Spanish Jews want synagogue stolen in inquisition returned

Spanish Jews want a synagogue stolen by the Catholic Church in the 14th century returned to them. The Ibn Shushan synagogue in Toledo was closed 700 years ago during the rise of the Inquisition in 1492 with its policy of religious repression.

This week Spanish Jews organised a religious-cultural event in conjunction with the Bishop of Toledo to raise awareness of the Spanish Jewish community’s call for restitution for the former synagogue.

Hispanic-Jewish Foundation founder David Hatchwell says the community rallied together at the prayer service and concert to fete “a new moment of brotherhood in Judeo-Christian relations.”

This week’s event is one of a number of attempts the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain has made to raise awareness of the way the synagogue was stolen and the need to return it.

The Federation has repeatedly urged the government and church officials to offer a restitution plan for the building, which was erected in the 13th century.

The building was stolen when Spain adopted the Inquisition campaign. This resulted in the near extinction of Jewish life in Spain, which was once an international hub for Jewish scholarly and mercantile activities.

The museum building has gone through several reincarnations since it was built as the main synagogue in the 13th century. Soon after it was closed, the church of Santa Maria la Blanc was founded. Today the site hosts the Santa Maria la Blanca Museum, one of Spain’s major tourist attractions.

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News category: World.

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