Rabbi Bitton in his book, Forgotten Giants portrays the expulsion from Spain in 1492 as the central event of Spanish Jewish history. Forgotten Giants explores the lives, works, and ideas of twenty-six Sephardic Rabbis in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, in the time period straddling this upheaval.
Through the narratives of these twenty-six prominent rabbis’ lives, we learn about the world of the Jews in Spain before the 1492 expulsion, the struggles of the rabbinical leadership against the missionary efforts of the Church to convert the Jews, and the theological debates that took place, especially during the beginning of the fifteenth century.
The expulsion of the Jews from Spain is covered, together with the exile to Portugal, the expulsion from Portugal, and the birth of the new Sephardic Diaspora in Mediterranean countries. Within that Diaspora, the book pays special attention to the establishment of the Spanish refugees in the Land of Israel, in the city of Safed, and later on in Jerusalem.
This fascinating series of tableaux of the lives of great Sephardic rabbis paints a vivid picture of Jewish life and thought in Spain before the 1492 expulsion, during the tumultuous years of exile, and after the re-establishment of the Sephardic communities in the Diaspora.
- In-depth portraits of the lives and works of twenty-six great Sephardic rabbis.
- Covers three generations of rabbis from the late 1400s to the early 1600s.
- Paints a vivid picture of the years before, during, and after the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal.
- Revives the legacies of forgotten Sephardic giants.
- Details the persecution suffered by the Jews of this era at the hands of their governments and the Church.
- Reveals the beginnings of Sephardic settlement in the Land of Israel.
- Page count: 160
Forgotten Giants Sephardic Rabbis before and after the expulsion from Spain
Rabbi Yosef Bitton, born in Argentina, began his rabbinic and academic studies at Yeshiva University, NY. He holds a degree in Hebrew language, Talmud, and Bible from Bar-Ilan University. He further pursued graduate studies at Ben-Gurion University and in the Graduate Department of Religion at Emory University. Rabbi Bitton received his rabbinic ordination from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.
He has been a community rabbi and educator for over twenty-five years, having officiated as Chief Rabbi of Uruguay and served communities throughout Argentina and the United States.
Rabbi Bitton is the author of Awesome Creation: A Study of the First Three Verses of the Torah, as well as numerous articles and books in Spanish. He lives in New York with his wife Coty and their children.