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Thursday, January 12 - Sunday, January 22



Join PJ Library and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven's Center for Jewish Life and Learning for the first ever Celebration of Jewish Latin & Ladino Life in Greater New Haven, a 10-day series of events that highlight Ladino and Jewish Latin food, heritage and experiences.


Learn more about each event by clicking through to their respective community calendar listings and then register using the form below.


Schedule of Programs & Events

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Ladino?

Ladino, also known as Judeo-Spanish, is a variety of Spanish that has absorbed words from Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, French, Greek, and Portuguese. The mother tongue of Jews in the Ottoman Empire for 500 years, Ladino became the home language of Sephardim worldwide. In present-day America, "Ladino" as a term is often used to signify not just the language itself, but the heritage and culture of Sephardic Judaism as a whole, through literature, music and food.

How is that different from "Jewish Latin Life"?

For starters, not all Jews from Latin America are Sephardic. While it is true that many are descended from conversos who fled Spain at the time of the Inquisition, many others are descended from Ashkenazi Jews who escaped from the Eastern European pogroms of the 1800s and, later, from the Holocaust. Even within a single Latin American country, you can have Sephardim whose heritage is closely entwined with Ladino living side-by-side with Ashkenazim who have created new traditions that blend Eastern European and Latin American cultures and heritages.

Get to Know Our Featured Guests

Jennifer Stempel


A Los Angeles native, Jennifer is a St. Louis-based storyteller, whose work has been featured by Woman’s Day, Rachael Ray Everyday, POPSUGAR, NBC Latino, PJ Library, The Nosher, MyJewishLearning.com, Be’chol Lashon, Jewish Daily Forward, and Relativity Media’s COIN.

Read more about her at https://www.jenniferstempel.com/articles

Ruth Behar


Ruth Behar, the Pura Belpré Award–winning author of Lucky Broken Girl, was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. In addition to writing for young people, her work includes poetry, memoir, and the acclaimed travel books An Island Called Home and Traveling Heavy, which explore her return journeys to Cuba and her search for home.

Behar was the first Latina to win a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and other honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and being named a “Great Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation. She is an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Read more about her at https://www.ruthbehar.com/news/

Sarah Aroeste


Inspired by her family’s Sephardic roots in Macedonia and Greece, Sarah Aroeste writes and sings in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish dialect that originated by Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain in 1492.

In addition to producing music, Aroeste has also spoken widely and published countless articles about ways to preserve Ladino. In 2016, Aroeste’s Ora de Despertar children’s project won a coveted Parents’ Choice Award. She is currently working on writing Sephardic-themed books for children. Her first book, Buen Shabat, Shabbat Shalom was published March 2020 with Kar-Ben publishing and PJ Library, and her forthcoming book, Mazal Bueno, will be published in Spring 2023.

Read more about her at https://saraharoeste.com/press

Book Sales

  • Purchase Copies of Sarah and Ruth's Books from Possible Futures!

    The Jewish Federation has partnered with Possible Futures, Westville's newest "community bookspace" (a cross between a reading room and an independent bookseller), to sell copies of Ruth Behar and Sarah Aroeste's books. Books are available for purchase in advance through Possible Future's website, or you can purchase copies in-person at each of Ruth and Sarah's events.

Two Great Programs — One Easy Registration!

Select the number of tickets you want for each program from the dropdowns below and then checkout all at once. It's as simple as uno - dos - trez!