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Sephardic Jews



Stephen Schwartz calls our attention to "the significant presence of Sephardic Jews in Gibraltar, Ceuta, and Melilla. Melilla has a synagogue and a mosque designed in imitation of Gaudi's Catalan Gothic style. Jews were never expelled by the Spanish from either of the latter two, or, of course, from Spanish Morocco when it existed". RH: Another complex story. The Spanish Jews are called Sephardic after Sepharad, mentioned in verse 20 of Obadiah, a short book at the end of the Old Testament dealing with the fall of Sela, now called Petra. Sapharad is mentioned as a place of exile. Does this mean that the Jews came to Spain via Petra? It is not clear how the name became identified with Spain. The Sephardic Jews prospered in Spain until their expulsion in 1492, when many of the fled to North Africa. Gibrtaltar remained part of Spain until the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), So any Sephardic Jews there today must descend from immigrants, primarily from North Africa Spain seized Melilla in 1497 and Ceuta in 1580 They are administratively part of the Spanish province of Málaga. Spain held Spanish Morroco only from 1912 to 1956. My guess is that the families of most of the Sephardic Jews in those two cities moved there from Morocco after 1912.

Ronald Hilton - 7/4/03


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