Elena Rieder-Zelenko studied Ibero-Romanic and German Philology at the University of Basel from 1993 to 2000. In 1999 she was granted a fellowship from the Dirección General de Asuntos Exteriores of Spain to do linguistic research in Salamanca, which provided the basis for her thesis, «The Perception of Neologism by Spanish speakers». Since 2005, she has been working on a research project on Judeo-Spanish at the Universität Basel, Institut für Iberoromanistik. She received her doctorate in 2010; her tesis was on La Buena Esperanza newspaper.
The press exerted an active role in the modernization of Sephardic society. The first issue of La Buena Esperanza appeared In 1871, and was edited and directed by Aaron Yoseph Hazan for the following 51 years. His goal was to impulse modernization of society at all levels, including the social, family, cultural, and religious. His interest went further than the local and national: he became a devoted propagator of news from all over the world. From this immense body of work, Elena chose the year 1905 because it was a very important one in Russian history: it was the year of the Soviet–Japanese War (1904/1905), the Russian Revolution, reforms by the tsarist regime, the mutiny on the Russian battleship Potemkin, among other events. All of these were reported in this newspaper, thereby inspiring solidarity in the Sephardim with their Russian co-religionists who were victims of anti-Semitic riots and prejudicial treatment.
Review by Dra. María Sánchez Pérez in the magazine Miscelánea de Estudios Árabes y Hebraicos: PDF version