Guide to Jewish and Kosher Spain
 
 
Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Urban Cultours (Jewish Tour)

Some history of the Urban Cultours
Dominique Tomasov Blinder is an American/Argentinean architect dedicated to studying and presenting Jewish history, past and present. She is active in the local Jewish community and an advocate for Jewish heritage protection.

In 1999 created Urban Cultours project as a contribution to connect Jewish past with today’s Jewish life in Barcelona and Catalonia.

She collaborates the World Monument Fund Jewish Heritage Program.

Her work has earned her recognition as an activist in this field.

Co-Founder of the Heritage Commission of the Jewish Communities of Catalonia and the Center of Studies ZAKHOR for the protection and transmission of Jewish Heritage. These entities were responsible for requesting in 2006, "landmark designation" for the middle ages Jewish cemetery in Barcelona, which was granted in June 2009.

Jewish Tour
 
Urban Cultours 

During the Middle Ages Jewish life flourished in most of the towns and villages in Sepharad. With the edict of expulsion of 1492, Jews were faced with the choice of "leave or convert to Catholicism". Since a little over a century ago, there is a slow process of Jewish families returning to Spain.
Once again, Jewish life blooms in many cities. Three cities in Catalonia have made strong efforts to recover their Jewish legacy, Girona, Besalu and Barcelona. This last one being the only one in the region with active synagogues and a rich community cultural life.

Available tours:
Barcelona's Jewish past
* El Call, Jewish quarter: visit a remnant of the city's Jewish past, with comments on the area's history from its origins until the present
* Oldest synagogue: found and restored under the basement of a XVII century building, is available to visitors and for Jewish ceremonies
* Tablets from the Jewish cemetery, dating back to the X century
* City History Museum: itinerary through the ruins of Roman Barcelona, under the present city, where some Hebrew inscriptions can be seen on the walls

Barcelona's ancient synagogue
* The oldest synagogue in Barcelona reopens in 2002 after a long restoration process led by the Associació Call de Barcelona
* Some remaining cellar structures, dating from the V to XV centuries, are located below the four flights built in the XVII century
* A mezuzah from Israel, the 'hand dressed' Aaron HaKodesh; a menorah sculpted by artist Ferran Aguiló in Mallorca; a welcome inscription skillfully painted, and visitors from all over the world that will celebrate Judaism in this space
* A joint effort to bring back the soul of the synagogue, honoring from now on the memory of Rabbi Shlomo ben Adret

Barcelona's Jewish present
* Visit the Holocaust Memorial, dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the Shoah by the Jews of Barcelona
* Visit Anne Frank Square, dedicated in 1998 by the City of Barcelona to the young writer
* Exchange experiences with the local Jewish community. Comunidad Israelita de Barcelona (orthodox), the first community building in peninsular Spain since the expulsion of 1492
* Visit the newly established Chabad Lubavitch Center for Jewish Studies
* Participate in shabbat services
* Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Chanukah, Tu Bishvat, Purim, Passover, Shavuot and Sukot
* Come to the International Jewish Film Festival organized by Macabi every spring
* Attend recitals of Ladino and Klezmer music
* Visit the Río Piedras publishing house, specializing in titles of Jewish interest from all historical periods
* Learn about Librería Europa, neo-Nazi publisher, sued by both the local Jewish community and the SOS Racism organization
* Meet Jewish artists, poets, musicians, photographers, designers
* Take a cooking class and enjoy a meal with Sephardic recipes you prepare yourself

In Catalonia

Gerona
Stroll through the restored historic district, visit the Jewish Quarter (Call) and learn about its history; visit the Bonastruc Ça Porta Center for Jewish Studies and the Museum of the Jews of the Middle Ages, on the site where Nahmanides ran his Cabala center.

Besalú
Visit this small walled city, see traces of its old Call, the market square and the buildings that remain from the Middle Ages. Its mikvah from the thirteenth century, discovered in 1964 and perfectly restored, is the only one in Spain from that era.

La Bisbal
One of the important Jewish quarters in Catalonia, its street layout remains intact. Visit a few other neighboring towns which had Jewish life in centuries past.

Wineries
The main Catalan centers of wine production have the most interesting buildings from the end of the nineteenth century. There is one cooperative that, in 1993, returned to the ancient tradition of producing kosher wine.
Photo of Urban Cultours

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