Jewish Zamora, with Christoph Strieder
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: What was the original use of the building in Zamora, Spain, that later became the center of the Inquisition and, finally, a hotel?
Zamora is a city and province in northwestern Spain, located on the border with Portugal. The city was home to Rabbi and Gaon Isaac Campantón (1360-1463), the creator and director of its yeshiva, which became an important center for Jewish learning in the 14th century. Studies there centered on the Talmud and cabala and mysticism, and some of Campantón’s disciples later brought their knowledge to other parts of Spain. After the expulsion in 1492, the influence of the Zamora yeshiva could be found as far away as Morocco and Salonika.
Nevertheless, Zamora’s Jewish history is not widely known in Spain or abroad. In recent years the city council, supported by research done by local historians, has taken an interest in preserving and promoting this legacy. A Jewish heritage route has been created, and explanatory plaques have been placed in locations of special importance.
Christoph Strieder is the first foreigner to be elected to Zamora’s city council. Originally from Munich, he worked with the German government organizing cultural events in Spain and Portugal before finally settling in Zamora, where he is now the councilman responsible for tourism and commerce. Christoph spoke with us about Zamora’s Jewish past, and what the city council is doing to preserve it.