Solitreo is a cursive form of the Hebrew alphabet. Traditionally a Sephardi script, it is nonetheless the predecessor of the modern Ashkenazi Cursive Hebrew currently used for handwriting in modern Israel and for Yiddish. The two forms differ from each other primarily in that Solitreo uses far more typographic ligatures than the Ashkenazi script, creating a more flowing style resembling Arabic.

Historically, Solitreo was used in two parallel ways. In Judaeo-Spanish ("Ladino") of the Balkans and Turkey, it served as the standard handwritten form that complemented the Rashi script character set used for printing. In Sephardi communities in the Maghreb and the Levant, it was used for manuscript documents in Hebrew and the Judeo-Arabic languages. While both the Balkan and Maghrebine-Levantine forms are called "Solitreo", they are quite distinctive, and readers familiar with one type may find the other difficult to read.[1]

With the decline of Judaeo-Spanish and the dispersion of Sephardic population centers, examples of Solitreo have become scarce. The February 2012 digitization of a Jewish merchant's memoir from late 19th century Thessaloniki, Ottoman Empire (now in Greece) by scholars from Stanford University provided a new, high-quality resource for scholars of Judaeo-Spanish and Solitreo.[2]


  1. Cursive Hebrew, 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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