||Copies of The Ladino newspaper of the Jews of Constantinople. El Tiempo, a literary, political, and financial paper, was first published in Constantinople in 1871 under the editorship of Isaac Carmona, and continued to appear until 1930. Its last editor was David Fresco. This volume has copies of the paper for 1892 through 1893, beginning with number 8 and concluding with number 94. However, the run is not complete and there are gaps. The text is in three columns in rabbinic letters and includes occasional illustrations.
One of the reasons for the growth of a Ladino press was the reluctance or inability of the exiles from Spain to learn the languages of the countries in which they found themselves. Before World War II – during which the Sephardi communities of the Balkan countries were either entirely or partly destroyed – a considerable number of Sephardi Jews, mainly of the older generation and especially women, spoke Ladino. They had only an elementary knowledge of the local language – enough for local business and social intercourse with the surrounding population. There was, therefore, a growing need for some kind of Ladino reading material. The first Jewish newspaper appeared in 1675 in Amsterdam and it was Gazeta de Amsterdam, printed in Ladino. It lasted less than a year and had no Ladino successors until the beginning of the 19th century. The main reason for this delayed development of the Ladino press, in spite of its early start, is to be found in the social environment of the Ladino-speaking Jews, the bulk of whom lived in the countries of the Balkans and the Middle East. During the 18th century these countries were socially and culturally retarded, and their newspapers were neither many nor widespread. Like the population around them, the Jews, even the educated exiles from Spain among them, felt little need for the stimulus or enlightenment that newspapers could give. All this changed gradually in the 19th century and when in 1882 Isidore Singer of Vienna listed 103 extant Jewish newspapers, six of them were in Ladino.
Newspapers in Judeo-Spanish, transcribed in Rashi type, had appeared in Jerusalem, Smyrna, Constantinople, Salonika, Belgrade, Paris, Cairo, and Vienna. One of them was the Smyrna journal, La Puerta del Oriente ("Gateway of the Orient"), which first appeared in 1846 under the Hebrew name Sha'arei Mizrah. Edited by Rafael Uziel, it contained material of general interest, commercial notices, and literary articles. It lasted just one year. El Luzero de la Paciencia ("The Light of Patience"), the first Judeo-Spanish newspaper to appear in Latin characters, was started in 1885 by Elia M. Crespin, in the Romanian city of Turnu Severin. It was a bimonthly and continued publication until 1889. The reason for publishing in Latin characters, according to the editor, was that the writing of Spanish had become greatly corrupted because Rashi often spelled words of different meaning in the same way. The corruption of Ladino by the violation of the rules of Spanish, from which it derived, was a subject often discussed in the Ladino press. Thus El Tiempo ("The Times") of June 28, 1907, ridiculed the Ladino used by a Bulgarian Ladino paper. David Fresco, editor of El Tiempo, was one of the best-known Ladino writers of his time. Fresco was also the editor of El Sol ("The Sun") of Constantinople (1879), a scientific and literary bimonthly. It seems to have lasted for about two years. He also edited El Amigo de la Familia ("The Friend of the Family"), an illustrated periodical, which was published in Constantinople in 1889.
There were journals which were published partly in Ladino and partly in other languages. Salonik ("Salonika"), which appeared from 1869 to 1870, was published in Ladino, Turkish, Greek, and Bulgarian, the Bulgarian part being edited in Sofia. It seems to have been the official newspaper of the Turkish authoritiesPage 495 | Top of Article in Salonika under the editorship of Rabbi Jacob Uziel. Djeridie y Lesan ("The Journal of the Language") appeared in Constantinople in 1899 in Ladino and Turkish. Its purpose was to make Turkish a living language among the Jews.
Ladino found considerable support among the Jewish socialists of the Balkans, who claimed that it was the language of the Sephardi masses and should be preserved and encouraged. They insisted, therefore, that it should be the medium of instruction in Jewish schools. A number of Ladino newspapers were exponents of the socialist idea. Among them the best known was Avante ("Forward"), which began publication in 1911 in Salonika under the name La Solidaridad Ouvradera ("Workers' Solidarity"). It may be said that the history of this journal, which began as a biweekly and during the Balkan Wars (1912–13) became a daily, is the history of socialism among the Jewish workers of Salonika. Its first editor was Abraham ben Aroya, who was succeeded by Alberto Arditi. In 1923 the paper became the mouthpiece of the Jewish Communists with its editor Jack Ventura, for some time one of the Communist representatives in the Greek Parliament. Avante ceased publication in 1935. El Azno ("The Donkey"), a satirical journal which appeared as a weekly for three months in 1923, was apparently designed to counter Avante when the latter became communistic. Another important Ladino journal published in Salonika was La Epoca, edited by Bezalel Sadi Halevi. It appeared from November 1875, first as a weekly, then twice a week, and finally as a daily, until 1912.