Jewish weddings seen as tourism booster in Spain

(JTA) — A Spanish political party reportedly has asked the regional government of Andalucia to authorize and encourage holding Jewish weddings in Cordoba’s historic synagogue.

According to a report in Diario Cordoba, a local daily, the request came last month from the center-right PP group in the state parliament of Andalucia in southern Spain. It was meant to help the region “fulfill its touristic potential,” party spokesman Rosario Alarcon is quoted as saying. He added that the move would encourage a greater influx of Jewish tourists into the city.

Alarcon said “arrangements are not in place” to facilitate Jewish weddings in the synagogue. This and other difficulties mean the city’s tourism potential is not being fully exploited, he said.

As part of a wider plan to develop the tourist sector in Cordoba, PP called for additional state funding to regenerate tourism in the center of the city.

Built in 1315, the synagogue stands in the historic Jewish quarter of the city, once home to a substantial Jewish population before the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.

In November, the Portuguese town of Trancoso, which once was heavily populated by Jews, invited the Israeli NGO Shavei Israel to run its new Jewish cultural center.

The Isaac Cardoso Center for Jewish Interpretation, which will be the first Jewish cultural and religious center of its kind in Portugal in more than 500 years, is expected to open in the coming weeks.

The center, which also will house a synagogue, was dedicated in October and an agreement was signed between Shavei Israel and the Trancoso Municipality on Nov. 19, according to Michael Freund, the organization’s founder.

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