Ceuta: a Spanish Jewish Comunity in North Africa

Historically there are vestiges of Israeli members of religious confession in Ceuta forever, and the Judeo-Spanish poet Abraham Ibn Ezra (eleventh century), mentions in one of his poems tocomunidad-israelita-de-ceuta the Jews of Ceuta. In the twelfth century, it is highlight the existence of Judeo-Spanish illustrious poet Yehuda Ben Yosef called Acnín, known by the nickname of “Ceuti”, having been born in this city.

In the “History of Ceuta” written by the author Correo Franca, the existence of a Hebrew neighborhood indicated in this city in 1415, located in the extramural suburb east of the city.

We also refers author said, and pointing the basis of the actual books Los Veedores de Ceuta, in time of Governor D. Pedro de Meneses the year 1557, there was already a flourishing trade between Spain and the Berbers Regions in They are taking part in Ceuta Jews who lived around a building called the “Customs”, which had shops and place to celebrate their religious rites.

There continue historical vestiges of the existence of Israel in Ceuta along the XVII century XVIII, according to the Book of Overseers of Ceuta, where names like Israel already mentioned; Levi Pardo; Hazan, etc …. then it can be said that throughout the nineteenth century, there was already structured formally established a religious community, and even the existence of the Jewish cemetery in Ceuta noted in the years 1848 and later and now disappeared.

In the twentieth century, its members are part of the social life of Ceuta, and in the year 1,924, and there are councilors who profess the Jewish religion, as was José Alfón Benoliel, being Mayor D.Remigio Gonzalez. At this time it existed as a Socio-Cultural Hispano-Hebrew Association of Ceuta Entity.

At the time of the monarchy D.ALFONSO XIII, he was part of the Municipal Board, D.Salomón Benhamu Chocrón, notable of the Community. On 18 May 1921 held the 11th Assembly in Ceuta Spanish-Sephardic, which by then former ministers D.José Franco and Rodriguez and Mr. Antonio Goicoechea was headed.

During the 2nd Republic, he was part as Trustee Second City of Ceuta, ruled at that time by the Mayor Sr.Sanchez Prados, D.Moísés Benhamu Benzaquen.

At present there is a community center where the synagogue “BET-EL” is located, opened on March 25, 1971 which is the result of a recast three existing small synagogues in the city above, which is located by chance in the C / Sargento Coriat, national hero of the War of Africa 2nd son of Ceuta, which was part of Rgto.de Infantry No. 60 Ceuta and family of Hebrew religious belief.

Since the second official census in the year 1,866 Ceuta appear surnames of ancestors of Jewish families who still live in our Community (Alfón; Bentolila; Benhamu; Coriat, Chocrón; Gabizon; Hazán / Hassan …). We emphasize that the Community has great economic, social and cultural life in Ceuta and harmonious coexistence with other faiths ceutíes.

The Edict of Expulsion

Resultado de imagen de edict of expulsionThe edict went to public during the week of April 29 1492.

The edict declared that no Jews were permitted to remain within the Spanish kingdom, and Jew who wished to convert was welcome to stay. The power of wealthy Spanish Jewry was inconsequential. Whether a Jew was rich or poor did not matter, they all still had to convert or leave. Ferdinand’s plans for Spain, as distorted by the Christian racism prevalent in late 15th Century Spain, did not include the one group that had done so much to serve the state. Transcription of the decree of expulsion promulgated by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain in 1492, which forced the Spanish Jews to leave Spain forever. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, by the grace of God, King and Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon and other dominions of the crown – to the prince Juan, to dukes, marquees, counts, the holy orders, priors, knight commanders, lords of the castles, cavaliers, and to all Jews, men and women of whatever age, and to anyone else this letter may concern – health and grace unto you. You well know that in our dominion, there are certain bad Christians that judaised and committed apostasy against our Holy Catholic faith, much of it the cause of communications between Jews and Christians. Therefore, in the year 1480, we ordered that the Jews be separated from the cities and towns of our domains and that they be given separate quarters, hoping that by such separation the situation would be remedied. And we ordered that and an Inquisition be established in such domains; and in twelve years it has functioned, the Inquisition has found many guilty persons. Furthermore, we are informed by the Inquisition and others that the great harm done to the Christians persists, and it continues because of the conversations and communications that they have with the Jews, such Jews trying by whatever manner to subvert our holy Catholic faith and trying to draw faithful Christians away from their beliefs. These Jews instruct these Christians in the ceremonies and observances of their Law, circumcising their children, and giving them books with which to pray, and declaring unto them the days of fasting, and meeting with them to teach them the histories of their Law, notifying them when to expect Passover and how to observe it, giving them the unleavened bread and ceremonially prepared meats, and instructing them in things from which they should abstain, both with regard to food items and other things requiring observances of their Law of Moses, making them understand that there is no other law or truth besides it. All of which then is clear that, on the basis of confessions from such Jews as well as those perverted by them, that it has resulted in great damage and detriment of our holy Catholic faith. And because we knew that the true remedy of such damages and difficulties lay in the severing of all communications between the said Jews with the Christians and in sending them forth from all our reigns, we sought to content ourselves with ordering the said Jews from all the cities and villages and places of Andalusia where it appeared that they had done major damage, believing that this would suffice so that those from other cities and villages and places in our reigns and holdings would cease to commit the aforesaid. And because we have been informed that neither this, nor the justices done for some of the said Jews found very culpable in the said crimes and transgressions against our holy Catholic faith, has been a complete remedy to obviate and to correct such opprobrium and offense to the Christian faith and religion; because every day it appears that the said Jews increase in continuing their evil and harmful purposes wherever they reside and converse; and because there is no place left whereby to more offend our holy faith, as much as those which God has protected to this day as in those already affected, it is left for this Holy Mother Church to mend and reduce the matter to its previous state inasmuch as, because of our frailty of humanity, it could occur that we could succumb to the diabolical temptation that continually wars against us so easily if its principal cause were not removed, which would be to expel the said Jews from the kingdom. Because whenever a grave and detestable crime is committed by some members of a given group, it is reasonable that the group be dissolved or annihilated, the minors for the majors being punished one for the other; and that those who pervert the good and honest living on the cities and villages and who by their contagion could harm others, be expelled from the midst the people, still yet for other minor causes, that would be of harm to the Republic, and all the more so for the major of these crimes, dangerous and contagious as it is. Therefore, with the council and advice of the eminent men and cavaliers of our reign, and of other persons of knowledge and conscience of our Supreme Council, after much deliberation, it is agreed and resolved that all Jews and Jewesses be ordered to leave our kingdoms, and that they never be allowed to return. And we further order in this edict that all Jews and Jewesses of whatever age that reside in our domain and territories, that they leave with their sons and daughters. their servants and relatives, large and small, of whatever age, by the end of July of this year, and that they dare not return to our lands, not so much as to take a step on them not trespass upon them in any other manner whatsoever. Any Jew who does not comply with this edict and is to be found in our kingdom and domains, or who return to the kingdom in any manner, will incur punishment by death and confiscation of all their belongings. We further order that no person in our kingdom of whatever station or noble status hide or keep or defend any Jew or Jewess, either publicly or secretly, from the end of July onwards, in their homes or elsewhere in our reign, upon punishment of loss of their belongings, vassals, fortresses, and hereditary privileges. So that the said Jews may dispose of their household and belongings in the given time period, for the present we provide our assurance of royal protection and security so that , until the end of the month of July, they may sell and exchange their belongings and furniture and other items, and to dispose of them freely as they wish; and that during said time, no one is to do them harm or injury or injustice to their persons or to their goods, which is contrary to justice, and which shall incur the punishment that befalls those who violate our royal security. Thus we grant permission to the said Jews and Jewesses to take out their goods and belongings out of our reigns, either by sea or by land, with the condition that they not take out either gold or silver or minted money or any other items prohibited by the laws of the kingdom. Therefore, we order all councilors, justices, magistrates. cavaliers, shield-bearers, officials, good men of the city of Burgos and of other cities and villages of our reigns and dominions, and all our vassals and subjects, that they observe and comply with this letter and all that is contained in it, and that they give all the help and favor that is necessary for its execution, subject to punishment by our sovereign grace and by confiscation of all their goods and offices for our royal state house. And so that this may come to the notice of all, and so that no one may pretend ignorance, we order that this edict be proclaimed in all the plazas and usual meeting places of any given city; and that in the major cities and villages of the diocese, that it be done by the town crier in the presence of the public scribe. and that neither one nor the other should do the contrary of what was desired, subject to the punishment by our sovereign grace and deprivation of their offices and by confiscation of their goods to whosoever does the contrary. And we further order that evidence be provided to the court, in the manner of signed testimony, regarding the manner in which the edict is being carried out. Given in this city of Granada on the thirty first day of March in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ -1492. Signed, I the King I the Queen Juan de Coloma, Secretary of the King and Queen, which I have written by order of our Majesties.

SOURCE: Libro de las Bulas y Pragmáticas de los Reyes Católicos, de Johan Ramírez 1503. Published again by Instituto de España, Madrid Ministerio de Justicia 1973. Vols. VI-VII. Ed. Facsímil from Libro en que están recopiladas algunas Bullas e todas las pragmáticas.

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Segovia: Remembering the sephardic past

Photo: House of Abraham Seneor

From September 2nd to 4th, took place in Segovia the “XVII European days of the Jewish Culture”, in order to remember the past that this religion had in Segovia and also so huge artistic and cultural heritage that we are able to see in this city nowadays.

The city get nearer the jewish heritage not only to the visitors, but to many of the segovian citizen who are more and more proud of their jewish past.

Toledo: Gastronomic Capital 2016

2016-09-12_1228_comidaTOLEDO has been designated Spain’s ‘Gastronomic Capital 2016′ and its numerous restaurants are highlighting locally sourced products and wines.

Alfileritos24 is a contemporary restaurant set in one of Toledo’s narrow, twisting streets (Calle Alfileritos). Its taster menu (€39) has eight dishes, including hare, salted cod, pork, all accompanied by rices, pulses, marinades and sauces and of course Manchego cheese (Toledo is the capital of La Mancha).

My meal there included a bottle of wine from Finca Loranque (a picture of El Greco on the label), a typical full-bodied Spanish red which goes well with the earthy flavours of the meal.

There are other, cheaper options at Alfileritos24, including a menu del dia (daily menu) which features dishes from the taster menu.

Down numerous steps at the foot of the hill on which the walled part of Toledo sits is Hacienda Del Cardenal (Paseo de Recaredo) which, as the name suggest, is the former residence of a cardinal dating from the 18th century.

While the setting is distinctly old-school – wooden beams across the ceiling and tiled floor – the menu combines tradition with a more experimental twist. Raw salmon skimmed into thin slices, tempura asparagus and delicately cooked red tuna cubes, again with accompanying vegetables, cepes and rices – plus more Manchego and another regional wine from Bodegas Volver.


The New Mayor Synagogue-Segovia

Only in very times a year you can visit the remains of the synagogue known as “New Mayor Synagogue” or “Synagogue of Ibáñez”. Fortunately yesterday I could do it, and took these pictures I’m delighted to share with you all.

In 1419 this Synagogue replaced the “Old Mayor Synagogue” after the events that wil be explained during our visit. #SEGOVIA #JUDERIASEGOVIA #JEWISHSEGOVIA #JEWISHTOLEDO