February 19, 2007

Spain opens Sephardic cultural center

From the Jerusalem Post:

Spain on Thursday inaugurated a culture institute, "Casa Sefarad Israel" honoring the Sephardic Jews and said it was settling a debt dating back to their expulsion during the Spanish Inquisition.

"Today is a historic day for the Jewish communities, Israel and Spain. With this act we settle a very old debt with Sepharad," said Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. "We're moving on from our own history to confront the present and the future," Moratinos said.

Sephardic Jews are those who trace their origins back to Spain before the expulsion.

After the Inquisition and the edict Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon signed in March 1492 expelling the Jews, attitudes in Spain toward Jews and Judaism were characterized by official religious and political hostility. Most Jews either fled Spain after the royal edict or converted to Roman Catholicism.