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.
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.
At long last, Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” is due for a bath and a little TLC. Perhaps soon, it will be a little easier to see the details Rembrandt committed to immortality.
It’s Asscher’s 165th birthday this year, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than for someone to give me a gift. Please?
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.
I’ve finished my first read-through of my manuscript, and I’ve got good and bad news. The good news first: I enjoyed reading it from start to end.…… Read more “Let the editing begin!”
I finally did it: bit the bullet and got the PBS Passport membership so I could watch “The Miniaturist.” Suffice it to say, I loved it. But it also got me thinking, how good was it, historically speaking?
Quick: Name the biggest company the world’s ever seen. Apple? Amazon? Some bank or real estate developer? Nope. To guess correctly, you’d have to pick a company that went out of business in 1799.