Castrillo Mota de Judíos presents in Madrid the new project for this city

castrillo-mota-de-judiosThe excavations at the site of La Mota, the interpretation center of Jewish culture on the Camino de Santiago and the proposal to design a Sephardic cultural itinerary in the province of Burgos are the three major initiatives in which Castrillo Mota works Jews, and that tomorrow Monday will present to the Spanish Jewish community in an act organized by Center Sefarad-Israel. The objective is not only to publicize the projects, but also to gather the necessary support to develop them.

The Mayor, Lorenzo Rodriguez, recalled that the Jewish community in Spain is very “deluded” by the proposals of the Burgos municipality, since they mean recovering the past of the Jewish people in Burgos. “We have taken the projects very seriously,” as Ángel Palomino, director of the archaeological site research and value project, and Gonzalo Villarreal, architect in charge of the Sephardic memory center, demonstrates.

The center of the Sephardic memory would require an investment of around 500,000 euros

Both will be in the meeting tomorrow, which will take place at the headquarters of the Sefarad-Israel Center in Madrid, from 19:00. Manuel Moratinos, responsible for historical documentation, will also be present. Castrillo Mota de Judíos wants to give a boost to its projects in 2017, so that among its objectives is to begin, at least, the works for the creation of that center of Sephardic culture on the Camino de Santiago, whose investment will be around the 500,000 euros.

The City Council already owns the home in which the center will be installed, and knows what it wants to do. Most of the intervention will focus on the façade, which will be restored. The interior will be left as it is, although it is musealized. The most important thing is to have the financial funds to start it, although Rodríguez hopes to start the rehabilitation this year, even if it is with own money of the City Council and the Cultural Association Mota de Judíos.

“We depend on external aid,” he acknowledged, so they do not leave an opening date, although the mayor acknowledges that they would like to have it running by 2019. Meanwhile, Castrillo has work to do in the archaeological site of ‘La Mota’ , Which has 80,000 square meters of land for excavation. This year will begin the third phase of the excavations, which will count on an aid of the Provincial of 20,000 euros, which the City will complete with 9,000. And the Junte is expected to collaborate as in previous years, with 30,000 euros.

In March, Rodríguez will return to Madrid to discuss the organization of a trip to New York

In this new phase will continue working in the synagogue, always following the indications of the research project of Palomino. The ultimate aim is to put into value the site where the Castrillo origin lies as a refuge for the Jews expelled from Castrojeriz. The latest initiative to be presented to the Jewish community is the project to create a Sephardic cultural itinerary in the province, which is still in its infancy, but which would be willing to collaborate around fifteen municipalities.

Travel to New York
The presentation will also serve to raise economic support, and to advance in the trip to New York that is being scheduled for upcoming dates. Lorenzo Rodriguez explained that in March they will have a specific meeting at the Sefarad-Israel Center to address this issue, but it is intended to be able to travel to the United States to present the Jewish Castrillo Mota initiatives to the American Jewish community. There would be a delegation led by the mayor, the architect and the archaeologist, in addition to the Sefarad-Israel Center.

The municipality wants to become an international benchmark for Jews, so this year, they will have contact with Israel. They will visit the country and, at the same time, will host a meeting with the town of Kfar Vradim, with which they twinned last year. The cultural proposals of this 2017 will be complemented by a summer course on Jewish culture and tradition, in collaboration with the Sefarad-Israel Center and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the traditional concerts, also in the summer months.

The Archbishopric of #Toledo does not want to give a #synagogue to the Jewish Community of Spain


The Archbishopric of Toledo will not give up, for the time being, the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca – one of the most visited monuments in this city -, to the Federation of Spanish Jewish Communities as it has requested. A petition that the Spanish Jews have been formulating since 1992, when the Vatican ordered the then archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Marcelo González Martín, to start talks with the State of Israel that did not fruition.

The last contacts between the current archbishop, Braulio Rodríguez, and the president of the Federation of Spanish Jewish Communities, Isaac Querub, were in November 2016. Since then, Querub has been making public statements claiming this historic building built in the century XII.
The Archbishop of Toledo has settled the matter on Thursday with a communique in which it suggests to the Jewish Community to go to the State to request the transfer of another important synagogue of Toledo, the one of Tránsito, very close to the one of Santa Maria the White.

Tickets, Franc and women of bad life
The Archbishopric of Toledo also wanted to clarify that this synagogue, transformed into a Christian temple in the fourteenth century, became part of the assets of the Catholic Church in 1929 during the reign of Alfonso XIII, reason why denied that it was General Franco Who gave it to her. In addition, the church hierarchy of Toledo declines to maintain the ownership of the synagogue for a collection purpose.

The entrance costs 2.5 euros but various groups and tourist agencies benefit from discounts. In addition, according to archbishopric data, the income obtained serves to maintain the synagogue itself, to pay for works in other temples and to pay religious figures.

The Santa María Blanca Synagogue, which over the centuries has also been used as a refuge for women repentant of their bad life, barracks and warehouse of the Royal Treasury, will remain a tourist attraction more than Toledo but in the hands of the Church , Not the Jewish Community. Curiously, it was Muslim and non-Jewish masons and masons who built it.

“Toledo is the Jerusalem of Sepharad”


From a young age, the writer and researcher José Ignacio Carmona already felt Jewish, despite being raised in a Christian Toledo family. He lived in the neighborhood of San Antón, where a Jewish cemetery was discovered in 2013, the Cerro de la Horca. Coincidentally or not, Carmona feels that memory, something that reflects in his book “Toledo. Jews: curiosities, myths and enchantments »(Editorial Dauro).

-What will the reader find in the walk that he proposes for the Jewish Toledo?

-This book tells, for the first time, the story told by the Jews themselves, with themes unknown to the general public, such as the role they had and, specifically, the converts in the discovery of America. In addition, certain winks appear to a Toledo customs, such as that made by researcher Luis Rodríguez in his monograph «From Salamanca to Toledo with Lazarillo de Tormes», where he makes an imaginary journey of the protagonist of this novel through the streets of the city. There are also other typical characters of the time, such as the buldero, who sold the bull of the Holy Cross, or the greaser, a healer allowed by the Inquisition.

-What is true in the typical image of the Jew magician or alchemist?

-In the book I make a correction to an idea of mine earlier: the concept of magic was born in the School of Translators of Toledo. In particular, this concept comes from the School of Baghdad, where Greek science, Hindu astronomy, Persian astrology or the Alexandrian geography. All these heterogeneous matters converge in a single knowledge and bring the Arabs to the Iberian Peninsula, where there was a cultural vacuum. This resulted in Toledo in the fifteenth century, there were alchemist circles.

-What historical character of the Jewish Toledo would highlight?

– For example, Yehudah Halevi, who was the first poet in Castilian language. But with Toledo as a stage, I emphasize the struggle between the Trastámara and Pedro I of Castile that caused a slaughter of about 1,200 Jews, considered a “shoa” or holocaust by the Jews themselves and that supposed the origin of the synagogue of the Transit. The Castilian king allowed the Jewish community to lift this building by this tribute of blood, hence the walls are full of praises to Peter I.

“In the study of the Jewish world, why do history and legend often mix?”

– First, because the weight of this collective imagination in a society of continuous suspicion, with the persecution of the Inquisition, makes us not have record of what happened in reality. In fact, in the literature of the time he always associated the Jew with the magic, caricatured him wearing the hood, the tabard and a candle at night. Thus comes a time when reality is blurred, an image to which the Jewish people themselves, perhaps the most cultured but also the most mythomaniac, contribute.

-Attending to the legends that appear in his book on the Jewish world in Toledo, with which one of them stays?

– I remain, especially, with one, the Child of La Guardia, which is universal and Lope de Vega took it to literature. The legend tells the death of a child at Easter at the hands of the Jews. Even in this town in Toledo, it is still taboo to talk about being Jewish. There is also Sara’s and the flower of passion, which speaks of the impossible love of the Jewish Sara with a Christian that ends with both dead. Once buried, their bodies give rise to the plant with the same name as the title of the legend.

One of the arches of access to the neighborhood of the Jewish Quarter of Toledo
One of the arches of access to the neighborhood of the Jewish Quarter of Toledo Óscar Huertas
-Is there much to discover about the Jewish world in Toledo?

-Toledo, instead of turning it into a theme park for tourists, it would have to be updated and put into the 21st century through innovative projects that reveal their roots and history, such as scholarships and exchange programs for young university students, for Example of the Jewish world.

-What does Toledo mean for a Jew?

-Toledo is so important because it is the Jerusalem of Sepharad. The center of spiritual gravity moved from the East to our city with a Talmudic school. In addition, it should not be forgotten that Jews are the most indigenous community of the Iberian Peninsula, as there are real testimonies of the Jewish presence in the first century, about AD 60 or 80 AD. Of the many myths that exist, it is even spoken of that Jews of Israel arrived after the first destruction of the Temple of Solomón. In fact, the oldest remains that remain in Toledo are the necropolis of Pradillo de San Bartolomé, in the vicinity of the Cristo de la Vega, and the Cerro de la Horca.

-Why your interest about the Jews?

– I lived precisely when I was a child in a house on the Jewish cemetery of Cerro de la Galca, and from childhood I always said that I wanted to be a Jew, although I was raised in a Christian family. Incidentally, when the archaeologist Arturo Ruiz Taboada began to study this place, texts appeared on tombstones reminiscent of the famous “stone of remembrance” of the Jewish diaspora. In this way, a circle would be closing in which I, as a descendant of “anusim”, that is, a converted Jew, I feel depositary of that memory.

Students from University of Viena visit the Jewish Community of Ceuta

A group of students from the University of Vienna have started their visit in Ceuta to learn first hand the coexistence between different cultures. They will be in the city for a week, as they did three years ago in Melilla.
The group has visited the Hindu Temple, the Muley El Mehdi Mosque and the Bet-El Synagogue with the collaboration of the  “Coexistence Prize Fundation”.

Un grupo de estudiantes de la Universidad de Viena han iniciado su visita en Ceuta para conocer de primera mano la convivencia entre diferentes culturas. Estarán en la ciudad durante una semana, como ya hicieron hace tres años en Melilla.
Con la colaboración de la Fundación Premio Convivencia el grupo ha visitado el templo hindú, la mezquita Muley El Mehdi y la Sinagoga de Bet-El.