Every year the Jewish Community of Ceuta invites to local authorities and representatives of the different cultures coexisting in this nice city(Hindu,Catholic and Muslim) to spend a Succa evening, enjoy and show to the rest of world what does coexisting consist of!!!
Last Saturday evening, motsae shabbat, the congregation Or Hayeladim of Madrid, commemorated the Hilula of Baba Sali.
The celebration stood with members of this congregation and some others in Madrid, who were able to enjoy about a tasty dinner and a surprise performance of the Tuna(university Music Band) of the Alcala de Henares University(Madrid).
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.
The Jewish community of Melilla, which has been present in the city for more than 150 years, today recognized the Spanish State for the granting of nationality to the Sephardi, from which part of their diaspora settled in North Africa when Five centuries ago they were expelled from Spain.
The Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, has collected in representation of the Government the Prize Mem Memímel granted by the Jewish association of the same name by the law 12 of 2015, that granted the Spanish nationality to the descendants of Jews expelled in 1942 by Kings Católicos .
In picking up the plaque recognition, Catalá stressed that this law is one of “the most important” in recent years “for its symbolic content,” as it represents “the historic restoration of a debt five centuries ago with the Jewish people And the Sephardi in particular. “
The expulsion of this community “marked negatively the history of Spain, for the loss of talent, capacity and affection” towards this town and “Spanish nationality, which should never be lost,” the minister has condemned.
For this reason, he thanked this “gesture of reunion” with Sefarad, the land that judicial tradition identifies with Spain, after receiving the award from the President of the Association Mem Guimel de Melilla, Mordejay Guahnich.
The presentation took place at the Assembly of Melilla during the visit of the minister, at a ceremony in the presence of the city’s president, Juan José Imbroda, and the government delegate, Abdelmalik El Barkani.
The event coincided with the celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday that originated in the Book of Esther of the Bible, in memory of the salvation of the Jews of Persia from being annihilated.
Only three months after his first official visit, Dr. Abraham Haim, president of the Council of the Sephardic Community in Jerusalem, returns to Lucena to deliver the speech Spain and the Jews: encounter, disagreement and reunion. An event, which will be attended by the manager of the Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain, Marta Puig Quixal, and which is held at the Casa de los Mora, from 20:30 on Monday, February 13.
Fran Carrasco Guijarro, advisor to the Jewish Delegation of Tourism and a hairdresser linked to Rasgo – a certification of distinction sponsored by the Spanish Jewish Network – will present Abraham Haim, who also holds a degree in History of the East Media by the University of Tel Aviv and in Language and Literature by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Carrasco pointed out that the lecturer “brings Lucena to Jerusalem in a cultural and academic way and this is very important for us to have this link because we can create very important ties, tourism and academics.”
Manuel Lara Cantizani, councilman responsible for Tourism and Culture, thanked the Popular Party, represented at the press conference by its consultant Pedro Arroyo, “its support for tourism initiatives regarding the Jewish past, which puts the City Council in contact with people Very important of world-wide level “and that they add” constantly “to this type of projects.
The socialist mayor said that in 2017, the Delegation of Tourism “has very clear that the activities are to be structured with a new objective, not only generate visits, but improve infrastructure and generate a new product, making space, new contacts and open to the Not only through the Jewish Network, but also through the Integral Plan of Tourism – recognized by the Andalusian Administration for its excellence in management – within its line linked to the Jewish world. ” He also said that “soon” will be announced an event included in the program Enrédate of the Junta de Andalucía and that will be combined with the third tasting of kosher products.
Finally, he commented that in the ordinary plenary session of this month of February will propose the reactivation of the technical table of the Jewish world to which will be invited, among others, to José Antonio García Suárez, coordinator of Your History; The official chroniclers of the city, Francisco López Salamanca and Luisfernando Palma Robles; Fran Carrasco, Mario Flores, representatives of the political groups; And the territorial delegate of Tourism, Culture and Sport in Córdoba, Francisco Alcalde Moya.
The Burgos municipality of Castrillo Mota de Judíos, which in 2015 got rid of its surname ‘matajudíos’, promotes a project to create a Sephardic cultural itinerary that makes Burgos a tourist reference for the Jewish community and values the shared history and Heritage and cultural heritage.
The province has a very extensive and interesting Jewish past, which can be a great tourist attraction, said the Mayor of Castrillo Mota de Judíos, Lorenzo Rodríguez.
In the municipality is worked to recover the settlement of La Mota, place to which the Jews expelled from the near village of Castrojeriz, origin of the town and its name.
On the other hand, in Castrojeriz remains of the synagogue and the walls remain, while Belorado stood out for its great Jewry, the same as Burgos or Miranda de Ebro.
Vestiges of the past of ancient Jewish communities are also found in Roa, Frías, Villadiego, Lerma, Aranda de Duero, Pancorbo, Pradoluengo, Medina de Pomar or Briviesca, for example.
For this reason, Lorenzo Rodríguez has proposed to these municipalities the possibility of creating a Sephardic cultural itinerary, as a “singular” tourist resource for the province of Burgos.
The aim is to become a benchmark of the international Jewish community, taking advantage of the thousands of Jews who visit Spain each year to visit prominent places in their community history.
The first meeting, of contact, was held days ago and was attended by fifteen towns, although they would be willing to join the initiative some more.
At the moment, Castrillo Mota de Judíos will be in charge of leading the project, accompanied by Castrojeriz and Pradoluengo.
The three localities will attend the call for aid for tourist infrastructure of Sodebur, the Development Society of the Province of Burgos, dependent on the Diputación.
It is to get economic support to elaborate a historical and archaeological project, explained the mayor of Castrojeriz, Beatriz Francés.
The most important thing is to document the Jewish past of the province and to define the preserved cultural and patrimonial resources, as well as the archaeological remains to be recovered.
Next, the tourist itinerary will be designed, marking each one of the historical or cultural landmarks, and will be promoted among the Spanish Jewish community.
The mayor of Belorado, and provincial deputy of Culture, Luis Jorge del Barco, bets to implicate in the project to the Diputación since it is a “challenge” for the municipalities.
De Barco recalled that the Provincial Institution studied a couple of years ago to develop a similar tourism resource, although the initiative did not materialize.
Now would be a good time to recover it, since the proposal of Castrillo Mota of Jews “is very exciting and accurate.”
Since the change of name in 2015, the town has strengthened ties with the international Jewish community and receives numerous visitors, who would be interested in knowing more about the Jewish past of Burgos.
Rodríguez has insisted that the province must recover its history shared with the Jewish people and put into value the inherited patrimonial and cultural wealth.
On February 14, 1349, the St. Valentine Massacre takes place in Strasbourg. Two thousand Jews were burned alive accused of spreading the plague.
It is well known that Jews have always been persecuted in the history of mankind. They have been blamed for the great misfortunes, besides being considered usurers, murderers of children and even antichrists.
Such was the case of the Black Death, which peaked between 1347 and 1353. It is estimated that the Great Death (as it was known before the 19th century) killed 60% of Europeans.
The answer you gave to this deadly epidemic? They accused the Jews of poisoning fountains and wells for the sole purpose of exterminating Christians. The evidence was found in the false confession under torture of a Jew named Agimet in 1348, who acknowledged having thrown a poison into the well from which the people were supplied, under the command of Rabbi Peyret.
This motive was sufficient to begin the persecution towards the Jews, who were exposed to all sorts of barbarities.
And so, on February 14, 1349, two thousand Jews were taken to the cemetery of the French city of Strasbourg, where they were burned on a wooden platform, in addition to imposing a law that forbade to tread that land for 100 years to Jews who They got rid of the murder.
The persecution spread throughout Europe, to the point that in Spain, any Christian was forbidden to associate with any Jew, whom they imprisoned, exterminated and expelled from all parts of the continent.
The Provincial Historical Archive shows, through the initiative ‘The Document of the Month’, four documents on the life of the Jews in the city of Jaén between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of Remembrance for the Victims Of the Holocaust, which was celebrated on 27 January and condemned, by resolution of the United Nations Assembly, all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or Religious beliefs, wherever they take place.
“We talk about an exhibition in which, through four documents, visitors are going to hear about four episodes about the life of the Jewish community in the city of Jaén where they are staged as the coexistence of Jews with Christians, What was the economic activity they developed, as well as the persecution to which they were subjected, “said the delegate of the Government, Ana Cobo.
Also, the delegate highlighted, during the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Jews in the Remembrance. Documentary evidence of his presence in Jaén, in which the territorial delegate for Culture, Tourism and Sports, Pilar Salazar, the Director of the Provincial Historical Archive, Juan del Arco, and the president of the Iuventa association, Rafael Cámara, participated. Sephardic Jew, Ricardo Djaen, descendant of members of the Jewish community who lived in the streets of the city of Jaén. “I want to welcome Ricardo to a city that is his city, and a city where we can enjoy the legacy left by his ancestors and that today is one of the main tourist claims of our province,” he said.
The Provincial Historical Archive, which has already addressed the Jewish presence in Jaén on the occasion of the commemoration of the 1100th anniversary of the birth of Hasday ibn Shaprut (Ben Saprut) at the end of 2015, has organized a sample centered on the presence of Jews in Jaén around Three main aspects. On the one hand, in the coexistence between Christian and Jewish cultures, on the other hand, in the economic activity developed by the Jews and, moreover, on the persecution to which the Jews were subjected, first, after the expulsion in 1492, his descendants, the converts.
As an example of the coexistence between the Christian and Jewish communities in the Old Kingdom of Jaén during the Middle Ages, this exhibition exposes the Law of Iznatoraf, where in one of its laws or sections regulated the use of public bath both Of Christians as Jews, establishing exclusive days for their use in each community.
On the other hand, in relation to the economic activities that the Jewish community performed in the Kingdom of Jáen is represented with a note of a deed by which Sushi of Abraham buys two slaves for 25,000 reais and with another document where the obligation of Marín But, neighbor of Jaén, to pay Martín Abraham, member of the Jewish community, the amount of 8780 maravedis.
This exhibition, which will be open until February 24, also includes references to the persecution suffered by the descendants of the Jews who converted to Christianity, the converts. Among them, the Document of the Month shows the request that Antón Rodríguez de Amores, Diego de Córdoba, Juan de Jaén Morocco, Lope de Fernández Chinchilla and other landlords of the rent of the alcabalas of the city of Jaén request to the queen that exempts them Of the charge imposed by the great pestilence and mortality, the great sterility of the year and by the Holy Inquisition since there are prisoners many merchants and traffickers.
|Author of the Shulchan Aruch|
Rabbi Yosef Caro, 5248-5335 (1488-1575 CE), is most famous as the author of the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law. He was born in Toledo, Spain during the Inquisition years and fled from that country at the age of 4, with his family together with myriads of Jews who were banished from Spain in the year 5252 (1492 CE). His family wandered from city to city, from country to country, not finding a safe haven until they settled in Constantinople (Kushta), Turkey.
Yosef was first educated by his father, Rabbi Ephraim, a scholar in his own right, who was later appointed chief rabbi of Nikopol, Bulgaria. Later Rabbi Yosef would quote many teachings he heard from his father. After his father passed away, he grew up in the home of his uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak Caro, who adopted him as his own son.
It was soon realized that Yosef was destined for greatness, and even at a young age he was regarded as a great sage and many turned to him for halachic rulings. He eventually moved from Constantinople to Adrianople, where he married the daughter of a scholar named Rabbi Chaim ibn Albalag. He soon established a Beit Midrash in Adrianople, and at the age of 34 he began to write his monumental commentary Beit Yosef on the entire ArbaahTurim.
Together with his great assiduousness in Torah study, Rabbi Caro lived a somewhat ascetic life of numerous fasts and self-infliction.
It was in Adrianople that he met the kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Molcho, who was burned at the stake by the church for his “heretical beliefs.” Rabbi Caro was greatly affected by Rabbi Shlomo’s charismatic personality and even expressed the wish to die in the same way — al kiddush Hashem (as a holy martyr). It was here, too, that Rabbi Yosef met Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, author of the mystical hymn Lecha Dodi. It is possible that one of them introduced Rabbi Yosef to the study of Kabbala.
(To find our series explicating the prayer Lecha Dodi, click here)He came to be regarded as the leader of the entire generation.
After his first wife died at a young age, he married the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchak Sabba. For a short while he lived in Nikopol, Bulgaria, but decided to make his way to the Holy Land so that he could immerse himself in its sanctity and complete his written works. Passing through Salonica, he met the great kabbalist Rabbi Yosef Taitatzak. He continued his journey to the Holy Land via Egypt and eventually settled in Safed.
He was soon appointed a member of the rabbinical court of the city in the Beit Din of the famous Rabbi Yaakov Beirav. When the latter re-instituted semicha (official rabbinical ordination), which had been in abeyance for over 11 centuries, Rabbi Yosef was one of the first he ordained. Here, too, Rabbi Caro established a yeshiva and taught Torah to scores of eager students. Among Rabbi Caro’s more famous students were the renowned darshan (sermonist) Rabbi Moshe Alshich, the kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Galanti and the renowned kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (the Ramak).
When Rabbi Yaakov Beirav, the leading sage of Safed, passed away, Rabbi Yosef Caro was regarded as his successor, and he and Rabbi Moshe of Trani (the Mabit) headed the Rabbinical Court of Safed. In fact, by this time, the Rabbinical Court of Safed had become the central rabbinical court in all of Israel, and indeed of the Diaspora as well. Thus there was not a single matter of national or global importance that did not come to the attention and ruling of the Safed Beit Din. Its rulings were accepted as final and conclusive, and Rabbi Yosef’s halachic decisions and clarifications were sought by sages from every corner of the Diaspora. He came to be regarded as the leader of the entire generation.
Rabbi Yosef merited to be instructed by a maggid – a private angelic teacher who revealed to him many kabbalistic teachings.
Although he rarely touched upon kabbalistic matters and customs in his legal writings, he was nevertheless very involved in the study of kabbala. Together with his close friend Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, he set out to explain some of the more difficult passages in the Zohar. In his famous kabbalistic work Pardes Rimonim, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero cites several innovative kabbalistic teachings of Rabbi Caro, who was his master in the revealed teachings of the Torah.
In a dramatic testimonial, Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz testified that in Salonica Rabbi Yosef became one of those rare individuals who merited to be instructed by a maggid – a private angelic teacher who revealed to him many kabbalistic teachings. The maggid exhorted Rabbi Yosef to sanctify and purify himself, and he revealed to him events that would take place in the future. It should be noted that in Shaarei Kedusha, Rabbi Chaim Vital explains that visitation by a maggid is a form of Divine Inspiration (ruach hakodesh). The teachings of the maggid are recorded in his published work titled Maggid Meisharim, although the Chida (Rabbi Chaim David Azulai) notes that only about one fiftieth of the manuscript was ever published (see Works). However, in numerous places in Maggid Meisharim it is stated that, “I am the Mishna that speaks in your mouth,” indicating that the Oral Torah itself (of which the Mishna is the fundamental part) spoke within him. (However, these two explanations are not necessarily contradictory — in the merit of the Mishna Rabbi Caro constantly reviewed, he was worthy of an angelic teacher).
The maggid promised him that he would have the merit of settling in Israel, and this promise was fulfilled. Another promise, that he would merit to die a martyr’s death sanctifying God’s Name like Rabbi Shlomo Molcho had merited, did not transpire for an unspecified reason.
The kabbalistic teachings found in Rabbi Yosef’s Maggid Meisharim are in the style of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s kabbala, rather than the style of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal). Nevertheless, Rabbi Chaim Vital, the chief disciple of the Arizal, extolled the greatness of Rabbi Yosef’s soul, saying that it stemmed from the soul of the great Tanna Rabbi Yehuda bar Ila’i and had an affinity with the souls of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the Rashba), Rabbi Aharon Halevi (the Raah) and Rabbi Vidal di Tolouse, author of Maggid Mishna, an important commentary on Maimonides‘ Mishneh Torah.
In the year 5324 (1564 CE) Rabbi Yosef’s second wife, who had borne him his son Shlomo, died. Following the dictate of the Sages that a man should not live without a wife, he married again, despite his age. His third wife was the daughter of Rabbi Zecharia ben Shlomo Zavasil Ashkenazi, one of the sages of Jerusalem. When he was in his ninth decade, his wife bore him another son, Yehuda.
Rabbi Yosef continued to preoccupy himself with Torah study and writing important works and fulfilled his duties as the head of the Rabbinical Court in Safed for the remainder of his extremely productive life. He passed on to the World of Truth on the 13th day of Nissan 5335 (1575 CE) at the venerable age of 87. His loss was mourned by the entire Jewish world.
The author of Shenei Luchot HaBrit, Rabbi Yeshayahu Horowitz 5320-5390 (1560-1630 CE) (the Shelah HaKadosh), writes that one Friday night, Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan in the year 5365 (1605 CE), Rabbi Yosef, thirty years after his passing, appeared in a dream to a certain sage living in Safed. He reported that he saw Rabbi Yosef “sitting on a very majestic throne in the presence of innumerable world-renowned rabbis. His face was shining like the brightness of the sky… and he taught the meditations applicable to kedusha.