Sephardic interactive / Interactivo sefardí

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

Unlike Sevilla’s well-preserved and well-identified old Jewish quarter, Málaga’s could be easily missed. The visitor’s center, Ben Gabirol, doesn’t make things very clear from the outside — a 17th-century Moorish tower — unless you know who Ben Gabirol was and that “Ben” wasn’t his first name but meant “son of” in Hebrew. Solomon ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol Avicebron (what’s in a name?) was an 11th-century Jewish poet and philosopher born in Málaga. The tower was restored in 2008 and nothing else has happened in all these years except for regular touch-up of the colorful contemporary murals on the temporary walls surrounding it.

The world’s first interactive museum dedicated to Sephardic history and culture is on its way with plans for a cultural centre and synagogue. I’ve read that the only artefacts to be displayed in the museum will be the keys many Jews took with them in 1492 when Isabel and Ferdinand told them to convert or be expelled.

Following an archaeological excavation in September 2020, the remains of a heating system for a Roman sauna or hot water baths dated between the 1st and 2nd century AD were discovered. City Hall has requested the remains be viewable in the basement of the planned cultural center. So, now, the foundations of the new structure are being redesigned.

The project has been planned for 20 years and is next to bodega El Pimpi and seconds away from the Roman amphitheatre (above). It will be interesting to see, someday.

A correction to yesterday’s post. It was pointed out to me by faithful reader and all-round kind person, Mary, that the pocket knife was from the Girl Scouts and not the Boy Scouts. It must have belonged to Dale. Thanks, Mary!


A diferencia de la antigua judería bien conservada y bien identificada de Sevilla, la de Málaga podría pasarse por alto fácilmente. El centro de visitantes, Ben Gabirol, no deja las cosas muy claras desde el exterior, una torre morisca del siglo XVII, a menos que sepa quién era Ben Gabirol y que “Ben” no era su primer nombre sino que significaba “hijo de” en Hebreo. Solomon ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol Avicebron (¿qué hay en un nombre?) fue un poeta y filósofo judío del siglo XI nacido en Málaga. La torre fue restaurada en 2008 y nada más ha sucedido en todos estos años, excepto retoques regulares de los coloridos murales contemporáneos en las paredes temporales que la rodean.

El primer museo interactivo del mundo dedicado a la historia y la cultura sefardí está en camino con planes para un centro cultural y una sinagoga. He leído que los únicos artefactos que se exhibirán en el museo serán las llaves que muchos judíos se llevaron consigo en 1492 cuando Isabel y Fernando les dijeron que se convirtieran o serían expulsados.

Tras una excavación arqueológica en septiembre de 2020, se descubrieron los restos de un sistema de calefacción para una sauna o baños de agua caliente romanos datados entre los siglos I y II d.C. El Ayuntamiento ha solicitado que los restos se puedan ver en el sótano del centro cultural planificado. Entonces, ahora, se están rediseñando los cimientos de la nueva estructura.

El proyecto ha sido planeado durante 20 años y está al lado de la bodega El Pimpi ya segundos del anfiteatro romano (arriba). Será interesante verlo, algún día.

Corrección del post de ayer. Mary, una lectora fiel y una persona muy amable, me señaló que la navaja era de las Girl Scouts y no de los Boy Scouts. Debe haber pertenecido a Dale. ¡Gracias, Mary!

• The restored tower.
• La torre restaurada.

Poet and philosopher, Solomon ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol Avicebron. (Ben Gabirol), also known as a “social misfit” with an “irrascible temperament.”

Poeta y filósofo, Solomon ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol Avicebron. (Ben Gabirol), también conocido como un “inadaptado social” con un “temperamento irrascible”.

• Bodega El Pimpi in background.
• Bodega El Pimpi al fondo.

Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Haz clic en las miniaturas para ampliar.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

18 thoughts on “Sephardic interactive / Interactivo sefardí”

  1. What an interesting and colourful district/neighbourhood.
    So ‘Ben’ was a social misfit?! Probably wouldn’t even be noticed today. Go Ben go!

    1. Jim:
      Ben was apparently an independently wealthy, unhealthy, lonely, and unhappy man who had few kind words for anyone. He managed to have powerful friends to protect from the fallout of the things he said to and about other powerful people. But it didn’t make him any nicer. Still, he was also brilliant.

  2. I love the murals. I love all street art.
    I guess if I was Jewish I might call myself Ben of Bob since my Dad is also Bob??

      1. Bob:
        And in Arab tradition, you could be Bob Ibn Bob. I like them both.

  3. That Picasso-esque face in the photo of the cafe is a bit disconcerting. I’m curious to see what the keys look like when they finally go on display. You’ll have to go back!

    1. Steve:
      I suppose most Picasso-esque faces are disconcerting. I, too, am curious about the keys. I wander how many they’ve managed to obtain. There were only about 1,200 Sefardis in Málaga.

  4. Sephardic is one of those words I’ve heard, but couldn’t have put a precise definition to. This encouraged me to look it up!

    I love seeing Roman ruins, no matter where they are located (and the Romans certainly got around!)

    1. Kelly,
      There are a number of surprisingly well preserved/restored Roman cities around Spain. I’d love to visit more of them. All I knew about Sefardi when I was growing up was that they were from here and my mother considered them superior for some reason.

  5. Just now read what Wikipedia had to say about Mr. Gabirol. Seems one of his more relatively well-known works of philosophy, originally written in Hebrew but soon translated into Arabic and Latin, was for centuries thought to be the work of either a Muslim or Christian scholar as the original Hebrew version was lost. Eventually things got sorted out. Thank God (or Allah, or Jesus) for that!

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      And it’s just what you think. The word began as the name for the men who delivered and took messages from arriving and departing ships. They evolved into tour guides for those arriving by ship and, as an extension, as procurers for the sailors.

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