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.

Spanish Donkey

Out of all medieval torture devices, this is probably one of the most gruesome and excruciating. The victim is stripped naked and made to straddle this equine-like apparatus, which is constructed of a vertical wooden board with a sharp wedge on top of it. After that, the torturer would add weights to the victim’s feet, making them heavier each time, until the wedge sliced all the way through the victim’s body.

anonymous asked:

I've noticed many Jews are hostile to christians but I don't understand why? i thought maybe some Jews blame christians for the Holocaust but that doesn't make sense

Do you think the only bad thing that ever happened to Jews was the Holocaust? *sighs* That’s par for the course on this website, isn’t it. Acting like anti-semitism began in 1933 and ended in 1945. That’s bull. The history of anti-semitism and the history of Christianity are inextricably linked. 

The VAST majority of Jewish persecution throughout history was done by christians. The Spanish Inquisition famously forced Jews to convert to Catholicism, leave the country, or die. Thousands of Jews were burned at the stake, many of them even after they converted. For centuries Christians have prayed for the conversion of the Jews, a practice that didn’t end until the 1960s in the Catholic Church. Jews have been ghettoized, beaten and murdered for the crime of “killing Christ.” We have been accused of using the blood of Christian children to make matzoh in what has been called blood libel. Never mind that not only are people unkosher, but so is blood. 

A short article at the US Holocaust Museum’s website might be a good place to start reading.  But believe me when I tell you that the history of Christian/Jewish relations is largely a history of Christians persecuting Jews.

Medieval European kingdoms held heresy to be a capital crime against the state. (The Church had no capital offenses.) That meant that people were arrested and tried in state courts on religious charges and, when found guilty, executed. The purpose of the Inquisition was to place Church courts using Roman laws of evidence between the accused and the state. The Inquisition not only discerned whether the accused was a heretic, but also provided a means for him or her to repent and escape the fires of the stake. The Inquisition actually saved uncounted thousands whom the state courts would have roasted. Indeed, the witch crazes that ravaged Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries occurred only in those areas in which there was no well-developed Inquisition.
—  Thomas F. Madden, medieval historian