Tragedy and Transcendence: The Meaning of 1492 for Jewish History
History of Religion
Islamic World and Near East History
This year we commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of a tragic expulsion. Our history is replete with tragic moments, but this moment is of enormous significance for Jewish as well as for Christian and Moslem history. For Jews, 1492 constituted the abrupt end of an extraordinary cultural experience, a formative and repercussive period in the life of our people affecting every area of its civilization: Halakha, philosophy, kabbalah, poetry, ethical literature, messianism, political thought, and more.2 A world of enormous vitality and effervescence, a world, both in its high and low points, that can teach us a great deal about the nature of our faith and community, about our interaction with others, in short, about ourselves.