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Cambridge University Library

Exhibition: 15,000 visitors for ‘The Golden Age of the Jews of Al-Andalus’ (La Edad de Oro de los Judíos de Alandalús)

Entrance to the exhibition
Entrance to the exhibition 'La Edad de Oro de los Judíos de Alandalús'
Melonie Schmierer-Lee
Mon 20 May 2024

From 15 September 2023 to 31 March 2024, the Centro Sefarad-Israel in Madrid hosted a new bilingual Spanish-English exhibition ‘La Edad de Oro de los Judíos de Alandalús’ (The Golden Age of the Jews of Al-Andalus). In its 6-month run in the atmospheric brick-lined basement of the Centre, the exhibition received 15,000 visitors. For those who were not able to visit, a video tour (in Spanish) of the exhibition is available, presented by the curator of the exhibition, Professor José Martínez Delgado (University of Granada). Recorded tours of the Genizah manuscripts given by Cambridge Genizah researchers and translated into Spanish, can also be seen too.

The impetus for the exhibition was the 2022 identification of a Genizah fragment as a Judaeo-Romance glossary in the hand of Moses Maimonides, and the well-received 2021 publication of La Vida Cotidiana de los judíos de Alandalús (siglos x-xii): Antología de manuscritos de la Guenizá de El Cairo (University of Cambridge), by José Martínez Delgado and Amir Ashur (UCOPress Universidad de Cordoba), driving interest in the prosperous community of al-Andalus in the Middle Ages. Al-Andalus’ cultural splendor and economic prosperity derived from its key role in Mediterranean commercial networks, and many fragments of Andalusi origin are found among the Cairo Genizah manuscripts. The writings of Andalusi thinkers, poets, and diplomats – men like Moses Maimonides, Judah ha-Levi, Ibn Gabirol, and Ibn Shaprut – still resonate and inspire today.

The exhibition’s beautifully-designed panel artwork was created in a downloadable format to make it available to other institutions. The American Sephardi Federation at the Center for Jewish History, New York, is now hosting a version of the exhibition (13 March – 14 June 2024).

  Facsimiles on display  Facsimile of a petition to Saladin 

(Left) Facsimile reproductions of Genizah manuscripts on display (Right) Facsimile of a petition to Saladin

Daily life and poetry in the Genizah  Schechter and the discovery  

(Left) Highlights from the collection (Right) Telling the story of the 'discovery' of the Genizah fragments

Moses Maimonides and his autographs  Guided tours

(Left) Maimonides and his autographs. (Right) A guided tour of the exhibition

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