July 27, 2019. On this day, 363 years ago, Baruch Spinoza was kicked out of the Portuguese Sephardic community in Amsterdam. We know the words that were uttered as he was drummed out of the insular society, but there is so much more that we don’t know about that event.
When I imagine how Rabbi Saul Levi Morteira, the first intellectual powerhouse in Amsterdam’s Portuguese Sephardic community, must have felt about himself and his job, I imagine he compared himself to Moses.
Simply the fact that the world has yet to hear of an Israeli vampire would make Juda a fresh and different take on one of my favorite genres. But the series takes it a step further by shunning many of the tropes that plague vampire fiction (even though I love some of them).
The new Portuguese community quickly worked to set up Jewish institutions in their new home.. But these also required rabbis — men of advanced religious training — in order for the community to truly function.
To this day, Amsterdam remains an important city in the global diamond industry, even though its status has been greatly diminished from what it once was.
Tourists from England, Germany and France were amazed to see Jews in Amsterdam living their lives freely and openly. These tourists wrote about what they saw, giving us a unique perspective on how the Portuguese Sephardic community of the 17th Century was perceived by its neighbors.
Evidence from the Jewish cemetery of Oudekerk and in the local Sephardic records show people of African descent were part of the Portuguese Jewish community. Some were slaves, others as servants and some were free. All were Jews. But none were given the dignity they deserved.
Amsterdam may have been an incredibly open home to Jewish people in its time, but the welcome mat only stretched so far.
People are always* asking me, “Why do you like vampires so much.” I admit, I’m sometimes embarrassed by the question. I know it’s often thought to be the realm of angsty teenage girls. And if you’re demanding my honesty, that’s when I first became enamored of them myself.
He’s not a bad guy, not really. But you can’t say he’s really good, either. So he makes his living doing the bidding of some shadowy underworld types. I mean, that’s not great. But on the other hand, he’s also the sort of uncle who comes home from a business trip with a giant stuffed animal for his nephew. It’s just that the business trip involved mob money.