Rembrandt's Sephardim
“Therefore we… order all the said Jews and Jewesses to quit our kingdoms and never return… by the end of the month of July next, of the present year 1492… if they do not … they incur the penalty of death…”
Edict of Expulsion from Spain, March 31st 1492

The expulsion from Spain ended the glory of one of the diaspora’s most prominent Jewish communities. What ensued were the stories of two groups: Conversos who stayed in Spain, pretending to convert to Christianity and suffering the fires of the Inquisition; and those who left - a landless mass of Jews searching for a new home and old freedoms, but burning with the thirst for vengeance against their Spanish tormentors.

Both groups found a haven for their bodies, souls, capital and skills in free Amsterdam and created one of the most powerful Jewish communities the world has ever known: pivotal in the downfall of Spain, the readmission of Jews to England, the settling of the New World and the rise of Global Messianism in the 17th century.

Rembrandt, master of the portrait, lived with them, painted them and played a role in the creation of an interfaith Messianic movement centred on the writings of one of most charismatic Dutch Sephardic Rabbis, Rabbi Menashe ben Israel.

The course includes an art appreciation session as well as a visit to the Johannesburg Art Gallery to view their Rembrandt etchings.

Join the Academy, Rabbi Ramon Widmonte and Natalie Knight in partnership with Greenside Shul, in an exploration of the glory, downfall and resurgence of Sepharad, the fires of the auto-da-fe, the art of Rembrandt, Messianic movements, the New World and sweet revenge.

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The Academy is a vibrant, modern-orthodox program for Jewish thought, scholarship and education and that inspires our community with a lifelong love of Jewish learning. About us…

In association with Mizrachi South Africa and the London School of Jewish Studies (President: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Dean: Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, Honorary President: Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks)