European Days of The Jewish Culture in Spain

sephardic days 2018This has been announced by the Network of Spanish Jewish Quarters, which has advanced that this year the activities will revolve around ‘storytelling’, which serves as a tool for the dissemination of the Jewish historical heritage in Europe.

Specifically, in Barcelona will take place on September 2nd will be an open day of the Center MUHBA El Call and the Domus de Sant Honorat; while in Calahorra (La Rioja), on Saturday 8 will be inaugurated the exhibition ‘Shalom! Sepharad ‘and on Sunday 23rd, there will be a guided tour of the Jewish Quarter and the Cathedral, to contemplate its Sephardic documentary heritage; Hebrew and Arabic writing workshops; the concert ‘The Spain of the three cultures’; and a dinner tasting skewers in the Sephardic style.

On the other hand, Cáceres will host a guided visit to the New and Old Jewish quarters of the city on September 2. It will be an open day of various enclaves related to the Jewish heritage (the Island Palace, the Interpretation Center of the Bujaco Tower, the tourist center Baluarte de los Pozos and the Center for the Dissemination of Holy Week), and two exhibitions (‘Encuentro en Sefarad: from light to secret’ and ‘Jewish Quarters in Spain and Portugal’) can be visited at the Palace of the Island and the Baluarte de los Pozos, respectively.

Córdoba celebrates the VI Day in the Sephardic Autumn program, which will take place from September 1 to 23. This new edition will reflect the theme of the Storytelling, the Oral Narrative, and among the more than fifty activities scheduled, highlight the days of open doors on day 2 of the Al-Andalus Alive Museum, the Synagogue, the Archaeological Museum and the House de las Cabezas or the photographic exhibition Armonías de Azul y Ocre: Ritmo Vital and Sephardic Festival, which can be visited from September 1 to 23 and from Monday to Friday at the Rey Heredia Cultural Space.

Also, in Estella (Navarra) throughout the weekend you can visit the exhibition ‘Refranero popular Sephardic’ in the courtyard of the House of Culture Fray Diego de Estella and on Sunday September 2 will take place the guided tour ‘Visiting the aljamas’ .


In Jaen, gastronomy will be one of the protagonists of the Days, which will last between September 1 and 9, with the celebration at the Taberna Pilar del Arrabalejo and the Parador de Jaén of the Sephardic Gastronomic Days.

Also in the capital Jaén, on September 2 there will be a guided tour of the Jewish Jaén; On the 6th at 8:00 pm, the conference ‘Telling stories: legends and traditions of the Judería de Jaén’ will take place at the Mudéjar Hall of the Municipal Palace of Culture, and the same location will host on Friday 7 at 9:00 pm the screening of the documentary ‘The last Sephardi’. On Saturday 8, at 9:00 pm, the Tourdion Chamber Choir will give the concert ‘Sefarad en el corazón’, in the Patio of the Municipal Palace of Culture.

From Friday 31 to Sunday 2, at the Jardines del Cid in the city of León there will be workshops on medieval games, as well as a theatrical tour of the Jewish Quarter, which will depart every day from the Plaza de San Martín. In the Palacio del Conde Luna, the Teatro Abierto will perform the Desiguales work on Friday the 31st at 8:00 pm, and Milo Ke Mandarini will offer a concert on Saturday the 1st at 8:30 pm.

In Lucena (Córdoba), in addition to the exhibition ‘Sayings in ladino’ that can be seen in different locations in the city – Castillo del Moral, Municipal Public Library, Palace of the Counts of Santa Ana and Casa de los Mora – there is activities that will occupy the whole month of September.

In Monforte de Lemos (Lugo), on September 2 there will be guided tours to the Jewish quarter of the town, which will depart at 11.30 and 6.00 pm from the Municipal Tourism Office (in the Rúa Comercio), and a concert of traditional music Iberian and Sephardic by Paco Díez (September 2 at 8 pm at the House of Culture Poeta Lois Pereiro).

In Oviedo (Asturias), the Beit Emunáh Synagogue (Fontán Street, 11), will open its doors on the 2nd to host an exhibition of books and a session of Jewish storytellers (from 12 to 14 hours), in addition to the exhibition of the ” Sephardic sayings “on the balconies of the Casina throughout the weekend.

Tarazona (Zaragoza), meanwhile, will organize a guided tour of its Jewish quarter, which will start at the Tourism Office of the town on Sunday 2 at 10.30.

In Segovia, on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 (1:00 pm) there will be the guided tour ‘Meet the Jewish Quarter’ through the streets of the Jewish quarter, evoking the Jewish legacy of the city through the visit of the Judería Educational Center and of the San Andrés Gate.

In the afternoon, at 5:00 pm, there will be a tour ‘From the synagogue to the cemetery’, an emotional itinerary recalling the daily life of the Segovian Jews. On Sunday, September 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Moises Bentata and Moshe Castel Exhibition at Centro Sefarad Israel in Madrid

moises bentata cartel exposicionI had opportunity yesterday of visiting the opening of the Temporary exhibition of Moises Bentata and Moshe Castel at Centro Sefarad Israel in Madrid. It was not only an honour but a very special feeling to see how a friend of mine has converted into a well named artist.

The opening was attended by the directive staff of Centro Sefarad Israel of Madrid -Esther Bendahan- , many  friends of Moises and some other artists (as Daniel Quintero) who showed their support to this Exhibition.

All my best Wishes to Moises Bentata in his professional challenge of arts.

2018-01-31 20.04.02
Moises Bentata with Daniel Quintero and me during the opening
2018-01-31 19.37.52
A moment of the opening with Moises Bentata, Esther Bendahan -Casa Sefarad Isarel- and Mercedes Bentata -family of Moises-
2018-01-31 20.09.29
This one impacted me!

Jewish Community of Madrid: 2017 Or Januka Award

policiaThe Jewish Community of Madrid has announced that it will award its 2017 Or Januká Award to the State Security Forces and Corps for its defense of democracy and constitutional order and for “their risky work”.

According to a statement, the work of the Security Forces and Corps allows Jewish life in the capital “to develop with total normality and security.”

The Jewish Community of Madrid has also granted the Queen Sofia the Centennial Prize which commemorates a century of the official return of Jewish presence in Madrid since its expulsion in 1492. “This prize is awarded for its dedication to a democratic Spain and for its proximity to Jewish culture, “says the Jewish Community.

Anger of the Jewish Community of Barcelona against the city council

secuestro aereoThe motion approved by the Barcelona City Council condemning the Israeli occupation and colonization policies of the Palestinian territories has angered the Jewish community in the city, which it considers to be anti-Semitism. In addition, the Israeli embassy estimates that the aim is to demonize the country.

The Jewish community is considering giving a response to the municipal initiative, which occurs in a month in which two other situations have occurred that have caused a deep discomfort. The first, to know that in May will be in Barcelona Leila Khaled in Literal festival, in Fabra i Coats, one of whose main sponsors is precisely the Consistory. On August 29, 1969, she was one of two people who hijacked Flight 840 between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, when she stopped at Rome. The aircraft was diverted to Damascus, and after lowering the 116 people aboard, the aircraft flew.

Born in 1944 and a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), on September 6, 1970, she attempted to hijack another flight between Amsterdam and Tel Aviv, but the Israeli security forces shot down her accomplice and arrested her. The apparatus was diverted to London, where it was stopped. After 28 days, she was released in an exchange of prisoners. The following year, the PFLP abandoned the tactic of the hijacking of airplanes. Khaled continues to militate in the organization.

A Palestinian activist who hijacked two planes will participate in a festival sponsored by the Consistory
In addition, the City Council has notified that it will not participate again in the Holocaust Teaching Seminar, which has been developed for five years and is intended for teachers.

The motion was approved a week ago, in the commission of Presidency, Drets of Ciutadania, Participació i Seguretat and Prevenció, and counted with the favorable votes of Barcelona in Comú, PSC, CUP and ERC. Ciutadans and Partido Popular protested against it, and the PDCat abstained, although its representative said in his turn that the resolution had an anti-Semitic bias.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy deplored, in conversation with La Vanguardia, the motion, saying it had nothing to do with defending or supporting the Palestinians, or seeking a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but These are initiatives that pursue “the demonization of Israel”. The spokeswoman added her discomfort because “a democratic institution has been dragged by a free anti-Israeli obsession” in a city that is the third world destination for Jewish tourists.

The Jewish community is irritated because it considers that it is an act of anti-Semitism, and that there are no similar pronouncements by what happens in Turkey or by the acts of the Islamic State. In reality it is not possible to speak of one community, but of four, that have different orientations. The main one is the Israeli Community of Barcelona, ​​which is the largest and precisely in 2017 is one hundred years. Then there are ATID and Ben Shalom, more progressive, and the Center for Jewish Studies Chabad Lubavitch, Orthodox. Although they have differences between them, they agree to give a joint response to the initiatives of the City Council. Some 6,000 Jews reside in Barcelona.

Barcelona: young anti-Semite condemned to visit a synagogue

sinagogabalmes3A judge in Barcelona has sentenced a young man of 22 years to four months in prison, special disqualification for the right of suffrage and about 500 euros fine for having painted a Nazi swastika at the door of a synagogue in the Catalan capital. The sentence nevertheless agrees to suspend the sentence of deprivation of liberty, if the defendant complies with a series of rules of conduct. The first: not to commit crime for two years. And the second, more in the way of education, condemns the young anti-Semite to participate in a human rights course aimed at full respect for equality and non-discrimination of people, especially for anti-Semitic reasons, and to be taught By the Department of Justice of the Generalitat. These courses should include visits to the synagogue, to know the reality of the Jewish people and “break prejudices and anti-Semitic stereotypes,” according to the ruling issued by the TSJC.

The events occurred on December 28, 2016. The young man who has been convicted acted with a woman “unidentified” according to the sentence, “moved by their animosity and willingness to humiliate the Jewish people.” They approached a synagogue in Barcelona and with a spray, while the young man carried out surveillance work, the woman drew a swastika at the door of the temple and sprinkled with red the mezuza, the small receptacle located on the right side of the entrances of all House that professes the Jewish religion. The young man has been convicted of an offense committed on the occasion of the exercise of fundamental rights in his way of injuring the dignity of people for anti-Semitic reasons.

The Israeli consul recalls the struggle of the Jews in Catalonia for freedom

The Fossar de la Pedrera has become the scene this morning of an act of remembrance of the struggle of the Jews in Catalonia for freedom. The ceremony has been convened by four entities: the Jewish Community Atid, Chabad Lubavitch, the Progressive Jewish Community Bet Shalom and the Israeli Community. The act was carried out just in front of the monument at the entrance of the cemetery which consists of ten stones; One for each Nazi concentration camp.

The Israeli consul in Barcelona, ​​José Antonio Sánchez Molina, was in charge of pronouncing the speech of the memorial. He recalled that today’s meeting was a reminder of “the struggle for freedom and the right to be different,” and against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. “In this trench lies 4,000 people persecuted by the dictatorship, and also the bodies of 7,000 Jews who came to Barcelona to fight for their freedom and for the Republic,” said Sánchez Molina.

The consul explained that the survivors of the Shoah (the Hebrew term for the Nazi Holocaust) were among the founders of the State of Israel, “a state of law where very different religions coexist and where all kinds of orientations are respected, From Jews to Muslims to Christians. Sánchez Molina recalled that Tel Aviv is the only gay friendly city in the Middle East, and that Israel is a consolidated democracy. The event has been supported by ACAI and Israel in Catalonia.

The act has served to recall the Holocaust and the six million murders, among which 1 million and a half were children. He has also used to explain the large number of concentration camps during the genocide, not only those of Jews, also those who imprison people for being homosexual or disabled. He ended up assuring that they will never stop denouncing this cause with the best weapon of all: the word. In a veiled allusion to the motion approved by the Barcelona City Council endorsing the boycott in Israel, the consul has indicated that “today we find a resurgence of anti-Semitism, but it has new forms, it is polyhedral.” “Now it’s anti-Zionism, a boycott of Israel, but do not deceive yourself, it’s anti-Semitism, it’s the same thing, they’ll find us with the weapons of speech, negotiation and dialogue to deal with this offensive,” he added. The consul has asked that it not become “the victims in executioners, and the executioners in victims”.

The most universal jew from Girona(Spain): Bonastruc

BonastrucJournalist and writer Miquel Fañanàs, 68, finds it hard to keep track of the books he has published. The last, ‘Bonastruc, el jueu’, recently published by the publishing house Columna, is the 21st and completes a trilogy of historical novel, together with ‘The Stone Witch’ and ‘The Great Inquisitor’, published in 2012 and 2015 respectively .

-“Did you have a trilogy in your mind?” Honestly no. It all starts with the success of ‘The Stone Witch’, with which I won the novel award Néstor Luján. Then I was asked for another novel and I thought about developing one of the referenced characters, the Inquisitor Nicholas Emeric. And when the publishers told me I could do a third book, to compensate for a figure as evil as the inquisitor, I chose the good Bonastruc.

– “The three have in common the beliefs, the religions, the heresy” … Yes, and all three are related to the city of Girona. The stone witch, for example, refers to a gargoyle with a female form that is in the cathedral of Girona, something quite strange and unique in the world. For his part, Nicolau Emeric, the Catholic theologian and inquisitor general of Corona d’Aragó, protagonist of ‘The Great Inquisitor’, was born and studied in Girona, although he also made his own in Barcelona. Bonastruc Ça Porta, which comes out in some way in the two previous novels, is the most universal of Girona’s Jews.

-“Why Bonastruc?” Bonastruc, born Moixé Ben Nahman and known as Nahmànides, was a very important character in the thirteenth century, and I think it is worth reclaiming his figure. He was a great Kabbalist, interpreted sacred texts, and left numerous sermons and poems. His legacy, his philosophical thought, is very important, comparable to that of figures like Ramon Llull, whom we know much better.

-“They meet each other in your book.” It is not documented that they were known, but they coincided in time and everything points that could have been seen.

-As the previous two, ‘Bonastruc the Jueu’ is a novelada biography. Yes, it is not a history book. I use historical elements and real figures to create a novel. It has action, love, suspense, hatred, revenge … And a surprising ending.

-This type of novels, with a historical background, have had a lot of pull for a few years. People have long seemed interested in history, or the one that touches us more closely, with events such as the Spanish Civil War, or More distant, like the medieval period. It’s funny, but maybe it’s to counteract so much technology …

– I understand that behind a novel like ‘Bonastruc, the jueu’ there is a great work of previous investigation. Yes, I documented myself in the library of the Center Bonastruc Ça Porta de Girona and with the invaluable help of its director. There I found, among other things, a booklet published in 1985 very interesting about the figure of Bonastruc and I was able to acquire Jewish terminology.

-“How long has it taken you to write this novel?” A whole year. It’s the second book I write as a retiree, the second I write full-time. Well, actually, in the evenings. Four hours each day.

-“And you’re preparing the next one, am I right?” Well, I have not started, but I plan to recover my first book, ‘Susqueda’, published in 1983. It will be the same story but with more characters, with more action. This was a novel, and my idea is to update and expand it.

-Why? This book deals with the collapse of the dam Susqueda, a great infrastructure launched by Franco in 1968, and the panic that caused the water to come down among the residents. The new version will come out next year coinciding with its 50th anniversary.

– What can advance us? Somehow I would like to include in this novel an anecdote that happened during the promotion of the book, in 1983. We happened to read some fragments in a transmitter of Girona, a little theatrical, with sound effects, and the people believed it. As in ‘War of the Worlds’ by Orson Welles. Police came to the studio to stop the broadcast because more than 3,000 people had mobilized, totally terrified.

Pastrami: The Jewish recipe that revolutionizes Barcelona

pastrami-sandwichIn a loft of the Factory Lehman of Barcelona, the fifth barrel of the boys of Rooftop Smokehouse breeds dust. Already installed in this old industrial complex, the barrels where the oak wood used to burn with duck, octopus or beef pieces were only material for the memory. From when they started, back in 2014, to try smoking on the roof of their apartment in the Sant Antoni neighborhood. Now these barrels have been replaced by more modern furnaces and the fireplace of 1850 of the Factory Lehman, restored, has become the new outlet of fumes. No longer should you look for Rooftop Smokehouse products in pop ups or ephemeral events. They sell on line and have opened their own local, Pastrami Bar / El Paradiso, where cocktails are combined with snacks from their star product: pastrami.

The best-selling Jewish kitchen is an expensive and slow-working product, warns Carla Rodamilans, a member of Rooftop Smokehouse along with two chefs from Hoffman School, Buster Turner and Jakob Zeller. To make pastrami you have to count, first of all, with a calf’s breast of good quality. He is left for three weeks in brine, smoked for 16 hours and finally dried for two days. “If it is not smoked it is not pastrami,” Rodamilans points out, which marks the differences with corned beef, similar to pastrami but instead of being smoked, is boiled in vinegar. It is a craft process that is difficult to accelerate without distorting the product. They sell it through their website in a box with the kit to make the canon sandwich: in addition to pastrami, pickles or pickles, beer mustard and sauerkraut or fermented cabbage. It costs 24 euros and only lacks the rye bread. Kosher food, it is considered a heresy to eat pastrami with bread smeared smeared with mayonnaise: there is nothing that would betray more to a WASP (in the United States, of Protestant and Anglo-Saxon origin). For something in Hannah and his Sisters, the character of Woody Allen was enough to stock these two ingredients, along with a Bible and a crucifix, to complete his conversion to Catholicism.

Although the origins of the pastrami are settled between the Jews of Eastern Europe and those who emigrated to the USA, lately abounds in Barcelona: a search on TripAdvisor gives up to 56 results. Many locals have turned it into a claim of their menu, such as the Elsa and Fred gastrobar, which accompanies it with candied onions, arugula and mustard; The Bar Rufian, who opts for the glass, the Tropico, which serves with eggs benedict, or the restaurant of the concept store Iluzione, which is played with a focaccia of pastrami. It is even available in some supermarket chains. “We run the risk of vulgarizing a good product,” warns Mario Ponce, Pastrami Barcelona. Shortly after opening the Hungarian delicatessen Paprika Gourmet, its promoters, Daniel Moreno and Veronika Fazekas, began to provide pastrami to establishments and individuals of all Spain under this brand. “In the first year of Pastrami Barcelona we had about 15 restaurants as clients, now we are going for 50 and we have arrived in Madrid, Valencia, Murcia, Basque Country and even Almeria,” says Ponce. Pastrami Barcelona buys the product an Austrian manufacturer. And they also have their own bar, Cal Marius 449, where a portion of snacks serve croquettes and pastrami pumps.

According to Ponce, the pastrami boom is due to the “nobility” of the product itself: it is difficult for someone to taste it and does not like it, he argues, and has a genuine flavor that has nothing to do with veal, like Iberian ham does not taste like pork. Hollywood has done the rest, beginning with Meg Ryan’s feigned orgasm in When Harry Met Sally, he took a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s in New York to everyone on the town. As if the legion of films were not enough to promote the product, Pastrami Barcelona is very active in the networks, with hashtags like #pastramilovers or #pastramibcn.