Moses ben Maimon

An Answer For Marty
August 18, 2010

Marty, continuing TNR's rich tradition of internal debate, lobs a question my way about the Park51 project, originally named "Cordoba House": Have you wondered, as I have, why this project is called the Cordoba Initiative? Well, the city was conquered in 1148 by a Muslim dynasty, the Almohades, who offered the Jews a rich choice: conversion to Islam, death or exile. The family of the Jewish philosopher Maimonides was born in Cordoba and Moses ben Maimon spent his childhood there. Until, that is, the Muslims arrived. When given their options, they left. Which is what most of the Jews did then.