Sephardi Voices UK
Oral Histories of British Jews from North Africa, the Middle East and Iran
Welcome to Sephardi Voices UK
We record and capture the experiences of Jews from the Middle East, North Africa and Iran who settled in the UK. We've carried out over 100 interviews to date. Please get in touch if you'd like to share your story, or if you have resources or events you'd like us to share or promote.
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