Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Sarah Aroeste uses the power of Sephardic music to revitalize a lost Jewish community


Album art by Amos Funk

At the turn of the 20th century, the city of Monastir, present-day Bitola in North Macedonia, was home to the country's largest Jewish community, 11,000 people.

That's about half of the current Jewish population of Turkey, most of whom share the Ladino language and its music with Balkan Jewish communities like Monastir. But in March 1943, Monastir's Jews suffered genocide when the Nazis deported 98% of their people to Treblinka. None returned.

In 2017, Sephardic singer Sarah Aroeste received unexpected invitations from non-Jews in North Macedonia to perform her original Ladino songs in Bito...

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