Spanish towns plan Sukkot festival

Two Spanish towns are preparing a two-day Judaica festival featuring a mock wedding to commemorate their lost Jewish heritage.

The Sept. 28-29 event, scheduled to take place after Sukkot, is being co-organized by non-Jews from San Juan and Rio Jerte in the province Extremadura in northwestern Spain. It also will include a Judaica market and songs, according to festival coordinator Antonio Gil.

“This is a local event for the local population so that people who live here know that part of our history,” he said.

Gil added that the festival is not geared toward attracting tourists.

Northern Spain had a Jewish population of hundreds of thousands before the Spanish Inquisition, which began in the late 15th century and drove countless Jews into exile. Others who were forcefully converted secretly practiced Judaism.

In recent years, municipalities across Portugal and Spain have been spending millions of dollars renovating Jewish heritage sites. Gil said the festival’s organizers will decorate some homes that used to belong to Jews. — jta