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Who Controls the Anti-Defamation League? | Who Controls …

Posted By on March 1, 2018

The Anti-Defamation League:

Abraham H. Foxman(Ashkenazi Jew) National Director

Kenneth Jacobson(Ashkenazi Jew) Deputy National Director

Robert G. Sugarman(Ashkenazi Jew) National Chairman picture available)

Robert H. Naftaly(Ashkenazi Jew) Treasurer

Murray Koppelman(Ashkenazi Jew) Assistant Treasurer

I. Barry Mehler(Ashkenazi Jew) Secretary

Stanford Baratz(Ashkenazi Jew) Assistant Secretaryhttp://

Standing Committees:

Charles F. Kriser(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Administration(no picture available)

Robert H. Naftaly(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Audit

Lawrence Rosenbloom(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Budget

Howard W. Goldstein(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Civil Rights

Barry Curtiss-Lusher(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Development

Richard D. Barton(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Education

Joseph A. Goldblum(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Information Technology picture available)

David J. Millstone(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, International Affairs

Pamela Schwartz(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Leadership picture available)

Christopher Wolf(Ashkenazi Jew homosexual) Chairman, Legacy/Funding for the Future

Michael J. Rubenstein(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Marketing & Communications

Martin L. Budd(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Outreach & Interfaith Affairs

Marvin D. Nathan(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Planning

Lawrence J. Miller(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Regional Operations

Kenneth M. Jarin(Ashkenazi Jew) Chairman, Washington Affairs


Deborah M. Lauter(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Civil Rights

Clifford Schechter(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Development

Ed S. Alster(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Education

Michael A. Kellman(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Finance & Administration(no picture available)

Sam Memberg(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Information Technology

Michael A. Salberg(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, International Affairs

Marvin S. Rappaport(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Leadership

Graham M. Cannon(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Marketing & Communcations

Robert Wolfson(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Regional Operations picture available)

Stacy Burdett(Ashkenazi Jew) Director, Washington Affairs

Betty B. Robbins(Ashkenazi Jew) General Counsel picture available)

Vice Chairmen:

Meyer Eisenberg(Ashkenazi Jew)

James Grosfeld(Ashkenazi Jew) picture available)

Thomas C. Homburger(Ashkenazi Jew)

Cynthia Marks(Ashkenazi Jew) picture available)

George E. Moss(Ashkenazi Jew)

Pam Schafler(Ashkenazi Jew)

Joseph Smukler(Ashkenazi Jew)

George Stark(Ashkenazi Jew) picture available)

Gerald Stempler(Ashkenazi Jew) picture available)

Past National Chairmen:

Barbara B. Balser(Ashkenazi Jew)

Howard P. Berkowitz(Ashkenazi Jew) picture available)

Kenneth J. Bialkin(Ashkenazi Jew)

Burton M. Joseph(Ashkenazi Jew)(no picture available)

Burton S. Levinson(Ashkenazi Jew)

Glen S. Lewy(Ashkenazi Jew)

Melvin Salberg(Ashkenazi Jew)

David H. Strassler(Ashkenazi Jew)(no picture available)

Glen A. Tobias(Ashkenazi Jew)

Summary:Of the fifty-three(53) senior executives and directors of the Anti-Defamation League, fifty-three(53) are Jews. This is a numerical representation of 100%. Jews are approximately 2% of the U.S. population.* Therefore Jews are over-represented among the senior executives and directors of the Anti-Defamation League by a factor of 50 times(5,000 percent).

* Jewish Population of the United States by State:

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Difference Between Temple and Synagogue

Posted By on February 28, 2018

Posted on August 29, 2011 by koshal Last updated on: April 16, 2015

The difference between temple and synagogue has its roots in the Jewish beliefs. Temple and Synagogue are two words that are often considered as words that denote the same meaning by the general population. Actually, in a Jewish perspective, they are not so. They convey two different senses when used separately. The word synagogue is derived from the Greek word Sinagogos. This word refers to a place where people assemble. It often refers to the House of Assembly. A temple, in a very general sense, is the sacred place where followers of any religion go to worship. Synagogue is associated with Jewish culture. When looked from a Jewish perspective temple carries a special meaning. All this will be discussed in the article while we are discussing the difference between the two words temple and synagogue.

A temple, in a very general sense, is the sacred place where followers of any religion go to worship. Every religion usually has a temple, a place of worship that is known by this name. Temple, for them, is the house of God. All these religions use the word temple to refer to any place of worship the followers of those religions have built. However, this belief of calling any place of worship a temple changes when it comes to Judaism.

For Jews, the word Temple refers primarily to the shrine that is seen in Jerusalem. If a Jew is using the word temple, he or she is referring to the Holy Temple that was in Jerusalem. Solomon constructed the first ever temple in 10th century BCE. The Jewish refer to such constructions as temples. After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, they no longer have a physical construction that they can refer to as the temple. The orthodox Jews believe that only the Messiah can build a new Temple.

Holy Temple of Jews

When the Temple was there, Jews were carrying out more traditions such as sacrifices. Also, during the prayer in the Temple, music was used.

Now, since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, a synagogue is the house of worship for the Jews. On the other hand, a synagogue was nothing but a Town Hall in the olden days. At that time, it did not have a great connection with worship.

The purpose of constructing a synagogue also was different when compared to the purpose for which a temple was constructed. The primary purpose behind the construction of synagogue was to carry on discussions related to business. In fact, community business was conducted by the Jewish community in a synagogue. This was the situation as long as the Temple was there. However, now the synagogue is built for the primary purpose of worshipping.

As a way of honoring the memory of the Temple, the worship style in synagogues has also gone through some changes. For example, instrumental music is not used in synagogues for worship.

Temple, in the general sense, means the place of worship in any religion.

Temple in Judaism refers to the Holy Temple that was in Jerusalem.

Synagogue is the Jewish house of worship.

This is the main difference between the two words.

A normal temple can be built anywhere.

The Temple can only be built on the ground where the former temples stood.

Synagogues can also be built anywhere.

A normal temple follows the method of worship according to the religion to which the temple belongs to.

The Temple has special traditions such as sacrifices and using music for prayers.

Synagogues do not do sacrifices. As a way of putting the Temple memory in a special place, they do not use music during prayer.

The Orthodox Jews follow all these customs believing another Temple can only be built by the Messiah and only builds synagogues.

The Reform Movement of Judaism goes against the traditional beliefs. They build worshipping places and name them temple without a problem.

As you can see, the difference between temple and synagogue can only be seen in the religion of Judaism.

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The Hasidic Women Why They Wear Wigs

Posted By on February 28, 2018

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Hasidic women wear clothing that is according to the principles of dress modesty in Jewish law. Haredi women wear long, conservative skirts. They also wear sleeves past the elbow.

Hasidic women strictly follow the laws of tzenuit. They are also required to act accordingly and with respectable behavior. Married women cover their hair with a sheitel or wig ; tichel or scarf. Some women cut their hair short or shave their heads and wear wigs.

The way of dressing of Hasidic women reflects the culture that they want to protect. Hasidic Judaism aims to protect women against the immodesty of the popular culture. Also, a womans hair is considered as sensual and is a symbol of sex, the reason why Hasidic women are required to cover their heads.

Contrary to popular belief, wearing a wig is not a requirement for Hasidic women. Some women wear a snood (a hat which looks like a beret) to cover their hair. Many Hasidic women choose to wear a wig because it is more comfortable than keeping their hair long and covering it with a scarf.

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Soaring number of Sephardic Jews acquired Portuguese …

Posted By on February 26, 2018

Gates, passport control and toilets signs are seen at Lisbon's airport, Portugal June 24, 2016. .(photo credit: REUTERS)

Nearly 1,800 descendants of Sephardic Jews acquired the Portuguese nationality in 2017 under a law enacted two years earlier, with another 12,000 still in the application process, officials in Lisbon said.

The tally for last year is six times higher than the total for 2016, during which the application of the law hit bureaucratic snags amid political changes.

The increase in naturalization under the law, which Portugal passed in 2013 and enacted in 2015 as a form of making amends for the persecution of Jews during the Inquisition that began in the 16th century, comes amid a host of initiatives by the government to strengthen the countrys ties to Jewish audiences and recognition of its Jewish heritage.

A similar push is underway in Spain, which passed a similar law of return simultaneous to the Portuguese one and which has naturalized more than 5,000 applicants. Spain and Portugals economies are heavily reliant on foreign investment and tourism, and both have high unemployment relative to the rest of the European Union 17 and 8.9 percent, respectively and especially among young people.

In Lisbon, a large Jewish museum is under construction and is on schedule to open next year.

The Rede de Juderias network of cities with Jewish heritage sites, which was established in Portugal in 2011, has grown to include 27 municipalities nationwide. A new program called Rotas de Sefarad, or Sepharad Routes, was launched in 2014, involving some of these city councils plus sites in at least 17 venues.

The renovation works under the Rotas de Sefarad ended in December with a total investment of $5.7 million, most of it from Portuguese government funding.

Portugals secretary of state for tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, in a visit this month to the United States she met Jewish community leaders to raise awareness to these developments.

We want a Jewish presence in Portugal, Godinho said in a statement, adding And we look to Jewish investment.

She also said: We have a vast Jewish heritage and a very ancient and profound connection to Jewish communities.

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My Hasidic wedding Orthodoxsunflower

Posted By on February 25, 2018

After our engagement was announced, the town was abuzz. An in-town match is always exciting and the news hadspread like wildfire. Since I was still one of the first of my grade to get engaged, the excitement was high. As for me, it was surreal. I couldnt believe I was engaged, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasnt dreaming. Many people came over to congratulate us even though it was quite late at night. The wedding was planned for September which was four months away. My fianc and I sat down to talk after our engagement party. In our ultra Hasidic circles it was customary for the bride and groom to not see or talk to each other until the wedding. No phone calls, no face to face meetings and no contact whatsoever. He went back to his Yeshiva. About 2 months later we did have to meet in order for us to get married civilly. It was nerve wracking but actually fun to see him again. I remembered again why I said yes. I felt so comfortable around him, it was as if we saw each other yesterday.

It didnt take long for the big day to arrive. I woke up early and spent the morning praying. Some brides fast until after the Chuppah (ceremony) but I didnt. By lunchtime we had to get ready. Make up, hair. Some brides cover their hair with a wig from the ceremony, some only for the wedding party and others from the next morning. I covered my hair from before the ceremony.

The Chuppah was planned for the afternoon. Its a solemn affair. Brides and grooms have great power on this day and utilize it by praying for those in need. I sat on a comfortable chair and accepted the well wishes of friends and family. The ceremony began withmy fianccoming towards me and covering my face with a veil. (It is done to show that we are not looking at thebeauty only at theinner, spiritual part of the woman)

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The Chuppa is filled with rituals. The two mothers accompany me to the canopy where we circle the groom 7 times. (Under the chuppah, the custom is that the bridecircles the groomseven times. Just as the world was built in seven days, the brideis figuratively building the walls of the couples new world together. The number seven also symbolizes the wholeness and completeness that they cannot attain separately. *)

The chuppa progresses as I stand on the right side of my soon-to-be husband. 7 blessings are recited by different men. The moment that officially makes us husband and wife is when my fiancputs a ring on my right hand finger and declares: Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel.

Now the ketubah is being read out loud and signed by two witnesses. The Ketubah is a marriage contract outlining the husbands responsibilities to his wife. After the 7 blessings the groom cracks a glass with his foot which isan expression of sadness at the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and identifies the couple with the spiritual and national destiny of the Jewish people. *

That signals the end of the ceremony. My veil is lifted and amidst shouts of Mazel tov my husband takes my hand and we walk towards a room called yichud room where the couple gets the first chance for some alone time. (Yichud meaning seclusion.)

Its customary for the groom to present the bride with a gift (that his mother chose) in the yichud room. The first few minutes were naturally awkward but it didnt take long for him to put me at ease. He presented me with a beautiful pearl necklace. The parents gave us a few minutes alone, then it was time for pictures. After the pictures we headed home to my parents house. We finally got to sit down to eat. the chuppah was in the afternoon, by the time we got home it was about 6pm. The dinner was called for 8 but the couple doesnt usuallywalk in until after the second course which is usually at 9.30pm.

When everyone left, we had time to talk and get re-acquainted after 3 months of no contact. I dont really remember what we talked about but I recall having a very pleasant experience. I remember being comfortable around him. Time flew by and soon we got the call that it was time to leave. My husband brought me into the ladies section and then continued to the mens section as the wedding wasseparated. The dancing was spirited, joyous and lots of fun. It was a welcome distraction of what awaited me after the wedding. I danced with family and friends until it was time to continue the meal. After the last dance, most people went home. The only ones staying were the family and close friends. Now it was time for something called the mitzvah tantz (dance). Its a very solemn affair reserved only for those closest to the couple. A badchan (jester) calls up male family members to dance with the bride. They are called up with ryhmes and songs. They dancegrasping the end of a cord that the bride is holding at the other end.


I danced with all my uncles, brothers and brother in laws. The badchan also remembers the deceased grandparents and in our case, my husbands father who was no longer alive. His death had been tragic and the moment was very emotional. My brother in law was the badchan and he outdid himself. Even I, who hadnt known him, had tears running down my face. When it was my fathers turn we danced holding hands. Then came the most emotional part of he wedding. The dance with my husband. Its considered the holiest moment of the wedding. Many things can be prayed for at this moment. Its the culmination of a wonderful, joyous night.

Credit: YouTube

It was time to go home. I had been trying not to think about it but now the nerves were back. As a Hasidic girl (and most ultra orthodox girls) I was a virgin and our marriage was supposed to be consummated on our wedding night. This is the least favorite part of the day as we were basically strangers to each other. It wasnt enjoyable but whose first time is? We got it over with and were free to enjoy the next 7 days of festivities. (its customary for family and friends to host meals for the couple for 7 days) The next time was less awkward and it didnt take long for us to have a satisfying intimate life. It might take us a bit longer to get comfortable but once we do, its no different than the rest of the world.

It will be 19 happy years of marriage soon. May it continue to be a happy union for many more years. Mazel tov!

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Aberdeen Synagogue & Jewish Community

Posted By on February 24, 2018


Please show your support for our incredible friend Walter Hecht, who is about to run his SECOND half marathon on 1 October 2017, to raise funds for the Flood Appeal.

You can donate to Walters MyDonate pagehere!

Please visit our MyDonate page to make your contribution:ASJCC MyDonate Link

On 28 August 2017, the Shul at 74 Dee Street suffered a flood from an appliance in the first floor community room.

A broken washing machine allowed water to flow into the building for about an hour, and causing over 30,000 of damage. The Synagogue is unusable and the Jewish Community without use of the meeting place we have called home for 70 years.

Please help us raise vital and urgent funds to ensure we can repair and restore our beautiful building the most Northernly synagogue in the UK.

Our fundraising target is 10,000This will fund the essential works, needed to restore and repair the building to a safe and usable condition.

We thank you in advance for your donation and help.

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WATCH: Holocaust Denial, Anti-Semitic Threats Soaring on …

Posted By on February 24, 2018

The WJC-commissioned study, made in collaboration with Vigo Social Intelligenceis titled Anti-Semitic Symbols and Holocaust Denial in Social Media Posts: January 2018. Itreveals a dramatic increase in the number of incidents already in 2018 compared with the same period in 2016, with the U.S. and Europe leading the way.

The study is a follow-up to an initialsurvey released in 2016. It was intended to cover the period between January 1-24, which holds significant importance leading up to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 and coinciding with the World Jewish Congress 2018 We Remember campaign, the organization said.

Key findings of the report indicate that 30 percent more posts using anti-Semitic symbols were recorded during this time frame, along with twice the number of conversations denying the Holocaust.

As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, this is not the first time Twitter specifically has been accused of hosting vile content that has ultimately been exposed by activists.

Last year an Israeli-born Jewish comedian in Germany daubed anti-Semitic tweets on the street outside Twitters headquarters in Hamburg to draw attention to the social media giants inaction in tackling online hate.

Slurs including Jewish Pig, Lets gas some Jews together and Gays to Auschwitz were chosen to be spray-painted byShahak Shapira.

Shapira produced a YouTube video to highlight his protest called #HEYTWITTER, in which he claims that he has reported almost 300 obnoxioustweets and more than 150 hate comments to Facebook so far this year. Shapira saysaround 80 percent were removed, but has only have received nine answers for Twitter.

Now the latest report shows that between January 1-24, 550 social media posts each day, and 23 per hour, contained neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic symbols. An average of 108 posts each day, or 4.5 per hour, denied the Holocaust, and 13,200 posts during the period included symbols or signs related to the Holocaust or Hitlers Nazi regime.

Just over a third of content containing anti-Semitic symbols originated in the United States, according to the report, and a full 68per cent of Holocaust denial.

Poland, Serbia and Switzerland were catapulted into the top ten countries for the first time, while the survey found an approximate daily average of 550 posts containing the use of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic symbols.

WJC CEO Robert Singer called on social media giants to rein in anti-Semitic content on their platforms.

It is easy to believe that anti-Semitism online is reserved for fringe elements, but the true scale of the problem is frightening, he said. Today, nobody has to go looking for such hatred it is in plain sight on the worlds most heavily used sites: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

It is incumbent upon these companies to show moral corporate responsibility and abide by their own guidelines restricting hate speech. We urge governments to strictly regulate this issue to curb its proliferation, and make the digital world a safer space for all.


WATCH: Holocaust Denial, Anti-Semitic Threats Soaring on ...

GoSephardic: Bringing Sephardic Communities Together on a …

Posted By on February 23, 2018

Sephardic Jewry is a culture that spans across the globe in many different areas. To every Sephardic Jew who exists, their unique Sephardic heritage prevails as one of the most important features in their everyday lives.

GoSephardic is an organization that began in 2006 by Rabbi Chaim Levythat aims to highlight the beauty of Sephardic Jewry as a whole. GoSephardics mission is to empower Sephardic communities to explore and experience its rich wisdom and traditions. In doing so, individuals can live connected lives with themselves, spouses, parents, and each other.

GoSephardics nationwide platform cultivates social networks through their exciting programs. Some of GoSephardics highlighted programs include trips abroad that give a relevant and inspiring Jewish experience to the Sephardim of today. GoSephardic is truly a global organization. Their influance is felt strongly in Los Angeles California, Brooklyn and Great Neck New York, and Montreal, Canada.

GoSephardic hopes to give their members a fresh and relevant look at what it is to be a modern religious Jew in hopes that they themselves become leaders and make an impact on their communities. Those who participate experience a fresh and relevant look at being Sephardic Jews, in hopes of sparking a flame of inspiration, bringing out leadership, and even impacting their communities.

One of the programs that Go Sephardic is best known for is its trips. They have a few different options when it comes to their well planned and joyful adventures. Go Sephardic organizes a trip to Israel for adults ranging from ages 18 to 29 years old. This trip brings Sephardim from NY and LA, both men and women of all backgrounds, together to experience Israel and all of its spiritual and physical beauty. Another trip they organize is for young adults ages 24 to 36, to exotic locations.They also organize a young adultstrip which takes place in Morocco for individuals ranging from ages 24 to 36 years old. Attendees this yearget to explore five different cities in Morocco while learning about the rich culture of the Sephardic Jews that live there to this day.

Being a single young adult can have its challenges. Namely, it is challenging to meet new friends and potential matches after leaving school.Trips such as GoSephardics creates friendships that usually expands ones real life social network, and in some cases, help find companionship that can last a lifetime. Well over125 Shidduchim to date have resulted from previous trips and interactions with GoSephardic Rabbis.

Individuals are encouraged to join their trips either on their own or with a friend. Attendees should come with an open mind to having new experiences and meeting people from outside their general network or community. Prices vary depending on which trip you choose and what city youre departing from. Tours, kosher meals, and hotel stays are included in the cost of a trip.

Camp Gesher is another trip option Go Sephardic provides as well. Each year, Go Sephardic sends a team of passionate young adults to Israel to form a summer camp and spread light, hope, and love in the lives of the underprivileged children from Neve Michael Childrens Home. By joining this trip, you are agreeing to roll up your sleeves and put in the work to make children in need happy.

The children look forward to this every year and its a truly unique experience in which the Go Sephardic participants get a chance to make a real difference. Some classes and lectures must be attended by those wishing to join. These include leadership lessons, basic Hebrew lessons, stay positive workshops, and many more.

GoSephardic Rabbis are relatable and allow you to be yourself. People from all different backgrounds come together for these various international experiences to gather Chizuk. It results in an incredible sense of unity, many describing it as a freeing experience.

We aim to light a spark of inspiration that lasts a lifetime. explained Rabbi Sabbah of GoSephardic.

GoSephardic has local classes and workshops for married couples as well. These programs include practical Shiurs about Shalom Bayit and raising children. GoSephardic hopes to impart helpful tools to young Sephardic couples through their various classes and workshops. In Los Angeles, CA, GoSephardic will be launching their yearly retreat for young couples that is open to all. It is a weekend getaway that emphasized the need to take care of themselves and also to connect and be inspired by their religion and community.

Another incredible part of the GoSephardic organization is its app calledInstaRabbi. This app is good for both Sephardim and Ashkenazim who find themselves in situations where theyre not sure what the Halachically correct thing to do is in various situations. Some may feel guilty contacting their local rabbi over small issues. Others have philosophical questions that they feel unable to ask their Rabbis in person, InstaRabbi is there to field those questions as well.

InstaRabbi takes your orthodox Jewish observance to the next level by making sure you never again have to act as your own rabbi when you dont know what to do.Simply download the app and submit a question. The waiting period isnt long before you receive a response from one of their high-quality and dedicated staff of rabbis. The rabbis of InstaRabbi are committed to enhancing halachic observance throughout the world.

To learn more about GoSephardic and to donate, get involved, and get connected, head to!

Frieda Schweky is Sephardic.Org's official community events reporter. For inquiries and to get involved with our site, please contact Frieda via email.

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A Sephardic Pilgrims Progress | Jewish Week

Posted By on February 23, 2018

The Jews of Cceres must have been in absolutely terrific shape.

That was my thought upon scaling the vertiginous steps that lead from the Plaza Mayor in that Spanish city to the medieval Jewish quarter. For roughly 250 years between the Christian reconquest of Cceres in 1229, and the expulsion of non-Christians in the late 1400s a Jewish community of cobblers, tailors, metalsmiths, doctors and rabbis crossed the plaza, passed under the shadow of the Arco de la Estrella and entered the walled city.

Inside the Roman-era walls, an austere labyrinth of steps, 15th-century palaces, more steps, quiet plazas, ancient arches and even more steps lead to the Barrio San Antonio, where several hundred Jews once lived.

They climbed those steps daily without benefit of the modern stimulants we rely on: coffee, chocolate, pizza with tomatoes. All of those ingredients come from the New World, which was unknown during the Sephardic Golden Age.

Back then, its likely they enjoyed the flavors you still find in traditional Cceres shops chestnuts, honey, figs and cherries, grown on local hillsides and convent gardens and prepared in everything from pastry to liqueur.

Cceres. Wikimedia Commons

They are recipes that, like Sephardic Jewry, predate Spain itself, which only came into formal statehood when the Sephardim of Iberia were cast into Mediterranean exile in the late 1400s, around the same time Columbus was discovering coffee beans in the Caribbean.

But Cceres was a civilization way, way before that. In the Cuevas de Maltravieso, just outside the city center, you can see cave paintings from 27,000 years ago, the late Paleolithic period. Many centuries later, Cceres was an outpost of the Roman province of Lusitania; the oldest remaining structures were built between 200 and 400 C.E.

For roughly a half-millennium, Cceres was controlled by Moors, who rebuilt the city they conquered with lavish palaces and more than 30 towers that remain from the Caliphate.

All of which suggests that Cceres was once far more strategic than it is today. Modern Cceres, the capital of Spains Extremadura region, is centrally located only if youre driving from Madrid to Lisbon: it lies about halfway, amid the sierras and plateaus of Spains rugged, sparsely populated far West.

Today Cceres attracts pilgrims of various stripes, from Catholics on the Camino de Santiago to Jews exploring a stop on the Spanish Camino de Sefarad, the Jewish heritage itinerary route. In a municipal territory nearly three times larger than Madrid, it has just a fraction of the population (about 100,000).

A former synagogue building in Cceres. Photos by Wikimedia Commons

It may well have more palaces per capita, too. Grand stone villas and turreted towers give medieval Cceres a distinctly regal feel; breaks in the Roman wall offer sweeping views over terracotta rooftops. One Renaissance-era gem, the Palacio de la Isla, was built on the site of a former synagogue, and you can still see Stars of David and Hebrew inscriptions in the courtyard.

Another synagogue from the Middle Ages, later Catholicized as the Hermitage of San Antonio, is tucked into the Barrio de San Antonio. Its faade, a mix of stucco and stonework, is typical of the whitewashed back alleys in this sleepy quarter, where flowerpots and bougainvillea offer bursts of color.

Greenery is scarce in the casco antiguo, or historic core, but an oasis awaits at the edge of the Jewish quarter. On a steep, sandy hillside is a garden known as the Olivar de la Judera (Jews olive grove), surrounded by houses once occupied by Sephardim.

Nearby are other clues to a Jewish past: the plaque in Plaza de Pereros, which recalls a poignant Sephardic appeal to Queen Isabella; several Stars of David built into the cobblestones of Calle Quebrada, commemorating the onetime residents of that district.

Only 14 years before the Jews final expulsion, the community was forcibly relocated to a new Jewish quarter, outside the walled city. To trace their steps, cross the Plaza Mayor to the opposite side from the Arco de la Estrella into the dark, shadowy Calle del General Ezponda.

Here, in contrast to the turreted esplanades of the walled city, narrow walls block out the sun amid a flutter of laundry lines. Within a few blocks, medieval Cceres gives way to the prosaic cement high-rises of the modern city.

The new Jewish quarter, as it was known, was a comedown both literally and metaphorically, but it didnt last long. The sharp decline of Iberian Jewry mirrored the slower decline of Spain itself, leaving behind towers and turrets from a lost Golden Age.

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Yemenite singer to highlight Sephardic Festival in Boca Raton

Posted By on February 23, 2018

Two concerts, a cooking demonstration and a scholar in residence highlight the upcoming Sephardic Festival taking place from March 4-17 at B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton .

Also in early March will be two Jewish-themed plays being performed in South Florida. "Kindertransport" is being shown both at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, 50 W. Atlantic Blvd. in Pompano Beach from March 2-18 and the Sunrise Civic Center Theatre, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd in Sunrise, from March 24-25.

The comedy "Handle With Care" about the relationship between an Israeli woman and an American man will be shown at the Levis Jewish Community Center Sandler Center, 21050 95th Ave. South from March 1-11. For tickets and additional information, call 561-558-2520 or go to

The unique music of Yemenite singer Ravid Kahalani and his musicians from New York, Israel and Uruguay performing as "Yemen Blues" will be the major concert highlight of the festival on March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

"I'm very excited to bring to stage the Yemen Blues. Their music adds such a breath of fresh air to the Yemenite and Sephardic Jewish music scene," said Cantor Udi Spielman of B'nai Torah Congregation.

"As Ravid Kahalani says in his song 'Um Min Al Yaman,' it doesn't matter where you come from, your language is my language. His message is especially welcome in light of current events," said Spielman.

The Sephardic Festival opens on March 4 at 9:30 a.m. with workshops to experience Sephardic Jewish traditions.

Throughout the day, there will be stations on the congregation campus that will feature Sephardic foods, such as Sephardic charoset, Moroccan carrots, couscous and Yemenite stew.

Those attending on March 4 also will learn about Sephardic customs and traditions, including fine art items, such as evil eye stained glass.

Also highlighted at the Sephardic Festival will be a March 13 concert at 7:30 p.m. with singer Chaim Parchi singing folk songs from Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Yemenite traditions.

The festival closes on March 16 and 17 with scholar in residence Dr. Benjamin Gampel speaking to the congregation over Shabbat on "The History of the Jews in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras."

For more information on the Sephardic Festival at B'nai Torah Congregation, 6261 S.W. 18 St. in Boca Raton, call 561-392-8566 or go to

As a special commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, Kindertransport survivors who reside in South Florida participated in a question and answer session following the presentation of the drama "My Heart in a Suitcase" at the Levis JCC Sandler Center.

Between 1938 and the outbreak of World War II, close to 10,000 children were sent by their parents from Germany to Great Britain to escape the the Kindertransport.

There were three presentations of "My Heart in a Suitcase" for students from Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Katz Hillel Day School and Torah Academy of Boca Raton in addition to congregants from B'nai Torah Congregation, Congregation B'nai Israel and Temple Beth El.

The Curtain Call Playhouse production of the Diane Samuels play "Kindertransport" involves three characters: Eva, her mother and Eva's daughter many years later. Eva, a nine year old child, is sent by her parents from Germany to England by the Kindertransport.

When Eva's parents fail to escape, she changes her name and begins the process of denying her roots.

The play reaches a climax when Eva's teen daughter, many years later, finds old letters in the attic and forces Eva to reveal a surprising revelation to both her daughter and the audience.

"'Kindertransport' is a play of exceptional depth and emotional intelligence," wrote theatre critic Charles Spencer in "The Telegraph."

For tickets, call 954-784-0768 or go to

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Yemenite singer to highlight Sephardic Festival in Boca Raton

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