Sunday, May 07, 2006
"THE ORIGINS AND ACTIVITIES OF CASA SHALOM THE INSTITUTE FOR MARRANO-ANUSIM STUDIES"
The origins of the work conducted today at Casa Shalom are perhaps unusual , but is an entity that has within a few years made considerable strides, having become both internationally and academically respected and a clear example of how from unexpected events can emerge a catalyst to unique and important research.
The whole concept was initiated almost as a holiday hobby in the Spanish Balearic Islands of Ibiza and Formentera, known as the Pitiuses Islands, in 1978, when it emerged that within these backwaters Jews had been protected by the Islanders and survived after the expulsion in 1492 until modern times.
As Jewish customs and ritual were discovered, as well as documents, which included a 14th century Megilla Esther, (now being restored by the Spanish Government) and four buildings that had been secret synagogues, some in use until the Civil War in 1936, the importance of the discoveries began to be appreciated more widely. Within a few years the research expanded to the larger Balearic Islands of Majorca and Minorca.