The Christian Science Monitor

The rabbi and the rapper: what they see in old Ladino love songs

Rabbi Simon Benzaquen (l.), who grew up in a rabbinical family in Spanish Morocco, and Alex Hernandez, a Mexican-born rapper and convert to Judaism, in Jerusalem. Together they are the musical duo Los Seranos, and they sing and rap in an old Spanish dialect, Ladino. Source: Dina Kraft

The Orthodox rabbi from Seattle and the rapper from Mexico believe they have stumbled upon a secret.

Romansas, songs of love and other subjects the Jews from Spain and Portugal carried with them and continued to sing for five centuries after their expulsion from Iberia, are not stories of human romance, but are metaphors for the tragedy of forced exile.

“A whole people who suffered so much after an expulsion, and you are telling me they don’t want to vent a little bit?” fumes Rabbi Simon Benzaquen. “Where did they do that? They put it in the songs.”

“If you read these  they read like a fight between man and woman who fight

A painful historyLadino’s roots

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor5 min read
Does Hungary Education Reform Mean More Patriotism, But Less Democracy?
Viktor Orbán’s education reform is making Hungary’s curriculum more patriotic, but critics say it’s at the expense of critical thinking and democracy.
The Christian Science Monitor2 min read
Trudeau’s Ultimate Test In Making Apologies
After apologizing often for official misdeeds of past governments, the prime minister faces voters over a racist-tinged misdeed and their judgment on his contrition.
The Christian Science Monitor5 min read
Immigrant Groups Sought Relief From Trump In Court. It Isn’t Working.
Last week, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration’s new restrictive rule on asylum-seekers to stand while the legal battle plays out.