Ancient Toledano Family Receives Welcome and Apology in Spain

Queen Sofia of Spain received a Ketubah chronicling the marriages of the Toledano family from the time Daniel Toledano, chief rabbi of Castille, left the land of his ancestors in 1492.

In turn, 20 members of the Toledano family each received the key to the city of Toledo with letters asking for forgiveness for the events that led to their exile.

Few names evoke the Sephardi legacy more than Toledano. And those bearing the name — who gathered from Morocco, France, England, the United States, Israel and Switzerland — had mixed feelings about the ceremony.

More than 2,000 people attended the emotional gathering, which was held in the Plaza de Zocodover, where Jews were burned during the Inquisition. Toledo Mayor Joaquin Sanchez Garrido welcomed the Toledanos back to their roots.

“When I received the key,” said Rabbi Pinhas Toledano, head of the Sephardi Congress Beit-Din in London, “I felt bitterness and indignation. Why should we have been expelled when we contributed so much to the Spanish civilization?

“But then I felt perhaps we should go and pray. I was very moved in the Transito synagogue. It was a dream to me that became a reality,” he said.

Rabbi Michael Toledano, head of the Or Baruch yeshiva in Jerusalem, felt the key was “a symbol of the defiance of a people who had survived, maintained the faith and built a strong Israel.”

Other Toledano family members who received the key included:

Jacques, a French businessman who financed and headed the delegation;

Boris, president of the Casablanca Jewish community;

Dany, president of the Toledano Association in Israel;

Avi, Israeli singer;

Shmuel, adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir on Arab affairs;

Ehud, of Tel Aviv University;

Sam, of the Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities;

Edward, British sculptor;

Prof. Henri Chaim, an expert in Islamic affairs from New York;

Ralph, manager of the Paris-based Karl Lagerfeld fashion house.

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