lunes, 18 de diciembre de 2023

Zvi Zohar on Campanton

Against the backdrop of the decline of Torah in the last century of Jewish existence in Spain, a figure of great brilliance stood out--Rabbi Yitzhak Canpanton (1360-1463). Canpanton's hermeneutic was based on the insight that a close inner affinity existed between medieval semantics and Talmudic reasoning and argumentation. Thus, it was possible to achieve a synthesis of the two and formulate a rigorous methodology of Talmudic study both 'fit' with the Talmudic suggiyot themselves--and completely justifiable on the basis of general semantic theory. His revolutionary approach restored to the study of Talmud a sense of intellectual novelty, profoundness, and challenge, unmatched perhaps since the heyday of Tosafist innovation in twelfth-century France. His four major disciples formed a vanguard that 'conquered' the world of Sephardic Talmudic study [the MahaRITaTS, the Maharashdam, Moses Almosnino, the Beth Yoseph ; their own disciples were the great scholars of the sixteenth-century Sephardic dispersion."

Zvi Zohar, Sephardic & Mizrahi Jewry, New York University Press, NY, 2005, Chapter 9, 167


jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2022

Gedaliah Ibn Yahya on Isaac Campantón

The great rabbi R. Isaac Campanton, known as the Gaon of Castile (including Leon), of Spain, son of the great rabbi R. Jacob, and R. Israel Ashkenazi received the traditions from their fathers and our rabbis of previous generations in about 5120 (1360). R. Isaac Campanton spread Torah widely and had many students. He lived a long life, dying in the year 5223 (1463). He had a regal appearance. R. Isaac de Leon, one of his students, was knowledgeable in miracles, and died at the age of seventy. R. Isaac Aboab (refereeing to the second), a great sage and one of his students, died in Portugal in the year 5253 (1493), about seven months after the exile from Spain. He was sixty years old at his death, and was one of the students of the above-named R. Isaac Campanton (...)

Gedaliah Ibn Yahya (1515-1587)
“The chain of tradition”, included in David Raphael, The Expulsión 1492 Chronicles, Carmi House Press, 1992, pp. 178-79. 

Picture of a drawing by Manuel Castellano (1846-1880). Title: Attire. It is specified in the note on the upper right hand that it refers to Jewish clothing in the 14th century.  

jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2022

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 quiet…
don’t play so loud…
Shut 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!...
Shut 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). 

miércoles, 2 de noviembre de 2022

Relevant entries on Zamora in the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906 edition)

Understanding  medieval Spain and Portugal (Sefarad in the context of Jewish History) requires familiarity with geography, maps and timeline. The map above helps to locate referred populations and historical figures in the two entries of the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906, which are relevant to Zamora. In the second entry Castile includes León since these two kingdoms were historically connected since the early 11th century

"In the former Kingdom of León (the presence of Jews) was much larger, among the most prominent communities being those of Zamora, Valladolid, Mayorga, Medina del Campo, Salamanca, Ponferrada, Bobadilla and Ciudad Rodrigo"

Section "The Spread of the Jews in Spain" under Spain entry

"The last Rabinnical authority of Castile (and León), likewise its last Gaon, was Isaac Campanton, among whose pupils were Isaac de León, Isaac Aboab (referring to the II) and Samuel Al Valensi. The last preachers of renown were the religious philosopher Joseph ibn Shem-Tob, Joseph Albo, and Isaac Arama".

Section "The Karaites in Spain" under Spain entry (1)

The number of immigrants amounted to nearly 100,000. From Castile alone more than 3,000 persons embarked at Benevento for Bragança; at Zamora, more than 30,000 for Miranda; from Ciudad-Rodrigo for Villar, more than 35,000; from Alcantara for Marvão, more than 15,000; and from Badajoz for Elvas, more than 10,000—in all more than 93,000 persons (Bernaldez, in A. de Castro, "Historia de los Judios en España," p. 143).

Section Under John II in Portugal Entry.


1- It is not clear why the Encyplopedia authors decided adding this information in this section. Campanton and its pupils were known for applying Torah, Talmud and Kabbalah to interpretations of the Scriptures.

miércoles, 17 de agosto de 2022

viernes, 12 de agosto de 2022

Zamora in the map of Sefarad. Conference Proceedings, 2013-2021, PDF or ePub version

First edition (Spanish)

Purchase a PDF or ePub edition, which will be delivered 
by email



Introducción: Zamora en el mapa de Sefarad


Zamora: el centro más importante de estudios judíos en el siglo XV español
Abraham Gross


Isaac Campantón (1360-1463), rabino de Zamora y gaon de Casti- lla y León, autor de Los caminos del Talmud
Jesús Jambrina


La interpretación sefardí de Campantón en el aprendizaje en la Yeshivá
Yitzchak Kerem


Contexto histórico de la polémica anti-judía de Alfonso de Zamora
Ahuva Ho


La educación judía en Castilla: las Taqqanot de 1432
Virginia Labrador Martín


La traducción de la Biblia hecha por el Rabí Moisés Arragel: comentarios
Leandro Rodríguez


Cruzando fronteras y recuperando identidades: la odisea de los cristianos nuevos portugueses después de 1496
Jane S. Gerber


Sobre tornadiços, conversos y cristianos nuevos en la ciudad de Zamora: la Raya, lugar de tránsito y asentamiento
María Antonia Muriel Sastre


Identidades conversas: espacios intermedios e indeterminados

Elizabeth Koza


Los judaizantes en los sambenitos de la Catedral de Tui: disidencia religiosa y tensión social en la frontera del Miño
Suso Vila


Huellas judías y leonesas en el Quijote
Santiago Trancón Pérez


Del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición al presente: una búsqueda de raíces judías
Genie Milgrom


Viviendas de judíos y conversos en la raya de Castilla y León

Emilio Fonseca Moretón


Os cristãos-novos do Sabugal
Jorge Martins


Carção y su memoria judía
José Manuel Laureiro y Anun Barriuso


Ecos de las tradiciones musicales de los criptojudíos en la Raya
Judith Cohen


Los Díaz Pimienta, una familia de origen sefardí en La Habana de los siglos XVI al XVIII
Jesús Jambrina


Rabinos de la Habana. Publicaciones entre 1920 y 1959
Adriana Hernández Gómez de Molina


La presencia del árbol de la vida en dos logos museísticos

Blanca Flor Herrero Morán


La historia de los prisioneros españoles en los campos de concentración alemanes entre 1940 y 1945
Gloria Mound



Margalit Matitiahu


El último Perera
Ruth Behar

Ilustraciones de Emilio Beneitez

miércoles, 9 de marzo de 2022

Ten years of International Jewish Sephardic Congresses in Zamora, Spain, July 4-6, 2022

Here is our preliminary Schedule for this year´s congress, which will take place online, time zone Spain.

Monday, July 4

10 – Welcome

10:15 – 11:30, "The imaginary Jew in Spanish Literature”, Marciano Martín Manuel, historian

12 –14, "Letters of the Center AGUDAD AHIM from the Isralite Community of Barcelona, 1926-1937" by María Antonia Muriel Sastre.

Tuesday, July 5  

10 – 11,  “My Sefarad, 40 years of relations with Spain and Iberoamerica”, by Abraham Haim, historian


12 – 14, Book presentation

Tía Fortuna's New Home:A Jewish Cuban Journey
(2022), by Ruth Behar

Wednesday, July 6

10 – 11:30, “Zamoran Rabies: family discoveries” by Genie Milgrom, genealogist.

12-14, Books presentation:

Zamora in the map of Sefarad
. Congress Proceedings, 2013-2020 (Essays, 2022), editors Jesús Jambrina & Alfredo Alonso

Those we missed (Novel, 2022), by Jaime Einstein (1947-2015), editor Pilar Diez

13:15 - 14, Closings followed by Open Annual Board Meeting