By Jonathan S. Ray
Honorary point out for the 2014 Medieval and Early smooth Jewish background part booklet award offered by means of the organization for Jewish Studies
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Extra info for After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry
As with this earlier calamity, many Jews who were confronted by the choice between allegiance to their religious community and personal fiscal stability evaded the issue for as long as they could. Many contemporary Jewish authors presented the decision between conversion and exile as a test of faith. A short chronicle penned by a member of the rich and powerful de la Cavalleria clan and written shortly after the Expulsion gives some indication that the bitterness felt by Jews at the beginning of the fifteenth century had by no means diminished by 1492: I will not mention their names on my lips.
First, it emphasizes that the reorganization of communal life in the early Sephardic Diaspora was not the product of a natural solidarity inherited from the Middle Ages. Rather, the creation of a 32 << Medieval Inheritance diaspora society and of the social and political building blocks upon which it stood took place in spite of this propensity to resist unification and centralizing authority. Second, the identification of the normative Hispano-Jewish community as a set of overlapping and highly contested relationships among individuals allows a greater appreciation of the individuality and effective pragmatism of the exiles.
Relations between Iberian Christians and Muslims thus varied greatly from year to year, and from 24 << Medieval Inheritance one part of the peninsula to another. 41 Jewish fortunes rose and fell upon these same turbulent seas. As a politically neutral and easily controlled minority, Jews were given opportunities to act as diplomats and translators for Christian lords. They also benefited from Christian military and economic successes. Jewish merchants traded in captured Muslim slaves, and they followed Catalan maritime expansion into the Mediterranean.
After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry by Jonathan S. Ray