Customs and traditions

WEDDINGS AT THE SYNAGOGUE

Description: Șeli Natan Gaon recalls the marriage of his French cousin in Hatay and the strong religiosity of the Jews of that city. She also remembers the reaction of the groom's mother with regards to religious dress-code norms of Jews of Istanbul. Șeli illustrates this by describing a wedding in the Neve Salom Synagogue. She concludes by talking about the open-mindedness and modernity of Jews from Istanbul, especially among the younger generation.

Cite as: Las bódas en el kal – Weddings at the Synagogue; Șeli Natan Gaon, camera/ interview: Ioana Nechiti, transcription/ translation: Ioana Nechiti, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Imane Sghiouar, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0008a.

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OUR DESTINY IS WRITTEN IN THE STARS

Description: Suzan Levi recalls one of the memorable chapters in her life. She documents her personal journey growing up as a young woman in the district of Balat; a woman who, at a very young age, was compelled to work to help support her family as her father was subjected to Wealth Tax. She also details the moments she got engaged and eventually married. She describes in detail the circumstances of her engagement and the wedding, the customs that were common at the time and the joy of having children. In this interview, Suzan Levy leads us on an incredible journey in the years between the 1930s and 1950s.

Cite as: De loz óčo a loz očénta – Our destiny is written in the stars; performer: Suzan Levi, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Izabela Apostol, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0026a.

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THE STORY OF RACHEL

Description: In this videoclip, Forti Barokas discloses to us the inspiration for one of her theatre plays. Her grandmother used to tell her a story when she would not sleep or eat, a story inspired by the circumstances of her own life. She called it "The Story of Rachel". As a young girl, Rachel, an educated and refined young girl, was married to a merchant from Tekirdağ. There, her life changed completely. As a mother of five children, she was compelled to manage the household, take care of daily chores and help her husband produce wine. This is show her life continued until the day her eldest son managed to flee to Istanbul, where he went to school and worked. After a period of time, her son managed to bring his mum and his other siblings to Istanbul, enabling her to escape from her husband at a time when divorce was looked upon with deep shame. Forti remembered this "story" she had heard numerous times throughout her childhood and she eventually decided to base a theatre script around the story.

Cite as: La konsežíka de Rašél – The Story of Rachel; performer: Forti Barokas, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0025a.

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IZAK AND HIS TWO WIVES

Description: At the end of another extraordinary interview, Zelda once again takes our breath away with a marvellous, unique story about her grandfather, Izak and his two wives, Rachel and Zimbul. Izak had acquired a lot of wealth by the time he had reached old age. However, much to his chagrin, he and his wife had remained childless. One day, a friend advised him to marry a young Bulgarian refugee whose prospects in Turkey were grim. According to Zelda, marrying a second woman was something that very rarely happened among Jews. Harems were usually only heard of among the Muslim population. However, Izak's desire to have children finally persuaded him to marry this younger woman and before long she bore him three sons and two daughters. Zelda's narrative takes us into their shared life under the same roof, giving us an insight into the respect, love and care the two women, Rachel and Zimbul, bestowed upon one another. Their story has come to be held in high regard among younger generations. Zelda's actual name, Zümbül, was given to her as a way of honouring the memory of this union.

Cite as: Las dos mužéres de Izák– Izak and his two wives; performer: Zelda Natan, camera/  interview: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0028a.

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I WAS MARRIED BY TEN RABBIS 

Description: In this interview fragment, Lüsi Yafet recalls events from childhood, when she was ten years old, and her youth which she spent in Balat. She describes a number of daily practices including how children entertained themselves and how houses were built. She then explains how she became engaged and talks a little about her marriage. She delivers a very complex picture of the customs surrounding weddings during those times. Finally, Lüsi provides insight into language use during her younger years.

Cite as: Kon dyez khakhamímes kazí yo – I was married by ten Rabbis; performer: Lüsi Yafet, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0036a.

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WE USED TO GO TO THE HAMMAM BY TAXI

Description: In this episode, Sara Galimidi elaborates on her childhood which she spent in Hasköy. She discusses the housing she lived in, what life was like on the street, the interaction between family members, before giving an interesting account of the way the family used to go to public hammams together and how this became the highlight of their week. Her perspective complements that of her mother, Lüsi Yafet, showing how the customs of the Sephardim transitioned from a ghetto-like community way of life to the current propensity of living in neighbourhoods with a Turkish majority. In the second part of the video clip, she tells us about language use within her family.

Cite as: Kon un táksi al hamám mos vámos – We used to go to the hammam by taxi; performer: Sara Galimidi, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0037a.

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THE "KASHKARIKAS" ARE OF SPANISH ORIGIN

Description: Kaden Piçon introduces us in this fragment into five Sephardic recipes: "Kashkarikas" [courgette peelings], "Kalavasikas kon asukar" [courgette with sugar], "Rulikos de berenjena" [aubergine wraps with meat], "Pishkado kon avramila" [fish in sour plum sauce] and "Armi de tomat" [tomato and rice stew].

Cite as: Laz kaškaríkas es viníđo de la Espáña – The "Kashkarikas" are of Spanish origin; performer: Kaden Piçon, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0038a.

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I REMEMBER A FEW SONGS

Description: In this video, Sara Cohen Yanarocak shares her deep knowledge about the oral tradition in Ladino which was transmitted to her through her family. She reflects on the songs her aunt used to sing and tells the stories behind them. One song about a young girl in Madrid has its origins in Spain. The other is about a Jewish girl who falls in love with a Turkish man. After explaining the stories behind the songs, she draws a clear portrait of the Jewish society during those years and illustrates how marriage and dowry held the utmost importance for young Jewish women. She concludes the interview by telling the story of how her parents met and got married, allowing the listener an insight into how she experienced these stories.

Cite as: Me’sta vinyéndo aɫ tíno únas kantíkas– I remember a few songs; performer: Sara Cohen Yanarocak, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0041a.

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STORIES AROUND THE STOVE

Description: In this video Sara Yanarocak recalls stories about her mother’s family during wartime. She describes how the family was spending their time back then at home, the languages they spoke and songs they used to sing. The biographical anecdotes she recounts of each family member, gives us a very valuable insight into the Jewish life, the multicultural society, the attitudes towards ex-group marital practices.

Cite as: Istoryas del ogar – Stories around the stove; performer: Sara Cohen Yanarocak, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0043a.

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THE FISH IS A SIGN OF PROSPERITY

Description: In this video fragment, Soli Avigdor introduces us to the customs surrounding Jewish weddings in Edirne when she was a little girl. Her narration focuses on the description of a particular ritual that involves jumping over a fish as a sign of prosperity to the newly wed and their families.

Cite as: Un piškádo es berekét – The fish is a sign of prosperity; performer: Soli Avigdor, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0047a.

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SONGS FROM MY GRANDMOTHER

Description: In this interview segment, Korin Kalo sings several Sephardic songs to us that she had learned from her grandmother in her childhood. She accompanies the songs with little stories, anecdotes and explanations.

Cite as: Kansyónes de mi nóna – Songs from my grandmother; performer: Korin Kalo, camera/ interview: Ioana Aminian, transcription/ translation: Ioana Aminian, Deyvi Papo, Imane Sghiouar, editor: Deyvi Papo, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: ladi1251TRV0050a.

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