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Bryan Kirschen

Bryan is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at Binghamton University, State University of New York. Bryan worked on this documentary while he was a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he specialized in Judeo-Spanish and Linguistics. Bryan has presented at a number of seminars and conferences throughout the United States on his work related to Judeo-Spanish identity, literature and linguistics. At UCLA, he was co-founder and director of ucLADINO, a student organization dedicated to the study and knowledge of the Judeo-Spanish language and culture. He also served as 2015 Chair of the Sephardic Studies Forum of the Modern Language Association as well as the 2013-2014 Skirball Fellow in Modern Jewish Culture and Maurice Amado Senior Fellow at UCLA. 

Bryan comes onto this project as the specialist in Ladino/ Judeo-Spanish studies, in order to properly frame this documentary and the important role that language played in Moris Albahari's survival during the Holocaust. Proficient in the language himself, Bryan conducted all interviews in Ladino throughout the filming in Sarajevo.  

presenting at the Judeo-Spanish Symposium UCLA | March 5, 2013

Susanna Zaraysky

Susanna’s passion for Moris’s story is deeply rooted in her commitment for people to be multilingual. As a language specialist who speaks seven languages, she has written, Language is Music (El Idioma es Música in Spanish), with tips on how to learn foreign languages with music and the media. She produced her own Spanish television segment on Univision, where she taught English via English songs. Susanna has edited and produced multilingual videos for her You Tube channel.

The inspiration for Saved by Language was born when Susanna worked on economic development projects in Sarajevo after the Bosnian War. While learning about Sephardic culture and language in the Sarajevo synagogue, she met Moris Albahari and learned about his story of survival via the Ladino language and became fascinated with Judeo-Spanish culture.  Her knowledge of the Bosnian (Serbo-Croatian) language and Bosnian culture were instrumental in organizing and producing the documentary, as she could communicate with the Sarajevo Jewish community members who did not speak English or Ladino.  She graduated with honors in Political Economy from the University of California at Berkeley.

presenting at Google Endangered Language Conference | August 20, 2012