The Future of Ladino
The Forward published an interesting article about this year’s commemoration of Ladino Day in New York, at the Center for Jewish History.
I am proud to report that one of the event participants, Emma Youcha, who studied Ladino at Tufts, was a member of our 2018 Jewish heritage tour of Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Greece.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Ladino was still the mother tongue of the vast majority of Sephardic Jews across the Balkans. But this situation quickly changed, as evidenced by the following statistical data from Bulgaria:
In the 1926 census, 89% of the Jewish population declared Ladino as their mother tongue, while 8% chose Bulgarian. In 1934, 58% were native Ladino speakers and 40% declared Bulgarian as their mother tongue.
There are still older member of Bulgaria’s Jewish community who are fluent in Ladino, and you may very well meet some of them on our Sofia Jewish tour.