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the land in which the Jews rubbed shoulders with Islam and Christianity

the jews of Spain

During 900 years Jewish settlement in the Iberian Peninsula Jews shared the challenges confronting the people of Spain and partook in the building of one of the world’s major civilizations

A Three Part Live Seminar

What we learn from centuries of  Jewish living in Spain. A fresh appraisal from a 21st century perspective 

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It is Free
Tuesday December 8, 7:30 PM

"A Historic Mistake"

523 years after the edicts of expulsion, in October 2015, the Spanish parliament passed a law declaring that after “centuries of estrangement,” Spain welcomed “Sephardic communities to reencounter their origins, opening forever the doors of their homeland of old.”

The law addressed a “historic mistake” by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who in 1492 ordered Spain’s Jewish community to either convert to Catholicism or be burned at the stake.

This recent event is just another chapter in a long saga that began in the Iberian Peninsula at least under the Roman Empire.

While reviewing Jewry’s path through Spain and its uneasy relationship with Visigoths, Christians, and Muslims, these series of presentations address among its many aspects the question of Jewish peoplehood, its contribution to humanity, and the formation of nations.

Subjects touched during the course

Roman and Visigothic Spain

Rome had governed there for nearly six hundred years until they were overrun by three different Germanic tribes. A few years later a fourth tribe the Visigoths drove them out. They ruled three centuries until routed by the Muslims. The Jews were there from the very beginning

Under Islam

Though the expulsion from Spain in 1492 is considered in a class by itself in Jewish history, it was only the last in a long line of expulsions that removed all Jews from western Europe by 1500.

Spanish town called "Kill the Jews has changed its name

The Historical Mistake

Between 1348 and 1945, Spain caused not one but nine Diasporas. In the decades after World War II, it offered citizenship and protection to Jews of Spanish descent living in Greece, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. In 1968, the government formally abolished the 1492 Alhambra Decree, which had banished all Jewishly identified Spaniards during the Inquisition. And in 1992, just before the Barcelona Olympics, King Juan Carlos donned a yarmulke and prayed with Israeli President Chaim Herzog in a Madrid synagogue.

Between 2009 and 2011, the Zapatero government funneled more than €15 million of Spanish taxpayer funds to Palestinian and Spanish non-governmental organizations that are among the leaders in campaigns aimed at delegitimizing Israel via BDS, lawfare and other forms of demonization, according to a comprehensive analysis published by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.

“Europe died in Auschwitz”

“I walked the streets of Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth: Europe died in Auschwitz. We killed 6 million Jews and replaced them with 30 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world. The contribution of these people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned. And under the pretense of tolerance and because we wanted to prove ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride. They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the Third World, downing in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naïve hosts. And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future to their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and for others, for our children and theirs. What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.”

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