Exploring the Sephardic Legacy

IMG_6637On Sunday, November 25 Rick Kool held the audience captive with the intriguing history of the Amsterdam Sephardim 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. Thank you, Rick!

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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

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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.