MATILDA KOEN-SARANO - Writer, Scholar, Poet, Storyteller.

Matilde Cohen Sarano


Keridos Amigos,

Tengo el grande plazer de enformarvos ke mi

diksionario ebreo/ladino-ladino/ebreo

ya salio i de la proksima semana ya se puede merkarlo.

Vos do aki el e-mail de la Kaza Editora:

zackmt at

i su numero de telefon: 02-6537790.

Saludos a todos,

Matilda Koen-Sarano


Jerusalem, October 1, 2006



Orijinal en djudeo-espanyol


Matilda was born in Milan, Italy, in 1939, to a Sephardic family from Turkey. Her grandfather, Moshe, was born in Bergama (Pergamon), Turkey, in 1874. Both her father, Alfredo, and her mother, Diana Hadjes, were born in Aydin, Turkey. Her father moved to Rhodes and lived there till 1925, and her mother moved to Izmir (Turkey) and lived there till 1937. They eventually married in Milan in 1938. During the Second World War the family was hidden on the Italian mountains, escaping the Nazi persecutions. Her father became the Secretary of the Jewish Community in Milan from 1945 until 1969.

In 1960, Matilda married Aharon Cohen, who is presently the Director General of The National Authority for Ladino and its Culture, and moved to Israel. She has lived in Jerusalem since 1962. She is the mother of three children and grand-mother of thirteen.

Matilda completed her studies in the Jewish Community’s School, and later studied at the Bocconi University in Milan. In 1979 she participated in a Seminar for Radio Programming in Judeo-Spanish at Kol Israel (The Israeli Radio) in Jerusalem. She received her B.A. in Italian Literature, Judeo-Spanish and Folklore in 1987 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For had been working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem (1974-1997) for twenty-three years and is now retired from this position.

The main goal of Matilda’s activities and labors has been the conservation and revitalization of the Judeo-Spanish (or Ladino) language, culture and heritage. As a survivor of the Holocaust and the attempts to annihilate Jewish culture, she considers this the mission of her life.

To this end she:

1) has taught the Judeo-Spanish language at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev (from 1996-97 to 2001-02), and gives presently one course for Ladino teachers organized by The National Authority for Ladino and its Culture, in Jerusalem, (since 1998-99), and one course of Ladino language in the Bet Shmuel in Jerusalem (2005-2006). She gave a course of Ladino Culture at The Center for Classical Oriental Music and Dance in Jerusalem (2002-03). She taught the Judeo-Spanish folk-tale at the Midreshet Amalia in Jerusalem (from 1991-92 to 1998-99).

2) is a broadcaster for Kol Israel, where she not only did the news in Ladino (1995-2004), and hosts her own programs featuring Judeo-Spanish music and folk-tales and poetry (since 1996) as well. She is also a frequent guest on mainstream Israeli Radio where she comments on Italian music and folklore, as well as Judeo-Spanish subjects (since 1985).

3) writes for the Judeo-Spanish periodicals “Aki Yerushalayim” (since 1979), and wrote for “Los Muestros” in Brussels (1990-2000), and has published many scholarly articles in Israel, abroad and on the Internet.

4) appears as a storyteller all over Israel and abroad, either alone or in conjunction with the singers Betty Klein, Nurit Henig, Koby Zarko, Jill Rogoff, Dganit Daddo, Ofrí Eliaz and Moty Abramov. She also does volunteer work in schools and retirement homes around the country. She participates every year at the Israeli “Festival of Narrators” in Givatayim.

5) has in Jerusalem a monthly club of storytellers in Judeo-Spanish (since 1986), and the winter club “Viní kantaremos” with the singer Betty Klein, to teach Judeo-Spanish songs (since 1995). She participated in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 in the organization and the presentation of the “Festiladino” (The Festival of Ladino New Songs).

6) has participated since 1988 in twenty-six international conferences and many national conferences concerning Judeo-Spanish language, culture and folklore.

7) has lectured and performed in Argentina (in 1992, 1999 and 2002), in Mexico (in 1996, 1998 and 2003) and in Uruguay (in 1999 and 2002) in the field of the Judeo-Spanish language, culture and folklore. She has given courses for teachers and pupils in Mexico City, and was present at the performance of her own musical comedy “Sefaradís de dor en dor” by the pupils of the Colejio Sefaradí (1998). She performed, together with the actor Leon Sasson, her own musical comedy “Maridos i mujeres” in Paris (2002), sponsored by the Ladino group “Akí estamos”. She participated at two Ladino Festivals in the Tufts University (2001 and 2003).



Kuentos del folklor de la famiya djudeo-espanyola + cassette of folk-tales, Kana, Jerusalem, 1986 (Judeo-Spanish/Hebrew).

Djohá ke dize?, Kana, Jerusalem, 1991 (idem).

Konsejas i konsejikas del mundo djudeo-espanyol, Kana, Jerusalem, 1994 (idem).

Lejendas i kuentos morales de la tradisión djudeo-espanyola, Nur, Jerusalem (idem), 1999 .

Viní kantaremos, collection of Judeo-Spanish songs, Author’s Edition, Jerusalem, 1993/2006.

Sipuré Eliau Anaví, with remarks of Shifra Safra, Midrashiat Amalia, Jerusalem, 1993-94 (idem).

De Saragoza a Yerushaláyim, Ibercaja, Zaragoza, 1995 (Judeo-Spanish).

Storie di Giochà, in two editions: one for schools (1991) and another for the general public, Sansoni, Firenze, 1990 (Italian).

Le storie del re Salomone, Sansoni, Firenze, 1993 (Italian).

King Solomon and the Golden Fish, Translation with notes by Reginetta Haboucha, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan (English) 2004.

Sefaradís de dor en dor, 1) Musical (music by Hayim Tsur), Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Jerusalem., 1997. 2) Adaptation to Radio Play in 1999.

Mil i un Djohá, Musical (music by Hayim Tsur), Author’s Edition, Jerusalem, 1998 (Judeo-Spanish). (English translation by Gloria J. Ascher, 2003).

1) Kurso de Djudeo-Espanyol (Ladino) para Prinsipiantes, Merkaz Eliachar Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, 1999. Translation into English by Gloria J. Ascher, idem 1999/2002. 2) Kurso de Djudeo-Espanyol (Ladino) para Adelantados, Merkaz Eliachar, Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, 1999. (idem as above). 3) With Maymon Benchimol, Vokabulario Djudeo-Espanyol (Ladino) - Ebreo; Ebreo-Djudeo-Espanyol (Ladino), Merkaz Eliachar, Ben-Gurion in the Negev, 1999. 4) Tabelas de verbos en Djudeo-Espanyol (Ladino), Author’s Edition, Jerusalem, 1999.

Ritmo antiko, poems and songs, Jerusalem (Judeo-Spanish/Hebrew) 2005.

Por el plazer de kontar – Tales of my life, Selection, Nur Afakot, Jerusalem 2006 (Judeo-Spanish).

1) C.D. Jewish Ladino Songs, Hataklit, Ramat-Gan, 1993 (5 songs in Judeo-Spanish) (words: Matilda Koén-Sarano, music: Hayim Tsur). 2) C.D. Nostaljía, Hataklit, Ramat-Gan, 1995 (18 songs in Judeo-Spanish) (words: Matilda Koen-Sarano, music: Hayim Tsur). 3) C.D. Sefaradís de dor en dor (The Musical Comedy’s Songs), words: Matilda Koén-Sarano; music: Hayim Tsur), Hataklit, Ramat-Gan, 1999. 4) C.D. Dí ke no es tadre, 14 new songs in Judeo-Spanish (words: Matilda Koén-Sarano, music: Avraham Reuveni), Jerusalem 2002.

Kuentos salados djudeo-espanyoles, Editorial Capitelum, Valencia, 2000.

Maridos i mujeres, Musical Radio Play in 12 sketchs, Music: Hayim Tsur, Author’s Edition, Jerusalem, 2000 (in Judeo-Spanish).

Folktales of Joha, Jewish Trickster, translated into English by David Herman, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 2003.

Tres ermanikas, Musical, music: Hayim Tsur, Author’s Edition, Jerusalem, 2000 (in Judeo-Spanish).

El kurtijo enkantado, Judeo-Spanish Folktales, Nur Hafakot, Jerusalem 2003.

Guerta muzikal: Koleksión de piesas teatrales djudeo-espanyolas, (including: Sefaradís de dor en dor, Musical and Radio-Play, Maridos i mujeres,El novio imajinario, Mil i un Djohá, Tres ermanikas) by Matilda Koén-Sarano, Moshé Bahar, Hayim Tsur and Avraham Reuveni, in a volume, Author’s Edition, Jerusalem 2002.

Kuentos del bel para abasho, Judeo-Spanish Folktales, Ed. Shalom, Istanbul 2005.

Vejés liviana, Judeo-Spanish Folktales, Ed. Nur (Judeo-Spanish/Hebrew) (in preparation).

Hebrew-Ladino, Ladino-Hebrew Dictionary, Ed. Zak, Jerusalem (in preparation).



Matilda Koén-Sarano
Rehov Harav Herzog 6, Jerusalem 92387
P.O.B. 34040, Jerusalem 91340
Tel. 02-5663533; 050-5647634
Fax.: 02-5617697



Algunos artículos y poemas suyos :

La mujer en el reflan djudeo-espanyol

La djoya

"Ken da en vida merese apiedregado"

La komponente kulinaria i linguístika turka en la kuzina djudeo-espanyola

Sistemas de grafía en ladino en el kampo de la rekuperasión de la memoria

Giochà nel mondo moderno (in Italian)


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