Shakespeare gets the Sephardic treatment

NEW YORK – When William Shakespeare wrote Othello in 1603, he probably didn’t intend for it to be performed with belly dancers, darbukas, Judeo-Arab music and Ashkenazi-Sephardi jokes on stage.

But the idea is not completely farfetched.

Many who have analyzed Shakespeare’s works have suggested that the author’s Moorish hero may have been inspired by Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud, the Moroccan ambassador to the court of Queen Elizabeth I in England in the early 1600s, who helped establish the Anglo-Moroccan alliance at the time.


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