Ancient synagogue in Córdoba
Photo: Yoav Glasner
Kases with prayer book in Spanish
Photo: Yoav Glasner

Yom Kippur prayers return to Córdoba

Jewish prayers have not been heard in city of Maimonides since Jews' expulsion from Spain in 1492. Local initiative aims to renew tradition, not far from ancient synagogue

CÓRDOBA – Yom Kippur prayers will be renewed this week in one of the cities which led the "Golden Era" of Spain's Jewry – Córdoba in the region of Andalusia.


Jewish prayers have not been heard in Maimonides' birth city since for more than 500 years, since the 1492 Jewish expulsion from Spain. Two weeks ago, ahead of Yom, Kippur, prayer books were brought to the city's ancient synagogue with the help of some of the world's Jewish communities.


חיים קסס וארון הקודש בבית הכנסת "החדש" (צילום: יואב גלזנר)

Haim Kases and Holly Ark at 'new' synagogue (Photo: Yoav Glasner)


"I think that praying on this holy day is the duty of every Jew, not just here in Córdoba, but anywhere in the world," says Haim Kases, the person behind the initiative. This is the start of a renewed tradition, he promises, which will continue in the future as well.


Kases, who was born in Córdoba and has been working to renew the city's Jewish heritage in recent years, has been getting the new synagogue in the Casa de España center, located only 30 meters (about 100 feet) from the ancient synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, ready for the High Holidays.


The center is in fact a Jewish heritage museum, which has been hosting groups of students from Israel and the world for educational activities about the "Golden Era".


פסל הרמבם בכיכר "טבריה" בקורדובה, ליד בית הכנסת (צילום: יואב גלזנר)

Maimonides statue at 'Tiberias Square', near synagogue (Photo: Yoav Glasner)


According to Kases, at this stage the prayers cannot be held in the nearby ancient synagogue as the place serves as a tourist attraction run by the Andalusia government, with 2,000 visitors a day.


The Yom Kippur prayer will be held in the presence of groups of students from around the world, as well as Jews living in Andalusia. According to Casa de España, the Jewish community includes some 100 people, some of whom take part in the different activities held in the Jewish center.


The prayers will be held for men and women without any separation, mainly due to the physical conditions on the site.


Leah Netzer of Geographical Tours, who brings groups of students and teachers to the city, tells Ynet that the prayer books brought to the synagogue were donated by a publishing house from Mexico and have been specifically adapted for Spanish speakers.


The Torah scroll in the new synagogue was donated by the Jewish community in Marrakesh.


The writer was a guest of Geographical Tours and El Al in Spain



פרסום ראשון: 10.06.11, 13:10
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