Sephardic-Jewish culture celebrated in Costa Rica

  (photo credit: Embassy of Israel in Costa Rica)
(photo credit: Embassy of Israel in Costa Rica)


Recently, the Israeli Embassy, in cooperation with the University of Costa Rica in Liberia, Costa Rica, sponsored an evening of Sephardic-Jewish music in Ladino, performed by Doris Benmaman, the Venezuelan singer, that brought Ladino music to life.

There is an undetermined number of people with Jewish ancestry living in Costa Rica, and there is a growing interest in Ladino music and Jewish culture. The Ladino language acts as a bridge between the two cultures.  In addition to the performance, the exhibit “Our Legacy,” featuring paintings, photos and ceramics,  presented Sephardic synagogues and culture. Artists Ilena Piszk and Ofelia Kellerman presented the connection between Costa Rican and Jewish cultures. The event took place as part of the national celebration of the annexation of the Guanacaste region to Costa Rica, in the presence of faculty of the local university, religious leaders and Israeli Ambassador Oren Bar- EL.

Credit - Israeli Embassy in Costa Rica

On July 26, the Israeli Embassy in Costa Rica opened an exhibit at the Guanacaste Museum in Liberia, capital of the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica, entitled “Ancient Connections,” that presents various aspects of the shared cultural heritage between the Jewish people and the history of Costa Rica, including settlement in Costa Rica of “Anusim,” Jews who were forced to abandon Judaism against their will, during the colonial period, and Jewish immigration to Costa Rica from Eastern Europe between the two World Wars. The opening event included a concert of Ladino music. The event was attended by local public figures and academic officials, including the director of the local branch of the National University, which, together with the municipality, provided local sponsorship for the event.

Ambassador Bar El noted, “The concert is a symbol of the diverse cultures that we all share.” 

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