Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Farewell Espana/ Democrats Play 52 Pickup With the Race Card

A good book for me is a lot like a relationship. If I am not under the spell of a good book, I feel sad and restless. Although taxi drivers and foreign visitors have provided me interesting glimpses into far away places, a well written book is a far deeper and more focused look at places and topics of interest.

My latest book of interest is "Farewell Espana" by Howard Sachar. The book is an overview of the history of Spanish Jewry from its arrival in Spain until the expulsion in 1492. It focuses intensely on the zenith of Jewish prosperity under Muslim and Christian governments as well as localised persecutions and forced conversions that preceded the final expulsion in 1492.

Each chapter treats different places and facets of the Sephardic diaspora with depth and thoroughness. From Italy to Greece to the Balkans, the book provides readers to understand in depth many events that are viewed by the layman in isolation. Particularly interesting was the portrayal of Italian Jewry during the Renaissance and in following periods. Its portrayal of the grim life of Jews under papal rule in the 18th and 19th centuries sheds a lot of light on the historical backdrop of the Edgardo Mortara affair, in which a six year old boy was kidnapped by the papal police and forcibly converted to Catholicism. The book goes on to detail the story of Jews in World War Two, 80% of whom survived the war due to the goodness of Italians of all ideological persuasions.

I bought this book to read about the entire spectrum of Islamic governments in power, from the most enlightened and generous to the most barbaric and intolerant. I was not disappointed. The book provided enough information to see and appreciate the social and economic factors that can turn latent tendencies in Islam into dominant characteristics. Although a look at Islamic texts and theology can explain much about Islam in our time, much is unexplained through this approach. Reading "Farewell Espana" is good training for an interdisciplinary approach to understanding Islamic societies.

Descent from Spanish Jews is a historical fact that was passed down in my father's family for generations. This book provides a vivid and wide ranging insight into the whole range of the Sephardic Jewish history and experience. In our troubled times, this book is a great help in placing modern events in a historic context. I am pleased to recommend it to my readers.

Farewell Espana by Howard Sachar 464 pp by Vintage Books


Democrats Play Race Card Ignore Facts

The list is growing of media and government figures who are attempting to deflect criticism of Barak Obama and the Democrats with cries of racism. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius has openly said that race might be a factor in the electorate’s lingering misgivings about Obama

Click here to read the rest of the story

CNN reporter Jack Cafferty has also weighed in saying that “Race is arguably the biggest issue in this election, and it’s one that nobody’s talking about.” He cites Time magazine reporter Michael Grunwald as saying that race is the “elephant in the room that no one talks about.”

No comments: