Page 1



Barcelona Jewish Film in madrid

Casa Sefarad-Israel, in collaboration with the Festival Jueu de Barcelona and the Filmoteca Española Film Library, bring six films representing the latest in Jewish cinema to the Cine Doré


2 k The voice of Casa Sefarad Israel

Álef, present and future

Firstly we will be launching a programme detailing the activities for each month. This programme will be available for collection at the Palacio de Cañete, and will be sent regularly by e-mail to our mailing list.

Forty-two issues! Four years of publishing! And a distinguished list of collaborators and readers! Together these have made Álef magazine one of the defining elements in the identity of Casa Sefarad. The magazine was founded to provide a monthly listing of activities, but has been enriched by the addition of articles, opinions and reports.

Álef on the other hand will be revamped by boosting the more educational sections, consolidating itself as a publication specialising in historic and contemporary events relating to the Jewish heritage: history, literature, arts, civil society, the economy and others. These texts will often be linked to events on Casa Sefarad's programme; however, Alef will no longer be an information guide.

And we appreciate that the educational content of our publication has been relegating its functions as a support for Casa Sefarad's schedule of activities to a secondary level. However, the ever increasing number of such activities resulting from us now having a permanent home means that it is now becoming appropriate to separate both aspects of what the magazine does into two different publications. So, this is the last issue of Álef in its current format. From June the magazine will be separated into two parts:

There will also be changes to the format: from 2012 Álef will be exclusively available electronically. Rather than for purely financial reasons, this is to create a more interactive format enriched with audio-visual content. This is a way in which we can take advantage of the possibilities offered by technology and promote Casa Sefarad's activities in social networks, thus combining tradition and modernity in pursuit of our objective to promote knowledge of Jewish culture.



■ ■ GOVERNING COUNCIL PRESIDENT Trinidad Jiménez VICE-PRESIDENT Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma VICE-PRESIDENT Alberto Ruíz Gallardón

JUNE > UNTIL THE 12TH > Buen Retiro Park > Casa Sefarad-Israel: stand 15

Casa Sefarad at Madrid’s Feria del Libro book fair


■ For the fourth consecutive year, Casa Sefarad is taking part in Madrid's Feria del Libro book fair, which continues until 12 June. As usual, we have entrusted management of our stand to a number of publishers which specialise in Jewish culture. Stand 15 will host a number of presentations on Jewish topics and signing sessions by leading authors. Sefarad Editores will be presenting "Tradiciones y costumbres judías" (Jewish traditions and customs) by Erna C. Schlesinger, a book of stories by the Israeli Nobel prize winner S. Y. Agnon and a biography of Gustav Mahler. Olivo Azul will present titles such as the collection of stories "Mundos perdidos" (Lost Worlds) by Marcel Schwob; the novels "Camino a campo abierto" (The Road into the Open) by Arthur Schniztler; and "Tynset" by Wolfgang Hildesheimer, and two books by the young Jewish author Gabriel Sofer. Libros Certeza will be presenting its extensive catalogue and hosting signing sessions by the authors of “Suave música trae la noche” (The Gentle Music of the Night) and “Sedom”. Hebraica Ediciones will

Alef is a monthly periodical published by Casa Sefarad Israel and Sefarad Editores. All rights reserved. Casa Sefarad Israel is not responsible for the editorial content or opinions expressed by the authors. PUBLISHING Úrsula O'Kuinghttons Opinion coordinator Fernando Mtz.-Vara de Rey Collaborator Esther Querub PHOTOGRAPHY Pepe Méndez, Samuel Grané and Atlántida Communication ( NEWS FROM SPAIN AND ABROAD Atlántida Comunicación ( DESIGN Atlántida Comunicación (

All information provided is confidential


JUNE > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm > FREE ADMISSION

La guía de la sabiduría oculta de la Cabalá (A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of the Kabbalah)

■ Rav Laitman is one of the most eminent figures in the study and knowledge of the Kabbalah. Michael Laitman is a Professor of Ontology and Knowledge Theory, a Doctor of Philosophy and holds a Master’s Degree in Bio-cybernetics; he is the founder and Chairman of the Bnei Baruj Educational Institute and the Ashlagde Research Institute. His deep knowledge and ability to communicate it is demonstrated by the more than forty works he has published, which have been translated into 18 languages. "A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of the Kabbalah” describes the scientific

About us.Casa Sefarad-Israel is a Spanish institution established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Madrid Regional Government and the Madrid City Council. Our objectives: To promote relationships of friendship and cooperation between Spain, Israel and Jewish communities all over the world by carrying out activities in the political, economic, social, scientific and cultural fields. Where to find us. C/ Mayor, 69. Madrid / Tel.: + 34 91 391 10 02 E-mail:

Do you want to be kept informed about the activities of Casa Sefarad-Israel? Send you personal details (Full name/Mailing Address/Postcode/ Province/Telephone/e-mail) to the following e-mail address: or by post to: Activity coordination. Casa Sefarad-Israel. C/ Mayor, 69. Madrid 28013.

organise signing sessions by Verónica Nehama and Jacobo Israel among others and will present the eagerlyawaited memoires of Violeta Friedman. And the list of authors taking part through Casa Sefarad also includes the other authors involved in activities on our stand, including Meir Shalev, Eliette Abecassis, Rozita Iles, Luis Cazorla and our own Esther Bendahan.

-).)34%2)/ $%!35.4/3%84%2)/2%3 9$%#//0%2!#)œ.

The institution: GOBIERNO DE ESPAÑA

-).)34%2)/ $%!35.4/3%84%2)/2%3 9$%#//0%2!#)œ.


-).)34%2)/ $%!35.4/3%84%2)/2%3 9$%#//0%2!#)œ.



4 k Schedule

method used by Dr. Laitman in his own self-discovery and spiritual growth. Some of the elements in this work, which represents a treatise on the meaning of life, include the internal processes which affect each individual, the pleasure and pain principles and the search for inner riches. His objective is to achieve a new global education based on universal values in order to found a harmonious and integrated society. Casa Sefarad is hosting the presentation of “A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of the Kabbalah”, which will be attended by Michael Laitman.


JUNE > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm

suffered by the author when, during the Six Day War, he received four bullet wounds and, seriously injured, had to wait for several hours to be rescued by a helicopter. Meir Shalev will be talking about his life and work at an event organised by Casa Sefarad in collaboration with the Ático de los Libros and the Embassy of Israel. The author will also be signing copies of the book at Casa Sefarad’s stand at Madrid’s Feria del Libro book fair (stand 15) on Sunday, 5 June at 12 o’clock.

Meir Shalev presents “El chico de las palomas” (A Pigeon and a Boy): a marvellous story of the power of love


■ Meir Shalev was born in Israel in the same year (1948) that the State was founded, and is considered to be one of the greatest narrative voices of his generation. His unique style combining a sentimental tone with references to his ancestral land has won him many awards in Israel and other countries, and his work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is coming to Spain to present his novel “A Pigeon and a Boy”. The story takes place, once again, in 1948: a young soldier suffers a fatal wound, but before he dies he manages to send a last pigeon with a message for the girl he has loved since he was a child. Almost thirty years later, this episode intertwines with the story of falling in and out of love of an Israeli guide who accompanies tourists who are interested in bird watching. Two of the most important elements in “A Pigeon and a Boy” are humour and sensitivity. This book has been acclaimed by readers in Italy, France, Germany, Holland and Israel: it is based on a painful experience

Professor Alcala presents his book ‘Los judeoconversos en la cultura y sociedad españolas’ (Converted Jews in Spanish culture and society)

JUNE > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm > FREE ADMISSION

■ The quality of Angel Alcala’s work has been demonstrated in more than 20 books and numerous articles, many of which relate to Spain’s Golden Century. He is a member of the Royal Academy of History and the Argentine Academy of Moral Science and Politics; Professor Alcala has taught philosophy at Pontifical University of Salamanca and Spanish literature at the City University of New York. The prestigious Editorial Trotta publishing house has published his book "Los judeoconversos en la cultura y sociedad españolas", a compendious study which establishes the importance of converted Jews as a channel for communication between Jewish and

Christian Spanish culture. The four main chapters of the book address, among other issues, the attacks on Judaism in the 15th century; the effects of the Inquisition and the expulsion; the literary output of the anti-Jews and converted Jews; and the life and work of converted Jews such as Miguel Servet and Fray Luis de León. The Prologue states, “from 1492 the continuing Jewish influence on Spain was no longer due to clearly Jewish minds, but to converted Jews filtered through the chiaroscuro of the baptismal font, which in the vast majority of cases they had been forced to accept as a result of explicit violence or social pressure”. Angel Alcala will be presenting his book “Los judeoconversos en la cultura y sociedad españolas” at an event hosted by Casa Sefarad. At the presentation, the author will be discussing the historical and literary aspects of his work with the representatives of the academic world: José Martínez Millán (Professor of Modern History at the Autonomous University of Madrid), Miguel Ángel Ladero Quesada (Professor of Mediaeval History and Member of the Royal Academy of History) and Luis Suárez Fernández (Emeritus Professor of Mediaeval History at the Autonomous University of Madrid and Member of the Royal Academy of History).


JUNE > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm > FREE ADMISSION

“Jewish Spanish in expressions and sayings” and “Buenos Aires and the Sephardic Jews”: two conferences focusing on Buenos Aires ■ Around 40,000 of the 200,000 Jews who live in Argentina have Sephardic origins. The origins of some of the successive waves of Diasporas which have settled in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Cordoba and other parts of Argentina go back to Turkey, Syria and Morocco.


CIDICSEF, the main Sephardic organisation based in Argentina, will be represented by two people at the Madrid Feria del Libro book fair. The excellent relationship between Casa Sefarad and CIDICSEF (Centre for Research and Diffusion of Sephardic Culture), and other Sephardic bodies in Latin America such as Thubicadas, enables a cultural and institutional exchange, which will include successive conferences in Segovia, Madrid and Aranjuez. These conferences will be led by the musicologist and writer Graciela Tevah de Ryba and the psychologist and writer María Cherro de Azar; the second of the conferences will be in Jewish Spanish: >Buenos Aires and the Sephardic Jews: Colourful Aspects of Everyday life (Graciela Tevah de Ryba). The Sephardic Jews of Buenos Aires in the colourful Villa Crespo neighbourhood. Aspects of everyday life and coexistence with other European immigrants. Different events from the period, and the effect on Sephardic Jews of the visit of Spanish artists. > Jewish Spanish in expressions and sayings (María Cherro de Azar) The Jewish Spanish language contains the memory of a people; it is the living testimony of their existence and their ideas. It contains traces of the cities through which they passed and the people with whom they came into contact. The customs and beliefs of everyday Sephardic life are revealed in the corpus of sayings which

summarise the powerful traditions of their Judaism, enriched by Arabic sayings and, from the 16th century, by Turkish and Greek sayings. Our sayings contain knowledge, warnings and advice in a way which is easy to understand through simple metaphors, and which if full of wisdom and humour in a range of different tones: sometimes joking, sometimes ironic and sometimes sarcastic.


JUNE > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm > FREE ADMISSION

‘Mi cocina ashkefarad’, (My AshkenaziSephardic cuisine), Ashkenazi and Sephardic flavours

■ Advice, photographs, historic and folkloric references, passages from the Talmud and Sephardic sayings relating to food are all on a menu which covers huge distances and many languages. All the tastes of the Jewish kitchen converge in a recipe book which has been patiently compiled by the author Rozita Iles from the Balkans, which was recently launched as the Instituto Cervantes in Belgrade. Rozita Iles is the daughter of

a Bosnian Sephardic mother and an Ashkenazi father. Influenced by both of her parents, she has brought together dozens of recipes in “Mi cocina Ashkefarad” which are classified by categories (soups, vegetables, desserts, etc.) and festivals (Pesach, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, etc.). The author says: “My intention was to bring the two cultures of a single people closer together through food, because Jewish food is totally international as a result of the conditions in which we have lived in different locations all over the world. The huge range of customs the Jews brought with them and the new customs they adopted in their new homes make every dish into a variation built upon the base of Jewish tradition.” Sandra Israel, editor and author of a number of Sephardic recipe books, will accompany Rozita Iles at an event which will end with a tasting of sweets cooked by the author.


JUNE > UNTIL THE 19TH > refer to the Programme in the report in the centre pages

Barcelona Jewish Film Festival in Madrid

■ Casa Sefarad-Israel is hosting the first Barcelona Jewish Film Festival


álef electronic version Dear reader, This June issue is the 42nd issue of Alef. Having achieved this milestone and after nearly three years of publication, we can say that we are now well-established and have a monthly date with our friends and everyone who sympathises with Casa Sefarad-Israel. In the future, we want to continue offering our usual sections and approach. But we also intend to boost the technological version of Alef to achieve greater punctuality, interactivity and savings. We would like to ask those of you who receive your copy of Alef by post to let us know whether you would be happy to receive future issues electronically. If this is the case, please write to us at or



6 k Schedule

in Madrid. This collaboration with the Barcelona Festival de Cinema Jueu de – which is held with the support of Barcelona Council and the Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain - features six days of events, five of which will take place in the distinguished setting of the Filmoteca Española Spanish Film Library: the Cine Doré. In addition to the Jewish themes, and in some cases direction and cast of each film, the other common factor to all of these films is that they are being shown for the first time in Spain. The presence of the Israeli director Eran Riklis (who directed the acclaimed “Lemon trees”) will bring the audience into direct contact with the creators of “Jewish film”, which could be classed as a sub-genre. This event has been made possible through the support of the Embassies of Israel and the United States in Spain. The first Barcelona Jewish Film Festival in Madrid includes one documentary and five feature films. The films were made in Israel, Argentina, the UK, USA and the Czech Republic and provide a vision of the Jewish world created by directors and scriptwriters from three continents. This diversity is also reflected in the variety of genres and issues addressed: anti-Semitism, the Shoah, religious orthodoxy and the suggestive and mixed background of Israel itself. This sample of works reveals the quality which marks Jewish film in very different locations, and the interest and fascination aroused by the singularity of Jewish tradition and the historic wanderings of Jewish people.



“Caminos de Sefarad”: The Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain's International Sephardic Music Festival


JUNE > Plaza de Oriente > MADRID > 8:00 pm > FREE ADMISSION

European Music Day: Beri Sajarof and Rea Mojiaj perform rock version of the verses of Ibn Gabirol

■ Adumey Hasefatot (“Red lips”, an expression taken from one of the immortal poems of Ibn Gabirol) is the title of the CD which the leading Israeli musicians Sajarof and Mojiaj are dedicating to the illustrious 16th century Jewish-Spanish writer. Whilst Sajarof’s artistic career has been based on pop and rock, this is not his first experience with poetry, as he has previously adapted compositions by Israeli writers such as Nathan Alterman, Hayim Nahman Bialik and Lea Goldberg. This unique recreation of the verses of Ibn Gabirol combines the old and the new; the sacred and profane; folk and the vanguard with the rhythms and chords of contemporary music. The instrumentation includes drums, marimba, lute, wind instruments, piano, cello and percussion

■ Cordoba is hosting the tenth anniversary of its prestigious Sephardic Music Festival. The Council and the Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain are working together on an initiative which is attracting the leading performers of Sephardic music. This year’s festival will complement its musical activities with educational activities: workshops, films, conferences, the “Armonías de azul y ocre” (Harmony in blue and ochre) exhibition and a biblical tasting of kosher wine. Casa Sefarad will be involved

Beri Sajarof and Rea Mojiaj in performance.

backing Sajarof’s voice in a unique performance in Spain, which will take place in the magnificent setting of the Plaza de Oriente. For the fifth consecutive year, Casa Sefarad is involved in European Music Day, a Madrid Council initiative which, as in other European cities, attracts leading cultural performances. This year, Casa Sefarad is working closely with Israel's Embassy in Spain, on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

through the sponsorship of two performances, both of which will take place at 10:30 pm: on Monday, 20th, the Argentine duo Lerner & Moguilevsky, which has been performing a splendid combination of musical genres and instruments based on Sephardic tradition for fifteen years; and on Wednesday, 22nd, the Israeli Berri Shaharof, who has adapted the poems of Ibn Gabirol to rock and pop sounds, using bass, lute, wind instruments, cello and percussion to accompany the lyrical force of the great 16th century JewishAndalusian poet with modern chords.



JUNE > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm > FREE ADMISSION

‘Juan de Dios, saint and Jew’

■ In his first novel, Ángel Ballesteros, an eminent surgeon from Leon has recreated the life and work of Granada’s Juan Ciudad, who was canonised in 1690 as Saint Juan de Dios. Eighteen years of painstaking research and fourteen hours a day of hard work over a year and a half have borne fruit in this splendid historical novel. In his own words 'this is not the biography of a saint, but rather a portrait of poverty, adversity and social injustice'. Doctor Ballesteros has applied his humane and scientifically meticulous approach to the intriguing questions which surround Juan Ciudad: “Was he Jewish? Was he actually born in Montemor O Novo in Portugal? Or in CasarrubiosdelMonteinToledoprovince in the Castilian realm of the Catholic Monarchs? Did he visit Montemor in his childhood? Who were his parents? Why did he not have any brothers or sisters? Why was he abducted by a priest and taken to Oropesa when he was still very young? What could his relationship have been with the Counts of Oropesa? What led him to serve in the army of Emperor Carlos V? What was the reason for his trip to Flanders, crossing Europe from Vienna accompanying Fernando de Oropesa? Why did he end up on the shores of La Coruña after leaving Flanders? What stopped him from setting off for the Indies? What were his relations with the most illustrious families of Granada that had so recently been under the control of the Moors but was now a bastion of a unified kingdom under the imperial shield of the Emperor? What were the reasons for his audience with King Philip II in Valladolid?” One of the themes revealed by the author in his presentation of the novel at Casa Sefarad, which will also be attended by Jacobo Israel Garzón, will be the very likely Jewish ancestors of Saint Juan de Dios.


JUNE > ALSO THE 29TH > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm > ENTRY €5

“Jolanta”: a play which pays homage to a woman who saved 2500 children from the Warsaw ghetto ■ Warsaw, 1939. “The Nazis invade Poland and build a Ghetto for the Jews in front of the incredulous but powerless people of the city. However, part of the population fought back against this injustice in a number of ways. Irena Sendler and her friends took on the regime by getting the seeds of a whole generation of Jewish babies and children who were going to be killed out of the Ghetto. “Anything that could be used to save a child, anything that would not be noticed into which a life would fit – a toolbox, for example - was a ticket to the other side”. Jolanta was the codename of Irena Sendler, a Polish nurse who managed to save the lives of at least 2500 Jewish children. Fear of the contagious diseases which were rife in the Warsaw ghetto made it easier for non-Jewish professionals to outwit this barbarism. Irena Sendler risked her life using false documents and unusual ways of transporting people, and this eventually led to her being tortured and a death sentence which fortunately was never carried out. The Semillas Theatre Company has recreated the heroic life of Irena Sendler in a play which masterfully

employs light and sound to achieve its effects. Casa Sefarad will be hosting two performances which, according to the Company’s director, Mireia Miracle, “Semillas is at the service of the stories of men and women who have tried to cut the chain of hatred and throughout history have managed to defeat totalitarianism without recourse to weapons or spilling blood using their intelligence and wits and fighting with the only force that can move mountains: love.” Reservations


JUNE > Palacio de Cañete > C/ MAYOR 69 > MADRID > 7:30 pm > FREE ADMISSION

Larache, “la ciudad del Lucus” (The city of Lucus) ■ Larache has exercised an inescapable literary attraction on many authors from different periods, including Leon the African, Luis de Góngora, Ali Bey, Tomás García Figueras and Mohamed Chukri. Most recently, the leading jurist and writer Luis María Cazorla has published a novel entitled “La ciudad del Lucus” (The city of Lucus) which takes the reader back into the past and the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco. “La ciudad del Lucus” features historical figures such as Fernández Silvestre and Ahmed el-Raisuni, and masterfully describes the political and military atmosphere of those times, but also the everyday life of the cafes, shops and streets. Casa Sefarad is holding an event which is open to the public for everyone who is emotionally or artistically attracted to the city of Larache. Luis María Cazorla will be taking part in a roundtable discussion chaired by the citric and jurist Eduardo Torres Dulce, and which will also feature Gabriela Grech (the photographer of the Larache-Al Araich project) and the writer Sergio Barce (author, among other works, of “Últimas noticias de Larache y otros cuentos” (The latest news from Larache and other stories)).



8 k Activities in pictures

 26 APRIL. Alejandra Pizarnik is not 75 Casa Sefarad and the Centre of Modern Art are holding this exhibition which will remain open at the Palacio de Cañete until the end of June. The exhibition includes first editions, photographs and personal objects relating to the Jewish-Argentine author.

 5 MAY. Conference on the Holocaust. The Camilo José Cela University and Casa Sefarad held a conference on the Holocaust and Nazi medicine at the University.

 5 MAY. Interview with Eva Rosenthal and David Galante. A Casa Sefarad delegation headed by Diego de Ojeda met the Holocaust survivors Eva Rosenthal and David Galante at the Holocaust Museum in Buenos Aires.

 5 MAY. Meeting with María Kodama. María Kodama received the Casa Sefarad delegation which took part in the Buenos Aires book fair at the Borges Foundation.

 9 MAY. ‘Get Closer’: the melodic rock of Geva Alon live. The Israeli singer-songwriter performed a concert in Madrid as part of a European tour which includes Spain, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

ACTIVITIES k Activities in pictures

 10 MAY. Breakfast press conference with Jonathan Safran Foer Jonathan Safran Foer signs the Casa Sefarad guest book when visiting our premises. During his visit he discussed his acclaimed essay ‘Eating animals’.

 11 MAY. “Mitología de Nueva York, literatura y misterio” (Mythology of New York, literature and mystery) Vanessa Monfort discusses her novel‘Mitología de Nueva York’ with Jorge Benavides.

 26 MAY. The ‘Visas for Freedom exhibition in Tirana. The National Museum of Tirana hosted this exhibition, the opening of which was attended by the General Secretary of Casa Sefarad-Israel, Miguel de Lucas. The event was also graced by the participation of the Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha, and the Spanish Ambassador to Tirana.


general interest

10 k reports Casa Sefarad-Israel is promoting the first Barcelona Jewish Film Festival in Madrid, in collaboration with Barcelona's Festival de Cinema Jueu and the Filmoteca Española film library. Our programme consists of six events: the first of these is an inaugural evening featuring the Israeli musician Idan Raichel; whilst the other five will take place in the wonderful setting of the Filmoteca Española Film Library, the Cine Doré cinema.

Barcelona Jewish Film Festival in Madrid

By Fernando Mtz.-Vara de Rey With its four years of experience of organising cultural events, Casa Sefarad is well aware of the universality of Jewish cinema, the quality of the films produced, and their value as a way of promoting Jewish traditions and concerns. We have also observed the interest which the Spanish public have in Jewish cinema: in a variety of contexts in different cities we have organised programmes related to Amos Gitai and the Coen brothers, pre-launch screenings and screenings of Israeli feature and short films and documentaries from all over the world; we even held a full screening of the lengthy and harrowing ‘Shoah’, which was attended by its director, Claude Lanzmann. The wonderful response from the public to these and similar events has inspired the creation of a festival which, like the

long-running Barcelona festival, brings together previously unseen films and promotes contact between those involved and the public. In addition to the Jewish themes, and in some cases direction and cast of each film, the other common factor for all of the films in the Barcelona Jewish Film Festival in Madrid is that they are being shown for the first time in Spain. The presence of the Israeli director Eran Riklis (who directed the acclaimed “Lemon trees”) will bring us into direct contact with the creators of “Jewish film”, which could be classed as a sub-genre. This event has been made possible through the support of the Embassies of Israel and the United States in Spain. The first Barcelona Jewish Film Festival in Madrid includes one documentary and five feature films. The films were made in Israel,

Argentina, the UK, USA and the Czech Republic and provide a vision of the Jewish world created by directors and scriptwriters from three continents. This diversity is also reflected in the variety of genres and issues addressed: anti-Semitism, the Shoah, the attack on the AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina – the IsraeliArgentine Mutual Association) in Buenos Aires, religious orthodoxy and the suggestive and mixed background of Israel itself. The documentary ‘Black over White’, which opens the Festival, recreates the Idan Raichel Project's tour of Ethiopia. This fascinating and real project combines music, landscape and a mosaic of cultures: one of the musicians is reunited with his grandmother in Addis Ababa; the group rehearses with some villagers; and, in a particularly moving section, the musicians meet some future emigrants to Israel. Perhaps the most eagerly awaited screening is that of the Israeli film ‘The Human Resources Manager’ another example of the reflective and sensitive vision of Eran Riklis, this time based on a novel by the famous Israeli author Abraham B. Yehoshúa. The film is a ‘road movie’ which describes the tribulations suffered by a human resources manager who has to visit Rumania; in addition to a consul and a journalist, he is also accompanied by a coffin containing the remains of an employee who died in a horrendous attack. The 18th Barcelona Jewish Film Festival will be held in parallel from 11 to 19 June, supported by Barcelona Council and the Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain. The feature films scheduled for Madrid will be screened at the Institut Francés and in Plaza de San Felipe Neri, together with a wide-ranging selection of short films and documentaries, including the most recent works by the famous directors Daniel Burman and Tomer Heymann. Madrid and Barcelona are preparing for two Festivals which will display the quality of Jewish cinema. We are sure that, as in Barcelona, the Madrid Festival will become a regular fixture on the capital's cultural programme.


Launch of the Festival in the gardens of Casa Sefarad-Israel Palacio de Cañete. C/ Mayor 69 >Tuesday, 14 June, 9:30 pm A glass of Israeli wine and a screening of ‘Black over white’, Tomer Heymann, Israel. Discussion with the Israeli musician Idan Raichel, the subject of the documentary. Free admission

Filmoteca Española sessions (Cine Doré. C/ Santa Isabel, 3) >Wednesday, 15 June, 7:15 pm ‘The Human Resources Manager’, Eran Riklis, Israel. In the presence of the director, Eran Riklis >Thursday, 16 June, 7:40 pm 'Anita’, Marcos Carnevale, Argentina.

>Friday, 17 June, 7:40 pm ‘The infidel’, Josh Appignanesi, UK. >Saturday, 18 June, 7:50 pm ‘Holly Rollers’, Kevin Ash, USA. >Sunday, 19 June, 8:00 pm ‘Protektor’, Marek Najbrt, Czech Republic.

Cine Doré tickets: Standard: 2.50 euros 10-session ticket: 20 euros Students: 2 euros 10-session ticket: 15 euros

general interest

12 k reports

Bernat Aguiló was just a child. He would have been five or six years old when he heard other kids just like him using the word "chueta" (a descendent of one of the Mallorcan Jews who converted to Christianity) as an insult. “Whoever comes last is a chueta”, shouted one of the kids during a race. Bernat and his brothers preferred to stop. It was their way of saying that they were not concerned about such insults.

The fact that their father was descended from "chuetas" (converted Jews) had never been a trauma for this public servant. The family had never disguised their roots at home. “I always knew that I was descended from people who were burnt at the stake for their religious beliefs and who were persecuted by the Inquisition. This made me stronger”, the social worker who is just turning 40 says. "It is not possible to explain the "chueta" phenomenon," he adds “unless you understand that we were living on an island and the Inquisition terrified the whole population”. His grandfather had been obliged to wear a yellow jacket to church, and to sit on a special pew during the Eucharist. This was one of the penalties imposed by the Inquisition which still had to be complied with. Incidents such as this are impossible to imagine in Palma de Mallorca today.

The Balearic Islands reunited with its converted Jewish past

general interest k reports

“They used to insult us when we were young; but my son had to explain to his schoolmates what a "chueta" was, because they didn't know”, he says. Four Autos De Fe were held in 1691 by the Inquisition to stop the proliferation of Jewish believers on the Island (82 Mallorcan converts and chuetas were condemned for the crime of practising Judaism in secret). At the first of these on 7 March nobody was killed; at the second on 1 May, 21 people were killed; at the third on 6 May, 13 people were killed; and at the fourth on 2 June, three people were killed. Thirty seven of these people were killed using the "vil" garrotte. Then their bodies were burnt. Three of them were burnt alive: the Rabbi Rafael Valls (one of whose descendents, José Wallis Valls, intoned a Jewish prayer in memory of the dead - the Kaddish - at the event) and the siblings Caterina and Rafael Tarongí.

Walter Benjamin said “memory reopens cases which the law and history regard as being closed”. In early-May, in an unprecedented act, the government of the Balearic islands evoked this story which is so frequently avoided. The event, which was led by the President of the Balearic Islands, Francesc Antich, took place in the patio of the Consolat de Mar. This recognition was also the result of efforts by organisations such as Shavei Israel, the Jewish Community of the Balearic Islands, Arca, the Instituto de Relaciones Culturales Baleares Israel (Balearic Islands-Israel Institute of Cultural Relations), Legado Judío (Jewish Legacy), Memoria de la Calle (Memory of the Street), Sello (Street), magazine of Jewish history and culture and Tarbut Cultura Judía Mallorca (Tarbut Jewish culture in Mallorca). In the 1930s, Gabriel Alomar, an essayist involved in the Catalan

Modernist artistic movement, publically asked for the memory of the victims to be honoured close to Plaza Gomila (the location of the "Bonfire of the Jews"). Public institutions have finally borne witness to this. They have recognised the injustice committed against these Mallorcans who were accused, persecuted, tried and condemned to death for their faith and their beliefs. Most of their descendents did not attend the event. They would have found out about it afterwards when it was reported in the newspapers. However, many will still have memories of being victims of marginalisation and harassment for one single reason: having one of the fifteen surnames of those condemned by the Inquisition - Aguiló, Bonnín, Cortès, Fortesa/ Forteza, Fuster, Martí, Miró, Picó, Pinya/ Piña, Pomar, Segura, Tarongí, Valentí, Valleriola and Valls. “Forgetting is injustice” proclaimed Aina Aguiló, a descendent of these Jewish converts, at the event. “We have to bare our souls and recognise that there is a stain there so that it is never repeated”, warned Bernat Aguiló. This “stain” referred to is that which the writer Bartomeu Fiol described as “our greatest sin”, and the poet Miquel Dolç called “un hecho diferencial, nada digno” (“something which sets us apart, but not in a dignified way”). Aguiló added that “the people of Mallorca asked for forgiveness at the individual level a long time ago; for a long time the have been ashamed of what occurred”. Ángel Alcalá calls for recognition of this group in his book ‘Los judeoconversos en la cultura y sociedad españolas’ (Converted Jews in Spanish Culture and Society). The Prologue states: “From the horrendous year of 1492 the continuing Jewish influence on Spain was no longer due to clearly Jewish minds, but to converted Jews filtered through the chiaroscuro of the baptismal font, which in the vast majority of cases they had been forced to accept as a result of explicit violence or social pressure”. In his opinion, “it is now time for Sephardic and other Jews to recognise the tragedy of the converted Jews and show more understanding of them”.



14 k Forum

The Universe of Albert Einstein Telmo Fernández Deputy Director of Madrid Planetarium ‘Alef’ includes this Forum section for the discussion of current issues from different perspectives. The opinions expressed in the Forum are exclusively the points of view of the authors

In 1917 it was thought that the Milky Way, our Galaxy, was the whole Universe: a set of millions of stars which, although they could move internally, did not change their structure as a whole, which was in equilibrium. The Galaxy had always existed, although its component parts, such as the stars, evolved over time, being born and dying. When Einstein applied his new theory in order to achieve a coherent model of the Universe, he expected that the solution to his equations would be compatible with the idea of a static Universe. His 1917 work, The General Theory of Relativity, changed the way that we think about cosmological issues, moving from philosophical speculation to physical reality. That article established the basis for modern cosmology: the study of the origin, evolution and structure of the Universe. Almost without intending to, Einstein created a complete theory of the Universe which has since been demonstrated

by subsequent observations. The theory of relativity has been used to create an internally-consistent model of the Cosmos as a whole which can be summarised as follows: “the observable Universe should appear the same to any observer at any point in it (isotropy) and the average density of material in the Universe is the same at all its points (homogeneity)”. He was flabbergasted when he found that the solution to his equations led to results which seemed absurd. If his models were correct, the Universe should be expanding or contracting, but could never remain static. Einstein rejected that possibility: he preferred a static Universe which was eternal and immutable, isotropic and homogeneous, as all observations appeared to indicate it to be. As he could not accept that his model resulted in a Universe other than that previously accepted, and due to the lack of evidence in this regard1, he refined his equations by adding a "cosmological constant" which provided the repulsive component required to avoid the idea of a contracting Universe, a possibility which Einstein found "not very appealing”. As a result his equations returned the type of static Universe in which he believed2.

Einstein was trying to create the simplest possible model of the Universe which explained reality and which had material uniformly distributed throughout space. The Universe must be closed upon itself, like the two-dimensional surface of a sphere, which is finite but without frontiers: if we start walking over it we end up back where we started. In Einstein's Universe, a ray of light originating in a certain point in time would return to its starting point after a certain interval of time. This was an unchanging, static Universe, the radius of which would not change over time. In 1922 the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedmann (1888-1925) solved Einstein's equations in two different ways. One of these, which included the cosmological constant, led to the type of Universe Einstein wanted; one which is stable and unchanging. The other - without the cosmological constant - resulted in different models of an evolving Universe which would have to be tested by observation. Friedmann's models found that a static Universe which is not evolving is not consistent with the equations in the General Theory of Relativity. According to him, the Cosmos must either be

At the time, observations demonstrating the expansion of the Universe had yet to be made. Evidence for an expanding Universe years later led him to declare that the introduction of the cosmological constant was the biggest mistake of his life. 1


opinion opinion k Forum

Albert Einstein visiting Madrid in 1923, when he had an audience with King Alfonso XIII.

contracting or expanding. This suggestion appeared absurd from the viewpoint of physicists at the time, who thought that the idea of an expanding or contracting Universe demonstrated the impossibility of applying the equations of Relativity to cosmological questions. However, just a few years later, this dilemma was resolved by one of the most important astro-physical discoveries of the 20th century: the recession of ‘spiral nebulae’, which was the term used at the time for spiral galaxies. In 1929, twelve years after Einstein published his model of the Universe, Edwin Hubble (1889-1953)

demonstrated that the Milky Way is not the whole of the Universe; he discovered the huge speeds at which spiral nebulae were moving away from us, and that they should therefore be considered as distant galaxies, some of which are similar to ours. We will look at this in detail in the next chapter. In the end, Einstein's "cosmological constant" was not necessary; the Universe really was expanding. Throughout history there have been great astronomers who have been, above all, compilers of observations, such as Hipparcos and Tycho Brahe. Others made mainly theoretical contributions. However, over recent centuries, scientists have understood the need to combine theory

and observation in order to achieve internally-consistent results. Einstein belongs to this latter category; not only did he propose scientifically-revolutionary theories, which would have spectacular implications for the development of astronomy and other branches of physics, he also demonstrated how to corroborate his theories through observations, accepting any form of experimental contributions. His scientific stature is such that most of his predecessors - with perhaps the sole exception of Newton - cannot be compared to him. His two theories of Special and General Relativity have transformed our understanding of space and time, revolutionising the way we conceive the laws of Nature. ď ś




By Jorge Eduardo Benavides

Literary criti-

By Sonia Pérez


A father’s legacy At the age of sixty, Tony Judt was diagnosed with a neurovegetative condition. Was it serious? No, it was his death sentence. This happened at a time of creative and intellectual effervescence for this Jewish British historian, one of the sharpest thinkers in European social-democracy, who has left us many valuable and intelligent books which, whilst often making uncomfortable reading, are always impeccable rallying cries for progress in civil society and the creation of an anti-authoritarian community. Perhaps his best known and most discussed book is "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945", an admirable and encyclopaedic overview of this vital period in European history. Judt, the thorn in the side of sloppy thinking on the left which has been lost from the contemporary European political scene, was also a disenchanted and unconstrained free-thinker; although he took an active part in strengthening the state of Israel, he soon lost faith in Zionism, which brought him a lot of problems with Jewish Communities in the United

Tony Judt.

States and other countries. This is perhaps why this exquisite product of 1960s Cambridge (which also produced Linda Colley, Cannadine, Simon Schama…) already sentenced to death, had no hesitation in writing "Ill fares the land", and stating that social democracy did not represent either the ideal past or the ideal future, but that given the options we have today, it is the best available. This is a glass of cold water in the face for those looking for simple and powerful formulae and who open the books of admired writers to get an idea of what they themselves should think… However, the Judt I am most interested in is the vulnerable man who was told that his life was being cut short and who decided to put his memories in order, leaving a posthumous book of memories as a legacy for his children; this Judt is a constant presence throughout the pages of The memory chalet (published in Spanish by Taurus as "El refugio de la memoria") like a whiff of subtle irony. The book is a look back over his life which starts in a chalet in the Swiss Alps where he spent happy and idyllic holidays with his family as a child. Judt uses this as a base from which to unravel the threads of the post-war Europe which he understands so well and in which he is considered to be one of the leading specialists. The book is not gloomy, but rather a thoughtful warning about the achievements of Europe that we are about to throw away if we do not take brave and moral action. It is without doubt the sort of book that a father would like to write for his children. 

‘Isaac Offenbach y su hijo Jacques’ (Isaac Offenbach and His Son Jacques) • Jacobo Kaufmann • Sefarad Editores

Jacobo Kaufmann is a writer, translator, researcher and theatre and opera director. He is internationally acclaimed and has conducted at some of the top opera houses in the world, such as the Liceo in Barcelona, the Colón in Buenos Aires, the Opera in Roma, Houston and Vancouver opera houses and many others in the USA and Asia. He has written plays and translated operas. Jacobo Kaufmann is an expert in the life and work of Jacques Offenbach, and has written ‘Jacques Offenbach en España, Italia y Portugal’ (Jacques Offenbach in Spain, Italy and Portugal) and is now presenting the Spanish translation of his book on Jacques' father ‘Isaac Offenbach y su hijo Jacques’ (Isaac Offenbach and his son Jacques). Jacobo grew up surrounded by the songs, operas and music of the synagogue as his father intoned them at Jewish festivals, reflecting times which have now passed. One of those melodies was by Isaac Offenbach, a synagogue singer for the Jewish Community of Cologne, and this was the spark for his interest in studying the influence of Judaism on the compositions of his son Jacques, which is obvious in his composition ‘The Tales of Hoffman’. The discovery of a collection of liturgical compositions by Isaac Offenbach set the author off on a quest into the life and work of these two composers and his passion for their music brings us into contact with the Jewish communities of the 19th century and their liturgical music. 


17 Views of Israel

‘¿Por qué Mahler? Como un hombre y diez sintonias cambiaron el mundo’ (Why Mahler? How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed the World) • Norman Lebrecht and Bertrand PoirotDelpech • Alianza Música

Norman Lebrecht (London 1948) is a writer and music and culture critic; he has published twelve books on music. In 2010 he published ‘Why Mahler?’ This work is a milestone in understanding the life of this master. He often works with BBC Radio and was a Daily Telegraph columnist from 1992 to 2004. The starting point of his passion for this musician were the memories of Alma Mahler, which led him to examine the composer's symphonies and life, in search of a life experience which was not so very different from his own. Although during his life time he was more appreciated as a conductor than as a composer, Mahler envisioned his posthumous success. He described himself as being too innovative and he was stateless three times, and this feeling of exile remains present in his music. He conducted the Vienna Opera for ten years, where he had outstanding success and received many rave reviews for his performances. As anti-Semitism increased - although not because of this - he left Vienna to conduct the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera. Lebretch analyses this most humanist of composers with the ears and psychology of an expert. He finds good fortune and desperation, passion, illness and death, social exclusion, intolerance... and ten symphonies in which he summed up the world. 

By Fernando Mtez-Vara de Rey

New fervour in Buenos Aires It often happens that the first impressions of a journey anticipate and condition subsequent ones, just as the first time a story is told provides a source of inspiration for subsequent retellings. However, a first impression of Buenos Aires is bewildering and confusing: the traveller feels the layout of the streets of Madrid; glimpses the rooftops of Paris enhancing the sky; is overwhelmed by the decaying splendour of the buildings of Havana; and continues their stroll along the endless avenues of Mexico City. However, step by step they become filled with a new spirit which fills the spaces and nests in the corners. Getting to know Buenos Aires means travelling without prejudice or comparisons through its streets bustling with effervescence, ingenuity and tradition. As part of our agreement with Cidicsef - the main Sephardic organisation in Argentina - and the warm hospitality offered by organisations and people "on the other side", a Casa Sefarad delegation travelled to Buenos Aires for its Book Fair. The designation of Argentina's capital as the World Book Capital was a splendid opportunity for promoting our organisation just four years after we launched our programme. The Book Fair took over four pavilions for the sale of all kinds of books, providing an opportunity to meet writers hungry for - or bored with - fame. Some of the writers involved included Vargas Llosa, Muñoz Molina and Rosa Montero.

Visitors to the Fair included many of the Sephardic Jews resident in Argentina, which enabled us to promote the background and purpose of Casa Sefarad. Our cultural and official activities included some emotional meetings. We were received at the Embassies of Spain and Israel; we laid a floral tribute at the feet of a statue of Maimonides with our hosts; we had an excellent meeting with Argentina's Academy of Literature, where we discussed the legacy of the Ladino Jewish-Spanish language and Yiddish in literature and the tango; and we discussed labyrinths, tigers and mirrors with María Kodama at the Borges Library. Of course, we also visited Jewish Buenos Aires. Some 40,000 of the 200,000 Jews in Argentina are Sephardic: they are mainly of Moroccan, Turkish and Syrian - from Aleppo and Damascus - descent. As a result, there are many different communities with their own places of worship and specific liturgies. Other bodies bring together Jews from all Diasporas: these include AMIA, which was founded in 1894 as a custodian of funeral rites; today it supports the life of the Jewish community and provides day-to-day social, medical and spiritual services, educational programmes and cultural activities. We would like to thank Mario Cohen, Osvaldo Sultani, Marcelo and Liliana Benveniste, Abrasha Rothenberg, Pepe Mensahé, Santiago Kovadlof, and many other friends whose enthusiasm and time showed us that the breeze of tradition and Jewish culture is still blowing through the splendour of Buenos Aires. 


18 k News

was the setting for the launch of ‘Cocina judía para celebrar la vida’ (Editorial Trea, "Jewish Cuisine to celebrate life") on 26 May. The event was attended by Rabbi David Libersohn, the director of ‘Cuina’ magazine, Josep Sucarrats, and the author, Débora Chomski, who discussed issues such as Kosher food, cuisine as an experience and cultural creation and the historic legacy of Jewish cookery. A scene from the exhibition.

Leon Golub exhibition at Madrid's Palacio de Velázquez palace The Palacio de Velázquez palace will be hosting an exhibition of the paintings of Leon Golub, curated by Jon Bird and organised by the Reina Sofía art gallery and running until 12 September. The exhibition brings together some of the most important works by the artist (Chicago, 1922 - New York, 2004) and is organised around his paradigmatic Vietnam II (1973). Leon Golub's work proposed a pictorial

renovation in which genres that were thought to be exhausted - such as history and portrait painting - are given unexpected expressive and critical capacity. The exhibition also covers some of the less well known stages in his career, such as his early informalist phase, the sphinxes he created in the 1950s, the napalm paintings of the sixties and portraits of dictators and politicians, including Francisco Franco.


Conferences on Ben Adret


The ‘Salomó ben Adret. The triumph of an orthodoxy. Barcelona, 1235-1310' exhibition is still open in the Centro del Call centre, which is managed by the Museum of the History of Barcelona. A series of conferences led by leading specialists such as Moisés Orfali of the Bar Ilán University, who will be the guest on 28 June, is running in parallel to the exhibition. Salomón Ben Adret was a leader of Mediaeval Catalan Judaism who was recognised as an authority in jurisprudence and a master of the Talmud.

‘The Voca People’ come to the Tívoli Theatre The Israeli group ‘The Voca People’ are continuing their tour of Spain in Barcelona. They will be performing their latest show which brings to life a group of strange extraterrestrials at the Tívoli Theatre until 3 July.

Israeli VídeoArt on Las Ramblas Liliana Orbach, an Israeli curator of contemporary art presented a show featuring the work of 20 emerging talents in Israeli video art at the OPTICA Festival. The event took place at Hotel Catalunya on 20 May.


Guided tour of the Old Jewish Quarter The offices of the Caceres Tourist Guide Association are to be found in the Torre de la Hierba Tower next to the City Hall. They offer complete tours of the historic city, including its Old Jewish Quarter.


International Museum Day The 33rd International Museum Day was held on 18 May with the slogan ‘Museums and Memory’. The Museum of the History of the Jews took part in the event which was created by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 1977 to promote museums with the public and demonstrate their contribution to society and its development.


Jewish Poets from Latin America The poets Edgardo Dobry and Daniel Samoilovich read some of their latest work at Madrid's Iberoamericana bookshop on

A new book on Jewish cuisine Barcelona's Centro Cultural del Call cultural centre bookshop

Daniel Samoilovich.

news k News

Friday, 20 May. Edgardo Dobry (Rosario, Argentina, 1962) is a poet, essayist and translator; he teaches at the University of Barcelona's Philology Faculty. Amongst others, he has translated the work of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Calasso and Sandro Penna. Daniel Samoilovich (Buenos Aires, 1949) is a writer, journalist and translator. He has been editing the quarterly "Diario de Poesía" (Poetry Daily) periodical in Buenos Aires since 1986. He is the author of seven volumes of poems, some of which have been translated into English and French.

Cabala seminar with Mario J. Saban An intensive seminar on 'The Kabbalah and personal selfawareness' was held on 22 May and led by Mario J. Sabán, a Doctor of Philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid and Director of the ‘David Melul’ Chair of Jewish Thought. The seminar was organised by Tarbut Sefarad.

end of its 2010-2011 programme; the closing ceremony will take place on Thursday, 2 June. In addition, a visit to the Castilian Jewish Quarter is planned for June which will be led by Carlos Carrete Parrondo of the University of Salamanca.


Klezmer Sefardí perform their words and music The group Klezmer Sefardí, led by Eduardo Paniagua and Jorge Rozemblum, performed at Malaga's Cervantes Theatre on 14 May. The group's performance was part of the ‘La Noche en Blanco’ (White Night) programme of activities. The concert took place following a conference on ‘Traditional Jewish music’.

Completion of the anti-Semitism course at Davar The anti-Semitism course at the Davar Cultural Centre is ending in June. The last session takes place on Tuesday, 7 June, and deals with ‘The Shoah: Memory and Education’; it will be led by José Eugenio Cordero, a teacher and the writer of the ‘Guía didáctica del Holocausto’ (Educational Guide to the Holocaust) and Cecilia Levit, a teacher, researcher and the driving force behind the 'Didáctica Shoá' (Shoah Didactics) educational project to promote education about the Holocaust in Spain.

End of the course at the CEJC The Judeo-Christian Study Course (CEJC) is coming to the


Conferences about the Holocaust On 18 May, the Ateneo Escurialense cultural centre offered the first part of a conference programme entitled “Memory of the Holocaust”, which was led by José Luis Domínguez, a graduate of Geography and History, and Iñaki Mendoza Gurrea, a graduate of Geography and History.


Claude Lanzmann and Annie Freud at Literaktum 2011 The 7th Donostia Festival of Language and Literature took place from 13 to 25 May. Claude Lanzmann, the tireless Holocaust researcher and contemporary philosopher, and Annie Freud, the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud and daughter of Lucien Freud, but also, and above all, the London poet who lit up the most recent Encuentro de Escritoras women writer's meeting, were two of the 22 participants in Literaktum, a festival which aims to promote critical thought, reflection and knowledge through literature and languages.


The expulsion of the Jews of Spain Radu Mihaileanu.


Jewish Cinema Cycle at the Teatro Filarmónica Theatre Oviedo Council presented a Jewish film programme at the Teatro Filarmónica Theatre from 16 to 19 May. The films screened were: Train of Life’ by Radu Mihaileanu; ‘Free Zone’ by Amos Gitai; ‘Live and Become’ by Radu Mihaileanu; and ‘A Serious Man’ by Joel and Ethan Coen.

On Friday, 3 June, Mario Sabán led a conference on ‘The expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492 and the Sephardic Diaspora’ at the Casal de Cultura cultural centre in Solsona. This event was organised by Tarbut Sefarad and Solsona Council's Cultura i Joventud (Culture and Youth) department.


Sephardic cookery course As part of the Aragon Training and Employment Plan, a free course on Sephardic cookery is being run until 16 June for workers



20 k News

who are currently employed or unemployed in rural areas. This activity is being supported by Tarazona Council and the Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain, and is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the regional government of Aragon's Employment Institute.


A conference on the siege of Masada As part of the Tarraco Vivo programme, the Roman festival of Tarragona, the conference ‘The siege and conquest of Masada: The Jews defy Rome’ was held on 14 May led by Fernando Quesada Sanz, who teaches at the Complutense University of Madrid.


Israeli-Hispanic Circus at TAC The ‘DeMenteS’ company presented its contemporary

circus shows at TAC (the International Street Arts and Theatre Festival), which was held from 24 to 29 May. The narrative of the show concerns three relatives who are confronting a "state" which is pursuing each of them. This is a break with their otherwise apparently perfect lives which makes them reconsider their lives and how they live.


Launch of a novel by Marisa Rubio The first novel by Marisa Rubio, ‘Sedom’, published by Libros Certeza, was launched on 18 May. The launch, which took place at the Aragon Library, was attended by the author and the editor and bookseller J. Vicente Zalaya. The evening was enlivened by a poetry reading by the poet Luis Trébol. The climax of the event was a performance of Yiddish

music by Beatriz Gracia (vocals) and Armando Carmona (guitar).


Jewish music festival in Bavaria The 7th Musikfest Schloss Wonfurt Chamber Music Festival, directed by Eliah Sakakushev, will be held from 23 June to 3 July. The festival has a wide-ranging programme, including traditional Sephardic and Ashkenazi music. As part of the Sephardic programme, the Israeli Harel Ben-David group will perform a programme of mediaeval music using original instruments from the period. The event will also feature the Israeli soprano Tehilá Nini Goldstein, who will perform a recital of Lied songs accompanied by the RussianGerman pianist and specialist in Jewish music, Yasha Nemtsov. The repertoire for the concert features songs on Sephardic themes from modern and contemporary Israeli composers. The programme for 23 June is dedicated to Sephardic lyric poetry from the Middle Ages.


Sephardic Jews by the Danube

One of the pieces in the Liebermann exhibition.

Max Liebermann at the Jewish Museum in Berlin The exhibition ‘The adversaries of Liebermann. The new Secession and Expressionism in Berlin’ will on show until 3 July. This exhibition at the city's Jewish Museum provides an overview of the work of Max Liebermann (Berlin, 1847-1935), a

Jewish German painter and one of the leading figures in Impressionism in Germany. Following a brilliant artistic career, Max Liebermann's work was removed from German public art galleries when he was included on the list of artists considered degenerate.

‘Sefarad ander Donau’: the role of Vienna in Sephardic linguistic culture is the topic of an international congress led by Michael Studemund-Halévy, which will take place in Vienna from 26 to 29 June. This event is being supported by Hamburg's Institute for the History of the Jews of Germany and the Austrian Academy of Science.


Festival of Jewish Cultures in Paris The ‘7th Festival des Cultures Juives’ will take place in Paris from 14 to 30 June. Using the slogan ‘Cross influences’, the Marais area in the heart of the city will host 15 days of eclectic and original

news k News

Opening of the Festival of Israel

cultural events. These will feature Sephardic and Ashkenazi music, dance, exhibitions, conferences, screenings of films, readings of popular stories, linguistic games, calligraphy workshops and a whole host of other activities.


The work of Shlomith Haber-Schaim in Bologna The paintings and drawings created by the Israeli artist Shlomith Haber-Schaim from 1970 to 2011 will be on display at Bologna's Jewish Museum from 16 June to 17 July. This exhibition is being supported by the Jewish Community of Bologna and is the first time that the work of this artist from Tel Aviv has been shown in Italy, after being on display in Boston, USA and before going on to be exhibited in Jerusalem. Shlomith Haber-Schaim studied at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem with Ardon and at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago with Vighard, both of whom had trained at the Bauhaus.


Attempted robbery of ancient objects An American man was arrested on suspicion of being responsible for the robbery of a number

Some of the items recovered.

of ancient objects found in archaeological excavations. The man detained is an expert in history and worked as a tour guide in Israel; he was selling ancient pieces to groups of tourists. The objects found include two-thousand year old silver and bronze coins, clay oil lamps used 1500 years ago in tombs and houses in the Roman and Byzantine periods and ancient vases and ceramics.

Jewish festival celebrating Lag Baomer The traditional Jewish Lag Baomer festival took place on 21 May on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. This event commemorates the death of Bar Yoachi, one of the most important thinkers in the history of Judaism. Thousands of people light bonfires throughout the night and visit his resting place in Meron, where children aged three and under have their first haircut.


As every year since 1961, the Festival of Israel was held in spring in an event combining music, dance and theatre on stages throughout the country. This year the opening event took place on 23 May in Zion Square in Jerusalem, featuring the Australian dance troupe Strange Fruit, which performed a dance on poles.

The Strange Fruit performance.

Manel Álvarez and his Bibilical sculptures The Museum of Countries of the Bible presents the exhibition "In the footsteps of the Bible. An exhibition by the sculptor Manel Álvarez’. The stories in the Bible and their characters are given a unique interpretation in the monumental sculptures by this Catalan sculptor, which are created in a dialogue with modern sculpture. Manel Álvarez is an artist and industrial designer.



22 k The interview

I learnt to understand the feeling of persecution suffered by many Jews” Ana Carbajosa With "The tribes of Israel", Ana Carbajosa has managed to create a human portrait of a country she did not know. She immersed herself in its inner nature through its inhabitants. She is a journalist (working for the El País newspaper) and lawyer. In this book she sketches out the complexities of a paradoxical and fascinating society. Hers is a different Israel.

What was the seed for ‘The tribes of Israel’? I went to live in Jerusalem in February 2008. At the time I had no intention of writing a book. But I did know that I wanted to get to know and try to understand the Israelis, a people who are were quite unknown to me and to most

“I think that to a significant degree, Israel’s future will depend on its having competent leaders with a longterm vision.” Spaniards. So, every day I went out to pursue this objective. Over the months I acquired a pile of notebooks with jottings of what I had seen and the results of my interviews. And then some of my

friends encouraged me to write a book. I thought is was worth letting readers get to know the people I had met. That was how the book was born. How did you choose the characters? I met many of the characters in the book as I wandered around; I bumped into them. Some of the others I searched out using friends and acquaintances. I owe a debt to the Israelis who appear in the book. It would never have seen the light of day without them. Why is it a “deliberate journey to the margins” of Israeli society, as Amos Oz said? Because of the massive influence of the various groups which appear to exercise political power in Israel, and because the

colonists and ultraorthodox Jews have grown rapidly over recent decades. Demographic forecasts point to even greater growth over coming years, and this represents a formidable political and economic dilemma for future Israeli governments. Of all the characters who make up the book - of this sum of different versions of a reality - which made the biggest impression on you? The group that interested me most was perhaps the Mizrahi Jews. This is probably because I didn't know anything about this group, but it is also because their experience has profoundly affected the political past and present of the country. What did you learn from the Israelis?

news k The interview

To see the Middle East conflict from their perspective. To understand the open wound left by the Second Intifada. Among other things, I believe I learnt to understand the feeling of persecution suffered by many Jews in Israel. I learnt that the Israelis are a tremendously diverse population who are able to coexist - with greater or lesser tension - within the same frontiers. And how the presence of a common energy makes a major contribution to this. What did you find most difficult to understand in these people? How most Israelis are able to live a normal life whist bombs are dropping just a few miles from their homes and jobs, as they did during the Israeli offensive in Gaza in late-2008. How they are able

to disassociated themselves from what their army is doing with their taxes and in their name. How would you define Israeli society? It is a tremendously diverse society which coexists with the omnipresence of the Holocaust, and which tries to turn its back on a conflict which it will have to confront sooner or later. How does the omnipresence of the memory of the Holocaust and incomprehension by the rest of the world coexist? I have the impression that both feelings contribute to most Israelis not wanting to know anything about the external world, which can only bring them bad luck. They also generate a defensive attitude which sometimes for justified reasons

and sometimes not - stops them putting themselves in the shoes of victims such as the Palestinians. After your experiences, how do you see Israel's future? There is a large question mark resulting from an equation with more than one unknown. Israeli politicians have a responsibility to

“Israeli society is very diverse, coexisting with the omnipresence of the Holocaust and trying to turn its back on a conflict which it will have to confront� clarify some of these. I think that to a significant degree, Israel's future will depend on its having competent leaders with a longterm vision.



q u o t a ti o n

Every day we know so much more and understand so much less” Albert Einstein (1879-1955)



The psychology of Israel examined by Riklis Eran Riklis is one of the great film directors of Israel. His films, all of which have won prizes, aim to dispel the cloud of preconceived ideas about the country which just lead to prejudices. In summary, anyone who watches his work is forced to think a little. ‘Lemon Trees’, which was released in Spain in 2008, won an enthusiastic reception from critics, who considered it essential for understanding the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. Some of the comments about his work by experts include “sensitive but never soppy”, “audacious political stance” and “created with irony, generosity, rage and pure optimism”. The CV of this director based in Tel Aviv, and the father of a journalist and a jazz pianist, includes numerous films for television, successful series and documentaries. Before graduating in 1982 from the Beaconsfield National Film School, he had lived in the United States, Canada and Brazil. He had a cosmopolitan education.

His major international success on the big screen was ‘The Syrian Bride’ (2004). This feature film was released worldwide and was awarded eighteen international prizes. This success was preceded by ‘Cup Final’ (1992), which was entered in the Venice and Berlin festivals; ‘Zohar’ (1993), a boxoffice smash which achieved the highest ever takings in Israel in the 1990s; ‘Pituy’ (Temptation) (2002); ‘Tzomet Volkan’ (2000), a nostalgic tale of rock and roll and his first film, ‘On a Clear Day You Can See Damascus’ (1984). The search for our humanity and how we see it is the focal point for his latest film, ‘The Human Resources Manager’. This is a road-movie and a kind of open window onto the "cynicism and indifference which characterises us all with a person we do not know or when we hear about the suffering of others”. Riklis is repeating his formula: awaking consciousness. He is once again examining Israeli society from different angles and rummaging around in its psychology.



Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you