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.
“I am often asked if you can be Jewish in Spain. Of course, yes, without any difficulty.” This is expressed by Mario Javier Sabán, PhD in Philosophy and Anthropology and president of the Jewish cultural network Tarbut Sefarad, founded in Lleida, where he lives. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1966, but is nationalized Spanish. He is a Sephardic, a descendant of the Hebrews expelled in 1492. “My father was born in Smyrna, Turkey, there were 80,000 Jews and they all left.
How many Jews are there in Spain?
Today there will be about 30,000 but it is very difficult to calculate how many are descendants. There are no Spaniards without Jewish origins, almost all have some. At least about 25 percent, 10 million.
According to his calculations, how many Jews had to go in 1492?
The figures vary between 120,000 and 200,000. How many were there? Most probably became, nobody thought that the Inquisition would last 300 years, many became thinking that the policy would change. There were even Juderia where all became Christians. And it was not the first time. Those of 1492 increased the ranks of those who had already done so in 1391 and 1412. Perhaps there were 120,000 converts. In all, there would be half a million Jews, but the whole truth escapes us.
Many concealed their origins.
Yes, for fear of the Inquisition. Blood cleaning certificates were purchased. We know that in Toledo and Burgos were 40 percent of the population: the more Catholic a population, the more suspicious that there are converts because families tried to hide their origins. The parents of Teresa de Jesús or the mother of Fray Luis de León were Hebrews. In century XVI is given with the grandchildren of the conversos the last cultural element Jewish. Cervantes himself would have a Jewish imprint, but then who did not? The footprint is very large and now it is well valued.
Do you think there are still negative connotations?
No, I have never felt antisemitism in Spain, there are unintended phrases like ‘Judaized’, like ‘Sadduca trap’ or ‘You are a Pharisee’, but who says it does so without perceiving its meaning. The problem is ignorance: rather than negative predisposition, there are anti-Israel media, with negative information that affects the Jewish subject.
Is there hate and love between Spain and the Jews?
I think so. They often ask me out, people of Sephardic origin, if you can live as a Jew in Spain, and tell them of course, without problems. Because the memory they had is that they were expelled, but at the same time they kept the ladino, the old Castilian.
To what extent was expulsion a disaster?
I compared 1492 to an expulsion of Jewish Jews from the United States. This is what happened in Spain. They dominated finance, astronomy, cartography, philosophy, medicine in a very large cultural and economic development. In the United States Jews are less than 5 percent. In Spain they were more. It was a demographic and cultural catastrophe. There were cities that were left without doctors. It happened all over Europe, but not of this magnitude: there was less.
You are a cabalist. What is it?
It goes from the general understanding of the universe; On the one hand the Theosophical, which is equivalent to quantum physics, and studies the mystery of creation: why God created the universe and for what. As for the prophetic Kabbalah goes from the levels of consciousness and it would be psychology, what power of energy a person has and what he can grasp from reality. So on one side is the physical and on the other the individual.
The depressive Madrid of the first 40 was also a Madrid of secrets and intrigues, spies with monocle and clandestine activities. Under its privileged geographical situation, holding the interests of Nazis and allies, stories of alternative diplomacy are hidden; Double side of the exclusive Embassy. This confectionery of the Paseo de la Castellana, which brought together aristocrats, ambassadors and intelligence agents around tea, pastries and surveillance, closed its doors 86 years later.
The distinguished and exclusive British appearance of the place, founded in 1931, colored the city’s leaden landscape. It was the obsession of Margarita Kearney Taylor, owner of the same, who from the beginning tried to turn the area into an approximation of the elegant neighborhoods of London, such as Mayfair or Belgravia. Then, with the outbreak of World War II, he strove to give refuge and departure to those fleeing from the German Gestapo and SS.
The confectionery, also converted into a restaurant, was named “Embassy” because of its proximity to several embassies, especially the British and German embassies, the latter located a few steps away, next to the “Friedenskirche” IBM building. Their interests converged on the exclusive premises, witnessing a tense and superficial calm.
The Nazi deployment, led by Paul Winzer, head of the Gestapo, and Hans Lazar, head of propaganda in Spain, increased control and pressure in the area with the connivance of Francisco Franco. Germany, in this sense, even came up with an invasion to satisfy its strategic pretensions in the conflict. Kearney Taylor, along with the British ambassador Sir Samuel Hoare, turned his place into a refuge to alleviate the persecution suffered by anyone who was against the interests of the Nazis.
Embassy’s basement, which housed an oven for confectionery cakes, housed thousands of undocumented immigrants who received food, attention, and some money. It is estimated that the British embassy spent more than 1,000 pounds a day to undertake such an undertaking, which was eventually interrupted by several closures of the premises. Marguerite’s mood, Irish of elegant but firm appearance, did not waver.
Regarding the Jews, Embassy was constituted as their salvation and opportunity of flight. Franco never undertook a policy of persecution against them, but anyone who entered illegally into Spain was subject to arrest and deportation. About 30,000 people were evacuated, despite the harassment of the German embassy.
The Jewish community will celebrate next Saturday March 11th the Festivity of Purim, what some people calls “Jewish carnival”, with which they remember the salvation of the Hebrew people before the imminent annihilation in Babylon.
During this day, in all communities the story of Purim is told through public reading of the Book of Esther and fancy dress parties are organized as a Carnival.
The story goes back to the year 450 BCE, when King Ahasuerus, influenced by the slanders of his minister Haman, had decreed the end of the Jewish presence in his land for the same 14 of Adar; But Queen Esther, of Jewish confession, convinces Ahasuerus and the decree is revoked.
The origin of the word Purim, the Hebrew plural of the Persian Pers meaning “luck”, refers firstly to the fact that the date chosen for destruction was cast and, secondly, that the Jewish town.
From the Middle Ages, in the Jewish communities it is customary to represent the history of Purim in what is known as Purim Shpil. From this tradition has derived the celebration of Purim as a carnival.
Among the customs is the Mishloaj Manot, which consists of sending to friends and relatives of sweets such as Oznei Haman, biscuits characteristic triangular form, or Matanot the Evonim, which consists in offering charity and alms to the poor.
Jews living outside Israel gather in the synagogue where the reading of the Book of Esther is carried out three times in a row. During the reading, which is done in an entertaining and didactic, when naming the “evil Amán” is sounded a kind of rattle to “turn off the sound of that name.”
Versionada y dirigida por Laila Ripoll estará en cartel hasta el próximo 26 de marzo.
El Teatro de la Comedia de Madrid acoge hasta el 26 de marzo, el drama político ‘La judía de Toledo’ de Lope de Vega, versionada y dirigida por Laila Ripoll.
El espectáculo se representa con motivo del 25 aniversario de Micomicón Teatro, que coproduce la obra junto a la Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico.
El texto de Lope de Vega, que este año cumple su 400 aniversario, es, según Laila Ripoll, un drama político donde los hombres de poder se comportan de manera reconocible en muchas actitudes que se pueden ver hoy, algo que “interesa” e “inquieta” a la directora.
Dónde.- Teatro de la Comedia (Calle Príncipe, 14 – Madrid)
Cuándo.- Hasta el 26 de marzo
Precio.- Desde 4 euros
– See more at: http://www.madridesnoticia.es/cultura/teatros/la-judia-toledo-teatro-comedia-madrid#sthash.33axjbgI.dpuf
‘The Jewess of Toledo’ at the Teatro de la Comedia in Madrid
Versioned and directed by Laila Ripoll will be on line until next March 26.
The Teatro de la Comedia de Madrid hosts until March 26, the political drama ‘The Jewel of Toledo’ by Lope de Vega, versioned and directed by Laila Ripoll.
The show is represented on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Micomicón Teatro, which co-produces the work together with the National Company of Classical Theater.
The text of Lope de Vega, which this year marks its 400th anniversary, is, according to Laila Ripoll, a political drama where men of power behave in a recognizable way in many attitudes that can be seen today, something that “interests” and ” Worries “the director.
Where.- Teatro de la Comedia (Calle Príncipe, 14 – Madrid)
Culture spokeswoman Marta Torrado of the Popular Parliamentary Group on Tuesday defended a motion by her group urging the government to give impetus to projects aimed at spreading the Hebrew-Sephardic cultural heritage to highlight its legacy as a part Indispensable of our identity.
The initiative of the Popular Party, which has been approved in the Committee on Culture by a majority, without any vote against and with the abstention of the PSOE, recalls two key events of recent years. On the one hand, the reunion of the two cultures sealed by the Kings of Spain in 1992, when the V Centenary of the expulsion of the Jews was commemorated and, on the other hand, Law 12/2015, in matters of the granting of nationality Spanish to the descendants of the Jews expelled 500 years ago.
Marta Torrado has stated that “Sephardic Jews have been authentic ambassadors of our country, of Sefarad, for over five centuries, a phenomenon that is not comparable in the world” and has assured that “its dispersion led to a cultural impoverishment from Spain”.
During her speech at the Commission, the popular senator recalled that it was in the mid-nineteenth century that the most liberal and progressive sectors related the Spanish decline with pressure exerted by religious intolerance. “It was then that the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 and its harmful consequences was put as the maximum exponent of the intolerance”, it has pointed out.
He also highlighted the impact of the war in Africa and the story of the soldiers who landed on those lands, who were surprised by the cheers with which they were hailed and received as true liberators.
Torrado also wanted to put in value that it was a senator, Angel Pulido, who for the first time brought to the Upper House, in 1903, the reality of the Sephardic Jews. It also highlighted the first agreement signed with Greece in 1916, thanks to which Spain took under its protection the Sephardic of Spanish origin.
Thanks to the agreement signed between Spain and Greece, the Sephardi were treated as nationals and it was established that in the case of disputes over them or their property, it was the Spanish diplomats in the Hellenic country who lent them assistance and defense.
According to the Culture spokesperson of the GPP, this treaty was “a crucial step” because from that moment the Sephardic of Spanish origin could obtain the Spanish passport, although it did not imply the recognition of the nationality.
Finally, Marta Torrado has emphasized the role played by figures such as Sanz Briz, Romero Radigales, Ruiz de Santaella, Julio Palencia, Rolland de Miota and Eduardo Propper, who contributed to save thousands of Jews from the camps. Nazi extermination and therefore are recognized as Righteous among the Nations in the World Center for Documentation and Commemoration of the Holocaust.
Casa Sefarad-Israel hosted an event organized by the Association of Friends of Israel. The event was attended by personalities such as Israel’s Ambassador for Spain and Andorra, Daniel Kutner; The Secretary of State for the Middle East, Manuel Gómez-Acebo or the mayor of Jaén, Javier Márquez.
It was an attempt to give an account of the work done during the last year and to present two more associations. The event was enlivened by the musical intervention of Dani Toledano, Víctor Monge and José Antonio Cano “Chiki”. Juan de la Torre and Eva Garcia-Ron, co-founders of the Association of Friends of Israel in Spain, presented the participants, after reviewing the activities they have organized throughout 2016. Juan de la Torre thanked the newspaper LA RAZON the possibility that they have been given to publish in our blogs.
The first association presented to the two hundred people who filled the halls was the Andalucía-Israel Friendship Association. A long run that was run by its president, Erik Domínguez, deputy mayor of the municipality of Guarromán, and the councilman of the city of Seville, Rafael Belmonte. His aim, he said, is “to foster relations between Andalusia and Israel, to value the Jewish legacy in Andalusia, to combat anti-Semitism and Judeophobia and to honor the memory of the Shoa,” said Domínguez, who also pointed out that Andalusia and Israel “Share their love of culture.” In addition, Domínguez wanted to make clear that the BDS association, which advocates a boycott of Israel and its products and companies, can not be accepted by any public administration, since the Spanish Constitution “does not discriminate on grounds of origin.”
The Israel-Spain friendship, like an old and large leafy tree
For his part, the president of the Basque Association of Friends of Israel (AVAI ILEE), Jon Gotzon Laburu, toured the history of the friendship between the Basque Country and Israel and initiatives that have been carried out, such as calling To a “Plaza Sefarad” square, as well as having a souvenir for those “Basque heroes who helped save Jews”, in whose memory there is even a commemorative plaque in the port of Haifa.
“Putting a flag of Israel in an act in the Basque Country is not easy,” he explained to the audience, who interrupted this degree in Information Sciences and a master’s degree in Business and Communication Management on numerous occasions.
The Israel-Spain friendship, like an old and large leafy tree
The Secretary of State for the Middle East, Manuel Gómez-Acebo, affirmed that “the relationship between Spain and Israel is not only the relationship between two governments, but that it is between societies” and called them “rich and varied”. He also pointed out that “they are sometimes overshadowed by the more political aspect of the matter”. For Gómez-Acebo “there is still much to do, especially to make themselves known to each other.” Thus, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that “in Spain has to shed more and more the image of Israel as a democratic country that is.” He also recalled the regional forum of foreign ministers that took place in January in Barcelona, attended by 43 countries, including Israel. “In Spain we continue working for the idea of respect for the memory of what Sefarad was,” he added.
Israeli ambassador Daniel Kutner said: “Friendship with Israel, which spreads throughout Spain, is like a large, ancient tree. It has roots that at first glance can not be seen, but it also has a trunk Strong and large and small branches. It is a tree to be taken care of, to provide water and fertilizers. “
The Jewish Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, embarks again on a battle against the Holocaust deniers. On this occasion Robert Rozett, the director of his library – the one who owns the most complete collection of the world on everything published about the genocide committed by the Nazis – has written to the Director General of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, to ask him personally to take measures That prevent the sale on their platform of books that “deny, distort and trivialize the Holocaust”, says verbatim. “I have sent an email to his personal account, a letter addressed to him to the company’s mailing address in Seattle and also an email through Amazon customer service, to be sure that our request reaches His destiny, “Rozett admits in conversation with EL PAÍS.
They have not made a list of titles to withdraw – they will do later, they confess – but they have offered their help to the North American online sales giant to identify the publications to be withdrawn and have included in the missive three concrete examples that they would like Amazon to leave To sell immediately on their different websites: Richard Harwood’s well-known book Did six million really died ?, which calls into question that six million people actually died in the concentration camps of Hitler’s Germany during World War II ; The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The case against the presumed extermination of European jewry, written by Arthur R. Butz, who maintains that the mass extermination in Auschwitz did not occur and for that reason the allies could not have knowledge of him and by The Leuchter Reports: Critical Edition by Fred A. Leuchter and others, commonly known as the Leuchter Report and conceived to call into question the existence of gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps.
Years ago, when the American company began to take off, Yad Vashem already contacted the company’s management to ask them not to be complicit in the distribution of books that “foment hatred and feed anti-Semitism,” says Rozett, but The firm shielded itself in freedom of expression so as not to withdraw them.
In some countries, such as Germany – where Holocaust denial is a crime – Amazon does not distribute those books. Nor does it in its subsidiaries in Spain, Italy or France but in the United States and the United Kingdom where, for Rozett, there is also a border between legal and correct that should not be passed, although denying genocide Jewish, is not classified as illegal. “It may be legal, but it is not right or is it right to profit from material that encourages hatred? Should you make money at any price? “Asks the director of the Library of Yad Vashem who, like Amazon, defend the sale of such publications for the sake of freedom ..
Therefore, the director of the Library of the Holocaust Museum assures that, even if they do not receive a response from Amazon, they will not cease their efforts to withdraw from the market all those publications that question the organized and large-scale extermination committed by the Nazis. “Especially now that we’re seeing how in the last two weeks there’s a surge in violence against Jews in the United States,” Rozett says.
It refers to the false bomb threats received in February by at least 11 American Jewish centers and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery last week in the suburbs of St. Louis and in the reconstruction of which Muslim activists are also collaborating Defend multi-religious coexistence.