House, Sephardic

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Sephardic House was established in 1978 as a correction to the often-overlooked contributions of the Sephardic community to American-Jewish culture. Founded by Rabbi Marc D. Angel, Mair Jose Benardete, David Barocas, and Louis N. Levy, all leaders in the Sephardic community, this new institution would promote Sephardic cultural and historical awareness.

Originally located at Congregation Shearith Israel, Sephardic House held events such as lectures, concerts, poetry readings, film festivals, art exhibits, cooking classes and tours of Spain, Portugal, and France that would become regular features of its programming. In 1990, Sephardic House created the first International Sephardic Film Festival to display the artistic vision of Sephardic actors, directors, and screenwriters in their depiction of Sephardic culture, history and tradition. This film festival has the international distinction of being the only film festival focusing on Sephardic culture. Like the film festival, other early programs evolved. The cooking classes while early on had focused primarily on cooking non-Jewish kosher ethnic cuisine eventually taught traditional Sephardic cooking. The traditions of various Sephardic ethnic groups are also celebrated in annual Sephardic Weekends.

The cultural programming of Sephardic House was handled by the Program Bureau. The Program Bureau was in charge of booking, funding, advertisements, registrations, and all of the coordinating for the events being held. While primarily focused on the events of Sephardic House, the Program Bureau also served as an agency for Sephardic artists, speakers, and other talent looking for additional work or for synagogues, community centers, and groups looking to book such talent.

In addition to cultural programming, Sephardic House began publishing in 1980 with the series “Studies in Sephardic Culture” assisted by the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture. In 1981, shortly after its founding Sephardic House began publishing a newsletter to keep its members abreast of events and developments in the Sephardic community, starting out at four pages in 1981 with limited information would eventually grow to eight pages by 2002 and include articles, poetry, and serial stories in addition to announcements and news. Sephardic House also became a distributor of Sephardic books, music, and videos.

In 1992, as Sephardic House continued to grow and became non-profit organization it found a new home on Broadway near the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. The new location allowed for further growth and a home it could call its own. In 2000, Sephardic House moved to its current home at the Center for Jewish History where it would be able to share the resources of other Jewish organizations in the city, especially with those of the American Sephardi Federation. By 2002, the effort to promote Sephardic culture would be strengthened with the unification of Sephardic House with the American Sephardi Federation. Sephardic House from 2002 onward primary focus would be cultural programming.

From the guide to the Guide to the Records of Sephardic House, undated, 1930-2010, (bulk 1979-2003), (American Sephardi Federation at the Center for Jewish History)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Guide to the Records of Sephardic House, undated, 1930-2010, (bulk 1979-2003) American Sephardi Federation at the Center for Jewish History
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alliance israélite universelle corporateBody
associatedWith American Friends of Greek Jewry corporateBody
associatedWith American Sephardi Federation corporateBody
associatedWith Amigos Sepharadis corporateBody
associatedWith Angel, Marc person
associatedWith Barocas, David N person
associatedWith Benardete, M. J. (Maír José), 1895- person
associatedWith Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education corporateBody
associatedWith Congregation Shearith Israel (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Gaon, Solomon person
associatedWith Institut Judeo-Espagnol de France corporateBody
associatedWith Ivri-NASAWI (New Association of Sephardi/Mizrahi Artists and Writers International) corporateBody
associatedWith Levy, Louis N. (Louis Nissim), 1918-1994 person
associatedWith Lower East Side Tenement Museum corporateBody
associatedWith National Foundation for Jewish Culture (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Ovadiah, Janice person
associatedWith Sephardic House corporateBody
associatedWith United Jewish Appeal corporateBody
associatedWith Yemenite Jewish Federation of America corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (NY)
Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles)
United States


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