SPAIN - 2016
FACTOID: Jews were in Spain well before the Christian era. There are over 500 localities in Spain that at one time had a Jewish presence.
At the end of 2015 the queen received an invitation to head a thesis defense in Barcelona. It was for a student of our friend Maria in Barcelona. In Spain a thesis defense has to be in front of one professor from the University of the student, one from another scientist from Spain and one from outside Spain. Maria wanted to know if Hynda would be willing to come to Barcelona and head the three person team.
I had just read an article from 1996 by Naomi Ragen who is an Israeli authoress who writes novels about the orthodox Jewish community. She had traveled through Spain to do research for her novel The Ghost of Hannah Mendes. The article was called `A Spanish Jewish Itinerary'. We decided to go and combine the trip for the thesis defense with a trip to Jewish Spain. We decided to follow the itinerary that Naomi Ragen did in 1996.
Her itinerary started in Madrid and traveled south to Toledo, Cordoba, Seville and Granada. These were all cities that had a significant Jewish community until 1492 when the Jews were kicked out of Spain. Although far from Rome, Spain was at one time part of the Roman Empire and as early as the 4th century when Spain became a catholic country they instituted anti-Jewish laws.
We flew into Madrid and planned to stop here on the last days of our trip. We rented a car at the airport and headed for Toledo - only 1 hour away.