In most Jewish communities throughout history, the dominant language of prayer has been Hebrew, the “holy tongue.” Yet, since antiquity, there has been a rich parallel tradition of prayer in the “mother tongue,” the primary language spoken in a region or country, or a recent ancestral mother tongue. This has been most common in Ladino/Judeo-Spanish, but there have been examples in several other languages.

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Reuben Eliyahu Israel's Ladino Selihot

Stroum Center, University of Washington

Asher Shasho Levy's concert/lecture on Judeo-Arabic Shabbat liturgy

Part 3 of a 4-part series, "Jewish Prayer in Many Languages"

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Seder tefilot be-targum le-Shuʾadit. Prayerbook in Judeo-Provencal, 14-15th century, University of Leeds Library

 

Judeo-Arabic

Habib Allah Eliyahu and Eliyahu Bil Karmel, Aleppo tradition

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Habib Allah Eliyahu from Sha'ar Benyamin,

the Damascene community in Mexico 

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Habib Allah Eliyahu, Iraqi version, credited to

R'Yosef Hayyim (Ben Ish Hai)

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Habib Allah Eliyahu, Gabriel Shrem

 

Judeo-Persian

Judeo-Persian from the Mashhadi community in New York, about the Sacrifice of Isaac

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Psalm 23 with Persian translation in the second half

Visit the High Holiday Liturgy page for more examples of Judeo-Persian

 

Judeo-Portuguese

London Portuguese Mi Shebarakh for those arrested by the Inquisition

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London Portuguese Mi Shebarakh for those traveling by land or sea

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London Portuguese Mi Shebarakh for Shabbat Mitsvot

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Ladino/Judeo-Spanish

 

Bendicho su nombre or La bendición a Israel (Berih Sheme), a Trezoro de Kantes (Ladino Song Treasure)

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Berikh Sheme in Ladino, Behar edition

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Elav Mi Hiqsha in Hebrew

Elav Mi Hiqsha, Hebrew, Zehut Yosef, Sea

Berikh Sheme, Salonika version, 1979

Elav Mi Hiqsha in Ladino

Elav Mi Hiqsha, Ladino, Zehut Yosef, Sea

En k'Elohenu in Ladino, a Trezoro de Kantes, Los Angeles edition

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En Kelohenu, Hazzan Isaac Azose, Seattle

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En Kelohenu, Moroccan Haketia Version

En k'Elohenu in Ladino alongside Hebrew script, Seattle edition

En Kelohenu in Ladino (Zehut Yosef, Seat

Ketubbah de La Ley (reading / marriage contract of the law) de Shavuot in Ladino, Seattle

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Ketuba de la Ley, Mollie Cohen, 1930s-40s

Ketuba de la Ley, Sephardic Bikkur Holim, Seattle

(scroll down to Shavuot Recordings)

Lekha Dodi in Ladino

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Ya Ribon in Ladino

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Ya Ribon/Ya Sinyor, Ankara version

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Ketuba de la Ley, Berta Aguada,

Çannakale tradition. 1983

Ketuba le Matan Torah, Gabriel Shrem

Hazzan Isaac Behar, son of Rabbi Leon Yehuda Behar who wrote the Lekha Dodi translation in Ladino.

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Yigdal in Ladino

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Ya Ribon/Ya Sinyor, Istanbul version

Hamavdil with Judeo-Spanish stanza, Ottoman tradition

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Hamabdil, Yehoram Gaon, Ensemble Hiba (Judeo-Spanish verse begins at 1:50)

Visit the High Holiday Liturgy and Passover pages for more examples