With Jewish Roots Now Prized, Spain Starts Digging





Spain has sometimes been slow to recognize its own treasures. Miguel de Cervantes was slipping into obscurity after his death until he was rescued by foreign critics. El Greco’s paintings were pulled from oblivion by the French. The Muslim palace of Alhambra had fallen into neglect before the American author Washington Irving and others wrote about it in the 1800s.

Now, 500 years after expelling its Jews and moving to hide if not eradicate all traces of their existence, Spain has begun rediscovering the Jewish culture that thrived here for centuries and that scholars say functioned as a second Jerusalem during the Middle Ages.

“We’ve gone from a period of pillaging the Jews and then suppressing and ignoring their patrimony to a period of rising curiosity and fascination,” said Ana María López, the director of the Sephardic Museum in Toledo, a hub of Jewish life before the Jews were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity in 1492 during the Inquisition.



comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list