Tag Archive for Spain

Uncovering Spain’s Jewish past

A statue in the Plaza Mayor or main square of Trujillo, Spain, a well-preserved old town of 10,000 inhabitants, is dedicated to its most illustrious citizen, the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru. The Pizarro family built a handsome mansion in the Plaza Mayor about 1560. Its facade is decorated with carved images of the…

Merida, a Roman retirement community in Spain

Merida, a city of 41,000 inhabitants in the Spanish province of Estremadura, boasts the most spectacular Roman ruins in Spain and an outstanding museum in which many impressive ancient treasures are housed. One’s introduction to the National Museum of Roman Art in Merida is the town itself. Merida was founded in 25 BC and named…

The Canary Island inquisition

Back about 1890, Anglo-Jewish historian Lucien Wolf noted a curious fact: several of the first Jews to resettle in London after the Jews were re-admitted into England in 1655 had “hailed from a little archipelago in the East Atlantic, which had never before figured in Jewish history, and which, so far as I know, has…

A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico

It has been only about two decades since tales began surfacing in the popular press of Hispanic-Catholic families in the American Southwest who lit candles in secret on Friday evenings and retained other long-held family customs bearing unmistakeable resemblance to Jewish rites. Some families abstained from work or travel on Saturday, circumcised newborn boys, drained…

Markman’s Jewish Remnants in Spain

In the town of Trujillo, Spain, home of Francisco Pizarro and other conquistadors, there is a row of shops off the main square of special interest to Jewish travelers. When I was there about ten years ago, a pharmacist pointed to a door in his shop and invited me downstairs; there, I found an archway…