The Sephardic Odyssey: A Tale of Twos

IMG_0182On Sunday, March 24 our two wonderful professors, Francis Landy and Andrew Gow provided a spirited account of the dispersion of the Sephardic Jews: how it had occurred in two phases and how this had resulted in the existence of two very distinct types of Sephardic Jew. Continue reading The Sephardic Odyssey: A Tale of Twos

How the Sephardim “Worlded”

Sephardim worldedSunday, March 24, 2019, 2 pm at Congregation Emanu-El — Andrew Gow and Francis Landy will delight us with tales of How the Sephardim “Worlded”. This is the fourth presentation in the Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series sponsored by Congregation Emanu-El’s Education Team. Entry is by donation: light refreshments will be served.

Pre-Isabellan medieval Spain lived on in the post 1492 Sephardic diaspora: in the 1920s a Spanish envoy remarked on the “purity” of the “Castillian” (Ladino) he encountered at Thessalonika in the 1920s. The Sephardim “worlded” an alternate or parallel Spanish empire, an empire consisting not of military conquest and oppression, but of a shared language and culture—a largely urban constellation characterized by commercial and intellectual vigour, an urbane and relatively relaxed religiosity (if not downright, apikorsut), and a simultaneous openness and clannishness that preserved such communities in splendid separation, whether in Salonika, Amsterdam, London, or New York, until well into the 20th century.

About the presenters:

AGOWAndrew Gow is a historian who has followed his family to Victoria to retire after a career of research and teaching about pre-modern European culture and religion at the University of Alberta (and elsewhere). He has written all the books and articles he cares to publish, and continues to edit both a series of scholarly monographs in his field and an 18-volume scholarly reference work on pre-modern Europe.

Francis LandyFrancis Landy is a biblical scholar who has recently made his home in Victoria, after a career of over thirty years at the University of Alberta. He is a member of Congregation Emanu-El. He has published a number of books and many articles, and is in particular a specialist in the poetry of the Hebrew Bible.  He has written on the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Hosea and other books, as well as the theory of the study of religion.

 

 

 

 

 

An over-the-top Sephardic Celebración

I want to knowDespite the snow, about 100 people participated in the Sephardic Celebración at Congregation Emanu-El last Sunday afternoon. Betsi Boeno led off the program with a joyful presentation about Turkey and Sephardic Jews. Kouskous followed her with their earthy, sensuous Sephardic music and the afternoon wrapped-up with a buffet of tasty Sephardic delicacies. Mazel Tov for a delightful afternoon goes out to Betsi, Amber & Gary, the volunteer cooks, Rosalind & Yaaqov and their brigade de cuisine, Betsi, Amber, Ruth, Dahlia, Frances, Ellen & Rene and the Adult Education & Communications teams.
For more photos… (Penny Tennenhouse, Frances Rosenberg)

A Sephardic Celebración

sephardic celebracionSunday, February 10, 2019 2:30—5:00 pm — Join us for a fun celebration of Sephardic Jewish Culture. Come learn about the history of Turkish Sephardic Jews, sample Sephardic foods and listen to Sephardic Music at Congregation Emanu-El on Sunday, February 10 from 2:30 to 5:00 pm. This is the third presentation in the Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series. Continue reading A Sephardic Celebración

Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue: My Heritage

My HeritageSunday, November 25 at 2:00 pm — Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education team invites you to the second presentation in the Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series on Sunday, November 25 in the synagogue at 1461 Blanshard Street when Dr. Richard Kool will present. 

In 1675, the largest synagogue in the world opened in Amsterdam. This building, the crown of the Amsterdam Sephardim, stands as a monument to the success that this community, formed of religious refugees including families that spent three or more generations as crypto-Christians in the Iberian countries, was able to attain in the tolerant Dutch republic. The presenter will talk about the Sephardim of Amsterdam including his own family which, on both his maternal (Waas/Vaz) and his paternal (Henriques Pimentel) sides, made the journey in the late 16th/early 17th century from Spain and Portugal to the Netherlands.

Dr. Richard Kool is a member of Congregation Emanu-El’s Board of Directors since 2001, and has served as secretary, vice-president, member at large, and cemetery director. Rick immigrated from Boston to British Columbia in the early 1970s, came to Vancouver Island to work at what was known then as the BC Provincial Museum in 1978, and has lived in James Bay ever since. He is now a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University.

Winter with its ink of showers, … pen of lightning

Pearls

The first session of our Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series opened on Sunday, October 14 when Shamma Boyarin delighted a small but fully engaged group in a highly interactive session on Sephardic poetry. The excursion lead by Shamma began with the poetry of Shmuel Ibn Gabirol and the words contained in the headline. All present appreciated Shamma’s knowledge of and love for his subject. Kudos, Shamma!

In the next session of the series booked for Sunday, November 18 at 2 pm, Rick Kool will talk about the Amsterdam Sephardim from whom he descends.

Verses Strung Like Pearls

Sepharad-001

Sunday October 14 at 2 pm, Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard StreetShamma Boyarin will open the Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series on Sunday, October 14 at 2 pm in Congregation Emanu-El synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street with an introduction to the Hebrew poets of al-Andalus (Islmaic Spain) who, starting with Dunash Ben Labrat (d. c 990), created a vibrant and compelling literary tradition. Drawing both from Arabic literary influences as well as Jewish sources, primarily the Bible, poets such as Moses Ibn Ezra, Judah HaLevi and Shmuel HaNagid wrote about many diverse topics including love, friendship, the beauty of nature, war, aging, relations to others and more. This talk will focus on the main poets from this period, look at some examples of poems, and explore some of the theoretical poetics behind their literary output. All texts will be provided with the Hebrew and an English translation.

Shamma Boyarin has taught at the University of Victoria in Religious Studies and Medieval Studies since 2008, and in the English Department since 2009. His research and teaching interests include: medieval literature (particularly the literature of Spain and the Near East), comparative literature (particularly Hebrew and Arabic), literature and religion, translation studies, Jewish studies, connections between medieval and contemporary aspects of religion, and religion and pop culture. He was one of the organizers of the very successful “South of Heaven: Religion and Heavy Metal” symposium that took place at the 2013 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held at University of Victoria.

This event is sponsored by the Emanu-El Adult Education Team. Contact Francis at flandy@ualberta.ca, if you have any questions.

Entry is by donation: light refreshments will be served.