Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History
Sephardi identity has meant different things at different times, but has always entailed a connection with Spain, from which the Jews were expelled in 1492. While Sephardi Jews have lived in numerous cities and towns throughout history, certain cities had a greater impact in the shaping of their culture. This book focuses on those that may be considered most important, from Cordoba in the tenth century to Toledo, Venice, Safed, Istanbul, Salonica, and Amsterdam at the dawn of the seventeenth century. Each served as a venue in which a particular dimension of Sephardi Jewry either took shape or was expressed in especially intense form. Significantly, these cities were mostly heterogeneous in their population and culture---half of them under Christian rule and half under Muslim rule---and this too shaped the Sephardi world view and attitude. While Sephardim cultivated a distinct identity, they felt at home in the cultures of their adopted lands. Drawing upon a variety of both primary and secondary sources, Jane Gerber demonstrates that Sephardi history and culture have always been multifaceted. Her interdisciplinary approach captures the many contexts in which the life of the Jews from Iberia unfolded without either romanticizing the past or diluting its reality.
Jane S. Gerber is Professor of History and director of the Institute for Sephardic Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is a past president of the Association for Jewish Studies. She is author of Jewish Society in Fez: 1450–1700 (1980), The Jews of Spain (1992), which won a National Jewish Book Award, and Sephardic Studies in the University (1995).
Note on Transliteration
List of Illustrations
1. Poetry and Politics in the Medieval Caliphate of Cordoba, 950–1150
2. Crossing the Borders of Art and Society: Toledo as a Meeting Place of Cultures, 1150–1350
3. The Search for Redemption in Safed, 1500–1600
4. The Jews of Venice between Toleration and Expulsion, 1516–1648
5. Reconstructing Sepharad in Istanbul and Salonica, 1492–1600
6. Portuguese Jews in the City of Amsterdam ‘The Praiseworthy’: The Formation of the Western Sephardi Diaspora, 1600–1700
Size: 234 x 156 mm
Copyright: © 2019
Publication: January 31, 2019
Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization