Monthly Archives: April 2023

The Journal “Sephardic Horizons” seeks Reviewers

Sephardic Horizons, the on-line journal of Sephardic studies, is seeking book reviewers for recent titles. Reviewers are expected to complete their reviews within ten weeks of receipt of the book. Reviews consist of approximately 1000 to 2000 words, formatted according to the journal’s guidelines (

If you are interested in any of these titles, please send your name, academic affiliation, and address, telephone number, and e-mail address to Annette B. Fromm, Review Editor, Sephardic Horizons,

Student Scholarship Award

The Association of Jewish Libraries is pleased to offer a combined academic scholarships with conference subventionAn academic scholarship of $1000 to a student enrolled or accepted in a graduate school of library and information science, in combination with a conference subvention award for attending the Association of Jewish Libraries annual conference. Free full conference registration is included.

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AJS Review 47.1 (2023) is out

The new issue of the Association of Jewish Studies Review 47.1 (2023) features an article with medieval content:

Abraham Ibn Ezra and the Natives: An Ethnic Morphology of Modern Jewish Scholarship
Noah S. Gerber

A bias toward medieval Sephardic Judaism and its early modern Occidental offshoots has accompanied critical Jewish scholarship for two centuries. This essay examines how this bias has structured latter-day Sephardic and Mizrahi involvement in the discipline, with Abraham Ibn Ezra as a case study. While the nineteenth-century textual remapping of Ibn Ezra drew on numerous Mizrahi communal genizot, the early twentieth century witnessed the emergence of an intellectual conversation between European Jewish and Mizrahi savants in tracing the medieval poet’s historical sojourn in non-European lands. Subsequently, a specifically Zionist emphasis on the ingathering of Ibn Ezra lore somewhat reduced Mizrahi agency to the category of folklore, with the primitivism of the tales gathered associated almost exclusively with non-European comprehension of this medieval Sephardic icon. The divide between a veteran “first” Israel versus a “second” Israel helped solidify this ethnic distinction in cultural labor, with the tide reversing itself only recently

The Conversion of Synagogues in Late Medieval Iberia – Putting Theory into Practice

by Franziska Kleybolte, University of Münster


Although Muslim spaces were objects of frequent confiscation and conversion in 13th century Iberia, the conversion of synagogues was, with a few exceptions, by that time only theoretical. With the conquest of Sevilla in 1248, however, king Ferdinand III allowed the local Jewish community to convert three mosques into synagogues. The transfer of those synagogues is an exception;[1] still, it fits into the discernible political strategy of the time which supported Jewish communities during the Christian campaigns of war against the Muslim territories.[2] This changed by the end of the 14th century, when the Christian conquest of the Peninsula had been completed for the most part: clerics explicitly called for the destruction and transformation of the synagogues in the persecutions of 1391–92, and the laws of Ayllón (1412) created a legal basis that encouraged and evoked these transformations. Meanwhile, the Disputation of Tortosa (1413–14) once again provided theological fuel for the persecution and conversion of Jews and the attack on their places of worship. All of that is reflected in the conversion of 42 synagogues that I have found as part of my research. I argue that this makes the period a turning point not only in the attitudes towards Iberian Jews, but also towards their synagogues.

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