The Jewish Quarter of Toledo
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
Today I walked around Toledo and, as promised, visited the Jewish quarter, or djuderiya in Ladino. I didn't go into any of the synagogues or the museum, I did not have time, but it is certainly something I will do on another day, probably more than once.
The little tiles around the Jewish quarter with the menorahs, chai, and Sefarad really hit me and gave me a sense of pride for the resurgence of Sefardi culture in Toledo and the Iberian Peninsula as a whole, more than 500 years after the expulsion, and truly represent the survival of Jews, despite everything.
It was also indescribable to not only experience such a display of Jewish culture and history when Jews are basically a minority everywhere, and especially Sefardi culture when I am so used to living in a country with a Jewish community so dominated by Ashkenazim. I'm a sucker for knickknacks and collecting things, and I saw so many Judaica stores and stores with so many books on Sefardim. If I had the ability to buy all the books, I surely would, as I do end up buying every book on Sefardim I come across in the US, but also saw the most beautiful mezuzah and Magen David necklaces and earrings. I was out during siesta so I didn't get them, and I will also be here for many months so I have plenty of time, but it will be nice to have a Sefardi mezuzah with sentimental value for me and something to pass on to my future children (rather than having the same budget mezuzah as every other Jewish person from a Judaica website, Jewish people, you know how it is).
I'm a bit weak for commercialization, but what can I say, I like pretty things and I like Judaica.
I did go into one Judaica store and ended up buying a book in Ladino. I asked the shop owner if he had any books in Ladino and he said he had a few and pulled one out and I practically cried when he handed it to me. I have a few books in Ladino already but I had special ordered them online, to find a book in a bookstore in the endangered language you speak is very emotional! The orthography is very interesting, I've never seen orthography like it before, it appears it might be an older orthography.
Aside from my trip around the djuderiya, I was very busy today, and I will have more free time tomorrow, also doing a guided tour of the city!
For today I will leave with a quote in Ladino, from Por Mi Boka by Myriam Moscona:
Amamos l'Espanya el mizmo si eya no moz kere, konozemos sus kantigas, sus komidas, el guesmo de sus flores...
אמאמוס לאיספאנייה איל מיזמו סי אייה נו מוז קאירה, כונוזאימוס סאוס כאנתיגאס, סאוס כומידאס, איל גאוסמו דה סאוס פלוראיס...
We love Spain the same even if it does not want us, we know its songs, its foods, the scent of its flowers...