Washington: Bimah and Beats

Rabbi Simon Benzaquen

Seattle, Washington has one of the largest communities of Sephardic Jews in the U.S. Rabbi Simon Benzaquen has been serving this community for 36 plus years. In addition to his typical rabbinical duties, he’s also part of a Ladino hip-hop group, that is putting a modern twist on classic songs. He says the ancient romanzas they perform were written by the Sephardim to articulate the pain and loss of being expelled from their homeland during The Inquisition. Benzaquen talks about the importance of preserving the Ladino language, and the role rap can play in that mission, in this music-heavy season 2 finale of American Rabbi Project.

– A transcription of this episode can be found here.
– You can listen to Los Serenos Sefarad here.
– You can learn more about Nissim Black here.
– You can learn more about the Sephardic history of Seattle here.

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