From the “Golden Age” of Spain to the present, the Sephardic community has made important contributions to both Jewish and Western cultures. Before the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, Spain was home to the world’s most vibrant Jewish culture — combining Hebrew and Arabic poetry, philosophy, science, and the Kabbalah. Travel with us as we learn about the heritage, history, and mystical traditions of the Jews of Northern Spain. We will explore the homeland of the Spanish Kabbalah, beginning in Barcelona (site of Gaudi’s exotic architecture and where Nahmanides/“Rambam,” who represented the Jewish community in the 13th century Disputation before King James of Aragon). The trip continues to Girona, home to one of the most important Kabbalistic schools in Europe. Other highlights of our journey will include viewing the recently discovered remnants of the Jewish community of Tarazona; studying the roots of medieval intolerance in Madrid and Avila; and touring the surviving synagogues of Toledo.
Our accompanying scholar, Professor Ray Scheindlin, will address a wide variety of themes associated with Spanish-Jewish history and culture. During the course of our trip, Professor Scheindlin will discuss such great personalities of Jewish and Spanish history as Nahmanides/“Ramban,” Ibn Gabirol, El Cid, King Philip II, and Judah Halevi. Along the way, we will visit world class museums, enjoy readings of the great Spanish Hebrew poets, and hear a live recital of Sephardic songs by guest artist, mezzo-soprano Janice Meyerson.