Religious Changes and Cultural Transformations in the Early Modern Western Sephardic Communities


Editor: Yosef Kaplan
From the sixteenth century on, hundreds of Portuguese New Christians began to flow to Venice and Livorno in Italy, and to Amsterdam and Hamburg in northwest Europe. In those cities and later in London, Bordeaux, and Bayonne as well, Iberian conversos established their own Jewish communities, openly adhering to Judaism. Despite the features these communities shared with other confessional groups in exile, what set them apart was very significant. In contrast to other European confessional communities, whose religious affiliation was uninterrupted, the Western Sephardic Jews came to Judaism after a separation of generations from the religion of their ancestors. In this edited volume, several experts in the field detail the religious and cultural changes that occurred in the Early Modern Western Sephardic communities.
Open Access


Open Access
Table of contents
List of Figures and Table
Notes on Contributors

Part 1: Markers of Converso Identities

1 A Crisis of Judeoconverso Identity and Its Echoes, 1391 to the Present
David Graizbord

2 A Family of the Nação from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and Beyond (1497–1640)
James Nelson Novoa

3 Conversos versus Recusants: Shaping the Markers of Difference (1570–1680)
Natalia Muchnik

4 Richelieu in Marrano Garb: Conversos as Agents of the French Confessional Model, c. 1640
Claude B. Stuczynski

5 Semi-Clandestine Judaism in Early Modern France: European Horizons and Local Varieties of a Domestic Devotion
Carsten L. Wilke

6 Prison Revelations and Jailhouse Encounters: Inquisitorial Prisons as Places of Judaizing Activism and Cross-Cultural Exchange
Ronnie Perelis

Part 2: Mechanisms of Social Discipline in the Sephardic Communities

7 Defining Deviance, Negotiating Norms: Raphael Meldola in Livorno, Pisa, and Bayonne
Bernard Dov Cooperman

8 A Sephardic Saga in the Dutch Republic: The Cohen Pallache Women on Love, Religion, and Social Standing
Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld

9 Dispute Resolution and Kahal Kadosh Talmud Torah: Community Forum and Legal Acculturation in Eighteenth-Century Amsterdam
Evelyne Oliel-Grausz

10 The “Livro de Pleitos”: The Leadership of the Spanish and Portuguese Community of London in the Eighteenth Century as a Court of Requests
Alex Kerner

Part 3: Economy and Community among Italian Sephardim

11 Jews in the Papal States between Western Sephardic Diasporas and Ghettoization: A Trial in Ancona as a Case Study (1555–1563)
Serena Di Nepi

12 The Sephardic Community and Social Practices in the Circuit of Money: Social Implications of Payment Networks in the Context of the Livorninas
Mauricio Dimant

13 Charity Begins at Home: Reflections on the Dowry Society of Livorno
Nourit Melcer-Padon

Part 4: The Boundaries of Rabbinical Authority

14 Jacob Sasportas and Problems of Discipline in the Ets Haim Yeshiva
Yaacob Dweck

15 A Letter’s Importance: The Spelling of Daka(h) (Deut. 23:2) and the Broadening of Western Sephardic Rabbinic Culture
David Sclar

16 Hakham Yaakov Athias—A Portuguese Rabbi Facing the Winds of Enlightenment and Secularization
Yocheved Beeri

Part 5: Varieties of Cultural Creativity

17 On the Role of Hebrew Grammars in the Western European Diaspora and the New World
Moisés Orfali

18 New Jews in Amsterdam: Some Social Aspects Reflected in the Thesouro dos Dinim by Menasseh ben Israel
Aliza Moreno-Goldschmidt

19 Penso de la Vega and the Question of Jewish Baroque
Einat Davidi

Part 6: Crossing the Atlantic—Sephardic Communities in the New World

20 Sea is History, Sea is Witness: The Creation of a Prosopographical Database for the Sephardic Atlantic
Michael Studemund-Halévy

21 Revisiting Blackness, Slavery, and Jewishness in the Early Modern Sephardic Atlantic
Jonathan Schorsch

22 Feckless Fathers, Fraught Families: Abandonment and Cultural Change in the Early Modern Jewish World
Jessica Vance Roitman

23 The Gabay Dynasty: Plantation Jews of the Colonial Atlantic World
Stanley Mirvis

24 Patriots at the Periphery: David Nassy, the French Revolution, and the Emancipation of the Dutch Jews
Sina Rauschenbach

Index Card
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