It offers a chance to listen to the music of the Jews from Spain, learn a little of their Ladino language, become familiar with some typical Sephardic names, appreciate the courage of the forced converts known as conversos and crypto Jews, try out some recipes, eat their food, sing their songs, celebrate their interpretation of festivals like chanukkah and seder, appreciate the differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews.
pictured right: Crypto jews celebrate seder in Portugal
Some real life stories are included. You will meet famous Jewish women like Dona Gracia Nasi who used her fortune to help her fellow Jews escape from the neighboring country of Portugal.
pictured left: Part II of our Caribbean board game that tells the exciting tale of the great Sephardic shipping merchants of the 16th and 17th centuries
But they couldn't erase their Spanish heritage. Over the centuries these Jews had developed a culture very different from the northern European or Ashkenazi Jews. They took that culture into exile. They are important because they represent one of the largest segments of the Jewish people, including perhaps some students in your class and families that later migrated to Eastern Europe (and only know vaguely about their Spanish heritage from family tales).
The series tells what happened to these Spanish or Sephardic Jews during their time on the Spanish peninsula and afterwards; a tale too often overlooked in Jewish history. It recreates their adventures, sorrows and achievements before and after they were forced out.
at left: This is the actual border bridge at Castelo de Vide, Portugal, used by hundreds of weary Jewish refugees fleeing Spain. A plaque now marks the event and all that happened there.
~ Testimonials ~
"It's a wonderfully enriching program that will broaden and enlighten you and your student's knowledge about the other half of the Jewish world."
Pamela Kesselman, teacher Temple Israel religious school, Westport, CT.
"It provides a hands-on experience in Sephardic culture. And it's great to have something that engages students through activities."
Sarah Lascar, principal Congregation Beth Yeshurum religious school Hillel High School, Houston, TX.