Meeting this Sunday: Balkan Sephardim in early modern Amsterdam #sephardic #announcements


Balkan Jewish refugees from war arriving in late 17th Century Amsterdam must
have been astonished. Even though connected to the resident Portuguese Jews
through ethnic‐religious bonds, they were entering an alien world.

Most of the Sephardim of Amsterdam were conversos. They had been living as
Catholics - outwardly at least ‐ for generations before returning to their
ancestral faith. They were acquainted with the most modern European ideas,
but had to be reintroduced to Judaism.
Meanwhile, the eastern Sephardim from the Balkans had lived a Jewish life
for generations. Most of them descended from Jews expelled from Spain in
1492 who had settled in the Ottoman Empire and North Africa. The chain of
tradition in Judaism was never broken. Many had studied at famous yeshivot
in the east and were well versed in Hebrew and Jewish sources, while to a
certain degree they became part and parcel of the Oriental and North African
culture as well.

Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld will talk about the experiences of the Balkan Jews
upon their arrival in Amsterdam. She will focus on how the eastern Sephardim
were received by the Portuguese Jews in Amsterdam and their absorption into
the community.

Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld, an independent scholar, lives and works in
Amsterdam. She earned her PhD in Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem. She specializes in European Jewish History of the early modern
period, concentrating in particular on social and cultural aspects of the
Sephardi community of early modern Amsterdam. Her book Poverty and Welfare
among the Portuguese Jews of early modern Amsterdam (Oxford: Littman 2012)
won the National Jewish Book Award of 2012 in the category of Sephardic

The meeting is on Sunday 1 August 2021 at 11am in LA, 2pm NYC, 7pm London,
8pm Amsterdam, and 9pm Jerusalem. Patrons can join us on Zoom. The link is
shared at our Patreon page. Everyone is invited to join us for free at: Please subscribe to
the YouTube channel. It helps us a lot and reminds you when we are going

Best wishes,

Ton Tielen and David Mendoza
Sephardic World