The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry (History of the Jewish People I)

Sephardic Migrations. By Universal Life ( [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Sephardic Migrations. By Universal Life ( [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
To view the Prezi associated with this lecture, please click here.


18 thoughts on “The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry (History of the Jewish People I)

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  1. Speaking as a Jew in the 21st Century, it is quite difficult to imagine that there was a time where Jews and Muslims got along so well together. In fact, not just “got along”, but flourished! The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry is a time that is reflected upon with admiration by Jews, even many centuries later. It’s just fascinating to me that Jews held high political positions and one was even the Military Chief of Cordoba! All under Muslim rule! I guess this time period gives me hope that there is a chance for peace between two nations who are currently at heavy odds with one another.

  2. The Golden Age of Spain seems like an era out of an unfathomable fairy tale. It seems almost impossible to picture Jews and Muslims living harmoniously among one another. It also seems impossible to imagine such politically active Jews still maintaining their Torah study. Today, we find that Jews that occupy such high positions in the government are rarely Orthodox and have to do their best to blend in with the gentiles if they want their voices to be heard. To think that some of the most respected political and military officials were also some of the most respected Torah scholars is mind-boggling to me and really does prove why this age was said to be “golden.”

  3. It is hard to put myself in a place where I can imagine a time when Jews, Christians, and Muslims actually got along (at least in some sense of the word). Compared to contemporary times when the Islamic religion appears to have an intense hatred for Jews and antisemitism around the world appears to be on the rise. It really reminds us how special of a time it was when someone could be a great leader in both the Jewish community while have a high position in the government or the general secular world.

  4. Its so interesting to realize how close the arab and Christian countries really are. Spain was under both.The acclimation of arabs christians and Jews must have extreme. To imagine all three living in an era where religion was dominant is amazing. As opposed to the us today

  5. It is very interesting to note the correlation between the the triangular peace that was seen in Spain, during this Golden Age, and the great flourishing of Jewish expression. Only in this era were Jews able to achieve great Jewish and secular cultural advancement and power. This kind of duel influence cannot happen in an environment where Jews are the very small (and very hated) minority. This simultaneous duel power is an ideal to strive for because that also means that it would be in a peaceful environment.

  6. Sephardic migration is Avery interesting topic. It is very interesting that Jews and Muslims got along better than Jews and Christians at the time. Thanks for the lesson!

  7. Its incredible to see the success the Jews can achieve when they are not constantly persecuted. Its also daunting to note the similarities to the Jews position in Spain to the Jews position in America today.

  8. We can appreciate the great situation we see ourselves in today, where similarly we have the ability to practice our Judaism in the open, and still excel in secular studies while staying true to our values. We must not take for granted our “golden” opportunities to be able to advance our goals in peace and prosperity.

  9. What struck my attention the most about this video, was that the Jews and Muslims actually were friends! They actually used to prosper together in the economy and worked together as one! This baffled me extremely, because looking now in our day in age its so hard to even comprehend that. Unfortunately, there is much hate between the Jews and Muslims now. If there was peace back then, there can be peace now.

  10. Great semester! Really enjoyed all the videos! Interesting how you don’t hear that Islam survived in Spain.

  11. The flourish in Jewish involvement in the culture of Spain during the Golden Age was a tremendous impact on the future of Jewish life in later years. Perhaps the success of the Spanish Jews is what led to the development of the Ashkenazi Eastern European center. Thank you for presenting it so clearly.

  12. It is thought-provoking to learn how the Jews had advanced and flourished under the rule of the Muslim. When one comes to think of the Muslims, instantaneously the thoughts of cruelty and animal-like behavior comes to mind; contrary to how the Muslims were seen in Spain as per the Golden Age.

  13. Before this lecture I never even knew there were any peaceful times between Jews and Muslims! This at least sheds some hope for the Middle East. It truly is astonishing how much the Muslims were able to conquer and control in a very short amount of time. Great lecture, once again!

  14. The time when the Jews were in Spain was probably the best time for Jews since they were exiled. It is yet way more impressive that the Jews kept their Jewish identity and didn’t assimilate altogether onto Spanish culture. The balance they were able to keep is truly impressive. History, on the other hand, has proved, time and again, that when Jews are fully accepted by their gentile neighbors they eventually assimilate and lose their Jewish identity. So happened at the times of Alexander the Grate, when Greek culture spread out into Israel, many Jews became Hellenistic and eventually assimilated into Greek culture. The same happened in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century. And so did it follow later in the United States. Therefore, this period of history is in many ways miraculous and astonishing.

  15. Just saw this video on YouTube. Another excellent short lecture. The era of Islamic Spain, at least in the early centuries, was not a politically charged one for Jews and Muslims. That’s why I believe they got along so well. I believe it can happen again. If the Goths who eventually settled in Spain would have remained Arian, the Reconquista might never have happened. Perhaps the later Muslim dynasties in Spain would not have made things harder for Jews and Christians if the Christians had remained Arian. Contemplating these kinds of thoughts is part of the reason I like to read the Alternative History sub-genre of Science Fiction.

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