulers and countries. In November 1938, this jewel of Jewish sacral architecture was destroyed along with practically all other synagogues and Jewish prayer houses in Vienna, and most of the community was subsequently deported and exterminated.

The Sephardic Jews in Vienna were in many ways communicators between East and West, Orient and Occident, Asia and Europe, a role that was performed in the first place as merchants and dealers importing wool and cotton, silk and tobacco, sugar and spices to the West. Their function as active exponents of the Austrian post office in Constantinople and the Levant, Austrian Lloyd, and the Orient Express is also highlighted in the exhibition „The Turks in Vienna.“

The Sephardic Turks played this communicating role at the cultural level as well. They set up the first printing works in Constantinople and the Sephardic press in Vienna. There rabbinical tradition also received significant stimulus from the Sephardic Jews. The treasures of medieval Spanish-Turkish poetry were passed on and translated, and the Sephardim were also responsible for developing Jewish mysticism. Moreover, they were the first to make Arab philosophy and medicine available to the Western world. Sephardic scholars became famous as scientists and rabbis, as translators, philosophers, and Hebrew studies specialists. Sephardic publishers distributed their writings throughout the Ladino-speaking world and produced writers of the caliber of Elias Canetti, to mention but one example. Info:

All of these facets of the Sephardic Diaspora and its contribution to the cultural history of the Eastern and Western world can be seen in the exhibition „The Turks in Vienna“ from May 12 to October 31, 2010, at the Jewish Museum Vienna.

The > Türkischer Tempel < (English: Turkish Temple) was a synagogue in Vienna. It was built specifically for a community of Sephardi Jews, who originally came from Turkey. The synagogue was built in a Turkish, almost Islamic style, with a dome. The building was destroyed during the Reichskristallnacht in 1938.

Sephardic music has its roots in the musical traditions of the Jewish communities in medieval Spain. Since then, it has picked up influences from Morocco, Argentina, Turkey, Greece, and the other places that Spanish Jews settled after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. There are three types of Sephardic songs — topical and entertainment songs, romance songs and spiritual or ceremonial songs. Lyrics can be in several languages, including Hebrew for religious songs, and Ladino.

Los Desterrados — ‚The Exiles‘ — are a London sextet who have created their own radical, rousing and rootsy take on the ancient folk music of the Sephardic Jews.

As the Gypsy Kings reinvigorated flamenco and the Gotan Project revitalised tango so Los Desterrados have brought vibrant new life to Sephardic music. Fusing Spanish Flamenco and the fiery Gypsy melodies of the Balkans and Greece, with the rhythms of Morocco and Turkey, Los Desterrados have created a rootsy Mediterranean sound that is wholly their own.

Featuring traditional instruments such as the cajón and’oud with vocals in Ladino, the language of the Sephardic Jews, or Hebrew, the unconventional arrangements and rousing rhythms Los Des wield are heavily influenced by the music they’ve all grown up on a native North Londoners – rock ’n‘ roll, jazz, folk, flamenco, funk and soul.

SEFARAD RECORDS is a contemporary musical enterprise that produces recordings and live concerts of ethnic folk music from a remarkably diverse repertoire spanning many centuries and cultures. From joyous Moroccan hymns of celebration to Turkish and Persian love songs, from flamenco-inspired dances to entrancing Sufi mwashahas, Sefarad Records celebrates the harmonies and resonances of many shared musical and oral traditions. May our voices be heard as one voice for the sake of peace and mutual understanding.

„All day and night, music, a quiet, bright reedsong. If it fades, we fade.“

– Rumi