Passover

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Collection

Conversas

The forced conversions of the Jews in Spain that occurred in 1391 changed the face of Spanish Jewry as well as of Spanish history. The random attacks on Jewish communities throughout the country resulted in destruction of property, loss of life and general havoc. Whereas there had previously been Jews and Catholics, now there were Jews, Catholics and converts or conversos. Some of the converts continued to live a Jewish life to the best of their abilities, despite the fact that they now had to attend church and abide by its dogma. Others opted to live as Christians in the hope that new opportunities would await them. Yet others wavered between the two religious lifestyles or opted to follow neither. During the first half of the fifteenth century, the original group of conversos was joined by disillusioned Jews who chose to convert and others who were persuaded to do so in the wake of the rigged Disputation of Tortosa (1413–1414). In the long run, the converso population changed tremendously after nearly a third of the total remaining Jewish population chose to convert in 1492 rather than to face exile. In other words, by the end of the fifteenth century the converso community included descendants of the original forced converts of 1391, descendants of voluntary converts, Jews who chose to remain in Spain as Catholics and even some exiles who returned home within seven years of the fateful decree.

Leah Bergstein

Leah Bergstein was the first of the choreographers in Palestine who at the beginning of the 1930s created festival dances at A voluntary collective community, mainly agricultural, in which there is no private wealth and which is responsible for all the needs of its members and their families.kibbutzim, attempting to depict life in pre-state Israel in general and on agricultural settlements in particular. The unique creation of festival pageants contributed greatly to the development of a genre of rural Israeli festival and holiday celebrations and the creation of the first The Land of IsraelErez Israel dances.

More on Jews, Jewesses, and Thanksgiving

by  Jordan Namerow

Apropos of Ellen's comment about "what makes Thanksgiving so meaningful for some American Jews" in her prior post, I thought I'd share an excerpt from an article published in The American Jewess in November 1896.

Midwives, Oranges, and Matzah Frisbee?!

by  Jordan Namerow

With Passover fast approaching, now is a perfect time to think about the many roles of courageous women in historical and contemporary quests for freedom.

As a start, check out the Jewish Women's Archive's resource on Jewish midwives which highlights Shifra and Puah, two women who play a critical part in the Exodus story through their acts of resistance in sparing the lives of Hebrew male babies born in Egypt.

The American Jewess: Passover in 19th Century London

by  Jordan Namerow

Besides this piece being interesting as a documentary description of late 19th century life in London, it's fascinating for the writer's clear invocation of class issues, though that seems more a natural by-product of her own upper-class biases than a deliberate attempt to raise an explicit discussion about socioeconomic divisions between Jews.

Topics: Passover, Journalism

What's in an Orange?

by  Jordan Namerow

As I prepare for Passover, I’ve been struck by the wide range of explanations given for why some Jews include an orange on a Seder plate.

Black History: More Than a Month

by  Jordan Namerow

February is Black History Month -- “a time to honor the struggles and triumphs of millions of American citizens over slavery, prejudice, and poverty.” Perhaps more importantly, it’s a time to celebrate African Americans’ myriad contributions to our country’s cultural and political life.

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