LADINO RABBINIC WORKS PUBLISHED IN BELGRADE: A RICH JEWISH PAST ON ITS WAY TO OBLIVION
Among the numerous Jewish books published in Belgrade between 1837 and 1905, there are approximately sixty Ladino works written by Sephardi authors scattered throughout the Ottoman Empire and the Mediterranean. Except for some novels, historical books, grammars of Hebrew language and a method for studying German, the majority of Ladino works published in Belgrade are of a religious character. The bulk of Ladino rabbinic literary
production in the Balkans was printed in Hebrew Rashi letters which makes these works unique but not easy to access. Works of rabbinic content are a valuable source of information about the life and work of pious Sephardi writers, the religious life of the Sephardim scattered in different Jewish communities of the Balkans, and their local customs and differing ways of applying Jewish law. While an important inventory and study of Ladino books was published in 1990 in Serbian by Ženi Lebl, titled Jewish books published in Belgrade 1837-1905, the works cited have not as yet received scholarly attention. The aim of this article is to revisit Lebl’s catalogue to identify relevant halakhic and ethical rabbinic works, as well as prayerbooks, written in Judeo-Spanish and published in Belgrade, thereby shedding light on Jewish printing in Serbia and the literary production of the most salient nineteenth-century Sephardic rabbis from the Balkans and the surrounding area.