Jewish heritage leaders have expressed hope that a centuries-old Sephardi legacy in south-eastern Spain will be given national prominence after a collaboration agreement was signed with regional authorities.
The Hispanic Jewish Foundation (HJF) agreed to work with the autonomous region of Murcia at a signing ceremony in the old synagogue of Lorca, the only surviving synagogue from before the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.
The agreement aims to spread the “historical, archaeological, architectural and human legacy” of Murcia, once a frontier town straddling Christian and Islamic empires which hosted a “long-standing and flourishing Jewish presence”.
Murcia President Fernando López Miras said: “We pride ourselves on our history, where we once lived together, and are obligated to rescue this story that was once buried.”
HJF president David Hatchwell said Murcia stands as a “clear example of a long-standing and flourishing Jewish presence, and of centuries of Spanish-Jewish coexistence,” adding: “The presence and entwining of these differing cultures have brought mutual enrichment to our society.”
There is still a “small but relevant” Jewish community in Murcia, said Hatchwell, adding that notable Jews who once lived there included the senior Jewish official Moses ibn Turiel as well as Don Isaac ibn Yaish, who in 1307 was entrusted with the jurisdiction of the kingdom’s Muslims.