Spanish Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Several years ago, Spain and more recently Portugal enacted legislation to extend citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews that had been expelled from the Peninsula primarily in the 15th century. The offer of Spanis or Portuguese citizenship and hence entry into the European Union has been taken up by more than 4,300 individuals.

The following article highlights the most recent group of Sephardic Jews to take advantage of the offer. Among the recipients is the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

Spanish Citizenship for Sephardic Jews

Some of those receiving citizenship have done so for symbolic reasons in an effort to bring “closure” to the a long and often tragic relationship between the Iberian Peninsula and Jews. To my knowledge no effort or consideration has been made for descendants of Conversos.

The argument against extending citizenship to their descendants is primarily based on the idea that Conversos were never technically forced out, though the ever presence of the Inquisition made life dangerous for many. Conversos regularly fled the Peninsula and often settled in far away reaches of the Spanish and Portuguese empires in an effort to escape is reach.


Posted  Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education and the author of What is Kosher? and What is Jewish Prayer?