Spanish couple marry in Jewish museum they opened

(JTA) — A Spanish couple who built the first Jewish museum in Granada celebrated its opening day by being married there.

Gabriel Perez and Beatriz Cavalier married during the dedication ceremony earlier this month of the Sephardic Museum of Granada, a small institution they established in the southern Spanish city after years of fundraising and lobbying. It is the city’s first Jewish museum, according to a report by the Spanish news agency EFE.

The newlyweds — a historian and the daughter of a Jewish woman who fled the area during the Spanish Civil War — decided to open the museum after a monthlong visit to Israel, EFE reported.  

The museum contains books and artifacts collected by the couple from across Andalusia and beyond, which they say help shed light on an ancient community which flourished there until 1492, the onset of the Spanish Inquisition. Many Jews were exiled because of the organized campaign of persecution, while many others were forced to convert to Christianity to avoid torture and death.

Granada has a few dozen Jewish families, a fraction of the community’s pre-Inquisition Jewish population. 

The museum offers tours around old Granada in the footsteps of its Jewish community.

“We show how the Jews lived, we introduce the Jewish glossary and we explain about some famous people who were converted to Christianity,” Perez told EFE.

Next month, the couple will showcase Jewish Sephardic poetry in Spain. They are planning Jewish food and music festivals in the winter.  The couple are in contact with the Andalucía Museum Network in the hope of having the new museum recognized.

Dozens of municipalities across Spain and Portugal over the past two decades have restored sites connected to their Jewish heritage.

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