Sefarad: The Untold Story that Changed the World – Part 2

Sunday, Aug 22, 2021

Part 2 – Challenging Religious Authority: The Birth of Heresy and the Inquisition

The history of the Jews in Spain evokes both great achievements and the depths of despair. The Inquisition is infamous in popular culture for the severity of its tortures and persecution of heretics. In Spain and Portugal, this powerful tribunal sanctioned by the Catholic Church became obsessed with the phenomenon of “Judaizing” (Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity but who secretly tried to keep the Laws of Moses). In this webinar, Dr. Isaac Amon will examine the Iberian Inquisition and its relentless pursuit of Crypto-Judaism for three and a half centuries on five continents, reshaping the world of Sefarad. The program will also feature a musical presentation by the Israeli-Portuguese ensemble, Al’Fado. In this webinar we will feature their musical video for the song Rikordus di mi Nona, which was written by the late Flory Jagoda, of blessed memory, a Ladino legend that survived the two world wars and settled in America where she became a world-renowned figure of the Sephardic culture. Al’Fado’s lead singer, Gal, had the opportunity to meet her and obtained her permission to recreate the song which describes her childhood memories in the former Yugoslavia.

About the three part Series:

Jewish history and communal life on the Iberian Peninsula originated in the time of the Roman Empire. Under Muslim rule, prosperous, flourishing, and well-integrated Jewish communities achieved financial, social, and intellectual success and during the Golden Age, Spain became the center of the Jewish world in Europe. However, due to political and social developments in the Late Middle Ages, life markedly changed as persecution, discrimination, and forced conversions ensued, culminating with the royal decree to expel Spanish Jewry in 1492. This infamous edict, which followed a long trend in European history, led to the Sephardic Diaspora as Iberian Jewry sought new places of refuge, creating new worlds for themselves and their descendants. Yet, more than five centuries later, the ancestral call of Sefarad remains.

Part 1 of this series was held on August 1 and can be rewatched anytime here.

Part 3 of this series will take place at 1pm on September 19. More information here.


This program is being presented by the Jewish Heritage Alliance in partnership with The National Museum of American Jewish History, ANU Museum of the Jewish People, Museum of Jewish Heritage, The American Sephardi Federation’s Institute of Jewish Experience, JewishGen, 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), and the Dahan Center at Bar Ilan University.