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Bones reburied in medieval Jewish cemetery

ROME (JTA) — The bones of about 100 people exhumed from a medieval Jewish cemetery in Spain during construction work were reburied.

A spokesman for the Conference of European Rabbis said the reburial took place during a ceremony Sunday in Toledo attended by local Jewish leaders and regional authorities. The bones were reinterred in their original graves.

The reburial was the result of "protracted negotiations" that concluded last week, said the spokesman, who praised the "solidarity and cooperation" of the Spanish government and local Jewish federation for achieving a "remarkable and historic" solution that was "within the boundaries of halachah."

Earlier this year the Spanish government halted construction on the site following protests, including demonstrations by Orthodox Jews outside Spanish embassies in other countries. The site was being developed for the expansion of a school that already occupies part of the cemetery land.

Local authorities in Toledo had offered to hand over the bones for reburial at another site, but the local Jewish federation, supported by the Conference of European Rabbis and the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, demanded that the bones be returned to their original resting place.

Philip Carmel, the executive director of the Jewish cemetery preservation organization Lo Tishkach, said that construction on the school will continue, but building will only take place around the cemetery and the area will be marked as an ancient Jewish cemetery.

 

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