Sephardic Jews. Latest news. Sephardi basically means “Spanish”. The word comes from Sepharad, a Biblical place identified by later Jews as the Iberian Peninsula or current Spain.
Thus, Sephardic Jews are the descendants of Jewish, who lived in Spain until their expulsion in 1492 by Isabella de Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, under the Alhambra Decree. They use a Sephardic style of liturgy and continue with different customs and traditions from the Iberian Peninsula, even they know the Spanish language before Cervantes.
They are about 3,5 million (half a million in Israel) and now they could be Spanish again.
Last Friday, the Spanish government amended the Civil Code. They can grant Spanish nationality to every Sephardic Jews who request it and prove its origins. Of course, they can they can maintain their current nationality too.
** The Edict of Expulsion or The Alhambra Decree was an edict delivered on 31 March 1492 by the Kings of Spain Isabella I of Castile and her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon. Then, less than three months after the capitulation of Muslim Granada. The kings had the intention to link strongly their recent united countries (Castile and Aragon) and create a Spain without religious diversities.
The edict order the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and its territories and possessions (soon America) by 31 July of that year. However, they could stay in the Kingdom of Navarre. The edict was revoked on 16 December 1968 in the context of the Second Vatican Council.
If they would like to live in Spain, they had to convert to Christianity.
The Spanish Jews who leave Spain were permitted to take their belongings with them, except “gold or silver or minted money.” They dispersed throughout the region of North Africa and also they settled in Istanbul, Salonika and Sarajevo, where they formed flourishing local Jewish communities.