The Rediscovered Jews of Xueta Island

In 2014, Dani Rotstein accepted a video-production gig in Majorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. While there, he stumbled across a very small but active synagogue. As Bernard Starr recounts from an interview with Rotstein, “That’s when Rotstein first heard the word ‘Xueta,’ (pronounced ‘cheweta’), which is the name given to descendants of Jews murdered during the Spanish Inquisition.” The discovery prompted Rotstein to delve into the tragic history of Majorca’s Jews and devote himself to renewing Jewish life on the island; his story is now the subject of his new documentary, Xueta Island.

Rotstein learned that in 1435, after the earlier massacre of 300 Jews, Majorca’s entire Jewish community was forced to convert to Catholicism or face public trials and execution. The Inquisitors subjected any Jew suspected of being a pretend Christian to imprisonment, torture, and even execution.

As further punishment, the family names of Jews executed during the Inquisition, from 1645 onward, were posted in a prominent church (the Santo Domingo Convent). Thus Xuetes—descendants with the same family names—would be demonized, shamed, and shunned for generations. Most were then only able to marry within the Xueta community.

After the forced conversions and executions, Judaism appeared to be gone from Majorca forever. But miraculously, as with other attempted genocides of Jews throughout history, the obituary of Judaism in Majorca proved to be premature. Ironically, the very posting of the family names of the murdered Jews became the vehicle for the revival of Judaism by modern-day descendants. A surprising number have acknowledged their connection to Judaism, and some have converted (or returned) to fully embrace Judaism.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: anti-Semitsm, Marranos, Sephardim, Spanish Inquisition

 

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror