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VIA ZOOM: Lunch & Learn

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 23 Cheshvan 5781

11:30 AM - 1:00 PMPlease register below and the Zoom link will be sent to you in an email

Discussion, piano & Song with rivka amado


Scroll to the bottom of this page to register and to get a sampling of Rivka's new songs!

We are happy to welcome back Rivka Amado, a musician and lecturer specializing in Judeo-Spanish music, culture and history, with a focus on Sephardic women’s songs and spiritual experiences. 

At this Lunch & Learn Rivka will discuss the role of Sephardic women and their contributions to the preservation of their heritage. After the expulsion from Spain in 1492,  women came to play a central role in preserving Jewish--and Sephardic--culture. In the far-flung Spanish Diaspora, women used songs and story-telling to transmit culture and as a form of educating their children.

Their songs reflected the values of the Sephardic culture-- longing for the return to Spain, and universal concerns of love, loyalty, and tradition. Their songs also reveal the earthy secularism that was part of the Sephardic tradition. In those tens of thousands of households which outwardly converted to Christianity, but secretly continued to practice Judaism, women played an especially crucial and unique role.  In traditional Judaism the synagogue was the domain of men and the home was the domain of women, but after "conversion," the household replaced the synagogue as the spiritual center for Conversos, and as a consequence women ascended to many roles previously held by men: teachers, ritual slaughters, transmitters of ritual and tradition.

In her talk Rivka will explore the role of women in both types of communities, the religious communities in the wake of the Spanish Diaspora, illustrating some of her points with Sephardic songs and legends.

Rivka Amado was born in Holon Israel, and spent most of her adult life in Jerusalem before moving to Berkeley, California in 2004. She traces her roots back to prominent Sephardic families—the Amado’s and the Barbut’s–on both sides of her family. After their expulsion from Spain both families eventually found their way to the Balkans where they remained for generations. Rivka’s parents made aliyah in 1933. She grew up in a Ladino-speaking home in Holon, where she learned traditional melodies from her grandmother, Rivka Amado-Mandil. For years Rivka sang Ladino songs and played the piano informally, and as well as sang in her synagogue choir in Jerusalem. Since moving to Berkeley, she has dedicated much of her time researching Sephardic culture and performing traditional Ladino music. With the aid of guitarist Joel Siegel, she has developed a program, A Journey Back to Spain, in which she recounts the ways the Jews of Spain have been able to maintain their identity for five hundred years, long after their expulsion, first from Spain and then from the entire Iberian Peninsula. 

For your listening pleasure, below are links to her new compositions during the last 7 months of the pandemic. 


2)Like a drop

3)A precious time

4)City of Forgiveness

5)Oh My Lord

6)The day after

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Tue, November 24 2020 8 Kislev 5781