Every year the Southern Costa Blanca Jewish Community celebrates Simchat Torah. This year, on October 2nd it was celebrated in the recently excavated ruins of Lorca synagogue in Murcia which were discovered in an earthquake. This was the first Jewish service held there since the Spanish Inquisition which began in 1492.
The day started with 54 members of our Community travelling by coach to a restaurant just outside Lorca. There we were joined by other Community members and visitors and we enjoyed a delicious lunch.
Three hours later the coach continued its journey to the Synagogue site where we met up with even more people coming to the service. Everyone helped carry the necessary items from the coach into the exhibition hall/synagogue. These items included 2 sifrei torah, prayer books, wine, challah and spare kippot and tallaisim.
The evening started with Alan Harris welcoming everyone, and explaining the Order of Service. Then two shofars were blown by Aron and Noah Tiller aged 8 and 10. This was the 1st time in over 500 years that this sound has been heard in Lorca. Many tears were shed as the shofars sounded to start this highly emotional service. David Hamilton then recited Kaddish for those who had been murdered during the Inquisition, and many of the names of those people were read out.
During the service every man present carried one of the two sifrei torah around the synagogue. The sifrei torah were also carried right into the synagogue. For the leyening, members were called up to read the brochat, and others read the the Parshas for them. Prayers for the sick members of the Community along with those for the safety of Israel were also read. One of our senior members, Stanley Finester, celebrated his second Barmitzvah. At the end of the service, the shofars sounded again, this time inside the actual ruins.
There was much singing and dancing after the service. Kiddush and Hamotzei were read and everyone enjoyed challah and wine. The coach then returned to the restaurant for light refreshments before returning home.
In all, more than 70 people attended from Spain, Germany, Sweden, Egypt, the Cayman Islands and England. Messages of support were received from around the world from descendants of Spanish Jews who were exiled during the Inquisition. The Spanish government recently offered Spanish citizenship to descendent of the Inquisition and over 4000 have taken up the offer.
Photographs and videos can be viewed in the Gallery section.
Click HERE to view them.
Friday 25th January 2019
Thursday 7th February 2019