...Ladino Song for Chanukah by Flory Jagoda
arranged by Joshua Jacobson
Performed by the Singing Sergeants (U.S. Air Force)
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This song relives the memories of Flory Jagoda, born in 1925 in Sarajevo, Bosnia as her family celebrated the eight-day Jewish Holiday Chanukah, known as the “Festival of Lights;” each night another candle of the eight-branched Menorah is lit. Flory learned the songs her grandmother sang as a member of the Jewish Sephardic community, a group exiled from Spain in the15th Century. The language of this exiled Sephardim people was Ladino or Judeo-Español, which is a form of Medieval Spanish; Ladino is in serious danger of extinction but it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music. Flory Jagoda is a leader in this revival.
During WW II she lost 42 members of her family to the Holocaust. She and her surviving relatives were imprisoned on the island of Korcula (modern day Croatia). They escaped to Italy where she met “the most handsome [U.S. Army] master sergeant.” They married in 1945, moved to the United States and settled in Falls Church, Virginia to raise their children.
Among her many awards in preserving her Sephardic songs for future generations, she received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002.