JGSWS meets on the second Monday of each month, from September through June. Doors open at 6:30 PM unless noted otherwise. Our meeting location, since September 2013, is the LDS Factoria Building, 4200 124th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 (in Factoria, just off I-90 and I-405). Occasional meetings will be held at the JCC on Mercer Island. Admission is free.

NEXT MEETING: Monday, May 9, 2016
at the LDS Factoria Building

  • Presentation starts at 7:15 PM
  • Doors open at 6:30 PM
  • Free admission and refreshments
  • Free Wi-Fi

Come early to use the Family History Library computers and databases, as well as our extensive JGSWS library!

"The Journey of Albert Levy," presented by Ashley-Rae Bobman
AND "The Beginnings of the Seattle Sephardic Community," presented by Isaac Azose


The Journey of Albert Levy and His Efforts to Maintain and Preserve Sephardic Jewish Culture Throughout the Mid-Twentieth Century: Ashley Bobman will discuss the journey of Albert Levy, a prominent Sephardic Jew, and his efforts to maintain and preserve the Sephardic Jewish culture. Albert Levy’s story began with the origin of the Sephardic Jews moving from Spain to Salonica. Levy’s family eventually moved from Salonica to the Americas where, among other things, Levy projected the Sephardic voice through the national Ladino newspaper, La Vara, and his leadership at the Seattle Sephardic Talmud Torah. Levy’s life journey culminates with how his work is perpetuated today through the Sephardic Studies Initiative, at the University of Washington, preserving both the culture and language of Sephardic Jews.

The Beginnings of the Seattle Sephardic Community: Isaac Azose will speak on the beginnings of the Seattle Sephardic community; why and how they came to Seattle, of all places, primarily from Turkey and Rhodes, in the early years of the 20th century and what they found when they arrived. He will also talk about some of the hardships they experienced when they first arrived and how they were able to raise sufficient funds to build their own synagogues. Included will be how they got along with their fellow Jews, the Ashkenazim, and the areas they lived in within Seattle. He will also touch upon two or three Sepharadim who became successful businessmen in Seattle.



Ashley-Rae Bobman will graduate with honors in June 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health and a minor in Nutritional Science from the UW. This fall she will enter Yale University’s graduate nursing program to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing degree and pursue her dream of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. In 2015, she was awarded the prestigious University of Washington President’s Medal for her academic rigor and service to the community. For the past three years, Ashley has been doing research with Professor Devin Naar on a project entitled “A Sephardic Lighthouse: Albert Levy and the Sephardic Jewish Journey,” which will be published in spring of 2016 as part of the Sephardic Studies Initiative. In addition to translating many of Levy’s writings, Ashley is among the few individuals around the world currently writing original Ladino compositions. Albert Levy is Ashley’s maternal great grandfather, which further enhances the passion and enthusiasm with which she pursues her research.

Isaac Azose was born in July 1930 in Seattle. His parents, Jack and Louise Azose, although born in Turkey, met for the first time in Seattle in 1928 and were married in June 1929. Isaac spent his early years attending Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation, drinking in every little word and nuance of the prayers from the cantors who had emigrated from Turkey, thus enabling him to become hazzan at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth for approximately 34 years, retiring on January 1, 2000. In addition to his duties at Ezra Bessaroth, Isaac held down a full time job at Boeing, retiring in July 1995. Retirement allowed him more time for other projects: a Sephardic Daily/Sabbath prayer book for the Seattle Sephardic community, completed in 2002; a prayer book for the three Jewish Festivals, one for the Five Fast Days, one for the Jewish New Year and one for the Day of Atonement, more commonly known as Yom Kippur; a two-CD set, "The Liturgy of Ezra Bessaroth," representing the Sabbath, Holiday and High Holiday liturgy; and a two-CD set of Ladino Romanzas, which he called “Ladino Reflections.”

For more information, please e-mail

Download handouts from past meetings.

June 6: Mary Kircher Roddy on writing up your genealogical research

See the Events page.