Date of this Version
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.
Originally published in the CCAR Yearbook by the Central Conference of American Rabbis © 1992. https://ccarnet.org/. Reproduced with permission.
Ruderman, D. B. (1992). Tragedy and Transcendence: The Meaning of 1492 for Jewish History. CCAR Yearbook, 102 162-170. Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/history_papers/44
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Date Posted: 02 August 2017
At the time of this publication, Dr. Ruderman was affiliated with Yale University, but he is now a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania.