Ghosts of sepharad


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Spain’s large Sephardic (Jewish) population emigrated or converted to Catholicism under threat during the Inquisition. In a 21st century turnaround, Spain appeals to tourists with new Jewish museums and has proposed citizenship for returning Sephardim.

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Ghosts of sepharad

  1. 1. The Ghosts of Sepharad
  2. 2. The Sephardim  Sepharad is a Hebrew word for Spain.  Sephardim are Jews from the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal).  The term Sephardic Jew is now used more broadly.
  3. 3. Roman Hispania  Historians say Jews arrived with the Roman Legions, first as merchants, later after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.  Legends say Jews arrived after the destruction of the Temple in 6th century B.C.E., or with Phoenecian merchants in the 10th century B.C.E.
  4. 4. The Roman Empire
  5. 5. TheVisigoths  In 405 C.E., the Christian, Germanic Visigoths invaded from their western homeland, ending the tolerant atmosphere of the Roman Empire. Jews were persecuted.  Later, Catholicism became the state religion.
  6. 6. TheVisigoths
  7. 7. The Moors  In 711 C.E.,Tariq ibn Ziyad (el Moro), landed at Gibraltar (Jebel alTariq or “Tariq’s Mountain”).  The Moroccan Berbers conquered most of Iberia; and Al Andalus (Moorish Spain) came into being.  The Jews perceived the Moors as a liberating force from the oppressive Visigoths and aided the invasion.
  8. 8. Moorish Al Andalus
  9. 9. Life Under the Moors  Anyone who wished to leave could do so while those who stayed could retain property, practice their religion freely and be governed by their own rules and laws.  Jews flocked from Christian and other Muslim worlds.  In the 12th century C.E., Sephardim outnumbered all other European Jews, and were perhaps 90% of the world’s Jewry.
  10. 10. “The Golden Age”  Most, but not all, Moorish rulers maintained a tolerant, multicultural atmosphere.  Jews, Moors, and Christians lived and worked together.  Mathematics, science, the arts, and philosophy flourished.  Cordoba had a million volumes when the largest library in Europe had a dozen manucripts.  Moses Maimonides was from Coroba. Havdalah Ritual 14th Century Spain
  11. 11. Cordoba Synagogue 14th Century
  12. 12. The Juderia Cordoba
  13. 13. The Juderia Cordoba
  14. 14. Casa Mazal Cordoba
  15. 15. Casa Sefarad Cordoba
  16. 16. Roman Bridge,The Guadalquivir Cordoba
  17. 17. The Mezquita (Mosque) of Cordoba  Started in 784 , this massive mosque was completed over 200 years, employing thousands of artisans and laborers.  The columned halls, originally open to the courtyard, echoed its shady orange and palm trees, irrigated by surface channels.  The columns were made from remnants of Roman temples. Other materials were ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, brass, and mosaics.
  18. 18. The Mezquita (Mosque) Cordoba
  19. 19. Mihrab
  20. 20. The Reconquista  In 1236, King Ferdinand III of Castile conquered Cordoba and converted its center into a Catholic church. Later kings continued to add Christian features.  Spanish Muslims have lobbied the Church to allow them to pray in the complex, but authorities have opposed the move.These battles reflect the contested view of what constitutes Spanish history and identity.
  21. 21. The Decline of the Golden Age  The decline of the Golden Age began with the penetration of North African fundamentalist sects in the 11th century.  As conditions became more oppressive, some Jews migrated to the Christian north and prospered there in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, holding property, fields, and vineyards.
  22. 22. The Reconquista and the Jews  As the Spanish reconquered Spain, they were initially tolerant of Muslims and Jews.  But the Papal authorities looked with great displeasure at the easy fraternization and actively discouraged it.
  23. 23. The Fourteenth Century  The fourteenth century brought drought, crop failures, and the Black Plague which killed almost half of Spain and a third of Europe.  Jews were accused of poisoning wells and were blamed for the plague.  Thousands were massacred by religious fanatics, as in France and elsewhere in Europe.
  24. 24. Al Andalus Defeated  In 1492, Queen Isabella of Castile married King Ferdinand of Aragon, uniting their kingdoms.  They then defeated Granada, ending Al Andalus and completing the Reconquista.
  25. 25. The Alhambra Palace in Granada
  26. 26. Expulsion and Inquisition  The monarchs issued the Edict of Expulsion (The Alhambra Decree) on March 31, 1492.  Up to 400,000 Jews left. Most went tor Portugal. But in 1497, the same fate befell the Jews there.  From 50,000 to more than 300,000 converted. Those who resisted were executed.  The Inquisition followed in both states, ferretting out Conversos, converted Jews with suspect loyalties.  Conversos (crypto-Jews or anusim) emigrated from Iberia from 1492 to the end of the 18th century.
  27. 27. Jews in Spain Today  There are around 20,000 Jews in Spain, according to Rabbi Rifat Sonsino.  A synagogue census shows four Chabad (Hasidic), three Masorti (Conservative), three Reform, and six Sephardi.  Most use a high degree of security, as is typical in Europe.
  28. 28. Spain to Offer Citizenship to Sephardim  In April, 2014, the Spanish government approved granting dual citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled more than 500 years ago.  “This law is a real historic reparation of, I dare say, the biggest mistake in Spanish history,” said Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, the justice minister.
  29. 29. Sephardim Respond  Thousands of Sephardim have inquired.  Interest is strong in Israel as well as Venezuela andTurkey where Jews have faced hostility and may want the passport as a safeguard.  Passport holders gain access to the E.U.
  30. 30. Spain’s Motivation Questioned  Is the citizenship offer a “wink” to appease Israel?The Spain-Israel relationship has long been strained.  Opinion polls show that large numbers of Spaniards do not like Jews.  "The Sephardic Diaspora can be viewed as a large pool with the potential to benefit the economies of Spain and Portugal, provided that pool can be drawn to visit, settle and invest," said Michael Freund, the chairman of Shavei Israel.