The unknown life of Jews in Spain before 1492

Hebrew scripts from XVth century found on a account book cover

Who were and how did the Jews who were expelled from Spain live? Little we know, much was lost with the expulsion decreed in 1492 by Kings Católicos. By the end of the fifteenth century all the states of the Iberian peninsula had forbidden Judaism. Nevertheless the trace of Sefarad, the Jewish Spain, still is conserved in archives and libraries.

It is not much, in the Middle Ages the paper was scarce and the parchment was expensive. The majority of documents belonging to Jewish families were recycled with another function. “The Jews kept relevant documentation, but their records, personal and community, disappeared because it did not make sense to keep documents that had lost their value, as happened with the royal privileges or, in the case of conversion, the marriage contracts. All this material was either destroyed or recycled, “explains CSIC researcher Javier Castaño, from the Institute of Languages ​​and Cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

To shed light on the history, life and culture of Hispanic Jews, the CSIC has been charged with seeking, restoring and analyzing hundreds of documents produced prior to the expulsion decrees. The project is called Guinzé Sefarad and focuses on civil documents such as marriage contracts, last wills, letters, tax payrolls, property inventories.

The treasure of the Sephardim who left Spain
Castaño explains that in Germany and Italy many documents have been recovered from medieval Jewish communities. But they are texts of a literary nature, which do not allow us to reconstruct the daily life of Jewish communities. Spanish researchers now try to reconstruct this aspect in a virtual way, with fragments and documents taken from different sources. The ketubbot, the marriage contracts, offer a wealth of information about people’s traits, their family networks and levels of wealth, since, among other details, they give details about the amount of dowries and arras, and contain occasionally a description of movable and immovable property.

Most of the documents available to investigators for the elaboration of a history of the Jews have until now been written by individuals outside the community, primarily Christians. Guinzé Sefarad will allow a vision from within since the documents and fragments recovered have been elaborated by the Jewish community itself.



The musical “The Physician” to be worldwide released in Spain next december

noah gordon-the Physician“The Physician”, the novel by the American Noah Gordon, will be released worldwide in Spain – next December 7 in Seville – in the form of a “symphonic” musical, that is, without stage design, but with 80 musicians and 30 actors in a proposal “blessed” by the best-selling author.

Created by composer Ivan Macías and writer Felix Amador, the project came last year, when the authors and producer Pablo Martínez presented the idea to Michael Gordon, the author’s son and agent, who knew “the quality of work” that it was a “good project”, as he explained today to Efe during the presentation of the show.

“My father is very proud of the reception of this book and has also had a very important relationship with Spain because he has many readers here and he likes them,” explained Gordon, who says that for the writer, 90 years old, he is “a honor “to receive ideas like this musical in concert format inspired by his work.

The creators of the musical, who will arrive in Madrid on December 15 and then go on tour in Spain, had the opportunity to meet with the writer and his son in Boston to make the project known to the author, who despite his age is still involved in the decisions related to his work, and that in a note written in English he praised the composition of the musical.

“Macías has written music from the very essence of the book, his work and that of the vocalists who interpret it will bring to life the characters and the story and take them from the pages to a musical that will leave everyone breathless, says Noah Gordon.

Published in 1986, the book narrates the journey of Rob Cole, a young Londoner with a gift to heal that he must pretend to be a Jew and face several obstacles in order to study medicine from the hand of the great doctor of his time, Avicenna, in Ispahan , the ancient Persia.

“It is the story of a great journey, the evolution of a character and also a love story,” explained producer Pablo Martínez, for whom the musical also speaks of the coexistence of three religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, a phenomenon which has historically been present in Spain.

“Everybody tells us that it is impossible to bring this novel to the musical, but it is possible to tell this wonderful story through music and transmit emotions, as did Noah Gordon with his book,” Macías said.

The producers will tour for a year and then start working on the show as a large format musical, with stage set, which will be directed by Mike Ashcroft, director of Les Miserales movements on Broadway, which will also feature stage designer Derek Lane, honored with Tony Awards for his work on Broadway.

If you would like to get tickets and maybe take some time to do a tour about the Jewish Roots of Spain, please let me know clicking this link.

2018 Giro de Italia will start in Jerusalem

Igiro italiasrael has invested about 12 million Euros in the starting of the next Italian round, whose first three stages will be played in Israel.

The 2018 Giro will begin in Jerusalem.

Guy Sagiv, who is not only Israel’s time trial champion and star in David’s jersey, is also a sergeant in the country’s army, competed last October at the Qatar World Cup, which not only prohibits the entry of every Israeli citizen, also closes its doors to any foreigner who has visited Jerusalem or Tel Aviv in recent years. It was a significant exception in relations in the Middle East; a further demonstration of the power of sport as a political agent; and one of the examples that the director of Sayev in the equipment Israel Cycling Academy, Ran Margaliot, used to convince of the project to the government of his country. «I knew that cycling, sport, unites like nothing else. That is the best way to break many prejudices and that people visit our land, “explains Margaliot to THE WORLD before his dream comes true: the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem is presented on Monday the Giro 2018 with departure and three stages in Israel. From the 4th to the 6th of May, an individual time trial in the city and two flat days between the Negev desert and Tel Aviv will serve to start the 101st Corsa Rosa and, at the same time, to incorporate the country in the race to organize events. Like its hated emirates years ago, Israel has been convinced to open itself to the world through the sport. If this year already hosted the Eurobasket and tried to host Euro 2020, next year with the Giro, with an investment of 12 million, according to local media, will give in to that eagerness. “People know Israel about the news, about Gaza, about the settlements, but we want to show that we live well here and that we can spend some very pleasant days,” proclaims Margaliot, who tried to be the first Israeli to play a great turn – in Saunier or the Saxo Bank of Contador -, and ended up resigning in 2012 to set up his own team and another to fulfill that ambition. If for him, as well as for his Government, it makes sense to be shown in an international way precisely with the Giro is by a man: Gino Bartali. “He’s a national hero,” he says. His role in World War II, transporting fake passports through Italy to save some 800 Jews, earned him the title of Righteous Among Nations by Israel and a corner in the Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial. The Israel Cycling Academy team paid tribute to him in April traveling the 195 kilometers between Florence and Assisi that formed his training route, the presentation will be his family and in the next departure the Giro reserves a tribute. Before that, we will have to overcome two problems: logistics and security. Of the first, they say, “do not worry”. Although it has never done so outside Europe – not even any other big one -, the Giro already has begun 10 times outside Italy and the protocol of the organizer RCS Sport is proven. The race will start on a Friday and on the fourth day, on a Monday, it will return to Italy: three charter planes will displace cyclists and staff; a cargo plane, to bicycles and parts; and two boats, to cars and the rest of the material. Safety is another matter. The Israeli Government has promised “the greatest display of history”, but tension in the area is always present. “Organizing a race here now is no more dangerous than doing it in Brussels, Paris, London or Madrid. We are prepared, “said Margaliot, with his plan ready. If the sport got Guy Sagiv, an Israeli soldier, will stroll through Doha, can improve the image of the country in three stages.



A Spanish beer with Kosher certification

quijota beerIn 2011, when Juan Ezequiel Campos, the ideologue of this project, was left unemployed with the crisis after 17 years in activity, that is when the Quijota project began to be established. It was then that he came up with a craft beer factory in Albacete and although his interest in the matter came from before and he had already created his own beer at home with a 20 liter kit, he now makes between 20,000 and 25,000 liters per year.

Nevertheless, what gave the last push to his company was the first prize that obtained in the I Forum of Entrepreneurs of Albacete in 2012, after which it obtained numerous contacts within the institutions and the entrepreneurs. Thus, after this initial impulse, in April 2014 opened its Quijota craft beer factory on a ship in the Campollano Business Park in the Albacete capital.

Juan Ezequiel Campos explains how beer is made in his factory
Juan Ezequiel Campos explains how beer is made in his factory – Quijota
The novelty of this Albacete brewery is that it is the only one in Spain to produce Kosher-certified beer since 2016. And they will ask themselves, “What is that?” For Juan Ezequiel Campos has the answer: “This recognition means being able to sell agri- Jewish market due to strict control of the entire chain of manufacture led by a rabbi of this religion to corroborate the source of raw materials and cleanliness at all times.

With this certificate, according to the owner of Quijota, they intend to open themselves to the Jewish market and, in fact, are already present in Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga, cities where there is a Jewish community and where there are more specialized shops. In addition, it plans to sell its Kosher products also in supermarkets in England and Argentina, and are in negotiations with Israel, Russia or Belgium.

Quijota’s philosophy is based on a motto: “Science, culture and quality”. With these three words burned, Campos was clear from the beginning that he wanted to make “a beer of a superior quality, worrying less about the quantity, since we make only the liters we can.” Thus, he explains, the beers they produce are handcrafted by their method of processing, integrated by the ingredients used and natural by the packaging system, which follows the brewing tradition of more than 500 years.