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Guide to the Records of Sephardic House

Identifier: ASF AR 10

Scope and Content Note

Series I: Administrative

This series documents the administrative functions of Sephardic House. Documents include minutes and correspondence of the Board of Directors, memorandum and correspondence of the Executive Director, financial and fundraising records, labor records, membership records, and press releases. Some material in this series predates the creation of Sephardic House, such as the correspondence of Solomon Gaon writing in the 1960s to the Sephardic community in Sydney, Australia concerning the establishment of the first Sephardic Synagogue there. This material was included amongst the administrative correspondence and left to maintain order.

Series II: Mailings and Newsletters

This series contains the various mailings and newsletters sent by Sephardic House pertaining to various topics and events. These include the main newsletter of Sephardic House.

Series III: Programming

This series records the activities of the Program Bureau of Sephardic House and includes such documents pertaining to advertising, planning, and talent. Some of the various events planned by the Program Bureau include the International Sephardic Film Festival, concerts, poetry readings, lectures, tours, educational trips, cooking classes, and Sephardic Experience weekends.

Since its founding in 1978, Sephardic House’s main mission was the celebration of Sephardic culture primarily through events. In 1990, the Program Bureau was created to respond to the large number of requests that had been received to assist communities in formulating program ideas and providing them with resources and talent.

Series IV: Publications

This series documents the efforts of Sephardic House’s publication division. It includes documents relating to book orders, contracts, funding, Publications Committee meeting minutes and correspondence, manuscript selection, and special publications.

Series V: Resources

This series contains the various subject and resource files held by Sephardic House on various aspects of the Sephardic culture and communities and other Jewish organizations. Additionally there are a number of periodicals from other Sephardic organizations.

Series VI: Audio and Visual Materials

This series contains various audio-visual materials, including audiocassettes, filmstrips, slides, and photographs related to Sephardim. The majority of documents in this series are slides and photographs.


  • Creation: undated, 1930-2010
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1979-2003

Language of Materials

The collection is in English with some French, Hebrew, Ladino, and Spanish.

Access Restrictions

The bulk of this collection is open to researchers. Folders that have 'RESTRICTED' notes are not open to researchers, as they contain sensitive material.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

American Sephardi Federation, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011


Historical Note

Sephardic House was established in 1978 as a correction to the often-overlooked contributions of the Sephardic community to American-Jewish culture. Founded by Rabbi Marc D. Angel, Mair Jose Benardete, David Barocas, and Louis N. Levy, all leaders in the Sephardic community, this new institution would promote Sephardic cultural and historical awareness.

Originally located at Congregation Shearith Israel, Sephardic House held events such as lectures, concerts, poetry readings, film festivals, art exhibits, cooking classes and tours of Spain, Portugal, and France that would become regular features of its programming. In 1990, Sephardic House created the first International Sephardic Film Festival to display the artistic vision of Sephardic actors, directors, and screenwriters in their depiction of Sephardic culture, history and tradition. This film festival has the international distinction of being the only film festival focusing on Sephardic culture. Due to the popularity of the film festival, other community programs evolved. Cooking classes taught both non-Jewish kosher ethnic cuisine as well as traditional Sephardic cooking. The traditions of various Members of local Sphardic communities also celebrated annual Sephardic Weekends.

The cultural programming of Sephardic House was handled by the Program Bureau. The Program Bureau was in charge of booking, funding, advertisements, registrations, and all of the coordinating for the events being held. While primarily focused on the events of Sephardic House, the Program Bureau also served as an agency for Sephardic artists, speakers, and other talent looking for additional work or for synagogues, community centers, and groups looking to book such talent.

In addition to cultural programming, Sephardic House began publishing in 1980 with the series “Studies in Sephardic Culture” assisted by the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture. In 1981, shortly after its founding Sephardic House began publishing a newsletter to keep its members abreast of events and developments in the Sephardic community, starting out at four pages in 1981 with limited information would eventually grow to eight pages by 2002 and include articles, poetry, and serial stories in addition to announcements and news. Sephardic House also became a distributor of Sephardic books, music, and videos.

In 1992, as Sephardic House continued to grow and became non-profit organization it found a new home on Broadway near the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. The new location allowed for further growth and a home it could call its own. In 2000, Sephardic House moved to its current home at the Center for Jewish History where it would be able to share the resources of other Jewish organizations in the city, especially with those of the American Sephardi Federation. By 2002, the effort to promote Sephardic culture would be strengthened with the unification of Sephardic House with the American Sephardi Federation. Sephardic House from 2002 onward primary focus would be cultural programming.


17.5 Linear Feet (34 manuscript boxes, 1 half-size manuscript box and 1 card box)


Sephardic House was established in 1978 as a correction to the often-overlooked contributions of the Sephardic community to American-Jewish culture. The Records of Sephardic House documents the administrative, programming, and publishing activities of Sephardic House since its founding. Such documents include financial records, meeting minutes, correspondence, artist portfolios, press releases, photographs, slides, and much more.


This collection has been arranged into six series based on the various aspects of the records and their relation to the mission of Sephardic House. Within each series, the folders are arranged alphabetically by title and then by date.

  1. Series I: Administrative, 1967-2003, (bulk 1979-2003)
  2. Series II: Mailings and Newsletters, 1979-2002
  3. Series III: Programming, undated, 1979-2010
  4. Series IV: Publications, undated, 1982-2005, (bulk 2003-2005)
  5. Series V: Resources, undated, 1897-2002, (bulk 1980-2000)
  6. Series VI: Audio Visual materials, undated, 1957-2002

Related Material

Material related to the creation of Sephardic House and its mission can be found in the records of the American Sephardi Federation, 1979-2008 (ASF AR 6).

Guide to the Records of Sephardic House, undated, 1930-2010 (bulk 1979-2003) ASF AR 10
Processed by Michael D. Montalbano
© April 2010.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation
Edition statement
This version was derived from SephardicHouse.xml

Revision Statements

  • 2018: Additional physical processing (including accretion processing) in 2018 by Janine Veazue. Credit card information and photocopies of checks as well as order forms relating to Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and book sales that contained sensitive information were deaccessioned.

Repository Details

Part of the American Sephardi Federation Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States