SEFARAD (Spain). The sweet legacy of an inheritance

Sefarad is a biblical name that the Jewish tradition has identified with the Iberian Peninsula since the beginning of the common era, its use being relegated in the modern Hebrew language for present-day Spain, using Portugal itself for the neighboring country. It is believed that the identification of Sefarad with the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon came after the expulsion of the Jews from 1492, although the term Sephardic refers to both these and the Jews expelled from Portugal in 1497.
In fact, the Kabbalists are credited with naming the Iberian Peninsula as Sefarad, which although it is not a Hebrew word in its origin, they decide to give the Iberian Peninsula, the name that is the result of the «game» of its consonants in the Hebrew language (Pardes), which means a fruit garden as well as euphemism for the Paradise of Eden itself. One can understand from this denomination, the deep feeling of the Jews towards the land that welcomed them as their own and that became the Golden Age of Spain and Portugal, (philosophers, doctors, writers, poets).

David Stern, University of Pennsylvania: An introduction to the study of the Hebrew Bible in Sepharad. Who states that: «The Hebrew books that the Jews of Sepharad produced during the Middle Ages constitute one of the most important cultural achievements of Jewish history ..» … «In this essay I intend to outline the fundamental lines of the history of the Hebrew Bible in Sepharad, developing some aspect of a more general nature related to it »

From the legacy of this Golden Age, Jew and Arab at the same time, many samples of its architecture, customs, etc. are preserved turning this trip back to medieval Spain into a route full of history, memories and heritage, including gastronomy, since they were the precursors of what we call today, the Mediterranean diet.
Instituto Cervantes de España declares in its work: Sephardic Spain … «Without the Sephardic culture the Toledo School of Translators would not have been possible, nor Alfonso the wise, nor the renewed and enriched recovery of Aristotle, with the consequences that this brought to European science and thought from the hand of Saint Thomas and Scholasticism. Many things were lost forever after the expulsion, but others remained indelible. We turn our eyes to that Sepharad, with its own diversity and richness of nuances. »

It is a fabulous route for groups of students, or lovers of history and art. Iberinbound Travel, , is a leading incoming travel agency for Student and Educational Tours in Spain and Portugal, providing tailor-made trips at lowest rates. Thanks to our long experience, we have special rates for accommodation and visits for students groups. Each year hundreds of students are traveling with us.

Suggesting Toledo:

«The imperial city», also known as «the city of the three cultures» for having been populated for centuries by Christians, Jews and Muslims.

. Victorio Macho Sculptor Museum. In its origin was the ancient Jewish butcher shop. In a beautiful garden at the foot of the Tajo river

. The synagogue of Santa María la Blanca takes us back to the Jewish route. We would be before the major synagogue of the Jewish quarter of Toledo.

. Gates of the Jewish arch that linked the suburb neighborhood with the Jewish Quarter, were closed at night, under lock and key, in order to protect the Jewish quarter from possible aggressions.

. Convent of San Antonio de Padua has a surprise reserved for us, the cutlery of Cardinal Cisneros in gold, rock crystal, hawksbill and coral. In this convent we can also take the opportunity to buy the artisan marzipan, whose origin is pure Sephardic), which these religious perform. His specialty, the hearts of San Antonio made, of course, with much, much love.

. Toledo’s most famous painting «The burial of the Count of Orgaz» awaits us in the church of Santo Tomé, thus making this temple one of the most visited in the entire city.

. Traffic Synagogue and Sefardi Museum. This synagogue, built in 1366 by Samuel Levi, belonged to the Hebrews until their expulsion by the Catholic Monarchs, thus becoming a Christian temple. Its walls are decorated with beautiful Greek and Hebrew inscriptions. Many of them speak of King Pedro who gave them permission to begin this construction.

This is just an appetizer of the many routes throughout Sephardic Spain and Portugal that will be proposed in next articles.