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Ezra Seligsohn Reading Response #4 Charter of Expulsion of 1492 The first thing hit me when reading the piece

was the fact that the declaration did not say Jews were bad people or that they could be persecuted by their gentile neighbors. Rather, it was just that they could no longer live in Spain because of their negative influence and supposed Judaizing of the Christian people. Their offense was purely religious in nature, but they were not to be harmed. At first, I found it hard to believe that there would be such a nuanced approach, but after more though, I guess it makes sense. The Christian ideal isnt necessarily to kill Jews- but if they view them as threatening, then it is important to get rid of them. On the other hand, it is possible that they wanted the official edict to sound moral and nice to Jews, but in reality they knew everyone would treat Jews with disdain and disgust, so this would either mitigate social unrest, or at least not come off as officially advocating immoral positions. In my legal history class, we learned about how many states have couched anti-Semitism or racism in the context of the law. In attempt to legitimize hate, states have used the law in the favor. Perhaps that is what is going on here. Additionally, the passage serves an interesting lens into the legal edicts of 15th century Spain. The extensive and detailed nature of the document- in terms of who it is addressed to, the offenses of the Jews, and the consequences of such offenses is noteworthy. Most importantly, are the list of offenses of the Jews, or rather, how their relationship with the Christians have led so many Christians to adopt Jewish customs and be led astray. Were all of these things true, or were they just made up by the state? Were

Jews really teaching Christians their customs and lawsor perhaps just bringing back Jews who had converted (not that that is necessarily okay either)? Either way, it is clear that whatever it was that the Jews were doing caused a great amount of insecurity amongst the upper echelons of Spanish society. Was this similar to other times in history when Jews were exiled? Due to their high aristocratic place in society, they were perceived as a threat? I think the text does indicate that; they felt that the Spanish non-Jews were being negatively affected by the Jewish presence. I guess I am surprised that things like this happen in the world. It very much recalls the Nuremberg Laws in my mind, which I guess is a testament to the fact that it doesnt matter how socially or intellectually advanced a society is, they can still turn towards hate or racism under certain circumstances. The charter reflects that as well.