Spain invites Jews to return to their roots

Monday night Jews all over the world gathered around dinner tables to celebrate the first night of Passover, one of the most important festivals of the Jewish calendar.

In the small northern Galician town of Ribadavia, Spanish, American and Israeli Jews are came together to conduct the first Seder there in more than 500 years.

The holiday commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, a story retold during the ritual Seder dinner.

Jews once thrived in Spain, but in 1492, they were expelled from the country. The Spanish Inquisition  targeted thousands of Conversos — Jews who had converted (often forcibly) to Catholicism but were suspected of continuing to practice their former religion in secret.

The Inquisition finally ended in the 18th century, but by then, much of Spain’s Jewish culture had disappeared.

Recently, there’s been a big push to bring Jews back to Spain. Even announcing a plan to offer citizenship to those who can prove their ancestors were expelled during the Inquisition. And since the 1990s, towns and cities across Spain have restored their Jewish quarters in a bid to draw tourists.

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