Delve into the events leading up to the Alhambra Decree and what happened to the Jewish community in the wake of the edict in this panel discussion. On March 31, 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued the Alhambra Decree, also known as the Edict of Expulsion, which gave Jews until the end of July to leave the country or convert to Catholicism. Some chose to convert and practice Judaism in secret, but many were forced to leave their homeland behind. Those who did stay risked being tortured and killed by the Spanish Inquisition, which had been established in 1478.

Francois Soyer, Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of New England, and Matthew Warshawsky, Chair of the Department of International Languages and Cultures and Professor of Spanish at the University of Portland, will be in conversation with Ethan Marcus, the Managing Director of the Sephardic Brotherhood.

Francois Soyer is an Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of New England in Australia, where he has worked since 2018. Soyer’s research focuses on the history of antisemitism and antisemitic propaganda in early modern Europe in general and the Iberian world in particular. He is the author of several books including The Persecution of Jews and Muslims of Portugal. King Manuel and the End of Religious Tolerance (1496-8)Ambiguous Gender in Early Modern Spain and Portugal: Inquisitors, Doctors and the Transgressions of Gender Norms; and Popularizing Anti-Semitism in Early Modern Spain and its Empire: Francisco de Torrejoncillo and the Centinela contra Judios (1674).
Matthew Warshawsky is professor of Spanish at the University of Portland and currently serves as chair of the Department of International Languages and Cultures. He teaches all levels of Spanish, including classes on Medieval and Golden Age Spanish literature and Iberian and Latin American Jewish literature and culture. He is the author of The Perils of Living the Good and True Law: Iberian Crypto-Jews in the Shadow of the Inquisition of Colonial Hispanic America and co-edited, with James A. Parr, Don Quixote: Interdisciplinary Connections.
Ethan Marcus is the Managing Director of the Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America, the national umbrella organization for the Ladino-speaking Sephardic community in the United States. In this capacity, he has rapidly grown the Sephardic community’s membership base and developed innovative programs to engage a new generation of young Sephardic Jews around the world. He previously served as the Brotherhood’s Director of Communications and the Director of Community Development for the Seattle Sephardic Community. From 2019 to 2020, Ethan was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Athens, Greece, where he conducted an independent research project on the unique liturgical customs of the Romaniote Jews of Greece. He is a graduate of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, and his family originates from the Sephardic communities of Veria in modern day Greece and Izmir in modern day Turkey.


Letter from Ferdinand and Isabella, Barcelona, Spain, 1492. Gift of Robert and Debbie Gordon, 2002.A.284


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