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Sixth & I

Sephardic Judaism 101

Jan 9, 2018 • 7:30 pm ET
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In the beginning, all Jews were Middle-Easterners, so when and where did we diverge into Sepharad (Spain) and Ashkenaz (Germany)? Why do Jews hailing from Iraq, India, or North Africa consider themselves Sephardic?

The answers to these questions take us back in time, a thousand years before the expulsion from Spain, and make us reconsider the West-East dichotomy. In this class, get to know the thriving scholars of Qalat bani Hamad, a desert capital in Algeria, the globetrotting polyglot Radhani merchants, and the Jewish general of the Berber king Badis ibn Habbus. Their stories reveal the scope of the cross-fertilization between Judaism and Islam and explain, among other things, why Asheknazi Jews embraced an idealized form of martyrdom which was rejected by the Sephardic world.