Mishkan School- Hey Class, Civilization Talking Points- 11/7/10

Mishkan School- Hey Class, Civilization Talking Points- 11/7/10

Ashkenaz / Sepharad
• Most of the Jews we know in America are descendant from Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and Germany. Such Jews are called Ashkenazic.
• Many Jews, the world over, are descendant from Jewish communities originating in Spain. Such Jews are called Sephardic.

Moorish Spain
Relations between Arabs and Jews have not always been terrible.
• Beginning at the end of the 8th century B.C.E. in Spain, Jews and Arabs got along well.
• In 711 B.C.E. the Moors (Muslim Arabs) invaded the Iberian Peninsula pushing out the Visigoths.
• The Visigoths were a Catholic sect who had treated the Jews terribly. They forced them to convert or enslaved them and prevented them from communicating with Jews in other countries. Jews were destitute under the Visigoths.
• Jews celebrated when the Moors conquered the great city of Cordoba. The Moors made the Jews the guards at the gates of their cities.
• For their loyalty they were granted:
o Freedom of worship
o More important jobs
o Permission to study
o Freedom to travel and trade

The Golden Age
o Muslims brought to Spain a high value on the study of poetry, science and philosophy.
o Jewish culture flourished in this environment.
o Jews studied languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Spanish).
o Jews became successful traders of herbs and spices and silk merchants.
o Jews became renown as doctors, poets and philosophers.
o Jews became translators and emissaries to distant lands.
o Hebrew literature blossomed influenced by Arabic culture. This period of time produced famous poets whose work still appear in our prayer books today: Yehuda HaLevi, Ibn Gabirol and Dunash ibn Labrat.
o Jewish architecture was (and still is) influenced by Moorish design.
o Sephardic music has been influenced by Arabic style.

Hasdai Shaprut
o Doctor: personal physician to Muslim ruler
o Linguist: helped translate an important Greek medical manuscript, making Cordoba a center of scientific study.
o Founder of Talmudic Academy in Spain.

4101 Freeland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19128 - ph: (215) 508-0226 / office@mishkan.org Site map