“Qualitavely Jews are not a minority”

pepa-rull-daniel-parejoThe president of the association Be Sepharad-Legado Sefardí, Pepa Rull, said that the Jews have contributed much to the history of Spain and its culture. In order to understand this fact, “we must review the history they have told us, because it is impossible to understand Spanish history without understanding that of the Jews.” “It is true that Jews were a minority, but quantitative, qualitatively speaking they were not a minority, since they were the administrative structure of the state, cultural and intellectual structure, scientists, thinkers, or traders,” he added.

In this sense, Pepa Rull explained that many Jews were in the service of the Spanish kings, who always had these within their staff. However, “for historical reasons, in the fifteenth century, all this ended in a radical way and we wanted to make believe that there was only one religion and one people, something that is not true, because we come from three different cultures. An essential part, so that I encourage the rewriting of the story. “

Rull directs the course History and culture of the Jews of Sefarad, which ended yesterday within the framework of the XV edition of the summer courses of the University Pablo de Olavide de Carmona. The Jews of Sepharad are the ones who lived for more than 1,500 years in the peninsula. Sefarad is the peninsula, Spain and Portugal. The Jews lived in this place as more Spaniards until, at the end of the fifteenth century, they were expelled and had to go elsewhere. “When they leave the peninsula, they are known as Sephardic Jews.” While they were here, they were Jewish-Spanish, “Pepa said. For the Sephardi, Spain is its origin. When they left, many of them believed that this situation was going to be fleeting and that they would return relatively soon. “But they have never stopped being from Spain really, although that culture before the fifteenth century have been enriched with the cultures of the countries where they have been settled,” says the president of the association.


Malaga will have more than two years with a museum devoted to Spanish Jewish thought.

malaga centro sefardiThe Sefardi Cultural Center is designed to recover the production of the great
Intellectuals until the fifteenth century, but also the work of the heirs of the Sephardic diaspora.
This space “does not want to recover the footprint of the Spanish Jews, but the legacy of the Spaniards of Jewish religion, “explained Wednesday the editor and journalist Basilio Baltasar, Content manager of the future center. The project is budgeted for something more than two Million euros assumed by the Israeli Community of Malaga.
It is an old initiative, of more than 15 years, stopped by the lack of financing. Problems have And it is estimated that the works could start at the end of 2017. The project execution period is two years, although waiting for the physical container, the objective is to start as soon as possible with activities, Conferences or workshop days. For the president of the Israeli Community of Malaga, Ruben Bentata, would be more than Adequate that the city lead the acts of homage on the occasion of the millennium of the birth of the philosopher and poet Solomon Ibn Gabirol (Malaga, about 1021-Valencia, about 1058).


Macabiah: The Zionist Olympics

maccabiah 2017 logoIn 1912, during the Olympic Games in Stockholm, the adolescent Yosef Yekutieli, of Belarusian origin but emigrated to Palestine, had a vision: Jews needed their own Olympics. For years it called innumerable doors and collided with so many obstacles. In 1921 he created the Macabi International Union, a sports organization that pays homage to Judas Macabeo and his brothers, the national heroes who in the second century BC. C. proclaimed the first independent Jewish kingdom, in whose memory Hanukkah is celebrated every year. Two expeditions of young people on motorcycles toured Europe, from Tel Aviv to Antwerp in 1930 and London in 1931, announcing the celebration of the first Macabiada in 1932. It was 5692 of the Hebrew calendar. It was inaugurated in March and participated athletes of 17 nationalities. Since then, it is a timely appointment: every four years in Israel and every other year in other countries. Swimmer Mark Spitz and NBA coach Larry Brown are some of his old glories. These days, the 20th edition of the Jewish ‘Olympiads’ brings together 10,000 athletes from 80 nations in Jerusalem. Forty sports modalities are disputed in 68 sports complexes by all the country.

Fifty of them are Spanish Jews. “It is the third most important sporting event in the world because of the number of people who move after the Olympics and the Universiade, but in Spain it is still very unknown,” laments Kevin Estiz, president of the organization in our country. Perhaps because the Hebrew community in Spain, about 45,000 people, is relatively small compared to the United States, 5 million, or France, about 500,000. “In other countries the participants receive more support from the state and sports federations,” says Estiz. We hope that, little by little, the Macabiada will become more popular. After all, we represent Spain in an international event. “

Zionist Macabiada

Apart from reaffirming its national identity through sport, it was a reaction to anti-Semitism in the years leading up to World War II.

Veto in Berlin 1936

The fencer Helene Mayer, exiled in the USA by its Jewish origin, competed for the Nazi Germany and, when collecting its silver, greeted to Hitler arm raised. Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, Jews and members of the American relay team, were replaced at the last minute.

Blood in Munich 1972

On September 5, eleven Israeli athletes were killed in the assault on the nine-member Olympic Village of Black September, a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Competitions continued and several Arab countries complained that the flags waved at half-mast. In the memorial for the deceased, the IOC president did not mention the victims, who were not honored until the Rio 2016 Games. London 2012 refused to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the massacre with a minute of silence.

The truth is that since the opening of the games at Teddy Stadium on July 6, with more than 30,000 spectator enthusiasts in the stands, Jerusalem is a party. The city, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of its reunification this year, is a hive of young people who speak different languages ​​but have “one heart”, as the motto of the meeting says. Apart from competing, contestants take advantage of Israel’s main tourist attractions and live with other athletes who share their religion, although they come from the most diverse cultures. “Sport, respect, tolerance and positive values ​​are breathed”, says the representative of the Spanish delegation. And security? “Everything is very careful. You do not realize it, but you know that you are always protected, “adds Estiz.

Ronaldo’s son
Although the essential condition for participating in games is to be a follower of the Torah, each country has its own selection criteria. Brazilian laxity, for example, has allowed the U-18 soccer team to play Ronald, the son of former star Ronaldo Luís Nazario de Lima. The boy and his mother belong to the Hebraica club in Sao Paolo and “have been getting closer to Judaism more and more”, justifies Avi Gelberg, president of Macabi Brazil.

From Champs Elysee to Ben Yehuda

More than 200 French Jews arrived on Monday from Israel on a special flight from Paris, which is the largest number of new olim (those that ascend to Israel) from Europe and anywhere in the world this summer. Among them there are 74 minors. The youngest, who travels with his parents and brothers, is two and a half months old; The eldest, 92 years.from France to Israel

Immigration was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel, who accompanied them since they made the decision to move to the Jewish state a few months ago and until they settle in, learn the language and integrate into programs designed to adapt them to Israeli society. The agency also organized a plan to educate young people about Jewish culture and history and about professional possibilities in Israel, to remove barriers to employment.

In the last five years, the Jewish community in France, the second largest in the world (excluding Israel) after the United States, with nearly half a million people, is the one that has brought to Israel more immigrants: more than 30,000 People have made their aliyah, the ascent to Israel.

“It is characterized as an act of its own choosing. Someone with a passport from France, a G-7 country, can emigrate to almost any country in the world, and the fact that these thousands of people have chosen Israel is very significant for all of us, “the spokesman for The Jewish Agency, Yigal Palmor, an ex-diplomat in Paris and Madrid. “This immigration means that Israel brings a meaning they can not find anywhere else.”

In recent months, 5,200 Jews from Ukraine, 6,000 from Russia and more than 1,000 from Brazil have also arrived, which has tripled the number of Jews of Brazilian origin who immigrated lately to the Jewish state.

“If we are to be afraid of the terrorists, better to have it in the land of our fathers”
In the last 15 years, more than one million French people left the country for economic, political or social reasons. Some of the French Jews also settled in Miami, London, New York, Boston and Montreal, creating communities with colleges, nurseries and synagogues for the French community.

In 2014 for the first time in Israel’s history more than 1% of a Western Jewish community made aliyah in a single year, a success that was repeated in 2015 with the arrival of 7,800 immigrants from France. Since the beginning of the 21st century, more than 10% of the French Jewish community has emigrated to Israel, half in the last five years.

Many settled in two Mediterranean cities, Netanya and Ashdod, but those with more means buy or rent houses in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Ranana and Jerusalem. About 50%, according to the Jewish Agency, are religious; 30%, Jewish traditionalists, and 20% lay.

Yosi Menashe, who runs a French-style hair salon in Neve Tzedek, the first neighborhood built in Tel Aviv beyond the port of Jaffa, explains that the motivation of the French Jews is obviously related to having been in the sights of several Attacks and also with the rise of the extreme right of Marine Le Pen. “If we have to be afraid of the terrorists, the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, then better to have it in the land of our parents,” he says.

Their clientele, French and French arrived in recent years in Tel Aviv, speaks with a mixture of nostalgia for the land in which they were born, but also with some relief to meet with his family in Israel. Neve Tzedek, like certain areas of Ashdod and Netanya, looks like a French quarter: fine dining restaurants, though many kosher; Bakeries in which baguettes are sold; Epiceries and boutiques of French brands. In recent months, French music and film stars such as Johnny Hallyday, Patrick Bruel or Patricia Kaas have filled rooms and parks in Israel.

“Changing countries is always traumatic, but in this case many feel that coming to Israel is like coming home,” said Monique, 26, a medical graduate in Paris who is now studying to validate her title in Israel. “In addition,” he adds, while drying his hair in the hairdresser, “when he gets the nostalgia, Paris is very close to Tel Aviv.”