Page 9 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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JACOB KABAKOFF
Introduction
A
c e n t u r y
a g o
,
on the occasion o f the 400th anniversary o f
the 1492 expulsion o f Spanish Jewry, Saul Pinhas Rabinowitz,
the translator o f Graetz’s
History o f theJews
into Hebrew, devoted
a volume entitled
Motza’ei Golah
(The Exiled, Warsaw, 1894)
to the afterm ath o f that traumatic event. In his introduction
he outlined the reasons for concentrating on Spanish Jewry.
He lauded the role o f Spanish Jewry in maintaining its p roud
lineage, in p roduc ing great scholars and leaders and in seeking
ou t new havens for persecuted Jews.
Sephardic studies, which have grown in scope over the years
in both Israel and this country, have now received great impetus
as a result o f the prepara tions for the 500th anniversary o f the
expulsion and the discovery o f America. Not only has an In ­
ternational Jewish Committee known as Sepharad ’92 embarked
on a wide range o f activities, bu t the Foreign Ministry o f Spain
has announced its sponsorship o f a series o f projects to highlight
the Jewish component o f the celebration and to establish bridges
to world Jewry. Spain’s prestigious Prince o f Asturias Prize has
been presen ted to the world’s Sephardic Jews rep resen ted by
Dr. Solomon Gaon, o f Yeshiva University’s Sephardic Studies
Institute, in recognition o f their role in preserving the Spanish
language and culture over the last five centuries.
Already a number o f conferences, symposia and exhibitions
devoted to the Spanish heritage have been held and a major
exhibition entitled “Golden Threads: A Tapestry o f Sephardic
Experience” is scheduled to be mounted at the Smithsonian In ­
stitution in the Spring o f 1992. Facsimile editions o f early Span­
ish translations o f the Bible are scheduled for publication. T h e
Jewish Book Council will inaugura te an annual award for a book
in the field o f Sephardic studies, which is to be funded by the
Maurice Amado Foundation, o f Los Angeles. T h e cu rren t vol­
ume o f the Jewish Book Annual features a survey article and