Saturday, June 7, 2008

Convivencia & Optimism

In Madrid, there were posters everywhere for a popular current show: "Anne Frank, the Musical." Anne Frank's face smiled out from every billboard and bus stop shelter. It initially felt absurdly surreal. A musical? After a while it felt like a metaphor for the history of Spain that I was struggling to understand. Yes, extermination happened. But as Adin Steinsaltz, a modern Jewish sage has said, "You know, the definition of a Jewish optimist is the one who sees things as bleak as possible - and still hopes." La Convivencia, "The Coexistence," - the past time when Jews, Muslims, and Catholics not only got along, but experienced a rich and deep cultural interplay, did fall apart. But it also did exist. I would like to hear the sound track of Anne Frank, the Musical...

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