Historical Sephardic Themes: A 3-Part Series

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
7:00 pm


Rabbi Donnell teaches 3 part series focusing on historical Sephardic themes. These sessions will expand your knowledge of your heritage or introduce you to Sephardic history you may want to know more about.

April 14 – “The Song of the Sephardim”
While most American Jews have a passing knowledge of Sephardic Jews and the rich Ladino cultural traditions, much of the Sephardic history, literature and culture are little known outside of Sephardic communities. Rabbi Donnell will draw from his extensive studies and personal family history, traditions and experiences in his presentation. This topic is a celebration of the music, history and folklore that makes up Ladino culture.

May 12 – “Dona Gracia Mendes – Queen of the Jews”
This program will explore the life of one of the most powerful and wealthy people in the Renaissance. A Sephardic woman named Dona Gracia Mendes, born into a converso family of secret Jews, inherits her husband’s financial fortune and built it into one of the greatest financial empires of all time. Before there were Rothschilds there was the House of Nasi and Dona Gracia. When she emigrated to the Ottoman Empire, she was received as royalty. Banker, philanthropist and devoted Jew, Dona Gracia’s story is filled with adventure, intrigue, triumph and tragedy.

June 23 – “The Jewish Conquistador”
The 16th century conquistador Louis de Carvajal was one of the most powerful Spaniards in the New World. As the virtual ruler of much of what is today Mexico and even parts of present day United States, Carvajal’s influence and prestige threatened to eclipse the power of the power of the Spanish throne in New Spain. But, Carvajal had an achilles’ heel, he was a “Nuevo Christiano,” a new Christian of Jewish origin. The story of Louis Carvajal and his family plays out like an adventure story chronicling the early years of Spanish rule and the role of the Inquisition itself in the New World.

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