After 600 years, there is again a Jewish Cemetery in Valencia (Spain)


VALENCIA. The witer José Hinojosa Montalvo tells in his article ‘The Jews of the Kingdom of Valencia during the fifteenth century’. It was May 26, 1394. By royal privilege of John I, the Hunter, was authorized the creation of a new cemetery to the Jewish aljama of Valencia. It was like compensation, recognition. Three years earlier the city’s Hebrew quarter had suffered the revolts and assault of the angry mobs.
“After the assault of 1391 the old enclosure was abandoned and a new one was found,” Hinojosa writes. “In the middle of 1393 the Jews were authorized by John I to transfer the bones of their ancestors to the new enclosure, and the 26 of May of 1394 the king authorized the creation of the same one”. The new cemetery hardly lasted a century. On its lot was built in 1491 the convent of Santa Catalina of Siena. The following year, the Jews were expelled from Spain, by order of the Catholic Kings.
The convent had better fortune, but did not reach the five centuries. Nothing is eternal. It was demolished in the late sixties to build there the first of the department stores of El Corte Inglés in Valencia, that of Pintor Sorolla. One God, Yahweh, was replaced by another, the God of Christians. And in the last quarter of the twentieth century, this was replaced by the divinity who can: money.
This Thursday, in the mayoralty of Valencia closed this story that covers six centuries. And it was done with a simple signature on paper, on a glass table. The mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, signed in a joint act, the agreements for the provision of religious assistance in the General Cemetery to the Catholic, Muslim and Israeli communities. The three agreements have a duration of four years.
Historical date for the Hebrews
Isaac Sananes, president of the Israelite Community of Valencia, recalled that, unlike Catholics and Muslims, in that it was a renewal of an agreement, “for the Jews of Valencia this is a historical date because 600 years ago We had a graveyard, “he said.
“This is the first time we have been able to sign an agreement that has been brewing for many years. Today’s signature will be a milestone that we will all remember, and we want to thank your support to the City Council’s managers to achieve this. For us this is the second cemetery. The former was from the fourteenth century and this is the twenty-first century. We had been waiting for a few centuries, so thank you very much, “he said.
The object, in the case of the Muslim and Israeli communities, is to provide them with burial units specific to the practices of each of these confessions, while in the case of the Catholic Church, religious assistance is specified in the chapel of the Cemetery General.
But the General Cemetery of Valencia will not only be closed to the people of the Book, and will also give space to other religious denominations by means of a symbolism of “neutral character” so that “each confession can place its own symbols” and “all can be developed with total Freedom and the same rights “.
Freedom for all beliefs
In an event witnessed also by the Councilor for the Environment, Pilar Soriano, and the regional secretary of inclusion, Alberto Ibáñez, Ribó took advantage of the launching of a proclamation for tolerance. “Valencia is increasingly a city that welcomes all people assuming their religious beliefs, and that is why we want all religious beliefs to develop with total freedom and all people can have the same rights regardless of their religion or not religion” , He said.
The agreement was signed by Ribó with Vicent Fontestad, Vicar General of the Archbishopric of Valencia; Abdul Rahim Yaghmour, president of the Islamic Community of Valencia, and Isaac Sananes, president of the Israeli Community of Valencia, and serves, as they pointed out from the City Hall, “to guarantee the rights of people and the plurality of all the major religions represented in Valencia”.
“Today,” said Ribó, “it is a beautiful day in which we take one more step to make Valencia a welcoming city for all people with all their beliefs and their cultures, and for anyone living in Valencia to enjoy all rights”.

Seville: Legend of Pepper(La leyenda de la Pimienta)

       Por Antonio Bejarano Dominguez Antoniocamel @antoniocamel

Located in the emblematic Barrio de Santa Cruz, this Seville street, besides being known by its peculiar name, is also known for the different legends that hide behind its narrowness. It is one of the fundamental streets of medieval and Sephardic Seville. The Barrio de Santa Cruz is a protagonist of our Jewish history, and famous for the narrowness of its streets, mostly pedestrian streets.

Pimienta Street is located in the heart of this Sevillian neighborhood, one of the most emblematic of the capital of Andalusia. This historic Seville street is located between two fronts of houses and has a rather short route, following the usual stela of one day was the center of the Jewish quarter of Seville in the fourteenth century.
This street has become a transcendental part of the different tourist and cultural routes that take place by the Seville capital. This is the main reason why this street, which has been a residential area, has spent years to house shops as small souvenir shops and even hostels, taking advantage of its strategic and privileged place of the city. As for its curious name, it must be said that there are different legends.

The main one speaks of that in this street lived a rich and important merchant of the Jewish community sevillana that assured that Yavéh, when they arrived times of famine, never resorted to the tree of the pepper. Because in his yard miraculously grew a copy of this plant, the famous merchant decided to give the name pepper to the street, as a form of respect to Yahweh.
Although it is not the only history that is told about the origin of the name of the street Pepper. And there is another version that says that a wealthy Jewish merchant established a small spice shop there, a business that soon after opening began to decline. The owner, from that moment, began to complain of his misery and to blame it on God. One of the times he spoke ill of Yahweh in the face of his bad luck, a Christian echoed his words and made him think, because he said that God had only given good things and was blaspheming. At that moment, the Jewish merchant repented for his harsh words to God and began to weep. From every tear he spilled pepper plants sprang up, hence the name of this central Seville street.

But not only is Pimienta important because of its legends and its privileged situation, it is also important for the Jewish remains that it preserves, because despite the years that have passed and the changes that have taken place in this street, they are still preserved in perfect state. An example are the tiles that are still intact from the very distant time when the Barrio de Santa Cruz was part of the Jewish quarter of Seville … Do you accompany us to discover the secrets of the Jewish Quarter of Seville?

“Casa de Sefarad” in Cordoba: Oasis in the desert

casa-de-sefarad-cordobaSebastián de la Obra is the director of the Casa de Sefarad, a private cultural and museum center created in Cordoba in 2006. De la Obra emphasizes that “it is a cultural and non-religious center that has nothing to do with religion , But with memory.
– What does the House of Sepharad intend?
– It is a private cultural center and museum, independent and free, without a single public resource.
– What is it about?
– It is an exercise in recovering the memory of the Hispanic Jews, known as Sephardic.
– Why do you think you should visit it?
-For the same as the Fernandine churches, Medina Azahara, the Mosque, the Axerquía or the Judería, because it is part of the heritage of Cordoba.
– What difficulties does the Spanish Jewish tradition have?
– Especially that is very difficult to identify. Faced with the huge, rich and beautiful Hispanic Christian heritage and the huge, fantastic and spectacular Hispanic Muslim heritage, that of the Jewish tradition is neither seen nor touched. There are no great monuments, there is no Alhambra, a Medina Azahara or a Cathedral of Burgos. That difficulty is a challenge. We like the challenges and what we do is develop a work, on the one hand research and, on the other, didactic, to make known what is not seen with the naked eye.
-When these dates arrive it celebrates a concrete activity related to the Holocaust. What have you prepared this year?
-The exhibition is entitled The Biblioclastia: the destruction of books. The origin comes from a very beautiful and alert phrase of the German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who in 1817 sees young people who carry books to a castle and throw them on the ground and burn them. He left a sentence that said, “This is just the prelude. Where books are burned they will end up burning people. ” That phrase is the statement of our exposition, where we show, through texts, plates, silk banners, books, documents and manuscripts the history of the destruction of books. Where books and libraries are burned they end up burning people. We talk about the characters who burn books, but also those who save books.
– Why this love to the culture?
– The pursuit of diversity and difference is a common note in the history of mankind. The Jewish tradition, of the various Judaisms in the world, the Spanish Jewish Sephardic or the Ashkenazi of central Europe, there has always been a great love for what the cultural element means. It is a people literate for many centuries by nomadism. The fact of being always in a position to flee makes the effort that is made cultural so that you can move anywhere on the planet.
– Do you think the paper will disappear to communicate?
– Never. Mankind has written about silk, bamboo sheets, clay, cloth, papyrus, parchment and paper. Now we have a digital culture but the paper is not going to disappear. Moreover, there is a kind of historical loop in which the scent of paper from a specific journal or book becomes an appreciated object again. What is causing the disappearance is the culture of reading. There are less and fewer people who read, but those who do are much more.
– How do you see Cordoba?
It’s an eminently cultural city. Another thing is that we are educated, which is different. We have a spectacular architectural heritage. A unique baroque in Andalusia. We have an intangible trace of the Jewish tradition that is there. This city is culture. We must believe it.

Madrid will participate for first time in the TEL AVIV IMTM

tel_aviv_imtm_2017IMTM 2017, the 23rd annual international tourism exhibition, Tel Aviv, February 7-8, 2017. IMTM is the official and only professional exhibition for the tourism trade market in Israel. The meeting place and trendsetter for the global and local tourist industry.

Every aspect of Israel’s tourism and travel market

IMTM features exhibitors representing just about every aspect of Israel’s tourism market – incoming tourism, domestic tourism and outgoing tourism, alongside a significant number of exhibitors from overseas. The fair is highlighted by professional workshops, seminars and press conferences. IMTM is also attended by groups of agents from abroad with the framework of tours to Israel organized by the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

Segovia to be promoted as a top tourist destination in 2017

A top tourist destination is the city of Segovia, a really interesting place. From the tourist
segovia-turismo-600x330point of view, it is a really fascinating city and has a really positive 2017 year ahead to be able to continue to attract more tourists in the coming months.

Segovia will bet on promoting train travel from Madrid and promote itself as a cultural destination The Councilor for Historic Heritage and Tourism and vice-president of the Municipal Tourism Company of Segovia, presented in Fitur its cultural offer to attract new visitors, both Spanish and markets foreign. One of the objectives is to promote tourism through train travel, which is a very interesting means of transport that allows potential visitors to reach segovia lands.

Attractions in Segovia

The agreement to improve the use of the train will allow the commercialization of an Avant Madrid-Segovia again to be able to improve the presence of visitors in this city. Antonio Machado will be the name of the train that will make this journey between both cities. It will be offered in the summer months, specifically from July 1 to September 30 next summer.

Segovia also wants to improve the presence of visitors by offering different activities and events such as Titirimundi, Hay Festival, Half Marathon, among other proposals that will be enjoyable throughout the year 2017. This will encourage the entry of tourists from other points Of Spain so that they take advantage of the routes by train and enjoy in couple or in family of the events of leisure and culture.

It is also a city where cultural attractions are evident. Taking tours through its emblematic Jewish Quarter is always very satisfying for all tourists. Discovering great buildings such as the Segovian Cathedral, the Aqueduct or the Old Synagogue are often highly recommended options to make a visit quite complete on holidays throughout the year.

The Jewish community of Madrid plans to open a museum in the capital in 2020


The Jewish community of Madrid plans to open a museum in the capital in 2020 “with large dimensions” with the support of the former president of the Community Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón to collect the history and culture of this town and “serve as antidote to hate for Future generations “.

This has been announced by the president of the Jewish community of Madrid, David Hatchwell, at the event held at the Madrid Assembly in memory of the Jewish Holocaust, on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. “The Jewish community has a role, which is to make itself known and normalize Jewish in Madrid and Spain,” he said in his speech.

To achieve this goal, they are promoting the construction of a “large-scale” Jewish museum in the capital with the support of the former president of the Community of Madrid and president of the Hispanic-Jewish Foundation, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, present at the celebration.

The idea is that the museum can be open to the public by 2020 and “serve as an antidote to hatred for future generations” by celebrating “not only Judaism, but diversity and human rights.” In statements, Hatchwell has commented that it is not yet decided the specific place in which they will begin the construction of this museum, since they are seeing “different locations”.

What is clear is its dimension (about 3,000 square meters) and its contents, with collections that include “the history of the Jewish people and its values”, as well as an artistic section, another Sephardic section and another that has to do with tolerance And human rights.

He has highlighted the collaboration in this project of Gallardón, which he has described as a “committed and hardworking” person. “We are very lucky to have him,” he added.

During his speech at the event, Hatchwell expressed the desire of the Jewish community in Madrid to have “some kind of monument” that reminds the Spanish republicans “that they were taken to the labor camps, which were actually fields of death”.

Would you sit with a Jew in class?

High school students from Mata Jove and Father Feijoo Schools(Spain) face a debate on cultural diversity in classrooms during a conference against racism

“Does cultural diversity enrich the Spanish educational system?” Forty-three young first-year high school students from the IES Mata Jove and Padre Feijoo face each other in order to answer this unknown question that the “I League of School Debate” proposes to them, which is part of the XII Conference against Racism and xenophobia driven from the City Hall.

The event, which has the support of the “Habla Gijón Association”, was held in the premises of the IES Padre Feijoo with an atmosphere of the most professional. A jury composed of teachers from both centers, a chronometer projected on the waxed so that none of the speakers overstepped their time and an audience that commented with the next to the answers and proposals of his colleagues on the stand to make them more nervous . It all started with the draw of the positions they should play. The “H2O Venado” group – which played at home – was called to advocate yes, that is, in favor of the hypothesis that cultural diversity enriches the Spanish educational system.

By discarding, the representation of IES Mata Jove, the group “Natural thought”, was seen and wanted to argue against. Natalia Chacón López, Sergio Fernández Blanco and Noel Martín Pita had to throw the rest to defend something in what they did not believe. When they knew the position they had to take during the debate they fell silent and their countenance became serious. How to defend that in the classrooms would be separated by race and religion to the students? More even with colleagues present from other races. The reasoning put on the table by Noel Martín was based on that if the coexistence generates problems, the best thing to avoid them would be to prevent in a same classroom the presence of immigrants with autochthonous.

In front were the prompt response of Aroa Resch Cárcaba, “Regardless of religion or race, we are all different,” he warned, warning that individual classes would be unfeasible. “We have asked our fellow foreigners if they feel uncomfortable and everyone agrees that they feel integrated,” Resch said. Nevertheless he put on the table other data, newspaper articles, which allowed him to defend that 46% of young Spaniards are not willing to share desk or duties with Latinos or Jews. “How is it possible that the two data that it contributes are true,” replied Noel Martín. Both groups entered fully, with energy and passion, in the dynamics of the debate.

This initiative, which seeks to have students from the 1st year of Bachillerato (between 16 and 17 years) learn to argue and debate in a fluid and agile way on a specific subject, began last quarter with a training given to students on speech and communication. Now, already instructed, there is another practical phase composed of twelve debates that will determine, as a “league”, which are the two teams better prepared and trained for the debate of the eight participating in both centers. After an “all against all”, this first edition will culminate with a final between the two teams that score the highest and that will be held on March 31 in the auditorium of the Integrated Municipal Center Ateneo de La Calzada.

Zamora(Spain) already sounds in Israel

The Sephardic Community of Jerusalem grants the medal of the Four Synagogues to the province for the recovery of the Hebrew legacy in the last five years

Zamora already sounds in Israel. The effort made in the last five years by the new Campantón Center, the involvement of the citizens and their interest in the Sephardic question, the participation of the institutions, the collaboration of several companies and the “loudspeaker” served by the media Have earned the province the award of the medal of the Four Synagogues of Israel, the recognition that the Sephardic Community of Jerusalem has decided to grant the province as a whole. The award will be presented on July 3 in the context of the fifth congress on Jewish heritage by the organization’s president, Abraham Haim.

Medal Award Keys
The province has to feel doubly honored by this tribute, for the Sephardic Community of Jerusalem – the oldest Jewish institution in the city – has been 750 years since its birth. Hence, the recognition goes back and forth: Zamorans know better today what the repercussion of Hebrew society was in the Middle Ages and, at the same time, in Israel we are already talking about the congresses, the research work being done And the participation of renowned historians from both Israel and the United States.

The council of the Jewish organization has taken note of the creation of the Campantón Center – which is currently pursuing the creation of a Jewish museum in the city – as well as the role of the Diputación and the City Council, who have supported these meetings of a scientific and informative nature . Likewise, Abraham Haim also wanted to highlight the role of the media in the province “led by THE OPINION-THE CAMPAIGN OF ZAMORA for its dissemination through news, reports and interviews before, during and after the congresses.”

The recognition also includes the participation of agri-food companies, hotels, restaurants and organizations that have been involved in holding the congresses, whose fifth edition, according to those announced by those responsible, will have a special program.

In the absence of archaeological remains – some of them are outside the province and others, such as the mikvé of the former Royal Hostería are investigated today – Zamora has taken a step forward in the last five years, with the placement of several milestones that Establish the so-called Sephardic Route between the Lowlands and Valorio, as well as a plaque in memory of the Jews who died in the Nazi concentration camps, which appears in the School of Education, with the poem “Auschwitz” of the tabarés León Felipe. Nor should we forget the celebration of an exhibition at the University College in honor of the Spanish diplomats who saved thousands of lives, such as Ángel Sanz Briz, the so-called “Angel of Budapest”.

And although the congresses were held in the capital, activities were extended to the province and especially to the area of Fermoselle and La Raya, where the presence of Jews is documented, also in a suitable escape route to Portugal due to The expulsion, which was later tracked by the neighboring country. Zamora now has a name in the investigation of his Sephardic past, such as that which accompanies Toledo, Segovia or Girona.

The traces of Jewish Madrid: a hidden legacy


Just after the week in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the Jewish Madrid – almost disappeared by the relentless weight of History – is located between generalized ignorance as a sort of hidden patrimony, relative to two concrete epochs. One, primitive and medieval, scene of persecutions and sustenance of legends around its configuration. Another, contemporary, concerning the refoundation of the Hebrew community in Madrid.

The absence of architectural evidence, in other faithful chroniclers in stone, makes any justification to the documentary archive. Although there are no buildings or remains of the first Jewish quarter of the capital, there are writings that locate it in what is currently the cathedral of La Almudena. Behind them, inside the walls of the Arab wall, the Jews remained even after the Christian conquest of Madrid, then Mayrit, in the year 1083 by King Alfonso VI.

The edicts of execution, multiplied after the conception of the tribunal of the Holy Inquisition in 1478, and popular transmission play a key role in the flimsy certainties about the past of the Jewish community. According to documentary sources, the work of Alejandra Abulafia, director of Destino Sefarad, as early as 1053 a Jewish neighbor sent a letter to his sister counting his sentence for the death of two coreligionists. Just a few meters away from that old Jewish quarter, climbing up what is now the Calle Mayor, in the plaza of the same name, many merchants settled, especially in the space that today welcomes the Mercado de San Miguel and in the neighborhood of Plaza de la Villa.

Precisely in the Plaza Mayor, in the lanterns located in the center, there is an engraving that passes almost unnoticed. The relief shows a judgment with a sambenito to a Jew, who was nothing more than to put a sackcloth to the inmate, often without previous judgment, to humiliate and stigmatize him. This small trace, although anecdotal, partially synthesizes how medieval times were. In fact, another of the points collected in the map attached, the Valnadú gate, is remembered for being the access point in one of the major attacks suffered in the Jewish quarter.

Persecutions and Expulsion
The main test of its location, in any case, refers to the most tragic episodes of its history in the area. Sometimes narrated in literary code, a document of 1391, when many Jews were killed in the street of the Damas, in the Jewish quarter, according to Jacobo Israel Garzón in its prologue to the work Avapés: Theater in two acts (Solly Wolodarsky. 2009). This and other passages are included in the letter, such as the request of the Villa de Madrid to the queen to execute the penalties provided for Jews who did not wear distinctive signs in the dress, in 1478, or a wall that would isolate the Jewry, two years later.

Everything ends, as a part and result, in a key date for the Jewish community throughout Spain. On July 31, 1492, the Catholic Kings signed their expulsion, condemned ever since, and well into the nineteenth century, to a cryptic presence. Persecuted and in the strictest secrecy, the author goes on that, after a century, Madrid hosted numerous Portuguese crypto-Jews, descendants of those who had left the same year of the discovery of America. At this time and in the following years, different documents prove this situation; As a car of faith – one among thousands – in 1632, where “up to forty-four prisoners, of whom four were burned in a statue and seven in person” were allegedly assembled to whip and insult a Christ and a Virgin .

Another of the pillars on this legacy has much to do with speculation, justified in the popular transmission. It may be worth noting that the Lavapiés neighborhood, supposedly known as Avapiés on the date, does not appear on the route illustrated, but the truth is that, contradiction among historians, there is no documentary basis for this. It is, therefore, a myth; Similar to the one that assures that the present church of San Lorenzo was once a synagogue. Equally, Manolo’s name is said to have its origin in the Jewish community, for it derives from Immanuel, which in Hebrew means “God be with us.”

There is no effective refoundation until well into the twentieth century, although in the early years the end of this parenthesis is glimpsed. In 1917 the first synagogue of Madrid, Midras Ababarnel was founded, antecedent of the constitution of the Jewish Community in the region, in 1920. It also obtains an own enclosure in the civil cemetery of La Almudena, although this growth is not definitive .

The synagogue is closed in 1938 and, after the end of the Civil War, all public activity is interrupted. Thus, the Jewish Community was not restored until 1947, and two years later a new synagogue, the Lawenda Oratory, was inaugurated. Years later, it moved to Pizarro Street to house a larger one, Betzión. The definitive takeoff and settlement, peaceful except for the attack on Christmas Eve of 1976, when a bomb exploded next to the synagogue of Balmes Street, was in the 60’s; Developed with the construction of the Jewish cemetery of Hoyo de Manzanares, in the early 90’s. Madrid also has a Jewish school, Ibn Gabirol, built in 1965.

The Jewish community, in the present
It is estimated that the Community of Madrid currently lives around 10,000 Jews, with the seat of the Jewish Community (left, its opening) as the main meeting point; Both religious and social. Its growth in the last years mainly refers to Argentina, since many Jews emigrated to Spain after the military coup of Videla in 1976, and after the recent economic crises. The Second World War also provoked the arrival of numerous Jewish refugees. In those years, Madrid was configured as an alternative scenario of spies and covert diplomacy. As you can see, the Embassy confectionery, which served as a cover to save 30,000 Jews from the Nazi deployment in the capital, to Portugal.

Segovia and the Holcaust Day

A1-49632563.jpgCandles, white roses, poems and songs have reminded one of the most frightening times in European history in Segovia today and have served as a tribute to the more than 15 million victims of Nazism in an event celebrated on the occasion of the European Day of The Holocaust Memorial.

The event was attended by the deputy secretary of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, Elias Cohen; The press chief of the Israeli Embassy in Spain, Uriel Macías; The General Director of Centro Sefarad-Israel, Miguel de Lucas, and survivor of the Holocaust Rhoda Henelde, in addition, the Mayor of Segovia, Clara Luquero, and several councilors.

Macias explained in a statement to the media minutes before the homage that these kinds of acts have a double importance, since they serve as “lesson and warning” to the new generations, but also to honor the memory of those who were persecuted until death.

In this sense, he has insisted that not only “evil” is remembered in this act, but also the survivors and the people who helped save lives, who in their view, “are an example of good is possible.”

Although there are more and more Spanish cities joining this initiative, Segovia is one of the veterans, partly because of its close ties to its Jewish past.

Survivor Rhoda Henelde, who was born in Warsaw during the invasion of Poland by the Nazi army, has recognized that it is very hard for her to relive her childhood over and over but, in her opinion, acts like this “are an obligation for the People do not forget it “.

Henelde has assured that it has taken “all these years” to overcome these events that marked his life and although he has said that she was not in concentration camps or extermination, his family did not suffer the same fate.

“The important thing is to assume it to transmit it and move forward now that the situation has changed,” he has condemned.

The deputy secretary of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, Elías Cohen, has transmitted during his speech the need to “remember to avoid mistakes in the future and to educate from childhood.”

He also emphasized that these events that occurred in the heart of Europe only 70 years ago represent “a crime unique in history by its methods, its figures, the machinery of death they used and above all for the purpose of eliminating A collective for the mere fact of being “.