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[book] The Ornament of the World
How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain
by Maria Rosa Menocal
March 2003. María Rosa Menocal's wafting, ineffably sad The Ornament of the World tells of a time and place--from 786 to 1492, in Andalucía, Spain--that is largely and unjustly overshadowed in most historical chronicles. It was a time when three cultures--Judaic, Islamic, and Christian--forged a relatively stable (though occasionally contentious) coexistence. Such was this period that there remains in Toledo a church with an "homage to Arabic writing on its walls [and] a sumptuous 14th-century synagogue built to look like Granada's Alhambra." Long gone, however, is the Córdoba library--a thousand times larger than any other in Christian Europe. Menocal's history is one of palatine cities, of philosophers, of poets whose work inspired Chaucer and Boccaccio, of weeping fountains, breezy courtyards, and a long-running tolerance "profoundly rooted in the cultivation of the complexities, charms and challenges of contradictions," which ended with the repression of Judaism and Islam the same year Columbus sailed to the New World. Click to read more.

[book] Convivencia:
Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain
by Vivian B. Mann (Editor), Thomas F. Glick (Editor), Jerrilynn Denise Dodds (Editor)
This beautifully illustrated and produced catalog examines the cultural coexistence ( convivencia ) of the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian populations in Islamic Spain, who jointly created a civilization that was one of the most glorious in Islamic history. The topics range widely. In a provocative and insightful essay, convivencia is examined through Sephardic eyes. Other essays consider Hebrew poetry and Hebrew illuminated manuscripts that use Islamic motifs. All the topics examined are important to the history of medieval Spain, and the volume as a whole is an important addition to the scholarly literature on the subject. The items reproduced here are of the highest quality, and the reproductions themselves are very well done. A valuable bibliography is included. This volume effectively complements the exhibition yet can stand alone, for it offers a unique perspective on the cultural history of Spain. Click to read more.

by Jane Gerber (Editor)
In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain, ending a centuries-long relationship with their Islamic and then Christian masters. During a part of this time, a veritable medieval golden age of poets and philosophers had flourished. Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides are just two of the age's legendary figures whose works are still avidly read today. However, as Gerber reminds us, the Spanish or Sephardic Jewish experience did not end in 1492. Sephardic colonies sprouted all along the Mediterranean and in the sea-faring countries of Europe. Jews looked toward the New World too. Gerber tells their continuing story in a lively, readable, yet learned manner. This book is recommended for most libraries. Larger libraries should also consider the 1992 reissues of two classic works from the Jewish Publication Society: Yitzhak Baer's A History of the Jews in Christian Spain and Eliyahu Ashtor's The Jews of Moslem Spain . Click to read more.

[book] Loving Truth and Peace : The Grand Religious Worldview of Rabbi Benzion Uziel by Rabbi Marc Angel
Paperback - 312 pages (February 1999) Jason Aronson. Rabbi Marc Angel, spiritual leader of the Spanish Portuguese Jewish community of Manhattan sxplores the teachings of one of the great Jewish personalities, the Chief Rabbi (Seph) of Israel from 1939-1953, Rabbi Uziel (1880-1953). Among the topics discussed are Jewish Life, Wisdom, Universal Concerns of Judaism, Rabbinic Leadership, Halakhah, Conversion, and the Status of Women. Click to read more.
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[book] Mother of the Pound : Memoirs on the Life and History of the Iraqi Jews by David Kazzaz
Hardcover - 480 pages (September 1999). Dr. Kazzaz, a psychiatrist, tells a personal story of the Iraqi Jewish community. This book chronicles the 1950 exodus of the Iraqi (Babylonian) Jews sparked by "The Mother of the Pound", the heroic young woman in Baghdad. Kazzaz explores the historic roots of the community, their values, psychology, and fate. P.S. - In 1995, he founded the Hispano-Crypto-Jewish Resource Center, housed at the University of Denver, which provides assistance to Hispanics who wish to trace their Jewish family roots. Click to read more.
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[book] Les illes inoblidables
crónica d'emigrants
by Miquel Segura

A book by Miquel Segura, a journalist and author, and one of the most famous “CHUETAS”, or pigs, or lost Jews of Majorca, who were forcibly converted from Judaism in the 15th Century. Just as a note… The Jewish presence in Majorca dates to the Fifth Century CE. After King James I of Catalonia captured Majorca from the Moors in 1229, Jews were granted properties there. There was anti Jewish riots in 1305, and a blood libel against Jews in 1309. In 1311, Sancho the First turned Palma de Majorca’s synagoga into a church. In 1391, as anti Jewish riots broke out in Spain, riots erupted in Majorca and on July 10, 1391, many Jews were murdered. In 1407, a Jew was burned to death for practicing Judaism. The “new Christians” were called chuetas in Majorca, or pigs. In 1675, in front of 30,000 spectators, the church burned 16 year old Jacobo Lopez to death for not converting to Catholicism. He wasn’t even from Majorca, but just docked offshore on the way to Leghorn. In 1931, legal restrictions against chuetas were ended, and in 1942, the archbishop saved his chuetas form the Nazis. Click to read more.


born in Majorca, has written several books about the lives of the 'conversos,' the Marranos of his home town. They are written in Catalani, and awaiting translation to Hebrew and English. Els Anussim- Estudi sobre l'estat dels descendents dels jueus conversos, especialment els de Mallorca, segons el punt de vista de la legislaci? rabinica. Ampli prefaci sobre la Historia del Poble d'Israel, des del punt de vista jueu ortodoxe, i sobre les arrels de la Legislaci? Rab?nica. Amb annexos de l'extensa Responsa que tracta del problema. Research and study about the status of Conversos, Jewish descendents, especially those of Mallorca, according to Traditional Jewish law. Extensive preface establishing their place within Jewish History, from an Orthodox point of view, and within the roots of Rabinical Legislature. Annexed examples from wide Rabinical Responsa about Converso's problem. La Por- Novela hist?rica sobre les tr?giques esdevinences de l'any 1391 en qu? f?ren massacrats part dels jueus de la Ciutat de Mallorca, i els que romangueren f?ren coaccionats a trabucar sa fe ancestral en la dels cristians. Historical novel about the tragic events of 1391, when many of Majorca's Jews were massacred and the remainder were coerced to change their ancestral faith for that of their Cristian neighbors. For more information or to obtain a copy, contact Nissan at Click to read more.

[book] Sephardi Jewry : A History of the Judeo-Spanish Community, 15th to 20th Centuries (Jewish Communities in the Modern World, 2) by Esther Benbassa, Aron Rodrigue
Paperback (September 1999) Univ California Press; Click to read more.
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[book] Sephardim : The Jews from Spain by Paloma Diaz Mas, and George K. Zucker (Translator),
Hardcover - 235 pages (January 1993) University of Chicago Press. Here, in a single volume, is the first comprehensive history in English of the Sephardim--descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabel. Writing for the general reader as well as for the specialist, Paloma Díaz-Mas provides a superbly organized and up-to-date account of Sephardic culture, history, religious practice, language, and literature. Click to read more.
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[book] Crisis and Creativity in the Sephardic World 1391-1648 by Benjamin R. Gampel (Editor)
Paperback - 420 pages (October 1998) Columbia Univ Pr. Gampel, a Professor at JTS, edits the leading scholars in Jewish history, philosophy, literature, religion, and linguistics reflect on the traumatic 1492 expulsions of the Jews from Spain and their aftermath in Jewish, European, and Mediterranean cultures. A sweeping and instructive survey of the catastrophe that serves as a reference point to the tragic course of modern history. Click to read more.
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[book] The Cross and the Pear Tree : A Sephardic Journey by Victor Perera
Paperback Reprint edition (October 1996) Univ California Press. The personal journey of a Sephardic Jew probes the history of his ancestors on their flight from persecution from the Iberian Peninsula to Europe, Central America, and the Holy Land, and profiles the family's many strong characters. Click to read more.
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[book] Farewell Espana : The World of the Sephardim Remembered by Howard M. Sachar
Paperback (October 1995) Vintage Books. A vivid study of the history of the Iberian Jews follows the lives, fortunes, and influence of the Sephardic Jews from their golden age in medieval Spain through their expulsion and their odyssey throughout the world. Click to read more.
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[book] Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation : Conversos and Community in Early Modern Amsterdam (Modern Jewish Experience) by Miriam Bodian
Hardcover (December 1997) Indiana Univ Press. WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD, MARCH 1999 AS WELL AS THE 1999 KORET BOOK AWARD. Click to read more.
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[book] The Grandees : America's Sephardic Elite by Stephen Birmingham
Paperback - 386 pages Reprint edition (March 1997) Syracuse Univ Pr. Birmingham, that chronicler of families, turns his attention to The Grandees. Click to read more.
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[book] Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson
Hardcover (Spring 1999). St Martins Press. During the Inquisition, a bowl of Chicken soup could get you killed, not healed. If this book is not nominated for a Jewish Book Award, I don't know what will be. How is that for a recommendation? I came across this in the shelves the other day and was mesmerized. David Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson are a husband and wife team and teachers at the the University of Rhode Island. David is a past winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and he is a specialist in aljamas (jewish neighborhoods), the converso Jews, the anusim (forced converts) and the meshumadim (willing coverts). Using cookbooks and Inquisition documents in Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan (including the rare 13th Century Al Andalus cookbook of the Cocina Hispano-Magribi), the authors have recreating over 90 recipes of the Converso community. During the Inquisitions in the Iberian peninsula, Jews and Moslems were killed, exiled, or converted. Some of the converted remained Jewish or Moslem and became crypto-jews, Crypto-Moslems, of Conversos. Spain expelled Jews in 1492 (you know, when Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue); Portugal expelled Jews in 1497. The recipes are well categorized, and make use of lamb, beef, fish, eggplant, greens, turnips, chickpeas, as well as mace, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, rue, portulaca, and dozens of other spices. Most recipes include histories and characters of the period, which is the prime motivation to purchase this book. For example, along of the recipes of Beatrice Nunez, we learn that she was arrested in 1485. Her maid turned her in to the Inquisition for the crime of maintaining a kosher kitchen. She also prepared a Sabbath stew of lamb, chickpeas and eggs. Proof enough to have her burned at the stake. Among my favorite recipes is Mayor Gonzalez's Egg and Carrot Casserole. She was imprisoned in 1483 for killing a goose in "the jewish way." Then there is Juan Sanchez's hamin of chickpeas, spinach and cabbage; and Maria de Luna's rasquillas honey pastries that she prepared for the post-Yom Kippur fast. She was arrested in 1505 for this crime. There is also Juan de Teva's Roast Lamb dish. Juan's father was a rabbi who was burned to death i n1484. The authors also include the Roast Chicken with Fruit and Almori recipe of Anton de Montoro. Senor de Montoro was a rag merchat in Cordoba, but is most well known as being the converso poet to the Court of Queen Isabel of Castile. De Montoro was accused of preparing stuffed radishes (a Jewish dish) and Pollo Judio (jewish chicken). Easily, this is among the top three Jewish Cookbooks of the year.
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[book] Memories of a Lost Egypt: A Memoir With Recipes by Colette Rossant
Hardcover - 176 pages (March 1999). Colette Rossant, a Nwe York Daily News columnist, was born in France and grew up with her brother under the care of their Swiss governess and several maids and cooks. Her mother, a tad irresponsible, converted from Judaism to Catholicism, but the family still had to flee during WWII. The family fled to Cairo, where the seven year old Colette was left to be raised by her father's parents in an extended Sephardic family. Her father was a buyer for the family's Cairo department store. It is here in Cairo that we meet some remarkable characters and the family's Sudanese cook, Ahmet, and his wonderful Egyptian and Sephardic recipes, which include tarragon chicken, gigot, fried fish in cousbareia sauce, cheese filled sambousek, ful medamas, roast chicken with leeks, mulukhiyya soup. Rossant writes that her children had endless questions about my childhood in Cairo. In order to quiet them, she told them stories about growing up in a big house surrounded by a large, tumultuous family. The stories seemed exotic and unreal to them. They also wondered about her love-hate relationship with her mother, her passion for food, and her true identity. Was she French? Egyptian? Catholic? Jewish? Memories of a Lost Egypt tells the story
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[book] The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York. by Claudia Roden
Hardcover (December 1996). Knopf. Great for your home, or for a wedding gift. Claudia Roden has accomplished this monumental task. She has produced a history of the Jewish diaspora, told through its cuisine.
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[book] Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen. By Joyce Goldstein
(Chronicle. $30 before discount). FINALIST for the National Jewish Book Award for Best Jewish Book of 1998. Former owner of SF Sqaure One restaurant, Goldstein will both expand your vision of Jewish cooking and make you want to cook these Italian Jewish dishes. Livornese Couscous with Meatballs, White Beans, and Greens is an interesting recipe. The couscous grain came to Livorno Italy with North African Jews in the 1270s. It was prepared as a Shabbat meal, and the leftovers were served cold the next day after Saturday morning synagogue services. Goldstein also gives the first honest recipe for Carciofi alla Giudia (crispy fried artichokes in the Roman Jewish style) yet printed. Speaking of which, if you are ever in Rome, you have to try the chocolate and the artichoke pizza that is sold behind the main synagogue.
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[book] The Sephardic Kitchen: The Healthy Food and Rich Culture of the Mediterranean Jews by Robert J. Sternberg
($30 before discount). Hardcover - 384 pages (September 1996) Harpercollins The definitive book on the foods, menus, celebrations, and lore of the Mediterranean Jews, this book will be a mainstay of Jewish-American cooks of all backgrounds.
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[book] Sephardic Cooking: 600 Recipes Created in Exotic Sephardic Kitchens from Morocco to India by Copeland Marks
($18 before discount). Paperback (September 1994) Donald I Fine. With bits of history introducing each place of settlement, Marks presents recipes from the community of Jews in Greece, Calcutta, Libya, and several others. Some of the recipes, such as the ``Jewish eggs'' cooked in their shells for hours, he found in Jewish communities in Calcutta, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco; others, such as the walnut sauces of Georgia in the Caucasus, the injeera bread of Ethiopia, and the Moroccan bestila (``pigeon'' pie made here with chicken), are characteristic of the country of settlement but, as in other Marks collections, are considerably adapted here for American convenience.
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[book] The Sephardic Table: The Vibrant Cooking of the Mediterranean Jews-A Personal Collection of Recipes from the Middle East, North Africa and India by Pamela Grau Twena
Paperback - 287 pages (August 1998). In January 1999, I attended a conference on Iraqi Jewry held in NYC, on the anniversary of the hanging of the Jews in Baghdad. I was treated to an Iraqi Jewish lunch. I promptly bought this book. From her Iraqi husband's extended family, Pamela Grau Twena coaxed out recipes that had been passed through generations but never written down. The result is an inviting collection of more than 125 Sephardic Jewish favorites for everyday meals, Sabbath suppers, and holidays. These inspired kosher recipes will appeal to all food lovers.
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