Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spain: Toledo cemetery work halted

Both Tracing the Tribe and this blog reported on the medieval Jewish cemetery discovered during a construction project in Toledo, Spain.

According to JTA, the Spanish government ordered a freeze on the school building project on December 19, following meetings at the Spanish Foreign Ministry with representatives of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, the Conference of Spanish Rabbis, the Conference of European Rabbis and the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe (CPJCE).

More than 100 graves have been exhumed from the building site, an expansion of a nearby state school, according to Rabbi Abraham Ginsburg, executive director of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe.

Toledo regional authorities are currently storing more than 100 skeletons in separate boxes, Ginsburg told JTA Thursday.

‘At present our main aim is to ensure that no further desecration is taking place and we are committed by Jewish law and tradition to ensure that those graves are being preserved in their sanctified and dignified manner in perpetuity,’ Ginsburg said.

The freeze will last until January 15, 2009, although a scheduled January 12 meeting in Toledo will see Jewish organizations requesting that the freeze be extended until the matter is resolved.

A rabbinic board is consulting with international rabbinic courts to determine what can be done according to Jewish law. There are many intact graves inside the 13th century cemetery.

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