March 31st 1492: Spanish expulsion

On this day in 1492, the joint Catholic monarchs of Spain - Ferdinand and Isabella - issued the Alhambra Decree. This decree ordered the expulsion of all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity, from the Spanish kingdoms of Castile and Aragon by July 31st. This measure was pushed for by the monarchs’ adviser Tomas de Torquemada, who spearheaded the Spanish Inquisition aimed at rooting out heresy. Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to the expulsion after successfully completing the reconquista - the unification of Spain under Christian rule - with the conquest of Granada. The majority of the nearly 200,000 Spanish Jews chose to leave the country rather than renounce their religion and culture. Many of these Sephardic Jews moved to Turkey, Africa, and elsewhere in Europe, though they often encountered violence as they tried to leave the country. Those who fled to neighboring Portugal were expelled from that country only four years later when King Manuel married the daughter of the Spanish monarchs. The Jews who remained became conversos, suffering harassment and mistrust; indeed, some such converts did continue practicing Judaism in secret. The policy of religious conformity continued in 1502, when Spanish Muslims were also ordered to convert to Christianity. The importance of the expulsion is often overshadowed by the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, on a voyage funded by the Spanish monarchs, also in 1492. The Alhambra Decree was formally revoked by the Second Vatican Council in 1968, as part of a general attempt by the Spanish government to make amends for the painful legacy of the expulsion.

1492 Was One of the Worst Years in Jewish History

Columbus Day is coming up, which i don’t think anyone should celebrate for reasons that have nothing to do with Judaism and everything to do with the fact that he was one of history’s great monsters. However, the anniversary of his voyage does serve as a moment to consider the country of Spain, which sponsored Columbus, and its treatment of Jews. 

1492 was the year that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella passed the Alhambra Decree that all non-Catholics must either convert, leave the country, or die. Oh, and they had to leave behind all their gold, silver and money when they left. This decree effectively ended Jewish and Muslim life in Spain for centuries. Jewish converts or conversos were still stigmatized, marginalized and were frequently tested for their sincerity by the Spanish inquisition. This “test” could only be described as torture and if they didn’t pass they were burned at the stake. 

Many Jews remained “secret Jews,” passing along certain Jewish practices like lighting candles on Friday evening to their children. Many people discovered generations later that their family traditions signified that they were descended from the conversos. Some estimate that as many as 20% of people in Spain are descendants of conversos

The Alhambra Decree wasn’t revoked until 1968.

An interesting note is that, as reparations for the Inquisition and the Alhambra Decree, as of 2012, Sephardic Jews have right of return to Spain.

Types of Humor: The 5 "S"s

Slapstick: physical humor, as in humor found from physical stimuli or physical reactions. Ex: farts, sex, AFV, pie to the face, Three Stooges.

Sarcastic: double-entente humor, as in humor based off of the ironic difference between literal and intended meaning. Ex: Bert and Ernie, Squidward, 9th Doctor, Sam Winchester

Subtle: dry or deadpan humor, as in humor which is found by an unaffected delivery of emotional or radical subject material. Ex: Mikasa, Jeff Dunham, Sheldon, Phil Coulson, Castiel

Satirical: ridiculing humor, as in humor which seeks to mock faults in the status quos or belief systems. Ex: Deadpool, SNL, Monty Python, Springtime with Hitler

Sardonic: dark humor, as in humor which plays off of tragic events to create a grim irony. Ex: Cruel Irony, “Laugh to keep from crying”,  Shakespeare, Olaf the Snowman

-Now, keep in mind that people can have one or many of these types of humors, and often can appreciate one or many types of humor. Its good to give a character some funny aspects to them, and hopefully this little cheat sheet will help you decide what kind of aspects that might be.-