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500 Years After Expulsion, Jewish American Claims Spanish Citizenship

A rainbow over Playamar Beach in Torremolinos, Spain, where a Jewish-American woman is the first to reclaim Spanish citizenship lost 500 years ago (Photo: wikicommons/Hans Olav Lien)

Over the past year, we've told you about the joyous return to the Iberian Peninsula that has been experienced by Sephardic Jews, who were expelled from Spain and Portugal some 500 years ago. Today, The Times of Israel's Janis Siegel reports on the first Jewish American who has claimed the Spanish citizenship her ancestors had so cruelly taken from them:

When Doreen Alhadeff signed her Spanish citizenship papers in Toremmolinos, Spain, a few weeks ago, she became the first Jewish American to officially embrace Spain’s unusual 2015 law. For the first time since Jews were expelled from the country more than 500 years ago, the new legislation, and a similar law in Portugal, allows descendants of Sephardic Jews the option of applying for national rights.

After months of gathering documents and going through numerous legal hoops, Alhadeff, a 65-year-old grandmother from Seattle, knew she was making history.

“I felt a bit as if I were walking in the footsteps of my grandmother who was the first Sephardic woman to arrive in Seattle,” said Alhadeff after the signing ceremony. “At that moment, I thought of her, and of course, my parents who would have been proud of the achievement..."

Tags: Europe

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