Sephardic Farewell: Ancestors

Late fifteenth-century Spain, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand issue the Expulsion Edict. Non-Catholics have two choices: convert to Catholicism, or leave Spain with nothing. The monarchs provide Columbus funds for his first exploratory sea voyage. Against the historic sweep of Columbus’ voyage, the expulsion of the Jews, and the exploration of the New World, one family chooses to remain in Spain, living as Catholics, while another emigrates to Turkey to continue their Jewish faith. Uprooted by the edict, the Halavi family is dispersed. Joshua Ben Halavi sets sail with Columbus, while Benjamin and his father, David, settle in Constantinople, establishing deep Jewish roots. The San Miguels, whose Jewish roots have been well-hidden for many years, choose to remain in Spain as Christians, their fate a mixture of Inquisition horror and New World success. From the historic voyage of Columbus and the colonization of the Americas, Sephardic Farewell follows these two families, portraying their lives through the sweeping events of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

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