The Sephardic Legacy María Luisa Escribano Carmen Samanes September 25th 2003 Kennesaw State University
The Sephardic Legacy • Judaism • History • Traditions • Diaspora • Sephardim vs Askenazim • Sepharad • Jews arrive in Spain • The Visigoth Kingdom • Muslim Spain • Jews in the Christian Kingdom • The 15th century • The expulsion • 2nd Diaspora • The Legacy • Golden Age of Spain • Maimónides • Escuela de Traductores de Toledo • Prominent Figures • Jewish quarters - Las juderías • Language and Arts – Ladino
Judaism History • 2000 BC: Abraham was born in Ur (present day Iraq). • 1230 BC: Moses led his people out of slavery from Egypt and into the desert. • 1200 BC: The Hebrew people moved to Canaan (present-day Israel) • 900 BC: The Torah (first five books of the Bible) was written. • 587 BC: The Babylonians captured Jerusalem. Exodus of the Jews, resulting in their dispersion over much of Northern Africa, the Middle East, and possibly Spain. • 70 AD The Romans destroyed the Temple of Herod.
Torah scroll in wooden case (Baghdad 1852) The Torah (means teaching) is God’s teaching to the Jewish people. There are two parts: Written Oral Written Torah is also called the TeNaKh. It contains: Pentateuch (five books of Moses); Prophets and Writings. Oral Torah (explanations of the written Torah) was compiled in the 2nd century. It’s called Mishnah. The Torah
The Talmud • The Talmud is the combination of Mishnah (oral Torah) and Gemara. • The Gemara is the commentaries elaborating on the Mishnah. • In the 4th century the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled. • In the 5th century the Babylonian Talmud was compiled. • The Babylonian Talmud is studied and use more because it’s more comprehensive. A page from the Babylonian Talmud (200 - 500 CE)
Passover • Passover is one of the principal Jewish festivals. It commemorates the liberation from slavery under the Pharaohs and the exodus from Egypt. • Every year in spring, Jewish families and communities gather for a festive meal. • Matzo, unleavened bread, is eaten in memory of the primitive conditions the Israelites encountered during the forty years of wandering through the desert. Darmstadt Haggadah; Germany, 15th century
Kashrut • Kashrut, the dietary laws, forbid the consumption of certain foods such as pork and shellfish, and the eating of milk products during meals containing meat. • Because of the Second Commandment prohibition against making “graven images”, human figures in illuminated Hebrew manuscripts were sometimes given animal heads. Ambrosian Bible; Southern Germany, 13th century
The Diaspora Roman occupation (66-135 AD) After the revolts, Jews were banned from living in Jerusalem and Judea. Babylonian exile (700 BC) First Jewish communities outside of Israel Byzantine Empire (324-640 AD) Christianity was introduced in Israel. Jews became a minority in their own land.
Roman soldiers pillaged thetemple in Jerusalem. Detail from the Arch of Titus: Rome 1st century AD
Sephardim and Ashkenazim • Sepharad is a Hebrew term meaning Spain • Ashkenazi is a Hebrew term meaning German • Today, the distinction between Sephardim and Ashkenazim is primarily one of differing traditions. • Among the differences are languages (ladino and arabic vs yiddish and polish), religious melodies during the services, festival traditions and Hebrew pronunciation.
Sepharad The noble steeds, and harness bright,And gallant lord, and stalwart knight,In rich array,Where shall we seek them now? Alas!Like the bright dewdrops on the grassThey passed away. Jorge Manrique, Coplas on the Death of His Father, 1476. Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Jews arrive in Spain • It is not certain when the Jews arrived to the Iberian Peninsula, but it was around 70 A.D. • Proof of their presence:
First communities They settled on the Mediterranean Coast. Little by little they entered the rest of the Peninsula. In the 4th century AD, according to a Council in Iliberis, the Jews formed a large population. They worked mainly in agriculture. The Jewish religion was tolerated. By the end of the Roman Empire, these communities were already consolidated and well settled in the Iberian Peninsula.
Jews were tolerated until King Recaredo was converted to Christianity in 586 AD. After that, Visigoths sought religious unity and Jews began to be increasingly persecuted. The Visigoth Kingdom
Continuing Visigoth Rule(6th - 7th centuries AD) Jews were basically integrated into the socioeconomic environment, BUT.... • Visigothic laws were unfavorable to Jews. • Religion and rituals were different. • No differences in external appearance. • Hebrew was limited to the temple as a sacred language.
Muslim Spain • The invasion of Spain by the Arabs (711AD) implied the Jewish liberation. • Muslims tolerated Judaism and Christianity. • They allowed Jewish people to live in peace by requiring them to pay a special tax. • Jews were forced into professions Arabs regarded as second-class, like trading and administrative civil service.
Caliphate of Cordoba11th century AD • The best period for Spanish Jews, highest comfort and cultural level by any jewish community outside Israel until the 18th century. • Some Jews became ministers to the Muslim monarchs, like Hasday Ibn Shaprut who was also the doctor of the Caliph at that time.
Almohads ruled Al-Andalus They were very strict in terms of religion and ordered that all Jews should convert to Islam. Consequently, most Jews ran away to the Christian part of Spain in a few years.
Jews in the Christian Kingdoms They repopulated the conquered territories Typically assigned administrative tasks Often served as tax collectors Important knowledge of medicine Knowledge of Arab language Jews had a special legal status; they were considered as personal property of the monarch, halfway between freemen and servants.
Toledo becomes the center of Jewish life By mid-13th century, the whole Peninsula, except kingdom of Granada, was already Christian (Navas de Tolosa 1212). Coexistence among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Highest standard of living with Alfonso X. Cultural Environment: Escuela de Traductores de Toledo.
Broken coexistence (end of 13th century AD) Anti-Judaism was used as a political arm (civil war Pedro I and Enrique de Trastámara). The inflammatory preaching of Ferran Martinez, archdeacon of Seville, caused Christians to assault the Jewish quarters of the town. Slaughters extended to almost all the territories of Spain. Many Jews begged for conversion in order to save their lives. All Jewish communities were diminished in size and some of them disappeared.
The 15th century At first, the Converts were easily integrated in the Christian community and many of them obtained public jobs and even high occupations in the clergy. In the middle of the century, it was discovered that many converts practiced secretly the Jewish religion. Judaizants or Crypto-Jews, were a obstacle for the State’s unity. Society division between Old Christians and New Christians.
Spanish Inquisition • When the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Fernando, began their reign, Jews represented one of the kingdom’s serious obstacles to the idea of the State’s unity, because of the division of society. • The Spanish Inquisition was created to give a solution to this problem. Its mission was to prosecute, judge, and condemn all converted Jews suspected of continuing to practice the Jewish religion.
The Expulsion Catholic Monarchs decreed in 1492 the expulsion of all Jewish people from all their territories.
Sephardim after 1492 • The majority of the Jews, expelled in 1492 from Spain, fled mainly to the Ottoman Empire. • They settled in the Balkans (especially in The Thessaloniki in modern Greece, Constantinople, Sarajevo, Izmir), the Middle East, and North Africa (Tangier, Tetuán, Fez, Algiers, Cairo). • Others found havens in Italy and Portugal, which in 1497, made the practice of Judaism a crime punishable by death.
The Legacy Golden Age of Spain • The era of Muslim rule (8th – 11th century) was considered the golden age for Spanish Jewry. • The Jews at that time were very learned and they knew astronomy, philosophy, mathematics, Greek and Arabic. • In the middle of the 10th century, Jews became very important to the leaders. • Jews excelled in skilled crafts, trade, science and scholarship. They were also writers and philosophers.
Prominent Figures • Hasdai Ibn Shaprut (915-970 AD) He was a famous Jew who became personal physician and chief advisor to the Caliph. He was also a great Jewish leader. • Solomon Ibn Gabriol (1021-1058 AD) He wrote religious poetry in Hebrew as well as books about God and the nature of the universe. • Abraham Ibn Ezra (early 12th century) He was a famous physician, philosopher, astronomer and biblical commentator. • Judah Ha Levi (1086-1145 AD) He is probably the most important poet of this time. He wrote also a philosophical novel “The Kuzari’.
Maimonides • Moses ben Maimon was born in 1135 in Cordoba, Spain in a prominent rabbinical family. • Maimonides was only 13 when his family was forced to leave Spain. • After wandering homeless for many years he finally settled in Cairo, Egypt.
Maimonides’ Achievements • Maimonides was the first person to write a systematic code of all Jewish law, the Mishneh Torah. • He wrote one of the great philosophic statements of Judaism, TheGuide to the Perplexed. • He also served as physician to the sultan of Egypt and wrote numerous books on medicine. • In his "spare time," he served as leader of Cairo's Jewish community.
Maimonides (cont.) During his time the writings of Maimonides proved highly controversial. Some of his statements were deemed too radical, others were simply misunderstood. At one point, his works were banned, and after his death in 1233, burned at the instigation of the rabbis.
School of Translators in Toledo • In the time of the King Alfonso X, The Wise, Toledo rose in importance as a center of Jewish activity in translation. • The number of Jewish translators increased under the patronage of the king.
Jewish Translators • Jehuda ben Moses Cohen de Toledo was Alfonso's physician.Translator (primarily), compiler and author. • Isaac Ibn Cid Author (primarily) and translator. Study and exegesis of Talmud. Alfonso depended heavily on and compensated generously. Learned in astronomy, astrology, architecture and mathematics. • Abraham, Alfaqui' de Toledo was translator, compiler and “capitulador”. He was also Alfonso’s physician. His work was often described as “exact, meticulous, extremely literal”. • Samuel ha-Levi Abulafia de Toledo
Alfonso X, The Wise Cultural role of the Iberian peninsula
Introduction to Juderias • What is a Judería? • Where were they established? • What were they like? • How many were there?
Community Buildings Synagogue School or religious academy
Miqwe or ritual bath Community Oven
Butcher Alcaiceria or market
Caceres a juderia between palaces