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spanish inquisition

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Sicily Gets Its First New Synagogue in 500 Years

By On January 11, 2017

An unlikely thing is happening in Sicily. Over five centuries after the expulsion of the Italian island’s Jewish population, the ancient synagogue in its capital city is re-opening its doors. As of… Read More

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It Wasn’t Easy Being an Iberian Court Jew

By On November 21, 2016

Being a court Jew in 15th-century Iberia was a constant negotiation between prestige and death: If you were Isaac Abravanel, adviser to Portuguese King Alfonso and later the House of Castile, you… Read More

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A 16th-Century Spanish Jew Wrote This Memoir. Then He Was Burned at the Stake.

By On November 16, 2016

It hasn’t won any literary prizes or received an Oprah endorsement. But a brief autobiographical account by 16th-century Spanish-born Luis de Carvajal the Younger, bound together with other documents written in his… Read More

What Ever Happened to the Jews of Sicily?
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What Ever Happened to the Jews of Sicily?

By On August 1, 2016

It’s not exactly known when the first Jews arrived in Sicily—some accounts say 1400 years ago, some say 2000; some say as captive slaves after the 1st-century fall of Jerusalem, some say… Read More

Jamaica: Island of Sun, Surf, and Forgotten Jewish Pirates
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Jamaica: Island of Sun, Surf, and Forgotten Jewish Pirates

By On July 14, 2016

Jamaican Jews number less than 200 these days, but that wasn’t always the case. The first Jews arrived in Jamaica following the Spanish Inquisition in 1494. Nearly 500 years later, in 2007,… Read More

The Jewish Ghosts of Africa's Cape Verde Islands
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The Jewish Ghosts of Africa’s Cape Verde Islands

By On April 25, 2016

Geography pop quiz: Can you find Cape Verde on a map? If you can’t, don’t beat yourself up–this small group of islands off the west coast of Africa, near Senegal, is not… Read More

The Surprising Jewish History of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
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The Surprising Jewish History of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

By On August 3, 2015

Jews from Denmark first arrived on the white beaches of what is now St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands—a tiny speck off the coast of Puerto Rico—in the mid-17th century. These were descendants… Read More

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Is Ladino Endangered?

By On April 27, 2012

Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish, is a combination of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Spanish. When the estimated 300,000 Spanish Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492, they carried this language with them. Today Ladino is spoken on a daily… Read More

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Murder, Poisons, and Conversos

By On January 5, 2012

Dr. Rodrigo López was born in Portugal in the 16th century. He was a converso, a Jew who converted to Christianity, but he ended up leaving the country, fleeing the increasingly dogged efforts of the Inquisition, which aimed to… Read More

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