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JewishWikipedia.info



A few Jews returned to Spain in the 19th century, and synagogues were opened in Madrid. The Jews of Morocco, where the initial welcome turned to oppression welcomed the Spanish troops conquering Spanish Morocco as liberators. Spanish historians started to take an interest in the Sephardim and their language.

The government of Miguel Primo de Rivera, 1923-1930, returned Spanish citizenship to Sephardim.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the synagogues were closed and post-war worship remained in private homes. Jews could be investigated by anti-Semitic police officers.

While there was rhetoric against the "Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy” by neutral Spain 25,600 Jews used Spain to escape the Germans as long as they "passed through leaving no trace". Spanish diplomats such as Ángel Sanz Briz and Giorgio Perlasca protected some 4,000 Jews and accepted 2,750 Jewish refugees from Hungary.

In 1986 after many years of negotiation, the PSOE relations were established with Israel in 1986, denying the reason was connected with the European Economic Community.  Spain now serves as a bridge between Israel and the Arabs as seen in the Madrid Conference of 1991.

The Jewish Spanish community is now mainly from Northern Africa, especially the former Spanish colonies and Argentinia.

There are over 50,000 Spanish Jews with the largest communities in Barcelona and Madrid each with around 3,500 members.  Smaller communities include Alicante, Málaga, Tenerife, Granada, Valencia,Benidorm, Cadiz, Murcia.  

Sefarad 92 marked the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. The principal event was President Chaim Herzog of Israel and Spain's King, Juan Carlos, prayinng together in Madrid’s Beth Yaakov synagogue to symbolise their reconciliation.


SPANISH COMMUNITY
European Jewish Congresso


HISTORY

The history of Spanish Jewry dates back at least 2,000 years, when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem and brought Jews back to Europe with them, while some claim the Jews arrived much earlier, following soon after the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed the First Temple in 586 BC. Since then, the Jews of Spain (Sephardim) have experienced times of great oppression and hardship, as well as periods of unprecedented growth, prestige and renewal.

During the first three centuries of Muslim domination of Spain, between the years 711-1492, the Jews enjoyed certain influence and prosperity, frequently serving the government in official capacities and playing an active role in political and financial affairs. The Sephardim were also engaged in much social and intellectual activities within influential circles in the Muslim population. Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Moses Ibn Ezra and Judah ha-Levi – followed by Maimonides – were the acknowledged geniuses of a form of expression. The period 1000-1148 was fittingly named the ‘Golden Age’ of Hebrew Literature.

Spanish Jewry once constituted one of the largest and most prosperous communities under Moslem and Christian rule in Spain, numbering as many as 235,000, before the majority were forced to convert to Catholicism, expelled or killed when Catholic Spain was unified following the marriage of Isabella de Castilla to Ferdinand de Aragon. To supposedly ‘purify’ Christian Spain, the Inquisition was introduced in 1481, and antisemitism peaked under their rule. By 1492, more than 100,000 Jews had fled Spain.

Years of persecution had taught Jews that they could be baptised and still practice Judaism in secret. These ‘Conversos’ (converts to Christianity) or New Christians were a mixed bag, referred to as marranos (swine) by the non-Jewish population. Tens of thousands were discovered and burned at the stake. Many other thousands were ‘forced’ to convert and became know as ‘anusim’. The ‘anusim’ clung tightly to their Judaism in secret and became know as Crypto Jews. After the Expulsion, some of these Conversos escaped to Western Europe and Latin America, where they could revert to the open practice of Judaism. A considerable number of Conversos married into the Spanish aristocracy. Recent Y chromosome DNA testing has shown that 20% of Spanish men today have direct patrilineal descent from Sephardic Jews, indicating that the number of Conversos is actually much higher than believed.

The Inquisition was abolished only in 1834. The Edict of Expulsion was practically cancelled with the establishment of the II Republic in 1931, but was reinstated with the Nationalist triumph in 1939. Spanish neutrality in World War II enabled 25,600 Jews to use Spain as an escape route from the Nazis and Spanish diplomats protected some 4,000 Sephardic Jews in France and the Balkans, against the will of their superiors. In 1944, the Spanish Embassy in Hungary aided in the rescue of Budapest’s Jews by accepting 2,750 refugees. However, the majority of Jews who took refuge in Spain later left for other countries.

In December 14, 1968, the Edict of Expulsion was finally annulled. This led to the opening of a new synagogue in Madrid, followed by the birth of new communities. There was no religious freedom under Franco´s regime until it ended in 1977.

In 1982, the first organization representative of the Jewish community, the Federation of Israeli Communities, was established. In 1992 and agreement of cooperation was signed with the Government and King Juan Carlos visited the synagogue in Madrid.

DEMOGRAPHY

Approximately 45.000 Jews live in Spain today with the majority located in two major centers: Madrid (some 15,000 persons) and Barcelona (approximately 15,000). Other Jewish population centers are located in South Spain (approximately 10.000), followed by smaller communities, numbering a few hundred people each, in Alicante, Benidorm, Canarias, Majorca, Tenerife, Seville and Valencia. There are also some Jews living In Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish enclaves in Northern Morocco.

COMMUNITY

The Jewish community of modern Spain is primarily based on waves of post-war migration from Morocco, from the Balkans, from other European countries, and, most recently, from Latin America, by far the most significant numerically.

The ‘Federacion de Comunidades Judías de España,’ which unites Jewish Spanish communities from different parts of the country, acts as the liaison for presenting Jewish interests to the government and also works with Jewish communities to provide religious, cultural, and educational services. It offers a weekly program in official radio and TV stations and owns www.radiosefarad.com, with cultural and religious program. Radio Sefarad also has French, Hebrew and English corner.

Most Jewish communities have Orthodox synagogues. In Barcelona the Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities pray in separate synagogues in the same building. Synagogues operate in Alicante, Benidorm, Canarias, Ceuta, Marbella, Majorca, Melilla, Tenerife, Torremolinos, Seville and Valencia as well. There are also some ‘Masorti’ (traditional) synagogues in Madrid, Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona. The Latin American immigrants, who come from communities with a strong secular tradition, have formed new organizations that bring Jews together for cultural and social events.

CULTURE AND EDUCATION

Jewish day schools exist in Barcelona, Madrid, and Melilla. Prominent Jewish organizations such as WIZO and B’nai B’rith are active in Spain as well. Other cultural centers include ‘Centro Sefarad-Israel’– a cultural center founded by the Spanish Foreign Ministry and the Autonomous Government of Madrid to foster Spanish-Jewish cultural relations and to strengthen Sephardic cultural heritage, as well as the ‘Baruch Spinoza Center.’

ISRAEL

Israel and Spain did not establish diplomatic ties until 1986, when Spain recognised the State of Israel. Prior to recognition, the Spanish Jewish community provided an unofficial linkage between the two countries through cultural friendship associations. Since 1948, 1,412 Spanish Jews have emigrated to Israel.

SITES

Major Jewish sites to visit are located in Toledo, in the Museo Sefaradi (situated in the El Transito Synagogue) as well as in the nearby Church of Santa Maria La Blanca (an ancient synagogue) and the former Jewish quarter. The synagogue of Maimonides can be visited in Cordoba, and ancient synagogues can be seen in Avila, Bembibre, Caceres, Estella, Montblanc, and Seville. Most of these have long since been used as churches.

CONTACT

Federación de Comunidades Judías de España
Address:Miguel Ángel 7, 1º C, 28010 Madrid - Spain
Tel: + 34 91 700 1208    Email:fcje@fcje.org
Website:      Facebook page:www.fcje.blogspot.com     Twitter:https://twitter.com/fcjecom


132,000 DESCENDANTS OF EXPELLED JEWS APPLY FOR SPANISH CITIZENSHIP
Application deadline passes under law designed to atone for 15th-century ‘historical wrong’
The Guardian, Sam Jones in Madrid@swajones, Wed 2 Oct 2019


More than 132,000 descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in the late 15th century have applied for Spanish citizenship under a law intended to make amends for the mass exile.

The law, introduced four years ago, was designed to atone for the “historical wrong” that saw the country’s Jewish community expelled, forced to convert to Catholicism or burned at the stake.

After being extended for a year, the law lapsed on 1 October 2019. According to the justice ministry, 132,226 people of Sephardic descent applied for Spanish citizenship before the deadline, with a huge rise in applications in the past month.

“By 31 August, 60,226 applications had been received, but in September alone, almost 72,000 were received, most of them from citizens in Latin American countries, mainly Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Spanish government had initially estimated that around 90,000 people would seek citizenship, but acknowledged that it was hard to know just how many people would meet the criteria.

Spain’s Federation of Jewish Communities (FCJE), which certifies applications, said it had received more than 30,000 from Mexico, 26,000 from Colombia, 14,000 from Venezuela, 7,000 from Argentina, 5,400 from the US and 4,900 from Israel.

It has also dealt with applications from Panama, Ecuador, Brazil, Turkey, France, the UK, Serbia and Montenegro, Peru, Chile, Morocco and Afghanistan.

Although the process does not require applicants to be practising Jews or to be resident in Spain, it is long, complicated and expensive.

As well as taking tests in Spanish language and culture, applicants needed to prove their Sephardic heritage, establish or prove a special connection with Spain, and then pay a designated notary to certify their documents.

Isaac Querub, the president of the FCJE, said the law had finally achieved its aims.

“Thousands of Sephardic Jews from all over the world have recovered their Spanish nationality and thousands more are in the process of doing so,” he said.

“Spain has used a long-lasting legal act to close a historical wound. Sephardic Jews are no longer ‘the Jews without a homeland’. Spain came to miss them and the Sephardic Jews never forgot Spain.”

A similar law was approved in Portugal in 2015 to atone for the expulsions from that part of the Iberian peninsula.

“There is no possibility to amend what was done,” the Portuguese government said at the time, adding that the law represented “an attribution of a right”.

Brexit has fuelled a huge increase in the number of applications for Portuguese citizenship.

The Jewish Community of Oporto – which, along with the Lisbon Jewish community, certifies applicants – said it had received just five applications before the Brexit referendum compared with 400 in the two months following the vote.

The Jewish Federation of New Mexico also recorded a spike in applications following the election of Donald Trump as president.

“Before the election, we issued maybe 20 or 30 certificates,” Sara Koplik, the federation’s director of community outreach, told the Guardian last year.

“But we have now issued 1,500 – from multiple countries.”

While the federation has dealt with applications from more than 50 countries, the majority come from the US, Mexico and Venezuela.

“It’s a big jump and of course some of it had nothing to do with the United States – it has to do with Venezuela and violence in Mexico – but for Americans, they see this as an insurance policy just in case, against hatred,” said Koplik.


LINKS

Jewish Heritage Sites in Spain   Jewish Life

This site, prepared in conjunction with Google, provides maps and historical information, prior to 1492 of

Avila, Barcelona, Besalu, Caceres, Calahorra, Córdoba, Estella, Gerona, Hervas, Jaén, León, Monforte de Lemos, Montblanc, Oviedo, Palma de Majorca, Plasencia, Rivadavia, Segovia, Tarazona, Tarragona Tortosa, Toledo  and Tudela   Routes of Sefarad

Synagogues

Radio Sepharad

Shalom

THE

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STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE



JEWS and SPAIN - 19th  CENTURY ON

Spanish Community

132,000 Descendants of Expelled Jews Apply for
Spanish Citizenship

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