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.

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