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Book Notes: América y los judíos españoles, Fernando Díaz Esteban (ed.)

Michael Alpert

<plain_text><page sequence="1">America y los judios espanoles, Fernando Diaz Esteban, editor (Real Academia de la Historia and Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales 2009),ISBN 978-84-96411-83-8, pp. 281, ?30. This volume (mostly in Spanish with one text in Portuguese) contains the proceedings of conferences organized by the Spanish Royal Historical Academy and the official Spanish organization for marking cultural history. Edited by Fernando Diaz Esteban, Emeritus Professor of History, who intro? duces the collection with a piece on Menasseh ben Israel's Hope of Israel and contributes another on the converso poet Miguel de Barrios, it contains essays and lectures including a very thoroughly footnoted and researched piece on Columbus and the role of Jews and con versos in the Discovery of America by M. A. Ladero Quesada, and a text on conversos in Mexico by Yolanda Moreno concentrating particularly on the role of women in main? taining Jewish traditions. These are followed by an essay by the economic historian Gonzalo Anes on the changes in the economy as reflected in trade with America conducted by Portuguese Converso exporters, and another by the Israeli scholar Moshe Orfali on the role of Judaizers in the short-lived Dutch conquest of Recife. Less familiar topics include a piece by Kenneth Brown of Calgary University on the 'Poetry and History of Iberian Jews in New Amsterdam and New York', with a valuable appendix of Portuguese terms and prayers used in the Portuguese Synagogue Shearit Yisrael of New York. Interestingly, while London's Bevis Marks Synagogue still recites Portuguese prayers for Jews imprisoned by the Inquisition and travelling on sea, land and - presumably added relatively recently - by air, in New York they say them in Hebrew. The targum to the Tisha' be'Av haftarah is no longer recited in Spanish in New York, though it is in London, using a Ladino (i.e. literal) text republished in nineteenth-century America with some printing errors. Brown also provides some useful statistics and a very full bibliography. Mario Eduardo Cohen, Director of the Argentinian Sephardi Research Centre, offers a piece on Ashkenazi migration to South America, together with material on the Sephardi newcomers from the Ottoman Empire, while the volume ends with an article by the Portuguese historian Maria Jose Ferro Tavares on the New Christians of the East, based on sources from the Inquisition of Goa. 224</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes While not all the essays are annotated with primary sources, all have ample notes and bibliography, and provide a useful set of easily accessed informa? tion on the subject, though, interestingly enough, there is nothing on the large migration of Judaizers to Brazil or the apparent rediscovery of the Jewish ancestry of large numbers of present-day inhabitants. Michael Alpert</page></plain_text>