Category Archives: History

Esther Amateau Pergament

Great Aunt Esther

August 22, 1914 – October 20, 2014
“Born on the Island of Rhodes the youngest of nine children, she immigrated to America in 1929. Educated, talented, and beautiful, she met her husband of 43 years in New York. On the day they met, Harvey was asked by his brother, “What do you think of the Spanish woman?” His reply, “She doesn’t know the time of day, but I’m going to marry her.” They married in 1942 and moved to Los Angeles in 1945, where they set up their home, and then proceeded to travel the world.
She is known by her extended family and friends for her traditional Sephardic cooking and hospitality.”
 
Esther will be remembered with tremendous love and affection for the joy she brought our family.
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Riff on a ram’s horn

Happy New Year!

Today I offer you an audiovisual mash up that’s best appreciated during this holiday. It’s brought to you by a biblical blast from a ram’s horn, and one of the musical heroes of my childhood. Continue reading

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Sephardic women built the Pyramids (and called them mustachudos)

That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows the Pyramids were built by extraterrestrials…

Whatever your own theory about who built the pyramids or how, several hundred years ago my female ancestors chose to commemorate the monumental labor with a monumental Passover cookie: the mustachudo.

 

Mustachudos (hazelnut spice pyramids from Rhodes)

Hazelnut mustachudos (Sephardic spice pyramids)

Any Sephardi whose family came from Rhodes (and a few other places) has some kind of mustachudo recipe. Mustachudos are soft, chewy cookies made from ground nuts. They weren’t always shaped like these neat little pyramids. That’s my doing. Continue reading

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What Do You Do With a Spanish Passport?

There’s an op-ed piece The New York Times this week about Spain’s current offer of citizenship to Sephardim, with a good analysis of the “real” motivation driving the offer. This follows an article that appeared in late January in The Forward, also well worth reading, in which a Sephardic American journalist considered his options, visited Spain, and said “no thanks” to the idea of a Spanish passport.

I wasn’t going to weigh in on this one, but I’ve changed my mind.

The Amateau (Amato) family in Rhodes, 1917

The Amateau (Amato) family in Rhodes, 1917

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