It was August, shortly before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, that medieval Spanish Jews were either expelled or forced to convert to Christianity.  This was the aftermath of the Catholic reconquest of Muslim Spain which ironically was partially financed by Sephardic Jews. They were often part of the small multi-lingual urban class of traders who kept the economy moving. God knows they are missed now in España.

Estimates vary, but it appears that from 200,000 to 500,000 Jews lived in Spain before the expulsion although the records are hard to find. This appears to have been promoted by zealots in the court of the Spanish Kings as well as the Vatican

Now in 2014, about 50 miles away from Toledo, the former Jewish center and capital of  Spain, the current Spanish government announced a plan to renovate and mend ties with Sephardic Jews.   The Madrid plan seems to be to fast-track the naturalisation of Sephardic Jews, whose ancestors were expelled five centuries ago from Spain.

The bill, said the Spanish government, would “correct a historical wrong”. The legislation has yet to be approved by parliament, but already consulates in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem said they have been flooded with requests for information. Up to 3.5 million people around the world are thought to have Sephardic – Hebrew for “Spanish” – Jewish ancestry.

Of course talk is cheap, especially for politicians so lets see how this Spanish Sephardic  Jewish citizenship program, plays out and the criteria that is applied.  Stay tuned for more: Sephardic Jewish Citizenship News from Spain

IF you’d like help to rediscover your Jewish roots in Spain we can help with our Jewish Heritage Spain trips and consulting:

”  our private Sephardic Jewish Spain tour was superb… Your custom planning met our needs perfectly. Our guided trip blended Jewish heritage, historic walks, good food, learning about Spanish flamenco, food & wines, historic hotels & transfers and meeting local Jews. Thanks also to Daniel for his care and conversations”

 Ben & Sofia,  NYC,   2007 Private Spain Jewish Tour for 9 family members

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