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Sephardic-American Voices: Two Hundred Years of a Literary Legacy written by Diane Matza


Sephardic-American Voices: Two Hundred Years of a Literary Legacy written by Diane Matza


This collection of stories, poems, and plays by American Jews of Sephardic descent gives voice to a culture previously unheard in a literary canon with a predominantly Eastern European and Ashkenazic accent. Representing only five percent of US Jewish immigrants, Sephardim have necessarily existed on the margins of Jewish and American life. Yet these Jews of Spanish, Greek, and Middle Eastern origins have, as Diane Matza demonstrates, maintained their ethnic identity despite persecution, expulsion, and prolonged cultural insularity.

These selections, many available for the first time, span nearly three centuries and examine themes such as the centrality of family life, the pain of uprooting from established communities, collision between tradition and assimilation, roles and relationships of men and women, and the toxicity of self-hatred. Informed by sources ranging from biblical literature to historical events, oral traditions, classical poetics, the beat generation, and postmodern ironies, these works introduce a literature that, "though small on an absolute scale and little known, forces us to take a new critical perspective on Jewish American writing."


A groundbreaking literary anthology reveals the nature and history of a lesser-known but vital branch of Jewish culture.

Shofar Journal

Seeks to define what it means to be a Sephardic-American writer, and dramatizes the relationship of this literature to the body of work created by American Ashkenazim.

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Title: Sephardic-American Voices: Two Hundred Years of a Literary Legacy

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