12 May, 2018 @ 10:00
1 min read

Festival held in an attempt to revive Balearic Jewish community

No schmucks

THE very first festival of Jewish learning has been held as an attempt to grow the island’s small but resurgent community.

Organised by Limud – a global movement which aims to connect Jewish people – participants enjoyed cooking classes, a book club and hiking trips.

85 people attended the day-long festival out of the island’s 200 strong community.

“We realized there was something missing from the Jewish community here in Mallorca since only a few members attend weekly Friday nights at the synagogue while there exists a larger number of unaffiliated Jews around the island,” the co-chair of Limud Mallorca, Dani Rotstein told the Mallorca Olive Press.

We wanted to bring to this community an opportunity to teach and learn together as well as connect.

“The idea of Limud Mallorca is that there is something for everyone.

“From topics on ‘The History of the Jewish Empanada’ to ‘Sephardic Influence on Flamenco’ we aimed to celebrate Jewish culture, history, and most of all diversity without putting an emphasis on ‘how Jewish you need to be’ to attend.

“There was something for the most and least connected to Judaism.”

Historically, Mallorca had a rich Jewish heritage but the Inquisition in the 1300s forced the vast majority of the island’s Jews to convert or practice their faith secretly.

The descendants of these Jews were known as ‘Chuetas’ and there is estimated to be 20,000 Mallorquins today with a Chueta last name.

More recently the religion has seen a slow but steady revival with British Jews establishing a synagogue in Mallorca in the 1980s.

There is also a Jewish cemetary on the island.

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