top of page

What is Judeo Spanish or "Ladino"? לאדינו מהי

The Judeo Spanish language better known as "Ladino" is the language of the Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula, who after 1492 settled in the Ottoman Empire, on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean, in North Africa and later also in the Jewish areas in Western Europe and in the United States. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Sephardi Jews continued living in Turkey, the Balkans: Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia, North Macedonia, as well as in Eretz Israel.

The Sephardic Jews preserved the language of Spain for centuries, incorporating non-Sephardic linguistic and cultural elements, that along with the Hebrew language created a unique, rich and diverse Jewish language in literary works.

Ladino is a language of generations and a language for generations.

Welcome to the Salti Foundation

Yehoshua Selim Salti grew up in Istanbul, in a family with a strong Jewish identity. When he was 10, he learned that the vast majority of Balkan Jewry and Ladino speaking Jews had perished in the concentration camps during World War II. While growing up, he decided to do his best to keep Ladino alive.

Thus, he established The Yehoshua Salti Foundation with the vision of creating an environment for the flourishment of Ladino as well as offering a better future to young people in Israel by gifting successful students in need of support with financial assistance to empower them to continue their studies at institutions of higher education.

The Salti Foundation has been fulfilling the goal of its founder Mr. Yehoshua Selim Salti, since its inception; enabling in depth academic research on Ladino and extending access to the multitude of interested persons the Ladino heritage and culture while ensuring the creation and diffusion of Ladino culture.

The Naime and Yehoshua Salti Center for Ladino Studies for the preservation of Ladino and Sephardic Culture has been established within the Bar Ilan University (BIU) in 2003. With further flourishing activities and research the Center has progressed into an institute over the years. The Salti Institute for Ladino Research is now an internationally recognized and respected hub of Ladino knowledge established within the Faculty of Jewish Studies of BUI. Headed by its founding Director Prof. Shmuel Refael who himself is a former Salti fellow, "the Institute is an integral part of the Bar-Ilan University's tradition of preserving Jewish Culture" says its patron who sits on the University's Board of Trustees and considers BIU "his second home".

To ensure a better future for young people in Israel and to assist them with their professional aims; to date, the Foundation has distributed many hundreds of scholarships in the amounts of NIS 2,000 to NIS 8,000 per year per student, and encourages students to apply for scholarships for the duration of their studies. 

With BA, MA, and PhD studies, conferences and collaboration with European and American universities, and a modern research library, the Salti Institute has put Ladino on the academic map. The Institute serves as a center for meetings for researchers from Israel and the Diaspora, and is home to a new generation of young researchers who want to make their own contribution to the study of Ladino and its culture. Most importantly; its activities, ongoing parallel non-academic courses and the increasing numbers of researchers' and academicians' works have heightened public awareness of Ladino.

Scholarship submissions for the academic year 5764 will begin on Jan.1.2023. 

Please kindly go to the relevant page for detailed Hebrew information on new submissions.

For follow up on the status of 5763 scholarships in Hebrew, please click here


bottom of page