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First Seder Since the Spanish Inquisition – Seder Security Steps Up

March 20, 2013

Yongsan Jews-Haggadah-Passover

Passover is such a significant Jewish holiday that community Passover Seders are held every year in halls, community centers and other venues by the Jewish community.  It is considered a blessing to invite guests, especially strangers and the needy to a Seder, which typically take place in the family home.

“When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.”  (Psalm 114:1–2)

“How is this night different from all other nights?” is a question asked during a typical Pesach (Passover) Seder, a special ceremonial meal held on the first and second nights of Passover.

The northern Spanish town of Ribadavia will hear that question at a Passover Seder held for the first time in more than 520 years, since the 1492 expulsion of Iberian Jews in the Spanish Inquisition.

The traditional Jewish Seder to remember the Exodus from Egypt and God’s hand of deliverance will take place in the old center of Ribadavia on March 25, the first night of this significant eight-day holiday.  (JPost)

The Seder is being put together by the municipality tourism department and the Center for Medieval Studies, which focuses on researching the history of Iberian Jews prior to their expulsion from Spain.


The Haggadah (telling) sets the order of the Passover Seder where the story of the first Passover is retold to family and friends.

According to Sephardic Jewry scholar, Judith Cohen, of the two Jewish families left in Ribadavia as of 1997, neither were Sephardic—Jews of Spanish descent.  (JPost)  

This compares to the 1,500 Jews who lived in the town prior to the Spanish Inquisition.

While Ribadavia is one of several towns in Spain and Portugal trying to resurrect the memory of their Jewish past, other Jewish centers are increasing security to guard their community Seders during next week’s holiday.

The highest areas of threat are in India, Thailand, the Sinai and the Mediterranean Basin countries.

“The preparations this year include security arrangements coordinated with the security personnel at the Israeli embassies, who also take care of routine security throughout the year,” said Chabad emissary in Thessaloniki, Rabbi Yoel Kaplan.  (YNet)

The Israeli Counter-Terrorism Bureau showed that in the past year, dozens of terror attacks against Israeli targets abroad were foiled.  These attacks were planned mainly by Iran or its proxy Hezbollah, focusing on Israeli officials and Israeli tourists, respectively.

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