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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sephardic Heritage Trip to Spain 2016/5776: Day 5 - Shabbat in Gibraltar

After several days in Spain, where Judaism is barely a flickering remnant, we prepared for Shabbat in the vibrant community of Gibraltar.

We prayed Kabbalat Shabbat in the magnificent Nefussot Yehuda synagogue. The melodies were close to ours, yet at the same time significantly different. We dined in the Tamid catering restaurant. Over dinner, we heard about the life experiences of our guide Moshe "Moti" Hassan. His challenges to raise a Jewish child in Spain and his commitment to overcome them were amazing to hear. In the hotel, we played an intense game of Zoom-Schwartz before heading to our rooms for the night.

On Shabbat morning, we woke up early and went to pray in yet another beautiful Shul, the Abudarham Congregation. Again the melodious prayers were beautiful to participate in and enjoy. After services, we walked down a bustling Main Street, where we noticed a number of stores closed for Shabbat because they had Jewish owners. We were lucky enough to see the Gibraltar reserve army march down the street in what looked like World War I uniforms. After lunch we were met by the Mayor of Gibraltar, The Honorable Mr. Solomon Levy. He told us about his life in Gibraltar and how the 600 Jews of Gibraltar survived the World War II, and about their return and life since. We then had some free time to relax, read or bask in the warm sun on the hotel deck. Rabbi Beyda and the boys then returned to shul while Ms. Bloom and the girls went to Seuda Shelishit with the young girls from Gibraltar. The girls had a lovely time singing and playing games.
We then met up at the hotel for Havdalah, a shower and then headed out for a night of pizza and bowling. It was yet another beautiful day in Gibraltar.
~Mimi Levy and Nancy Tobias