In this presentation, you will learn a few facts
about the Jews:
The presence of the Jews in the Iberian
The Sephardic Jews.
1. Who are the Jews?
Where do they originate from?
A little bit of History...
Who are the Jews?
The Jews are a nation, a people and a religion.
They originate from an area located in the
Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in Asia
(approximately the territory occupied by Israel
The Jews have a very rich cultural heritage that
has been preserved and transmitted for
According to the Bible, Abraham was selected by
Yahweh (or Jehovah) as the founder of the
Hebrews, 'the chosen people'.
Yahweh signed a pact with Abraham. God would
become the protector of the Hebrews (or Jews).
It is difficult to know when Abraham lived.
Abraham had a son called Isaac. Isaac had a son
Jacob had twelve children. They founded the
twelve tribes of Israel.
The sacrifice of Isaac proved the
loyalty of Abraham to Yahweh
Around the year 1000 BC, David
founded the kingdom of Israel
David conquered Jerusalem, the
holy city of the Jews
David was succeeded by Solomon. It was a time
of splendour for the Jewish people. Solomon built
the First Temple of Jerusalem
After Solomon died, the kingdom was
divided in two: Israel and Judah
By 722 BC, the Assyrians conquered the kingdom
In 586 BC, the Babylons conquered Judah.
The temple of Jerusalem was destroyed for the
Thousands of Jews were taken to Babylon and
In 539 BC, the Babylonians were conquered by
As a consequence, the Babylonian empire
disappeared. Many Jews were allowed to go back
A second temple was built in Jerusalem.
In 63 BC, Pompey conquered the
territory of Israel.
Israel was under Roman rule.
In 66 AD, the Jews rebelled against the Romans.
In 70 AD, the second temple was destroyed.
Today, only the Western Wall of the temple
remains. Some Jews gather there everyday to
After the destruction of the Second Temple of
Jerusalem, the Jews migrated to other areas of
First, to Asia and Africa.
And later to Europe and America.
Jews lived all over Europe during the
Middle Ages, the Modern Era and the
Some of these Jewish migrants arrived at the
Iberian Peninsula, and established there as early
as the 4th century AD.
The Jews stayed in the Iberian Peninsula until
They lived in the Peninsula for over 1000 years.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany.
Germany was suffering a severe economic crisis
And Hitler unfairly, ridiculously blamed the Jews
(among others) for that crisis.
The nazis were racists. Their foolish ideas caused
the death of millions of innocent people in the
It is estimated that 6 million Jews were exterminated by
the German nazis during World War II
After the Holocaust (or Shoah), many Jews
returned to their original land.
The state of Israel was created in 1948.
Israel has 8 million inhabitants.
75 % of them are Jews, and 20 % Arabs.
However, most Jews don't live in Israel.
There are very important Jewish communities in
the US, South America and many other countries.
2. What is the Jewish religion
Judaism is a monotheistic religion.
Jews call their god Yahweh, or
The first five books of the Bible (the
Torah) are the basis of the Jewish
A baby born from a Jewish woman
becomes automatically Jewish.
Males are circumcised on their
eighth day of life.
Someone who is not born from a Jewish
mother can also convert into Judaism.
However, Jews usually don't try to convert
The practice of the Jewish religion
implies to follow many rules, customs
They also pray privately in the morning, in
the afternoon and in the evening.
The rabbi is the spiritual guide of a
There are strict rules about the
foods Jews are allowed to eat
- They can't eat certain animals (like shellfish or
pork), but they can eat other animals (cows,
sheep, goat, etc.)
- They eat only fish with fins and scales.
- Meat and milk must not be consumed together.
- Only animals who have been blessed by the
rabbi before slaughter can be eaten.
A teenage boy becomes an adult at the
age of 13.
A teenage girl becomes an adult at the
age of 12.
When they are 13, phylacteries and a tallit (a
shawl) are given to boys
Ritual baths (or mikveh) are taken in many
- After a woman has
given birth to a child.
- By a bride, before
- By a father, previous
to the circumcision of
his son, etc.
Jews celebrate many feasts during the year.
These are some of the most important ones.
New year's day
- The sacrifice of
-A special horn
(shofar) is blown.
- The sins of the
previous year are
symbolically thrown to
a lake or a river.
Nine days later, Yom Kippur is
It is the holiest day of
It is a day of fasting
and intensive praying.
On Yom Kippur, Jews
ask Yahweh to forgive
People wear white
It commemorates the
life in the desert and
the Exodus from
Every family builds a
hut on the outside.
Festival of lights (Hanukká) is a happy
celebration. A candle is lighted every day. No
shool for eight days!
Pourim is the equivalent of the Christian
carnival. It is also a happy time
Jewish Easter commemorates the
Exodus from Egypt.
A special type of
bread is eaten.
In the past, a lamb
The Sabbath (Saturday)
Saturday is the holy day of the week for the
Jews. It is a day of rest.
Strict (or orthodox) Jews don't write, work,
cook, drive, wash clothes or burn anything.
It is a family day. Some Jews go to the
It is difficult to know exactly when the first Jews
entered the Iberian Peninsula.
After the destruction of the second temple of
Jerusalem (70 AD), some Jews must have settled
There is archaeological evidence of the presence
of Jews in the Peninsula from the 4 th century, that
is, still during the Roman Empire.
During the late Roman empire, Jews were Roman
They had their own laws, and were mainly
During the Visigothic kingdom, things changed.
After Reccared converted into catholicism, Jews
were no longer accepted, and they started to be
persecuted in the Iberian Peninsula.
Many laws that restricted the liberties of the Jews
When the muslims invaded the Iberian Peninsula,
Jews were more respected in general.
Jews had to pay taxes to the muslim governors.
Some Jews had political power during the
caliphate of Córdoba.
Almoravids and almohads were less tolerant with
So Jews started to be discriminated.
Jews in Al Andalus
Some Jews were
or cultivated the land.
They spoke Arabic in
Some Jews were
famous singers and
Maimónides was a
famous Jewish doctor
and philosopher who
lived in Al Andalus
When the Way of St James was created in
the 9 century, some Jews migrated to the
Christian kingdoms in the North.
Jews saw opportunities of trade with the
pilgrims, and settled in the towns near the
The Christian kings needed people to settle in the
territories they conquered to the muslims.
So at first, Jews were mainly respected.
For many years, Jews, Christians and
muslims co-existed in the Peninsula
Some Jews cooperated with king
Alfonso X in the School of
Translators in Toledo.
However, Christians became more intolerant
against the Jews from the 14th century.
They started to be discriminated, and segregated.
The reason? Just religious intolerance.
Some christians began to accuse the Jews of
doing horrible things, all of them false: killing
babies, poisoning water, having pacts with the
In 1391, thousands of Jews were massacred in
Spain and other countries.
In the 15 century, the Spanish Jews had to live in
enclosed quarters, couldn't sell certain products
to christians, were not allowed to be doctors any
Some Jews were forced to convert into
Some synagogues were converted
into christian churches
On May 31 , 1492, the Catholic Kings
decided to expell all the Jews from the
The Jews had two choices: either
convert into Christianism, or leave
Those who didn't convert had two months to
They couldn't take any gold or silver with them,
only personal belongings.
Jews had been living in Spain for over 1000
years. The Catholic kings said: one king, one
religion. So the Jews were not welcomed in Spain
Sadly, 200,000 Jews had to leave the land of their
ancestors. They left Spain for ever. The return
was not possible.
And again, the main reason for this was
The Jews that left Spain never forgot their
Many of them went to Portugal, the North of
Africa, the Balkans, Palestine and other countries.
And later, to America.
They continued talking the mother tongue of their
ancestors (Castilian or Catalan) in the territories
where they settled.
Sephardic (or ladino) was transmitted generation
Also they kept their traditions, their songs and
They never forgot SEFARAD, the name
Jews gave to the Iberian Peninsula.
Still many Sephardic Jews speak Sephardic (or
ladino), an old version of Castilian, no matter
where they live.
Unfortunately, the tradition of using Sephardic in
the family is less common nowadays.