News & Events

The Mighty Don and His Descendants

The decree expelling the Jews from Spain was signed in the Alhambra palace of Granada. By Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Spain, in the presence of the chief  inquisitor Torquemada and the Jewish representative Don Isaac Abrabanel. Spain, March 31, 1492. Diorama at the core exhibition, Beit Hatfutsot (photo: Yaacov Brill)

The decree expelling the Jews from Spain was signed in the Alhambra palace of Granada.
By Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Spain, in the presence of the chief
inquisitor Torquemada and the Jewish representative Don Isaac Abrabanel.
Spain, March 31, 1492. Diorama at the core exhibition, Beit Hatfutsot (photo: Yaacov Brill)

These days in 1492 were fateful and busy for Don Isaac Abrabanel. This prominent philosopher, statesman and financier left nothing undone to convince Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon to revoke the Alhambra decree.  But despite all his efforts, including a huge bribe he offered the monarchs, the Edict of Expulsion went public, and Jews were forced to give up their faith or leave the country.

Isaac_Abrabanel

The Abrabanels joined their brethren in faith and left Spain, where this distinguished Jewish family, which traces its origin from King David himself, settled right after destruction of the First Temple. 

Since then the Abrabanel family – poets, physicians, financiers, and scholars – lived in Italy, Holland, England, Turkey and other places. They were so brilliant and successful that some Ashkenazi Jewish families were happy to adopt their surname and become proud Abrabanels by themselves.