Spanish town preparing first seder in 500 years


(JTA) — A town in northern Spain is preparing to hold its first Passover seder since 1492.

The ritual dinner will take place in the old center of the town of Ribadavia on March 25, the first seder night, and is being organized by the municipality’s tourism department in partnership with the Center for Medieval Studies, a Ribadavia-based association that researches the history of Iberian Jews prior to their expulsion during the Spanish Inquisition that began in 1492.

Historian Abraham Haim, the center’s honorary president, will conduct the seder, according to a report by La Voz de Galicia, a local newspaper. The public is invited; a seat costs about $40, the newspaper said. The city expects a few dozen people will attend.

The project is aimed at increasing tourism to Ribadavia and “breathing new life into its old Jewish quarter.”

Like many Spanish cities, Ribadavia used to have a sizable Jewish population before the Inquisition, in which Jews were forced to emigrate or convert. Since the 1990s, several cities and towns in Spain and Portugal have undertaken tourist projects that highlight their Jewish past.

In 1997, Judith Cohen, a scholar of Sephardic Jewry, wrote that Ribadavia had two Jewish households remaining, neither of them Sephardic.

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