Archives for posts with tag: radio

Yasmin Levy and the Politics of Performing Sephardic Identity

Christina Azahar

Inventing Sephardic Traditions from 1492 to the Early Twentieth Century

  • Expulsion of Jews from Spain during the Inquisition leads to formation of Sephardic cultural identity through experiences of transnationalism and diaspora
  • Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) popular songs surrounded by myth and often falsely thought to have origins in Medieval Spain
  • Scholars begin to collect oral musical traditions at the beginning of the twentieth century, categorizing them into romances, life cycle songs, and calendar cycle songs – often adding changes when transcribed

Isaac Levy and the Sephardic Song Revival

  • Collects Sephardic popular songs from 1950s and 1970s and publishes several collections of transcriptions and recordings that become the basis for late productions of Sephardic popular music
  • Work at Jewish national radio influences orientalist tendency to want to Mediterraneanize Israeli national culture

Yasmin Levy: Performing Sephardic Traditions for the World

  • Grew up in Jerusalem and was exposed to a wide variety of cultures and musical practices which she incorporates into her interpretations of her father’s repertoire as well as her original compositions
  • Eclectic performance style makes her music easily communicable across cultures and languages, but her blurring of cultural and linguistic distinction removes her output from the nationalist project of her father’s work by framing Sephardic popular music as a tradition intended for all people


Una pastora – Combined Recording of Isaac and Yasmin Levy


A new publication on Israel’s Army Radio just came out that reflects some of the topics discussed in class was just announced in the Israel Studies Bulletin Board:

Soffer, Oren. “The Anomaly of Galei Tzahal: Israel’s Army Radio as a Cultural Vanguard and Force for Pluralism.” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 32.2 (2012): 225-243.

URL: (full access via UCB connection)


Israel’s Army Radio (Galei Tzahal) has been broadcasting for sixty years. Unlike military stations around the world, Galei Tzahal has always transmitted from the centre of the country, with programming aimed at the civilian population. This article examines how Galei Tzahal became a leading force in Israeli broadcasting and news coverage. Among other points, the article explores how military broadcasts, which are ostensibly foreign to the democratic experience, have become a symbol of pluralism, journalistic freedom, and the social and cultural avant-garde in Israel.

Author biography

Oren Soffer is a Senior Lecturer and the Head of Communication Studies at The Open University of Israel. He is currently a visiting scholar at MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program. He is author of There Is No Place for Pilpul! Hatzefira Journal and the Modernization of Sociopolitical Discourse (Jerusalem, Mossad Bialik Press, 2007) and Mass Communication in Israel (Raanana, The Open University of Israel, 2011). His articles have been published in journals such as Communication Theory (2010; 2005); Journal of Israeli History (2010); Journalism (2009); Media History (2009); and Media Culture & Society (2008).

Available online: 20 Apr 2012


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