Jewish life returns to city of Spanish Inquisition

By Jennifer Lipman, October 7, 2011
An artist's rendering of Maimonides

An artist's rendering of Maimonides

A town which was at the centre of the Spanish inquisition will be the location of Yom Kippur services this year for the first time since 1492.

That was the year when Jews were expelled from Spain, including from Cordoba, the birthplace of the scholar Moses Maimonides and until then a centre for Jewish life.

But following efforts by a number of Jewish communities around the world, prayer books have been taken of the ancient synagogue so that the most solemn day in the calendar can be marked there once again. Just 30 metres away from the original synagogue is a museum celebrating Jewish heritage, where the service will be held. Congregants are expected to be a mix of students from Israel and Jews living in the Andalusian region.

Haim Kases, who is leading the efforts, told Ynet that it represented the start of a renewed tradition.

The edict of 1492, remembered every year on the Ninth of Av, was the darkest point in Catholic ruling couple Ferdinand and Isabella's murderous campaign against the Jews of Spain and then Portugal. There had been a thriving Jewish community there for centuries.

Experts believe that thousands of Jews were killed for refusing to become "conversos". The edict was formally revoked in 1968.

Last updated: 10:15am, October 7 2011