RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The mayor of Mexico City praised his country’s Sephardi heritage during the opening of the global biennial Erensya summit — an initiative led by the Madrid-based Sefarad-Israel Center — on Tuesday.
“In Mexico we have history, we have inheritance, we have language that comes from Sephardi history,” Miguel Angel Mancera told the audience. “We are proud to host this congress here and for the first time held outside Europe. It is an honor.”
Sephardi Jews from more than 20 countries gathered in Mexico for the three-day conference, which ends Wednesday, to discuss their culture and tradition and the Jewish presence in Mexico, past and present.
“Mexico receives and supports all the communities in the world,” the mayor added, pointing out that Mexico’s first constitution states that discrimination is prohibited and anti-Semitism is categorized as such. “What moves us must be tolerance. The strength of the communities is in their union.”
The president of the Mexico-Israel Cultural Institute, David Srur, recalled the strong Jewish presence during when Mexico was a Spanish colony.
“Memory unites men and women spiritually. We think and fight for understanding and respect. Long live the culture, the science, our roots and the memory, which will lead us to a world full of optimism and union,” Srur said.
Erensya, which means “heritage” in Ladino, aims to establish a bridge between Spain and the Sephardic Diaspora. Coordinated by the Latin American Sephardic Federation, the summit’s previous meetings took place in Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria.