Welcome to Sephardi Voices UK
Sephardi Voices UK was founded with the mission to record the experiences of Jews from the Middle East, North Africa and Iran who settled in the UK. Our filmed interviews document the fascinating history, rich culture and vibrant traditions of the communities our interviewees left behind.
Our work allows the families of our interviewees to connect with their past, whilst simultaneously allowing both researchers and members of the general public a window into the
histories of these unique communities.
Who are Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews?
Jews have lived in the Middle East, North Africa and Iran since ancient times. When the Sephardi (Hebrew word for ‘Spanish’) Jews of Spain and Portugal were expelled in the 15th century, many were welcomed by the Ottoman Empire. These Sephardi Jews joined the local Jewish communities and put down roots. Jews in the Middle East and North Africa were often referred to as Sephardi Jews, as they broadly followed customs and traditions of Sephardi Judaism. This terminology has gradually changed, and Jews from the region are now more commonly referred to as Mizrahi (the Hebrew word for ‘Eastern’). The rise of nationalism and broader global politics meant that from the mid-20th century Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities began to leave the region. Many were dispossessed and expelled, others left to escape worsening political and economic climates.
We have chosen to use the term Sephardi Voices UK for our archive in a broad inclusive way.
"The Jews from Arab Lands have become part of many different nations and cultures[…] Their stories need not just to be told, but to be recorded and available. Sephardi Voices can help all those who are going to write or teach Jewish history to have a superb source of something which should be as widely known as possible."
– Sir Martin Gilbert z”L
Leading historian on the Twentieth Century