jueves, 17 de mayo de 2018

6th International Congress “Jews in the Kingdom of León”, Zamora, Spain, July 5 & 6

Registration HERE, fee includes access to activities & events as well as congress sessions

Pre-congress activities and events

June 27, 19:00h, Centro Sefarad-Israel, calle Mayor 69, Madrid. Panel “Jews in the Kingdom of León”, Panelists: Margalit Matitiahu, Anun Barriuso, José Manuel Laureiro and Marciano Hervás.

Visits to historic Jewish Quarters

All Departures will be from NH Palacio del Duero in Zamora

July 2, 9:00, León
July 3, 9.00, Salamanca
July 4, 17:00, Fermoselle

La Hostería Real

July 3, 8:30 PM. Music of Sepharad, concert by Judith Cohen 


July 5

10:30, La Alhóndiga Palace, Film, Sefarad, caminos y vida: León reencuentro (90 minutos), director Jack Matitiahu. Q&A will follow.

14:00, Lunch

19:00. Keynote address: “Life and Path of a Zamoran Crypto-Jewish family”, Genie Milgrom, author of Pyre to Fire (2018), My 15 grandmothers (2012), and How I found my 15 Grandmothers (2014). Milgrom is also Board Member of the Jewish Genealogical Society in Miami.

20:00. “Spanish Citizenship and the Anusim. Restoring 15 generations family trees”, Abraham García, Institute for Sephardic, Crypto-Jewish and Anusim Studies, Netanya Academic College, Israel

21:00. Coctel

July 6

9:00 Opening Remarks.  

9:15. “Critical Approaches to the medieval Jewish population in León: the community of Castrum Iudeorum”, Mario Lozano Alonso, Historian

10:00. Jaime Einstein (1947-2015) in Memorian. Einstein was a Cuban-Israeli lawyer and writer, author of The Splendor (2008), a fictional biography of Mosé ben Sem Tob de León (1290-1305), and the unpublished novel The Island of Abraham, on the Jewish community of Cuba, Einstein’s country of origin. He was also a passionate scholar on the history of Sepharad (Jewish name for the Iberian Peninsula), particularly of the city of León, where he was an active participant in the efforts to recuperate city’s Jewish legacy.   

10:30. “On Leonés Language”, Alicia Valmaseda Merino, Linguist

11:00. Reading of Judeo Spanish poetry, Margalit Matitiahu, poet. She is the author of several books, among them, Kamino de tormento (2000), Vagabondo eternel (2001), Despertar el selencio (2004); Asiguiendo al esfuenio (2005) o Cantón de solombra (2005). Matitiahu has received numerous awards and recognitions in Israel and Spain for her literary work, including the Award of the Ateneo of Jaén (1996), and Israel Prize for Artistic Creation (1999)

12:00. Tribute to Abraham Haim for his 40 years of Intercultural Exchange between Spain and Israel. Presenters Leandro Rodrígues, Porfessor Emeritus from University of Ginebra, and Agustín Remesal, writer and for several decades RTVes correspondent in Jerusalem, Lisbon and New York.

13:30. Lunch.

16:00. The Judaizers in the scapulars of the Cathedral of Tuy: religious dissent, and social tension in the Miño Border”, Suso Vila, Historian

16:30. Panel on the book Crypto Judaism in La Raya (Northern border between Spain and Portugal). The prayers of Braganza, authors Anun Barriuso y José Manuel Laureiro, researchers at Centro Isaac Campanton, Antonio Fernandes, grandson of Eugenio Carvalho, who transcribed the prayers book from oral tradition to writing in 1925. Inés Nogueiro, researcher at the Instituto de Investigaçao em saúde-Universidad de Oporto.

17:30. “Jewish imaginary in history and narrative from Extremadura: The Blue Flame”, Marciano Hervás, Historian  

18:00. “Saint Christoph y the conversos”, Ramón Álvarez González, Historian

18:30. Closings

21:00. Teatro Principal, Sephardic Music Concert by María Salgado, among the most important singers in the musical tradition of Castile and León, including Judeo Spanish and La Raya repertoire.   

This is a Conference partially sponsored by

Zamora City Council
Council of Sephardic Communities of Jerusalem
Centro Sefarad-Israel, Madrid
Centro Isaac Campantón
Association Friends of Sephardic Cultures
Hotel NH Palacio del Duero
La Hostería Real de Zamora

Contact information

Phone: (34) 609 740 116
Email: centrocampanton@gmail.com

domingo, 22 de abril de 2018

Auschwitz, by León Felipe (Tábara, Zamora, 1884 – Mexico City, 1968)

To all Jews in the world,  my friends, my brethren

Those infernal poets,
Dante, Blake, Rimbaud…
keep it quite…
don’t play so loud…
Shup up!
Any inhabitant of Earth today
knows more about Hell
than those three poets together.
I am sure Dante plays his violin very well
Oh, what a virtuoso!...
But he shouldn’t pretend now,
with his wonderful tercets, 
and his perfect hendecasyllables,
to scare that Jewish boy who has been ripped
from his parents;
he is alone.
waiting for his turn
in the crematories of Auschwitz.
Dante… you descended deep into the Inferno
guided by Virgil’s hand 
(Virgil, “Gran Cicerone”),
your Divine Comedy was a funny adventure
of music and tourism.
This is different… something else.
How should I explain it?  
if you don’t have imagination!
You… don’t have any imagination,
remember, in your Inferno
there is not a single boy
and the one you see there…
is alone.
He is alone! With no Cicerone…
waiting for the gates of Hell to open, 
a hell that you, poor Florentine,
could not have even imagined it.
This is different, let me explain. 
Look! This is a place where nobody
can play a violin;
all the violin strings in the world will break here. 
Do you understand that, Infernal Poets?
Virgil, Dante, Blake, Rimbaud…
keep it quite!
Don’t play so loud... Shh!...
Shup up!
I am also a great violinist
and I have played in Hell many times…
But now, here
I break my violin… and remain silent.  
Listen to the poem read in Spanish by León Felipe (click here)
Translation into English: Jesús Jambrina
Touchstone, Art & Literature Magazine, Vol. 82
Viterbo University, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA

León Felipe (Zamora, 1884 – Mexico City, 1968) is considered one of the major poets of the Spanish language in the twentieth century. He was also a playwright, and translator of American writers Walt Whitman and Waldo Frank. He graduated from Pharmacy, which brought him a nomadic life by working in different cities and towns. In 1920 León Felipe published his first poetry book in Madrid, titled The Walker’s Verses and Prayers. Soon after, he traveled to Equatorial Guinea to work at a hospital, and in 1922 he went for the first time to Mexico from where he visited the United States, and Panama. 

In 1936, León Felipe returned to Spain to fight in favor of the Spanish Republic against Francisco Franco’s fascist insurrection. In 1939, after a brief visit to France and Cuba, he returned to Mexico where he lived in exile until his death in 1968. 

León Felipe’s literary style was strongly prophetic with Biblical and Whitmanian influences, meaning a strong humanistic orientation. His writings delve deep into historical thinking as a call for a hopeful and socially just world. Since the arrival of democracy to Spain in 1975, León Felipe’s poetry has been valued as a testimony of the exiles during the Spanish Civil War; many of his poems have been musicalized,  and are greatly appreciated in both sides of the Atlantic as part of the Spanish American literary tradition.

 In 2002, the Zamora City Council in Spain acquired León Felipe’s original manuscripts, including many unpublished works, as the foundation for a future center of studies that will have his name. In 2010 the prestigious Spanish press Visor put in circulation the–so far–most complete collection of his poems. “Auschwitz” is included in the book Oh! This Old and Broken Violin(1965). 

viernes, 12 de enero de 2018

Call for Papers: 6th International Congress on the Jewish Legacy of Zamora, Spain

Jews in the Kingdom of León
Zamora, July 5 & 6, 2018
NH Palacio del Duero
5/7, 19-23h, 5/6, 10-19h

We have reached the limits of presentations for this year's congress. Please, consider sending a proposal for next edition. You can yet register to attend our event by clicking Here.

Center Isaac Campanton invites proposals for the 6thInternational Congress on the Jewish Legacy of Zamora, Spain, this year with the title of Jews in the Kingdom of Leon, specifically from the 9thto the 15thcenturies. 

This congress is open to professors, students, and independent scholars working on Spanish & Portuguese Jewish Studies. Proposals on the following topics, but not limited to, are welcome: 

Place of Jews in the Fueros(regional code of laws) in the Kingdom of Leon
Life and functioning of the Jewish communities 
Relevant personalities, e.g. Moises de Leon, Abraham Zacuto and others 
Kabbalah in the Kingdom of Leon
Movements across La Raya (Portuguese border)
Crypto Jewish genealogy and memories 
Inquisition and chronicles from the expulsion 
Jews from Leon region in the Sephardic Diaspora
Museum narratives and new approaches to regional Jewish history  

Proposals should be 250 words, and include name, institution (or independent scholar), email, and technological needs. Academic committee can request changes to the proposal in order for this to be fully accepted.  

Deadline: June 1, 2018. Email: centrocampanton@gmail.com

Registration: 10 euros in person, online 15 euros

sábado, 18 de noviembre de 2017

Hannukah in Zamora, Spain

 Zamora is among a growing number of cities in Spain celebrating Hannuka every year. This time, our celebration will be at La Hostería Real located in La Horta neighborhood, the Jewish Quarter in the Middle Ages. This 14th century building, recently reconstructed, includes a mikvé, which has been open to the public.

December 20th, 9 PM
La Hostería Real, 7 Pizarro Street, 
Zamora, Spain
Reservations at 34 980 04 50 31

viernes, 10 de noviembre de 2017

Spanish Hebrews, 14th and 15th centuries

“Indumentaria”: Colección de calcos hechos por Dn. Manuel Castellano (1846-1880).
Anotación manuscrita en el ángulo superior derecho a lápiz de grafito: "Siglo XIV." / "Judío". Anotación manuscrita en el margen derecho a lápiz de grafito: "Toca blanca. / Manto amarillo. / túnica verdosa / cinturón rojo. / y bordados de oro." Barcia. Catálogo colección dibujos originales BN. Tít. tomado de la anotación manuscrita. Pérdida de papel en el ángulo superior derecho

Hebreos españoles del siglo XV
Autor: Jaume Huguet
Fecha: 1462-75
Museo: Museo Diocesano
Estilo: Gótico Español
Material: Oleo sobre tabla

domingo, 9 de julio de 2017

The Campanton Sephardi “Iyyun” Approach to Yeshiva Learning*

Yitzchak Kerem, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

In the context of Jewish yeshiva learning in Christian Spain during the 13th to 15th centuries, Rabbi Isaac Campanton (1360-1463) in Zamora devised a school of yeshiva learning which concentrated on the “Pshat”, the simple meaning, which also was quite unique and has been the base for Sephardi learning.

The approach focuses also on precisely interpreting the word to its fullest linguistic and historical context. Juxtaposed to the Ashkenazi “pilpul” argumentative and riddled style, the “Iyyun” approach promotes further innovative interpretation, expertise, and unraveling and simplifying perplexity, but it is reflective of a Sephardic humanistic approach which almost always looks at the local regional influences including Aristotelian medieval Spanish thought and Christian ecclesiastical doctrine not as a polemical obstacle, but as tools in interpreting the text. 

The system adopted Aristotelian logic for interpreting Talmudic text. Opposed to the Ashkenazi yeshiva tradition, the Sephardi approach does not confine itself to Talmudic interpretation, but also to Biblical study, Kabbala, and “hiddushim”; new incites in Jewish religious thought. As Boyarin has illustrated, the Campanton system has a very wide base of analysis based on Rashi’s commentaries and language. According to Boyarin, Campanton’s method spread to Safed and Jerusalem, Constantinople to Salonika, and Cairo to Fez.  Its luminaries included the Rabbis Birav, Caro, Levi Ben Haviv, and David ben Zimra; however it has not been recognized adequately.

Campanton was called the Gaon (luminary) from Castille, who trained his students to research the principles and essence of the Talmud, put in order the Tanaim and Amoraim according to their time and evolution of their absorption according to their rabbis (teachers).

The Campanton school of “Iyyun” was the standard in the Sephardic diaspora after the 1492 Spanish expulsion, and continued for the next 250 years from Salonika, Istanbul, to Safed, Egypt, and North Africa through front-row disciples like the Aboavs, David Ben-Zimra, the Ibn Havivs, Joseph Taitazak, Yaakov Berav, Abraham Saba, and the Valencis. The system waned in the Ottoman Empire and North Africa with modernization and alternative trends in thought, but has been revived in Tunisia and later Eretz-Israel/Israel by Rabbis Matzliah Mazuz of Djerba (murdered in Tunis in 1971) and his son Meir Mazuz, who established the prestigious Kise Rachamim Yeshiva in B’nai Brak, Israel.  

Mazuz laid out 5 principles of the Iyyun Tunisai (Tunisian Analysis) which is an outgrowth of the Campanton Sephardic Iyyun (Analysis) initially exemplified by the latter in his work Darkhei haTalmud (The Ways of the Talmud). 

According to Mazuz, he calls his method primarily an approach of iyyun ha-yashar, the straight analysis, a term that serves as a polemical tool against other methods that muddle the text instead of elucidating it in a step-by-step process. Mazuz contends that over the centuries a methodology emerged with the necessary exactness to determine the law. Mazuz rejects inexactness in law just like Campanton used a methodology with Aristotelian assumptions, which analyzed any idea or interpretation as provable or disprovable on rational analysis.  

Mazuz elaborated his concise, but thorough and straightforward method based on rabbinic tradition:
The foundation of the foundations of Iyyun is that there is nothing missing [from] or added onto the language of the Gemara, Rashi, and Tosafot. There is nothing missing – because the text has not come to shut out [information] but to explain and take heed to limit [le-tsamtsem] his language and to derive [concepts from] it in a way that there will not be an extra word., for [under consideration] are missing from the Talmudic discussion [Aramic sugya] and its commentaries, for they [the rabbis] have not come to test us with riddles … And there is nothing added – because our rabbis have always tried to write with brevity and exactness, [with] the small carrying the abundant [i.e. with a small number of words carrying great depth].

Campanton’s method below is echoed in the above passage of Mazuz:

And always attempt to impute necessity for all of the words of a commentator or an author in all of his language: why did he say it and what did he intend with that language, whether to explain [an issue] or to derive [a concept] from another explanation or to resolve a difficulty or a problem. And take heed to limit [le-tsamtsem] his language and to derive [concepts from] it in a way that there will not be an extra word, for if it were possible to express his intent, for example, in three words, why did he express [himself using] four [words]? And so you should do with the language of the Mishna and Gemara, that is, you should check their language so that there not be an extra word, and when it appears to you to be extra go back and analyze well, for they did not expand their words unnecessarily, for it is not a small matter, and the splendor of sages is to minimize words so that many concepts are included in small [numbers of] words, and to make their words few in quantity but great [lit. “many”] in quality, and there should not be within their words an extra word, even [if it consists] of one letter, as they [the Sages] have said ([B.T. Hullin 63b). “A person should always teach his students in a concise way,” as you see in our Holy Torah, which was given from the Mouth of the Mighty One, which speaks with a concise language but includes many things …

The second characteristic of Mazuz’s Iyyun Tunisai is syntax; the importance of understanding each word and its implications, and proper stopping points of basic expressions. A student needs to know the meanings of basic expressions, which can change depending on context. Syntax is important and one needs to understand where the sentence ends or where the idea ends if the commentator did not properly end the sentence. The third facet of Mazuz’s iyyun is to ask, in every place, what was Rashi, Tosafot, or Maharsha bothered by, and from which error they were protected from in that word and sentence.

The student should ask why a classical commentary would add an extra word, or would use a seemingly odd phrase; necessities for understanding the text under discussion. The classical Sephardic perspective, also advanced by Campanton, is analyzing also “me’ayyenim k’sevara mi-bachutz”; the logical construction whose origin is outside the text or which has been added in subsequent generations.   

Mazuz’s fourth element of the Iyyun Tunisai reates to the logical flow in the text of the Tosafot, who were known for posing many questions and answers in a row. Mazuz suggested stopping after each question-and-answer pair to analyze how each question was answered and how the next question relates to the previous question-and-answer. In this manner, the student can identify in what way the main issue discussed is resolved. The resolution is known as “the center of the resolution”, or merkaz ha-teruts.

The assumption that every element in a rabbinic text relates to the previous one or the next one is elaborated on specifically by Campanton at the beginning of Chapter Ten in his Darkchei Ha-Talmud:
Always, for every statement and for every concept that is situated next to another, whether in Talmud or in Scripture (ba-Katuv), carefully observe the relationship and connection between those concepts situated next to each other, including what order the speaker is leafing (molikh) with his words.

The fifth element of Iyyun Tunisei according to Mazuz is “the importance of writing and revising one’s studies”. The student should test to see whether he has understood it properly. If the student’s own words seem to match the commentator’s, but are simply more expansive, the student has understood; if not, the student should review the commentary and revise his statement. Aside from the clarity of understanding the student gains, frequent writing and revision allows the student to express his ideas clearly’. The rabbis of Djerba used this pedagogical method; training their students to write their own novellae in a clear and organized manner.  

*Presented at the 5th International Congress on the Jewish Sephardic Legacy of City of Zamora, Spain, July 3rd, 2017. 

martes, 27 de junio de 2017

Sephardic Days, Zamora, June 30 - July 4, 2017

June 29, Book Presentation: The Jews of Zamora. An Annotated Chronology (2016) by Jesús Jambrina. Panel moderator: José Manuel Laureiro. Centro Sefarad-Israel, Madrid, 7PM.

June 30, Shabbat dinner, Kosher Style, Hotel NH Palacio del Duero, Zamora, 9:30 PM, Reservations: 011 34 980 50 82 62

July 1, Zamora City Sephardic Route, departure from Plaza del Maestro, San Torcuato Street, 8 PM

July 2, Wineries Tour, D.O. Land of Wine of Zamora, departure from La Hostería Real, 7 Pizarro Street, 10:30 AM 

July 2, Concert Sefarad en el corazón de Marruecos, by Mara Aranda, Museo Etnográfico de Castilla y León, 8:15 PM, Reservations: 980 531 708.

July 3, International Congress Zamora in the Sephardic Memory, NH Hotel Palacio del Duero, Zamora. Previous registration, 5 euros.

July 3, Sephardic Songs concert by Judith Cohen, La Hostería Real, 7 Pizarro Street, 9:30 PM. Open to the Public. 

July 4, Zamora Province is presented with the Medal of the Four Ancient Sephardic Synagogues of Jerusalem, Diputación de Zamora, 12 M. 

Contact info for these events:
Email: centrocampanton@gmail.com  or Telph. 011 34 609 740 116