Red de Juderías (Spanish Netwrod of Jewish Quarters) was promoted participating on October 4th, in the “Jornada de la Cultura Sephardi” that was held at the Cervantes Institute in Tokyo, with the attendance of more than two hundred people.
The Jornada de la Cultura Sephardic is an initiative of the Network of Spanish Jewish Quarters in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute for the joint promotion of the Jewish heritage of Spain, and has been held previously in Berlin and New York.
In Tokyo, the main event was the inauguration of the Discover Sepharad photographic exhibition, a show featuring 20 images that capture the soul of the Jewish quarters of the cities that make up the Network, accompanied by a small text that highlights the Jewish essence of each of them. The exhibition can be visited until next October 18.
The Sephardic culture was also present in the concert of Valladolid musician Paco Díez, with his Kantes al Shabbat, popular festivals and popular Sephardic gastronomy, all flavored with very Spanish and Balkan sounds. Díez made enjoy with his extensive recital and his experience collected in the 17 albums he has recorded and more than two thousand five hundred concerts he has made throughout his career.
Those attending the conference were also able to enjoy a tasting of Sephardic sweets accompanied by kosher wine and a corner of Sephardic literature with several books published in Judeo-Spanish, among which were classics such as El Princhipiko or Un Marido entre Dos Muzeres.
Marta Puig, Manager of the Network of Jewish Quarters in Spain, highlighted the importance of knowing the Sephardic culture, which in turn represents an important part of the history of Spain. “We must do everything possible to not let the ladino, or the Sephardic literary creation, that were cultivated for long centuries in Spain, be lost so that future generations can appreciate them,” said Marta Puig.
I 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.
D.Guillermo Martínez, Ceuta Senator, accompanied me during the act
On Monday, January 29, an act in memory of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust took place in the Senate of Madrid. The Act was chaired by D.Pío García Escudero, President of the Senate, and some of the speakers were, in addition to Mr.Escudero himself, the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, the Chief Rabbi of Spain -Rab Moshe Bendahan-, The Minister of Justice of the Spanish Government, Mr. Rafael Catalá, the Director of the Institute of Gypsy Culture and the President of the Amical Association Mathausen.
Six candles were lit on the spot by representatives of the different collectives.
The act was emotional and very solemn.
The 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.
This time the expo is enriched with a panel dedicated to football in Melilla and the inaugural event will feature the intervention of former footballer Antonio Potous.
While the city of Tetuán was part of the Spanish protectorate of Morocco (from 1912 to 1956), Atletico Tetuán became a member of the Primera División of Spanish football, specifically in the 1951-52 season. Atlético Tetuan, who also had a basketball section, played for six years in the second Spanish Division and five more in the Third. Today, in Tetuan there is still a great passion for Spanish football and a very strong sentimental nexus with Atletico Madrid. Atlético Tetuán was, in the image of the Maghreb city, an example of coexistence between cultures. Muslims, Jews, Christians, shared the fervor for their colors. In order to narrate its history and recreate the spirit of Tetuán and his team, Asociación Los 50 has created a pleasant exhibition that is composed of illustrations, texts, and period objects. International players, shield, colors, stadium, historical milestones, anecdotes, can be seen in an initiative in which also collaborate Government of the Autonomous City of Melilla and Center Sefarad-Israel. After passing through Madrid and Tel Aviv, “Tetuan striped” returns to North Africa. This time the expo is enriched with a panel dedicated to football in Melilla and the inaugural event will feature the intervention of former footballer Antonio Potous: born in Tetuán, he played in the Rayo Vallecano loaned by Atletico Madrid, and was a precursor The best handball team in Melilla as well as other sports. Club Marítimo de Melilla April 7 through April 30, 2017 (Inauguration: April 7 at 8 pm).
A 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 emotional act was celebrated before the Holocaust Memorial, which was erected 10 years ago by the architect Alberto Stisin and the author of the work Samuel Nahon, representing the will to defend freedom and human rights.
The installation of the laurel wreath by the Deputy Mayor of Madrid, Marta Higueras, Daniel Kutner, Israeli Ambassador and Eva Benatar, a relative of the survivor of the Shoah, began the ceremony accompanied by the choir singing of the CJM.
Then the children of the Talmud Torah (Jewish school) have read in Spanish and Hebrew the poem ‘Every man has a name’, which appeals to the honor of the dignity of the Jewish people in the Holocaust and has continued to read testimonies Of Jews who lived the years of repression.
In the presence of councilors, government delegates, presidents of Jewish organizations, Holocaust survivors and members of the Jewish Community of Madrid, Raphael Benatar, Secretary and Spokesperson of the Jewish Community, stated that “Nazism was the closest thing to Nightmare that we can try to imagine as hell on earth, so, despite the passage of time we have an obligation to remember never to forget.
He also stressed that “the Jewish community will continue to stand firm against anti-Semitism, but faithful to the values that our heroes, the survivors have left us: love, unity, work, study, memory and above all a bit of resentment and vengeance” .
Isaac Revaah, a survivor of the Holocaust, and saved by the hero Sebastián Romero Radigales, Spanish Consul in Athens, was present at the event, excited to remember the hundreds of millions who lost their lives 74 years ago.
After the reading of the prayer Malé Rajamim (Lord Merciful) on the part of the Great Rabbi of Spain Moshe Bendahan, and after keeping a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the tragedy, the act finished with the intervention of young people of the Center Ibn Gabirol and the interpretation of the theme “Elí Elí” by the choir.
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”.
When, after visiting Toledo, Cordoba or Girona, Jewish tourists arrive into Madrid, they often ask the locals where the Jewish quarter of the city was. Some respond with silence or an embarrassed “I do not know”. Others answer that in Lavapiés, the most widespread belief, but false. And is that, after centuries buried and unknown, the Jewish footprint in Madrid remains covered with a mantle of legend and mystery that historians, archaeologists and documentalists try to dismantle in recent years to a stroke of rigor.
“The reality is that even today, little is known about the Jewish past in Madrid,” says Enrique Cantera, a professor of Medieval History at UNED who specializes in medieval Judaism. What can be taken for granted? There is evidence of Jewish presence in the city at least since it was taken by the Christians in 1085. Alfonso VI had conquered just before the Muslim Toledo and from there they moved to Madrid Christians and Jews. That is why the majority of Jews from Madrid had origin in Toledo.
When they arrived, they installed themselves next to the Arab wall, in a small and poor suburb on which now rises – to the disgrace of the archaeologists – the Cathedral of the Almudena. It dictates the logic because the rest of Jewish of Castile were located physically near the royalty and, next to, was the famous Alcazar, burned down in 1734 in the space that now occupies the Royal Palace.
But, a few meters away, where the new Museum of Royal Collections stands today, the archaeologist who runs the excavations, Esther Andreu, has found three tracks of Hebrew presence. The first is a fragment of pottery with the drawing of a menorah, the Jewish seven-branched candlestick. The second, a jamb of a door, typical of Jewish homes, which serves to adhere a box with the mezuzah, a parchment with verses from the Torah. Andreu also discovered a system of closing of the houses that allowed to turn the zone into a watertight compartment and that already existed in Toledo in the zone of the sheds. “There is a medieval document that speaks of the ‘Castle of the Jews.’ We must understand that it was not a castle proper, but a place protected from the rest of the population,” Andreu says. What there are not are documents “with a description of the Jewry or the location of the synagogue”, says the director of the Archive of the Villa of Madrid, Maria del Carmen Cayetano.
The archaeologist Esther Andreu, before the Cathedral of the Almudena.
The archaeologist Esther Andreu, before the Cathedral of the Almudena. ÁLVARO GARCÍA
Were there Jews before, in the Muslim Magerit? “Without a doubt,” Rafael Gili, a professor at the Center for Documentation for the History of Madrid at the Autonomous University, was recently responding to a lecture on the Hebrew past of medieval Madrid. It seems to prove two documents from before the Christian conquest: a letter in which Simeon Ibn Saul announces to his brother the death of two Jewish friends and a missive sent from Syria to Egypt in which he asks for some known Jew in the city .
The Jews were mainly engaged in trade, finance and crafts. Its stores were located in Christian area. Very few did it to the agricultural activities (generally in the hands of Mudejar), although “some had own vineyards in the suburbs to be able to make kosher wine”, that must be elaborated by Jewish hands, explains Cantera. “There was even a trapper, but also a kind of Jewish elite, who was involved in lending and collecting taxes,” says Tomás Dilal, a doctor in Medieval History for UNED and a reference in the study of the city’s Hebrew past. They did not reach the rank of “neighbors” of the city and depended directly on the King, who protected them.
Baptized or die
All this collapsed in 1391, the year of the anti-Jewish pogrom started in Seville that left slaughters, looting and forced conversions of Jews and arrived in Madrid from the hands of enraged Toledo. They entered the Jewish quarter through the now-defunct Puerta de Valnadú, which the authorities had left open that night, and forced them to choose between being baptized or dying. There are no figures of victims or conversions, but ten years later the nuns of the convent that was erected in the Plaza de Santo Domingo (demolished at the end of the 19th century) complained to the monarch that they could not charge 3,000 maravedis of aljama Called the Jewry their own inhabitants) because the members who were still alive would have been baptized.
It was not quite like this. The Jewish community remained active in the fifteenth century. It dispersed to other places, such as Puerta Cerrada or Puerta del Sol, until in 1481 Jews and Mudejar people were forced to confine themselves in their own neighborhoods. It is estimated that there would then be more than 200 Jews in the city. Ten years later, the Catholic Kings forced them to convert to Catholicism or to leave. Some fled to Portugal, others were baptized, and not a few embraced the Christian faith in public while privately professing their true self. It was the end of the Jewish quarter. That is where the legend of Lavapiés appears. The neighborhood never hosted a Jewry because it was not built before the expulsion of the Jews. Nor is it true that the name of Lavapiés alludes to the ablutions made by the Jews before entering the synagogue in the fountain that occupied the place until the nineteenth century, especially since it is not the Jews, but the Muslims, who make a wash Ritual before entering your place of prayer. The historian Puñal believes that the extended and erroneous attribution of the Jewry to Lavapies comes from the romantic literature of century XIX, that looked for mythical origins to some districts, and the fact that enough of its inhabitants probably descended from converted Jews, as show some Trade union names.