Issue 18 /
December 2020 Focus Introduction

Genealogies of Sepharad (“Jewish Spain”)

DOI : 10.48248/issn.2037-741X/10864
Daniel Quintero, La noche de la Mimona (The Night of Mimouna), oil on cloth, 89 x 180 cm, 1998, Private Collection (Courtesy of Daniel Quintero).


Genealogy is gray, meticulous
and patiently documentary.
It operates on a field of entangled
and confused parchments,
on documents that have been scratched
over and recopied many times

On January 14, 2019, King Felipe VI of Spain received the Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Moshe Amar, a native of Casablanca (1948-), at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. The purpose of Rabbi Amar’s visit was twofold: he petitioned the king to extend the deadline for applications for Spanish citizenship on behalf of descendants of those Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492, under the special 2015 Spanish immigration law meant to “correct” the “historical mistake” of the expulsion, as well as to ease some of its requirements, specifically that of Spanish proficiency. Amar moreover appealed to King Felipe’s “great influence in the world among leaders,” asking him to intervene on behalf of the Jews of France, who he contended, were facing hostility and therefore were unable to enjoy a level of “openness” of Jewish life.2

Such a statement uncannily evokes the historical paradigm of the so-called “royal alliance”—the historical tendency of Jews in the diaspora since ancient times to forge vertical alliances with the highest power of the State, first noted by Salo Baron and later elaborated by Yosef H. Yerushalmi.3 It also signals that Spain today is once again perceived as a possible place of settlement for Jews, and suggests the continued power of the idea of Sepharad for Jews in the diaspora and Israel.4 The statement moreover conveys how the relation of Jews to Sepharad is mediated in relation to the Spanish nation state, as well as the central role of the modern Spanish nation as an arbiter in the transactions of reclaiming and (re)envisioning and defining Sephardi history and heritage.

While we assembled the essays for this volume in the fall of 2019, the time period allotted for the submission of applications for naturalization through the law of nationality for descendants of Sephardi Jews, reached its end. This law, granting an expedited path to citizenship to the descendants of those Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, had first been presented to the public in the fall of 2012. At the time, Spanish minister of justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, and minister of foreign affairs José Manuel García-Margallo, both of the then-ruling conservative Popular Party, described it as a reparation of a historical wrong: García-Margallo explained how it was meant to “recover the memory of a long-silenced Spain,” while Ruiz Gallardón celebrated it as a “re-encounter with all those that had been unjustly deprived of their nationality, who, from now on, can claim Spain as theirs.”5 In March, 2014 the law was passed by the lower house of the Spanish Parliament and went into effect in October, 2015. The law eliminated a two-year residency requirement and proof of financial resources, as well as a stipulation that the applicants renounce their current citizenship. By October 2, 2019, one day after the application deadline, the international press announced that the Spanish Ministry of Justice had received 132,226 applications. Of these, some 60,000 were received as of August 31 and almost 72,000 in the final month of September alone. As of September 2020, over 150,000 applications had been submitted.6

The law’s preamble stressed “the common determination to jointly build, in contrast to the intolerance of past times, a new space of peaceful coexistence and unity” (Ley 52559). In this way, the preamble positioned democratic Spain as a nation looking critically at its “intolerant” past, from the perspective of a pluralistic vision of national identity. Nonetheless, if the law of nationality was ostensibly presented as an antidote to this intolerant past, its stated goal of redress appears to be at odds with several of its provisions, including: the high cost of the application process; the requirement of exams in modern Spanish language and culture; and particularly the fact that it was limited in time, ending on October 1, 2019, four years after it had gone into effect. The law is thus as much about what and whom it excludes: perhaps most egregiously, it excludes descendants of Spanish Muslims who were also expelled in 1492 and Muslim converts (the Moriscos) expelled between 1609-1614. Furthermore, the law’s touting of so-called “tolerance” elides the issue of Islamophobia and antisemitism in Spain today.7 The possibility of a Spanish state that fully includes the descendants of those who had been excluded from the nation in the past, as presented by the law, thus had a clear expiration date and limits.8

Indeed, for scholars of modern Spain’s relationship with Jews and the legacy of Sepharad, such ambivalent attempts at rapprochement are rather familiar. This law, and the concomitant reflection it awakened about Spain’s Jewish history, is one of the latest examples of a long history of Spanish efforts to re-engage with the Jewish world and with its own Jewish history. Spain’s Jewish community is quite small, numbering around 45,000 individuals, most of whom immigrated to Spain from Morocco and Argentina in the 1960s and 1970s. The figure of the Jew however has had an important presence in Spanish public discussions and in the Spanish imaginary ever since the expulsion.

A variety of arguments about the place of Jews in Spain’s history and nationhood emerged in nineteenth-century political debates over the abolition of the Inquisition, proposed liberal reforms regarding freedom of religious worship, and the gradual decline of Spain as a world power. These discussions gained urgency as Spain’s progressive loss of its old overseas empire culminated in the humiliating 1898 defeat by the US in the Spanish American War. At at their core, these debates were about modernity itself and Spain’s place in a modern world order. Such debates were moreover stimulated by the intervention and contributions of Jewish individuals.9 Alongside these discussions, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, historians such as José Amador de los Ríos had begun to re-assess the role of Jewish culture in Spanish history.10 Their work influenced some of the most important political figures of the second half of the nineteenth century in Spain, such as Emilio Castelar (1832-1899), famous for his passionate defense of freedom of religious confessionalism during the preparation of the 1869 Constitution.11

Spanish efforts at a rapprochement with Sephardi Jews coalesced at the turn of the twentieth century around the figure of a close friend of Castelar, senator Ángel Pulido y Fernández. Pulido became the leading figure of the “philosephardist” movement that sought to expand Spain’s influence in the Mediterranean and advance Spain’s colonial ambitions in Morocco, through the cultivation of relations with Sephardi Jews.12 The philosephardist campaign brought the history of Sephardi Jews into the public sphere and produced concrete results: one such development was the 1915 appointment of the Jerusalem-born Jewish scholar Abraham Shalom Yahuda to an inaugural Chair for Rabbinic language and literature at the University of Madrid.13 Another important result was the granting of Spanish nationality to a number of Sephardi Jews through a 1924 royal decree, an antecedent of the 2015 Law of nationality.14

The year 1992 was a pivotal moment in the renewal of wide public interest in Spain’s relationship with the Jewish world and in the memory of Sepharad, both in Spain and abroad. As the preparations for the Fifth Centenary of 1492 were underway in the late 1980s, national, regional and local governments and a variety of civil actors began to sponsor and organize a growing number of educational courses, exhibits, and conferences on Sephardic themes. Such efforts also included the publication of books and brochures meant to disseminate accounts of Spain’s Jewish past and to mark the “return” of Jews and Judaism to Spain.15 Further developments during these years included: the opening of Jewish-themed museums; new archaeological excavations of Jewish sites; and the showcasing of “Sephardic routes” throughout Spain, through the Red de Juderías de España/Caminos de Sefarad (Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain/Paths of Sepharad), a publicly funded organization that promotes Jewish tourism in Spain. Today, all things related to “Sepharad” have an important presence in Spain’s public sphere.

While “Jewish Spain” as a topic of scholarly inquiry in Jewish and Iberian Studies had predominantly been oriented towards scrutinizing the medieval past, such renewed interest and initiatives have spurred a growing number of scholars working at the intersection of Jewish and Iberian Studies to expand our understanding of Sepharad to incorporate modern and contemporary Spain, and Sephardi Jews.16 Jacobo Israel Garzón has been a pivotal figure in this process of establishing visibility for Spain’s Jewish communities. He officially represented them as president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain between 2003 and 2011, established the publishing house Hebraica Ediciones, and has written extensively on the recent history of Spain’s Jewish communities and twentieth-century Spanish-Jewish relations.17 The journal Raíces. Revista judía de cultura, created in 1986 by Garzón, brought together intellectuals of different origins and horizons living in Spain, to explore a wide variety of topics in reference to contemporary Jewish culture and history.

Books by Haim Avni, Antonio Marquina and Gloria Inés Ospina, and Bernd Rother were crucial in dispelling the prevalent myth that credited General Francisco Franco with a direct role in saving Jewish refugees during World War II.18 Since then, the memory of the Holocaust in Spain has been especially studied by Alejandro Baer,19 while other scholars have examined topics such as: the position of the II Spanish Republic regarding the rising antisemitism of the 1930s; the participation of Jewish volunteers in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War; and Francoist antisemitic propaganda.20 The volume Spain, World War II, and the Holocaust: History and Representation, edited by Sara J. Brenneis and Gina Herrmann, offers a comprehensive examination of these topics.21 Several books have also examined the cultural and political roots of antisemitism in nineteenth and twentieth century Spain.22

The topic of Spanish Orientalism and neo-colonial designs in North Africa among Jews and Muslims has been the subject of a number of studies.23 In the area of political and diplomatic history, Spain’s relations with the State of Israel, before and after Spain officially recognized Israel in 1986, has been extensively scrutinized.24 The idealized depiction of the status of Jews in medieval Iberia has proven adaptable to a wide variety of social groups and writers within different political and historical contexts around the globe, as illustrated in the case studies of Charting Memory: Recalling Medieval Spain, edited by Stacy N. Beckwith, and Sephardism: Spanish Jewish History and the Modern Literary Imagination, edited by Yael Halevi-Wise. So has the figure of the converso, as Dalia Kandiyoti explores in The Converso’s Return: Conversion and Sephardi History in Contemporary Literature and Culture.25

The ways Jews, conversos and their relationship with Spain have been represented and instrumentalized in Spanish mass culture, in the tourism industry and in public discourse in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, are the subjects of recent studies: Tabea Linhard’s Jewish Spain: A Mediterranean Memory (Stanford: Stanford University Press: 2014); Asher Salah’s “La imagen del judío en el cine español,” Secuencias, 46 (2017): 83-112; Martina L. Weisz, Jews and Muslims in Contemporary Spain: Redefining National Boundaries (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019); and Daniela Flesler and Adrián Pérez Melgosa, The Memory Work of Jewish Spain (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2020).

In this special issue for Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, we bring together some of the work of the research group “Genealogies of Sepharad,” a group of international scholars working at the crossroads of Iberian and Jewish Studies, and from diverse fields of scholarly inquiry, with the aim of tracing the genealogies of Sepharad, in Spain and among Sephardi Jews, from the late nineteenth century through the present. Our use of the term genealogy borrows from Michele Foucault’s definition in his essay “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” (1971).26 We attempt to document and place the entangled histories and discourses about Sepharad over space and time in dialogue with each other, while being attentive to particular historical contexts and conditions, and without being uncritically bound by teleological or overarching structural frameworks. At the same time, by using the term “genealogy,” we aim to explore the construction of genealogical narratives of Sephardi identities, while querying the growing recourse to the discourse and science of genetics in examining Sephardi heritage (and Jewish heritage more broadly conceived), whether on the part of individual citizens, states, or scholars.27

This issue of Quest thus aims not only to expand our knowledge of modern and contemporary “Sepharad” or Jewish Spain, but also to problematize and reassess the presumptions its study has entailed. It challenges obsolete conceptions of national identification, in turn engaging multilayered and transnational stories whose protagonists include: Ottoman Sephardi women and a Sephardi scholar and manuscript collector; Spanish intellectuals, filmmakers and visual artists with diverse relationships to Judaism; Ladino gastronomy-column writers and authors of Anglo Sephardic cookbooks; a Spanish juggler stationed in Madrid’s Retiro Park and a Spanish man made homeless after being evicted from his home during the crisis of 2008; as well as descendants of Jewish-Iberian converts in Turkey and Latin America reclaiming their roots. All of these protagonists and their histories confront the ghosts that haunt Jewish and Iberian entangled collective imaginaries, memorial figures and cultural representations.

In “Sephardi Women in Ángel Pulido’s Correspondence,” Paloma Díaz-Mas examines letters and photographs sent to Spanish Senator Ángel Pulido by his female Sephardi correspondents and published in his 1905 book, Españoles sin patria y la raza sefardí. In his philosephardist campaign Pulido maintained an extensive correspondence with Sephardi Jews, mainly from Turkey, the Balkans, Central Europe and North Africa. Díaz-Mas analyzes the representation of several of these women through their photographs and the information they shared with Pulido, as well as how these exchanges differed from the correspondence Pulido maintained with Sephardi men.

In “A History of Histories—of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Exchange: Professor A.S. Yahuda and the International Trade of Antiquities, Rare Books, and Manuscripts, 1902-1944,” Allyson Gonzalez provides the first attempt to comprehensively study the influential involvement of the Sephardi scholar Abraham S. Yahuda (1877-1951) in the international trade of manuscripts and cultural objects. Buoyed by his position as the chair of Rabbinic Language and Literature at the University of Madrid in 1915, Yahuda legitimized and deepened his role in the trade of material objects; his ongoing trade of such objects, in turn, helped to legitimize his scholarship, which continued well after he left Spain. Through a study of previously unpublished documents, the essay points to the overlapping of knowledge, power, and the acquiring of antiquities and other objects during the first half of the twentieth century.

Inspired by the discovery of a letter written by a Spanish woman (under the pseudonym of Marcelina de Quinto) to Isaac Molho, editor of the Tesoro de los judíos sefardíes (a yearbook published in Jerusalem, from 1959 to 1971), Asher Salah’s article focuses on the persistence of memory of Jewish ancestry within a prominent family of Spanish intellectuals in the twentieth century—the Jardiels—and its reenactment in two different generational contexts. While the literary oeuvre of Enrique Jardiel Poncela, one of the most important comic writers of twentieth-century Spain and a staunch supporter of Francisco Franco, is tainted by a resolute antisemitic bent, his daughter Evangelina, a psychologist and author of fictional books and journalistic essays, converted to Judaism and strongly identified with the struggles of the State of Israel. Through the analysis of the biographical and intellectual trajectories of these two individuals, the article casts light upon the stereotypes, contradictions and ambivalent attitudes of Spanish intellectuals regarding Jews and Judaism.

In her essay “A Tale in the Language of ‘My Mother Spain’: Carmen Pérez-Avello’s Un muchacho sefardí,” Tabea A. Linhard analyzes a stunningly illustrated children’s book about a steadfast and courageous boy who embarks on a quest. Published in 1965 by a Spanish nun and schoolteacher, Un muchacho sefardí focuses on a Sephardi Jewish child and draws upon numerous early twentieth-century Philo-Sephardic tropes and stereotypes; it also contains reflections on the ways in which translations as well as untranslatables affect identities and communities that extend beyond the limits of the nation state. The book’s multiple layers, including the illustrations of Máximo San Juan (who would become one of Spain’s most important editorial cartoonists of the transition and post-transition eras), make it possible to examine contradictory meanings associated with Jewish and Sephardic themes in Spain in the decade that precedes the end of the Francoist dictatorship.

Drawing on two distinct bodies of Sephardi food writing—Anglophone cookbooks and recipes in Aki Yerusalayim’s longstanding Ladino “Gastronomia Sefaradi” column—Harry Eli Kashdan’s “Archives of the Sephardi Kitchen” explores the role of cuisine as a primary affiliative structure in contemporary Sephardi culture. He argues that these two divergent literary traditions, in their general ignorance of one another, constitute a framework for an archive of Sephardi cooking. In spite of these texts’ common conception of cooking as a practice of memory and identification, they are at odds with one another as to whether Sephardi culture exists only in the past, be it in medieval Iberia or in the Sephardi Levant, or may also be found in the present.

In “Pedagogies of Citizenship: Sepharad and Jewishness in Spanish and Catalan Documentary Film and Television,” Hazel Gold looks at two recent examples from the Spanish television and film industry that illuminate the status of the “Jewish question” in Spain today. Martí Sans’s L’estigma? (The Stigma, 2012), an independent documentary that interweaves man-in-the-street interviews and conversations with scholarly experts and journalists, focuses on the disidentification of Spaniards from their Jewish past, stemming from long-standing antisemitic biases. Cuéntame, a Spanish prime-time television drama series which has been broadcast on La 1 of Televisión Española since 2001, promotes new forms of identification with a Jewish present that sustain an image of Spain as a multicultural, multiconfessional democratic state. From opposite ends of the high culture-mass culture spectrum, both communicate extensive knowledge about the relatively little-known Jewish world, in an uneven effort to engage viewers in a pedagogy of citizenship that oftentimes is rooted in the longing to return to the harmony of an imagined past.

In their essay “Spain’s Jewish Genealogies in the ‘Sephardi Portraits’ of Daniel Quintero,” Daniela Flesler and Adrián Pérez Melgosa focus on the “Sephardic portraits” of Daniel Quintero (Málaga 1949-), a leading Spanish figurative painter. In these paintings, composed over the last 25 years, Quintero portrays Sephardi figures from contemporary Spain alongside medieval and early modern Iberian Sephardi Jews. To provide a face to these historical figures (Maimonides, Samuel Halevi, Benjamin of Tudela, Gracia Mendes) Quintero finds inspiration in contemporary Spaniards. Alongside these portraits, a group of still lifes connect the past and present of Jewish Spain. Seen through the methodology of “curatorial dreaming” proposed by Shelley Ruth Butler and Erica Lehrer, Flesler and Pérez Melgosa read these portraits as constructing a genealogy and performing a particular cultural memory. These portraits and still lifes, they argue, establish a relationship between a past that remains in the faces, gazes and gestures of those who forgot it and a present that works to make those traces visible.

In the last essay of the volume, “Ancestry, Genealogy, and Restorative Citizenship: Oral Histories of Sephardi Descendants Reclaiming Spanish and Portuguese Nationality,” Rina Benmayor and Dalia Kandiyoti describe and analyze the results of 46 oral interviews they conducted with descendants of Sephardi Jews who have applied for or received Spanish or Portuguese citizenship. The essay explores genealogical and historical consciousness, identity, and the sense of belonging that these new dual citizenship laws have inspired, looking at how the narrators themselves view official initiatives. The oral histories point not simply to the recuperation of Spanish or Portuguese national identity, but to a strengthening of a Sephardi identity.

Taken in their totality, these essays elaborate a more expansive genealogy of “Sepharad,” just as they illustrate its continued power and hold on political, historical, and literary imaginaries in Spain and throughout the Jewish Diaspora. By doing so, they reconsider “Sepharad” as a site of continued negotiations over Iberian and Jewish histories and identities, and the role of “genealogy” in shaping this process. Working from the margins of Iberian and Jewish studies, it is in the convergence of these fields at their periphery and as entangled histories and memories, that our work opens up new areas of study and broadens our understanding of the genealogical landscape of Sepharad and its possibilities.

Genealogies of Sepharad is a research group of international scholars whose work is deeply engaged with the topic of revisiting the legacy of Sepharad in the modern era through the present, and who are pioneers of this underexplored area of inquiry in Jewish and Iberian Studies. The group was founded five years ago during a meeting of ALCES Siglo XXI in Soria (2015), organized by Stacy Beckwith. Guided by a spirit of collegiality and collaboration, since the group’s inception we have invited a growing number of scholars to join our formal and informal discussions, through participation in our academic seminars and symposiums [Cambridge, MA (2016), Zaragoza (2017), Madrid (2018), Salamanca (2019)] book presentations, and guided visits to libraries, archives and museums throughout Spain. We thank all of these colleagues for enriching our group. We are particularly grateful to Stacy Beckwith for convening our first seminar in Soria and to Esther Bendahan Cohen, Ricardo Muñoz Solla and Marina Pignatelli for their generosity in hosting and collaborating in the planning of our annual symposiums in their home institutions in Madrid, Salamanca and Lisbon (postponed to 2021). We are furthermore grateful to author José Manuel Fajardo for his spirited contributions and dedication to our group. We also wish to thank the editorial team of Quest for their guidance and patience in the process of preparing this special issue, which extended through the difficult months of the global Covid-19 pandemic throughout 2020, and to the anonymous referees for their insightful comments and suggestions.

Organizing committee and founding members: Stacy Beckwith (Carleton College, Minnesota, USA), Rina Benmayor (Prof. Emerita UC, California, USA), Daniela Flesler (Stony Brook University, New York, USA), Michal R. Friedman (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA), Dalia Kandiyoti (CUNY, NY, USA), Tabea A. Linhard (Washington University, St. Louis, USA), Adrián Pérez Melgosa (Stony Brook University, New York, USA), Asher Salah (Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design, Jerusalem, Israel).

[1] Michel Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l'histoire,” in Hommage à Jean Hyppolite, eds. Suzanne Bachelard et al. (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1971), 145-172; “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” in Language, Counter-memory, Practice, ed. Donald F. Bouchard, trans. D. F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977), 139-164.

[2] “R. Shlomo Amar se reúne con Felipe VI,” El Portal del Judaísmo en España, January 14, 2019. Accessed December 11, 2020,

[3] On the “royal alliance” see Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, “ ‘Servants of Kings, Not Servants of Servants’: Some Aspects of the Jewish Political History,” Raisons politiques 7, no.3 (2002): 19-52.

[4] Portugal passed a similar law in 2015. For discussion of the reception of the Iberian laws of nationality in Israel see Silvina Schammah Gesser, “Virtually Sephardic? The Marketing and Reception of the New Iberian Laws of Nationality in Israel,” Lusotopie 18, no. 2 (2020): 192-217. For an examination of the significance of Sepharad in debates over Sephardi/Arab-Jewish identity in the Land of Israel/Palestine see Yuval Ivry, Ha’shiva Le’Andalus: Machlokot al tarbut Ve’Zehut Yehudit-Sfaradit bein Araviot La’ivriut (Jerusalem: Magness Press, 2020).

[5] “Los sefardíes podrán adquirir la nacionalidad española,” El Mundo November 22, 2012. Accessed December 11, 2020,

[6] “Datos estadísticos básicos de nacionalidad a 30/09/2020,” Ministerio de Justicia de España. Accessed December 11, 2020,

[7] See the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance “Report on Spain: ECRI Report on Spain (fifth monitoring cycle) Adopted on 5 December 2017 Published on 27 February 2018.” Accessed December 11, 2020 For an overview of Muslims in Spain and Spanish Islamophobia, see Ana I. Planet Contreras, “Spain,” in The Oxford Handbook of European Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014): 311-49; Carmen Aguilera-Carnrero, “Islamophobia in Spain. National Report 2018,” in European Islamophobia Report 2018, eds. Enes Bayrakly and Farid Hafez, accessed December 11, 2020, According to the 2019 ADL “Index of Anti-Semitism,” 28 % of Spaniards harbor antisemitic attitudes and prejudices ( The nature of Spain’s antisemitism is a complex issue; see Alejandro Baer and Paula López, “The Blind Spots of Secularization. A qualitative approach to the study of anti-Semitism in Spain,” European Societies 14, no. 2 (2012): 203-221; Hazel Gold, “Pedagogies of Citizenship: Sepharad and Jewishness in Spanish and Catalan Documentary Film and Television,” in this volume.

[8] See for the most up to date stipulations of both the Spanish and Portuguese laws. Dalia Kandiyoti and Rina Benmayor are currently preparing an edited volume addressing different aspects of both laws through the concept of “reparative citizenship.” See also Charles A. McDonald, “Return to Sepharad: Citizenship, Conversion, and the Politics of Jewish Inclusion in Spain,” (PhD diss., New School for Social Research, 2019) and Davide Aliberti, “Back to Sefarad? A Comparative Analysis of the 2015 Iberian Citizenship Laws for Sephardic Jews,” Transcultural Spaces and Identities in Iberian Studies, eds. Mark Gant and Susana Rocha Relvas (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020), 236-260.

[9] Gonzalo Álvarez Chillida, El antisemitismo en España: la imagen del judío, 1812-2002 (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2002); Hazel Gold, “Illustrated Histories: The National Subject and ‘the Jew’ in Nineteenth-Century Spanish Art,” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 10, no. 1 (2009): 89-109; Mónica Manrique Escudero, Los judíos ante los cambios políticos en España en 1868 (Madrid: Hebraica Ediciones, 2016) and Michal Rose Friedman, “Unsettling the ‘Jewish Question’ from the Margins of Europe: Spanish Liberalism and Sepharad,” in Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism: A Global History, eds. Abigail Green and Simon Levis Sullam (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 185-208.

[10] Michal Rose Friedman, “Jewish History as ‘Historia Patria’: José Amador de los Ríos and the History of the Jews of Spain,” Jewish Social Studies 18, no. 1 (2011): 88-126; Andrew Bush, “Amador de los Ríos and the beginnings of modern Jewish studies in Spain,” in Revisiting Jewish Spain in the Modern Era, eds. Daniela Flesler, Tabea Linhard and Adrián Pérez Melgosa, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 12, no.1 (2011): 13-33; Nitai Shinan, “Estudio preliminar” in Los Judíos de España: Estudios históricos, políticos y literarios, ed. José Amador de los Ríos (Pamplona: Urgoiti, 2013); Id., Ḳorbanot o Ashemim: Toldot Ha-Yehudim Bi-Reʼi Ha-Hisṭoryografyah Ha-Sefaradit Ba-Shanim 1759-1898 (Yerushalayim: Makhon Ben-Tsevi Le-ḥeḳer ḳehilot Yiśraʼel Ba-Mizraḥ, 2011).

[11] Maite Ojeda Mata, “Thinking about ‘the Jew’ in Modern Spain: Historiography, Nationalism and Antisemitism,” Jewish Culture and History 8, no. 2 (2006): 53-72; Nitai Shinan, “Emilio Castelar y los judíos: una reevaluación,” Miscelánea de estudios árabes y hebreos 65 (2016): 101-118.

[12] Paloma Díaz-Mas, Sephardim: The Jews from Spain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 153-155; Jacobo Israel Garzón, “El Doctor Pulido y los Sefardíes” in Los israelitas españoles y el idioma castellano, ed. Angel Pulido (Barcelona: Riopiedras, 1992), ix-xxiii; Isabelle Rohr, The Spanish Right and the Jews, 1898-1945: Antisemitism and Opportunism (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2007), 15; Joshua Goode, Impurity of Blood: Defining Race in Spain, 1870-1930 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2009); Alisa Meyuhas Ginio, “The Sephardic Diaspora Revisited: Dr. Ángel Pulido Fernández (1852-1932) and his Campaign,” in Identities in an Era of Globalization and Multiculturalism, eds. Judith Bokser Liwerant et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 287-296; and Michal Rose Friedman, “Reconquering ‘Sepharad’: Hispanism and Proto-Fascism in Giménez Caballero’s Sephardist Crusade, in” Revisiting Jewish Spain in the Modern Era, eds. Daniela Flesler, Tabea Linhard and Adrián Pérez Melgosa, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 12, no. 1 (2011): 35-60.

[13] For more on the fascinating figure of Yahuda, who held the first Jewish studies chairmanship created in the Western Hemisphere in a secular university in the modern era, see the forum on Yahuda edited by Michal Rose Friedman and Allyson González in The Jewish Quarterly Review 109, no. 3 (2019). On his activities in Spain see the forum articles by Friedman, “Abraham Shalom Yahuda: A Jewish Orientalist among Sepharad, Zionisms, and the British Empire,”435-451 and González, “Abraham S. Yahuda (1877-1951) and the Politics of Modern Jewish Scholarship,” 406-433. See also González in this volume.

[14] The 1924 decree was intended for Sephardi Jews who had enjoyed the protection of Spain’s diplomatic agents in the Ottoman Empire. Few people (between four and five thousand) were able to obtain nationality this way, either for lack of clear information or because the process was arduous and required documents that many did not have. Haim Avni, Spain, the Jews, and Franco (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1982), 31-33. See also Sara Abrevaya Stein, Extraterritorial Dreams: European Citizenship, Sephardi Jews, and the Ottoman Twentieth Century (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016).

[15] Books published at this time tracing the history of Jews’ “return” to Spain in the twentieth century include Isidro González García, El retorno de los judíos (Madrid: Nerea, 1991); José Antonio Lisbona, Retorno a Sefarad: La política de España hacia sus judíos en el siglo XX (Barcelona: Riopiedras, 1993).

[16] Ricardo Izquierdo Benito, Uriel Macías and Yolanda Moreno Koch, eds., Los judíos en la España contemporánea, historia y visiones, 1898-1998 (Cuenca: Universidad Castilla-La Mancha, 2000); Danielle Rozenberg, L'Espagne contemporaine et la question juive: Les fils renoués de la mémoire et de l'histoire (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2006); Eva Touboul Tardieu, Séphardisme et Hispanité. L’Espagne à la recherche de son passé (1920-1936) (Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2009); Silvina Shammah Gesser and Raanan Rein, eds., El otro en la España contemporánea/ Prácticas, discursos, representaciones (Sevilla: Ánfora, 2011); Daniela Flesler, Tabea Linhard and Adrián Pérez-Melgosa, eds., Revisiting Jewish Spain in the Modern Era ournal of Spanish Cultural Studies 12, no. 1 (2011); Michal Rose Friedman, “Recovering ‘Jewish Spain’: Historiography, Politics and the Institutionalization of the Jews Past in Spain” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2012); Maite Ojeda Mata, Identidades ambivalentes: Sefardíes en la España contemporánea (Collado-Villalba: Sefarad Editores, 2018); and Davide Aliberti, Sefarad. Una comunidad imaginada (1924-2015) (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2018).

[17] His works include: La Comunidad Judía de Madrid. Textos e imágenes para una historia (Madrid: Hebraica ediciones, 2001); El estigma imborrable. Reflexiones sobre el nuevo antisemitismo (Madrid: Hebraica ediciones, 2005); Escrito en Sefarad. Aportación escrita de los judíos de España a la literatura, la erudición, la ciencia y la tecnología contemporáneas (Madrid: Hebraica Ediciones, 2005); Los judíos de Cataluña (1918-2007) (Madrid: Hebraica Ediciones, 2007); Los judíos en la España contemporánea. Apuntes históricos y jurídicos (Madrid: Hebraica Ediciones, 2008); and El exilio republicano español y los judíos (Madrid: Hebraica ediciones, 2009).

[18] Haim Avni, España, Franco y los judíos (Madrid: Altalena, 1982); Antonio Marquina and Gloria Inés Ospina, España y los judíos en el siglo XX (Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 1987); Bernd Rother, Franco y el Holocausto (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2005).

[19] Alejandro Baer, Holocausto. Recuerdo y Representación (Madrid: Losada. 2006); Jacobo Israel Garzón and Alejandro Baer, eds., España y el Holocausto. Historia y Testimonios (Madrid: Hebraica Ediciones, 2007).

[20] Arno Lustiger, ¡Shalom libertad! Judíos en la Guerra Civil Española (Barcelona: Flor al viento, 2001); Isidro González, Los judíos y la Segunda República (1931-1939) (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2004); Batia Donner and Rachel Bonfil, eds., From Here to Madrid. Volunteers from Palestine in the International Brigades in Spain 1936-1938 (Tel Aviv: Eretz Israel Museum, 2012); Gerben Zaagsma, Jewish Volunteers, the International Brigades, and the Spanish Civil War (London: Bloomsbury, 2017); Javier Domínguez Arribas, El enemigo judeo-masónico en la propaganda franquista (1936-1945) (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2010).

[21] Sara J. Brenneis and Gina Herrmann, Spain, World War II, and the Holocaust: History and Representation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020).

[22] Key works are Gonzalo Álvarez Chillida, El antisemitismo en España, La imagen del judío (1812-2002) (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2002); Isabelle Rohr, The Spanish Right and the Jews (1898-1945): Antisemitism and Opportunism (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2007); and Gonzalo Álvarez Chillida and Ricardo Izquierdo Benito, eds., El antisemitismo en España (Cuenca, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2007).

[23] Eloy Martín Corrales and Maite Ojeda Mata, eds., Judíos entre Europa y el norte de África (siglos XV-XXI) (Barcelona: Bellaterra, 2013); Pablo Bornstein, Reclaiming Al-Andalus: Orientalist Scholarship and Spanish Nationalism (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2020); and Elisabeth Bolorinos Allard, Spanish National Identity, Colonial Power, and the Portrayal of Muslims and Jews during the Rif War (1909-27), (Suffolk: Tamesis Books, forthcoming).

[24] Raanan Rein, Franco, Israel y los judíos (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cìentificas,1996); Raanan Rein, ed., España e Israel: veinte años después (Madrid: Dykinson, 2007); Guy Setton, Spanish-Israeli Relations, 1956-1992: Ghosts of the Past and Contemporary Challenges in the Middle East (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2016).

[25] Stacy N. Beckwith, ed., Charting Memory: Recalling Medieval Spain (New York: Garland, 2000); Yael Halevi-Wise, Sephardism: Spanish Jewish History and the Modern Literary Imagination (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012); Dalia Kandiyoti, The Converso’s Return: Conversion and Sephardi History in Contemporary Literature and Culture (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2020).

[26] Michel Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l'histoire.”

[27] For discussion of the diverse meanings and uses of genealogy in contemporary discourses and literature in this context, see Kandiyoti, The Converso’s Return. See also Steven Weitzman, The Origin of the Jews: The Quest for Roots in a Rootless Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017) and Noah Tamarkin, Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa (Durham: Duke University Press, 2020).

Michal Rose Friedman is the Jack Buncher Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, PA. She has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (2015) and at the Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford (2016). She is the co-editor of a forum on Sephardi Scholar Abraham Shalom Yahuda in the Jewish Quarterly Review (2019) and the author of multiple articles in publications such as, Jewish Social Studies, the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, and of book chapters in the The Routledge Companion to Jewish History and Historiography, ed. Dean Bell (London: Routledge, 2018), and Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism: A Global History, eds. Abigal Green and Simon Levis Sullam (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

Asher Salah is Professor at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (Philadelphia) in 2011-2012 and in 2014-2015, and at the Maimonides Center for Advanced Studies in Jewish Scepticism (Hamburg) in 2016-2017 and 2020-2021. His research deals with Jewish scholarship in early modern Italy, Sephardic studies, and Jewish cinema. His publications include La République des Lettres: Rabbins, médecins et écrivains juifs en Italie au XVIIIe (Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2007), L'epistolario di Marco Mortara (1815-1894). Un rabbino italiano tra riforma e ortodossia (Florence: Giuntina, 2012), and Diari risorgimentali. Due ragazzi ebrei si raccontano, co-edited with Clotilde Pontecorvo (Livorno: Salomone Belforte & C.,2017).

Daniela Flesler is Associate Professor and Chair of the department of Hispanic Languages and Literature at Stony Brook University in NY, USA. Her books include The Return of the Moor: Spanish Responses to Contemporary Moroccan Immigration (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2008); Revisiting Jewish Spain in the Modern Era, co-edited with Tabea A. Linhard and Adrián Pérez Melgosa (London: Routledge, 2013) and The Memory Work of Jewish Spain, co-authored with Adrián Pérez Melgosa (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2020).

  How to quote this article:
Daniela Flesler, Michal Rose Friedman and Asher Salah, “Introduction,” in “Genealogies of Sepharad (‘Jewish Spain’),” eds. Daniela Flesler, Michal R. Friedman and Asher Salah, Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History. Journal of the Fondazione CDEC 18 (December 2020), DOI: 10.48248/issn.2037-741X/10864