After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry

After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry

After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry

After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry

Synopsis

Honorable Mention for the 2014 Jordan Schnitzer book award in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History presented by the Association for Jewish Studies

On August 3, 1492, the same day that Columbus set sail from Spain, the long and glorious history of that nation's Jewish community officially came to a close. The expulsion of Europe's last major Jewish community ended more than a thousand years of unparalleled prosperity, cultural vitality and intellectual productivity. Yet, the crisis of 1492 also gave rise to a dynamic and resilient diaspora society spanning East and West.

After Expulsion traces the various paths of migration and resettlement of Sephardic Jews and Conversos over the course of the tumultuous sixteenth century. Pivotally, the volume argues that the exiles did not become "Sephardic Jews" overnight. Only in the second and third generation did these disparate groups coalesce and adopt a "Sephardic Jewish" identity.

After Expulsion presents a new and fascinating portrait of Jewish society in transition from the medieval to the early modern period, a portrait that challenges many longstanding assumptions about the differences between Europe and the Middle East.

Excerpt

Of the many calamities to befall the Jewish people during their arduous passage from the medieval to the modern world, none was more sharply felt or more widely chronicled by its contemporaries than the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. the last in a long line of similar expulsions in medieval Europe, it marked the end of one of the most celebrated periods of affluence and intellectual productivity in Jewish history. Together with the fall of Muslim Granada early that same year, the Expulsion of the Jews represented the ultimate failure of inter-faith coexistence for which medieval Iberia is so often praised. For its victims, 1492 was only the beginning of a lengthy and painful journey. in its wake, the dispossessed suffered a series of hardships ranging from starvation and physical abuse to captivity and forced conversion and were driven across the Mediterranean in search of protection, prosperity, and religious freedom.

There can be little argument that the Expulsion of 1492 was a disaster for those involved and a major turning point in both Jewish and Spanish history. and yet a true understanding of this pivotal period in Jewish and . . .

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