March 11, 2013
Spanish town prepares first seder in 500 years
A town in northern Spain is preparing to hold its first Passover seder since 1492.
The festive dinner will take place in the old center of the town of Ribadavia on March 25 and is being organized by the municipality’s tourism department in partnership with the Center for Medieval Studies, a Ribadavia-based association which researches the history of Iberian Jews prior to their expulsion during the Spanish Inquisition that began in 1492.
The center’s honorary president, historian Abraham Haim, will be conducting the religious ceremonies at the seder, according to a report by La Voz de Galicia, a local newspaper. Anyone is invited to attend, but 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 Spanish 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.