"Sefarad... To Be or Not to Be"
Conversion, Expulsion, and the Legacy of 1492
About this event:
On December 19, 2021, Jewish Heritage Alliance and their participating co-hosting partners presented “Sefarad... To Be or Not to Be”, a webinar that will explore the torturous dilemma facing the Jews of Sefarad once the 1492 Edict of Expulsion was issued.
In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued the Edict of Expulsion, giving Jews a few months in which to depart the country where their ancestors had lived for centuries or convert to Catholicism. One of the stories accompanying this drama was that of Isaac Abarbanel and Abraham Senior, colleagues, and powerful Jewish advisers to Queen Isabella who argued to the King and Queen to rescind the Edict of Expulsion. When their efforts failed, they were forced to choose. Isaac Abarbanel and his family left for Italy to live openly as Jews, but Abraham Senior and his family converted to stay in Spain. We will explore the painstaking decisions that determined the fate of 150,000 Jews and 25 generations of their descendants, both the openly practicing Sephardic Jews around the Mediterranean, and the conversos/crypto-Jews in the Americas.
Michael Steinberger, CEO & Founder of Jewish Heritage Alliance.
Ron Duncan Hart, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist from Indiana University with postdoctoral work in Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford. He is the Director of the Jewish Learning Channel and former President of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. He has awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Fulbright, and the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society among others. He has written several books on Jewish life and cultural history and the most recent is Crypto-Jews: The Long Journey. He is co-author/editor of the award-winning book Fractured Faiths: Spanish Judaism, the Inquisition, and New World Identities.
Blanca Carrasco, a converso descendant of Marcos Alonso de La Garza y del Arcon, co-founder of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, will speak about her experience of returning to the open practice of Judaism.
Dr. Isaac Amon, a descendant of Moses Hamon, a Jewish physician to Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, will speak about his family’s odyssey from Spain to Turkey and beyond.
This program was presented by Jewish Heritage Alliance in partnership the Jewish Learning Channel, the National Museum of American Jewish History, ANU Museum of the Jewish People, the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies, the American Sephardi Federation's Institute of Jewish Experience, Fundación HispanoJudía, EJCC European Jewish Community Center, University of Miami (Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies and the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies), Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and Kulanu.
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