Friday, 2 August 2013

Double-first

On my last day in Córdoba I had two new experiences: I entered a synagogue and a mosque, both for the first time in my life. However, neither serves its original function today; the synagogue is a historical vestige of the once-thriving Jewish community in Andalusia; and the mosque is now part of the Catholic cathedral.

I remember another double-first a long time ago, also related to Judaism.  On my first day in my first job – at Irish Life Assurance – I was introduced for the first time in my life to a Jew, and also to my first Protestant. I was 19 years old.  Imagine, throughout my childhood I had never even met a Protestant.  That's how mono-cultural my environment was.  I probably didn't meet a Muslim until I moved to France 10 years later.

That I should have this latest double-first in Córdoba is fitting; in the golden era of Islamic Andalusia,  the city was a centre of scientific and cultural excellence where Muslims, Jews and Christians associated freely.  It wasn't until the Reconquista that the Jews were expelled from Spain along with the Muslims.

No comments:

Post a comment