It is not new concept or type of adventures of the collective. ‘People from Leon around the world’ seems to have been at least since the Middle Ages, with landmark cases in which many of the many civilians who today are scattered all over the continent, outside the Lion that did not give them the opportunity to work and live , They can be identified. And one of these unique cases must be tracked as five centuries ago: his name was Juda Corcoz, was a rabbi and doctor, and fled a kingdom in which Christianity was on the way to occupy all the religious and social space to find shelter in Sabugal, Portuguese town located in the line with the present provinces of Salamanca and Cáceres, where he became a neighbor of the most respected.
Corcoz is one of the historical figures around which revolves a new thematic center for the recovery of the Hebrew memory of Sabugal, which will be inaugurated at the end of this month of February. The mayor of the town, Antonio Robalo, explained that through a European cooperation project 170,000 euros have been invested in this center, which is located next to the castle of Sabugal, in a historic building acquired by the Own Town Hall.
It is a house where their former owners, when they rehabilitated it a little more than a decade ago, discovered that it was inhabited by a Jewish family, since there was a stone cupboard that they used to secretly celebrate the practice of lighting a candle at night From Friday to Saturday, as the Hebrew tradition says.
It will be the House of Jewish Memory of La Raya, specifically Robalo, who wants this center to be a strategic enclave of Jewish memory and a point of union of tourists who arrive in the Iberian Peninsula to discover Jewish history. An objective similar to that of the Center of Interpretation of the Three Cultures that the Consistory Leonese began to install in the church of Puente Castro without that of today it has been able to give a definite impulse to him.
“Sabugal, on the line of the oldest border in Europe, was a privileged town for the flow of many Jews who were expelled from Spain after the Reconquest,” recalled Robalo. And so the new center hides a work of several years of research by Portuguese archaeologists and historians who dug in the archive of the Torre do Tombo in Lisbon to spin the first-person memory of the Jewish community that had this region .
And one of its referents has been the doctor who, as described in the documents, came to Sabugal from Leon along with other Jews “of modest condition” – as it is in the file – like Jaque Mel, that settled down in the Portuguese town of Tailors, or shoemaker Isaac Verdugo. Juda Corcoz, as well as a doctor, “was a figure of prestige and respect in his time”, acknowledged Sabugal archaeologist Marcos Osorio.
“It was clear that he was the leader of the community”, as he performed practices of the Hebrew tradition suitable only to rabbis, such as “circumcision of the frenulum in male babies”, he explained. The idea of this center as a reference point of Judaism is intended to complement, according to Antonio Robalo, as a place of historical recovery of names and events that occurred in Sabugal related to this culture and are not yet inventoried.
The two-storey building includes a museum project, already completed, where it will be possible to know by means of explanatory panels the intense relationship of Sabugal and of this whole border area with the Jews between the XV and XVIII centuries.
In addition, this House of Jewish Memory of La Raya will be integrated in the Jewish Network of Portugal, where there are some referring villages like Belmonte, also near the border with Salamanca – specifically, near the area of Ciudad Rodrigo -, whose Jewish Museum Receives an average of 80,000 visitors each year.