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.
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.
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.
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 and Spain did not establish diplomatic ties until 1986, when Spain recognized 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.
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.
Routes of Sefarad 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