The Virtual Jewish History Tour
The history of Madrid Jewry is much like the history of Jews elsewhere in Spain, consisting of periods of great development layered between periods of severe persecution. Though once a thriving center of Jewish life, most of Madrid's Jewish population was brutally murdered during the riots of 1391, while many others fled or converted to escape persecution. Jewish life in Madrid came to an end in 1492 with the expulsion of Jews from all of Spain. Only during the mid-nineteenth century did Jews begin to return to Madrid and establish what is today, along with Barcelona, one of the two largest Jewish communities in Spain. Madrid is perhaps most notable in modern Jewish history as the site of the 1991 peace talks held between Israel, Jordan, Syria, and the Palestinians.
Today the Jewish community of Spain has reestablished its presence and maintains several synagogues as well as a Jewish day school. Except for the ancient Jewish quarters of the city, few noteworthy Jewish attractions remain in Madrid. Yet, despite the shortage of historical Jewish sites, Madrid plays host to an assortment of national institutions that hold centuries-old Jewish texts not to be found anywhere else in the world.