Sara of Rhodes
The life of Sara Levi has taken her from a dying Ottoman Empire that had sheltered the Sephardic Jews for more than 500 years to the thriving urban culture of California. On her Journey from the Mediterranean Island of Rhodes to her present home in Berkeley along the Pacific coast, she has brought with her cultural traditions from medieval Spain that were fervently maintained by the community of Rhodeslis. We can see in Sara of Rhodes how the songs, so central to the life of the Sephardim, express a longing for Spain and the life of riches left behind. In the cooking, we can see how the Levantine culture became absorbed into the life of the Jews on Rhodes, who shared a cuisine, as well as a peaceful coexistence with their Muslim neighbors. Finally, we can see Sara's own unique personality, her way of finding a path in a "new world," guided by a line, from poet Browning, that has become her talisman: "the best is yet to be." There was no other possibility, no going back for Sara, for the community of Jews on Rhodes did not survive the Holocaust. Only a handful of Rhodeslis were forced to forge new lives in new worlds.