Do You Know a Jewish Tour Guide in Toledo who arranges private walking tours?



Something funny happend to me last week and I want to share it with you. I was in vaccation in New York, and like any good frum guy, you must know the local synagogue wherever you are. So I went to pray to one synagogue in New York.

I meet there very cool people and started chating with them. When they knew that I was from Spain they suddenly became very interested in me. I wondered "why in the world would a newyorker be interested in a spanish person?".

As the conversation developed I knew that the person interested in me, has a travel to Israel scheduled next month, and he was doing a stop in Madrid for 24 hours. He was looking for something to do in Madrid, but cannot find some jewish guide.

I started to laugh because in fact I am THE jewish tour guide in Madrid/Toledo area. He was looking for some piece of information that will take him to the guide, but Hashem has put the guide himself in front of him... And he was frum! G-d loves this guy certainly! ha ha ha!
I told him who I am, and he started to tell me more details of his stop in Madrid, and we chat about visiting Toledo to know the old jewish quarter in the old city, and the Toledo Synagogues that are there today.

I spoke for an hour about the beauty of Toledo, in particular the Jewish Toledo, the old city sourrounded by the wall, the streets of the citadel that looks very similar (leabdil) to the streets of Old Jerusalem.

This funny story I am sharing with you let me think about the problem that american jews can't find the appropiate information about tours in toledo, so I started to set up this website in order to ease all american jewery that want to visit jewish Toledo from a jewish perspective with a Kosher Guide.

So, If you are reading this story and looking for Jewish Kosher Tour Guide in Toledo or Madrid, don't hesitate to read more about my work and service here in this site, and you can ask me wathever you need to know about this things, in this contact form.

I hope you enjoy this funny story that end up with this fellow jew schedulling a tour with me in both Madrid and Toledo next month.

Why in Spain all the restaurant and bars a hanged pig leg? -Jewish Tour guide in Madrid and Toledo-


Almost all my customers when they come to my Jewish Madrid Tour ask me the same question. This essay aims to clarify an unknown tradition of Spain and reveal its origins.

If you don't see with your eyes it's hard to believe the level of love of the spanish people towards pig meat. The manufacturing of pig meat is a huge industry in Spain. And to take advantage of every part they also manufacture some food additives with the rest of the animals. These additive are used communly in every fast consuming daily products.

Most all the bars in Madrid (and Spain) have a pigs leg hanging in them as if on display. This goes back to the Spanish Inquisition when all the Jews and Muslims where kicked out of the country. Having a pig’s leg displayed in your shop showed that you were not Jewish nor Muslim. Apparently, it has just stuck around all these years.

Suspended by a hoof on a hook, the pig legs hung down over the bar and tables. No one gets dirty by juicy pig fat drippings because each leg has a snowcone like object which avoids this kind of little annoying problems. We are in Madrid and jews don't like pork!

Let's analyse when and where everthing started...

Food was also one of the primary ways that Jews were pinpointed as dissenter heretics by cristian church authorities in Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition. Cleaning meat by getting rid of the blood in water, eating meat during Catholic Lent, baking unleavened bread, and eating bitter herbs in the Spring (in honor of Passover), became the basis by which Jews could be distinguished by neighbors and jealous rivals. The consequences of being identified as an unrepentant Jew in one’s home, and in one’s heart, included expulsion (often to North Africa), or being burned alive at the stake.

Even today, in some crypto jew house (even in Madrid or Toledo) you can observe some "weird" traditions beeing practised almost unconsciously. These traditions have its origin back in those difficult days where jews suffered under an unmerciful authority. Jewish people strugelled to maintain their customs and even those who were less successful to conserve their identity, managed to transfer something to the next generations.


As I arrange special walking tour in Toledo from a jewish perspective, I always thought that this information is a very interesting detail to share with my customers and it makes my Jewish Toledo Tour more authentical compare to the other tours.

We travel to Spain and we would like to get some information about the kosher issue and a jewish tour guide for Toledo and Madrid?

The jewish comunity of Spain of today is not very big. I think there are less then 10 thousand jews in Spain and not all of them appears in the synagogues. Except the high holidays the shuls are almost empty. This situation reflects the low demand to the kosher products and services. If you stay close by to the main synagogue there are two little shops where you can find kosher products. As expected, the prices are much higher than the normal products of the streets. Most of these products comes from France where you have a much bigger comunity (half million of jews approximately in all over the country) and consequently kosher food production.

As for the shabat meals, in Madrid the jewish comunity arranges a dinner for foreign students who live in Madrid far away from there family. But this dinner is open for the tourist who dropps by Madrid for any reason. To participate this dinner you have to reserve place and pay for it in advance (before thursday) as the cathering company needs to know for how many people they need to cook.

Here you have some useful information for your kosher visit in Madrid (Spain):

Here is a list of hotels & hostels that are in walking distance to the main shule:

> BOOK EARLY TO BE SAFE
> HOTEL TRYP ALONDRAS [34]91-447-4000 ***3
> HOTEL BEST WESTERN TRAFALGAR [34]91-445-6200 ***3
> HOTEL MIGUEL ANGEL 91-442-0022 *****5
> HOTEL HESPERIA 91-210-8800 *****5
> HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL 91-310-0200 *****5
> HOTEL CONDE DUQUE 91-447-7000 ****4
> HOTEL BRETON [NH GROUP] 91-442-8300 ***3
> HOTEL GRAN VERSALLES 91-447-5700 ****4
> APARTHOTEL TRIBUNAL 91-522-1455 ***3
>
> HOSTAL SIL & SERRANO 91-593-0993 FUENCARRAL, 95 /2-D
> HOSTEL GALLARDO 91-445-2981 FUENCARRAL, 95/4-D
> HOSTEL NURIA 91-531-9208 / 91-532-9008 FUENCARRAL, 52
>
> NOTE: SOME HOTELS HAVE ELECTRIC DOOR CARD OR ELECTRIC EYES WHICH OPEN MAIN
> DOORS. PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR ORTHODOX RABBI IN ADVANCE HOW TO HANDLE THE
> SITUATION, IF CONFRONTED. NOTE: MADRID HAS NO EIRUV.
> SOME KOSHER IMPORTED FOOD WITH (KNOWN RELIABLE) CERTIFICATION CAN BE BOUGHT
> AT ANY OF THESE LOCATIONS
>
> A. ELIAS SUSANA
> CALLE VIRIATO #35
> MADRID
> TEL. 91-446-7847
>
> B. SHALOM SUSANA
> CALLE MEDELLIN, 13
> MADRID
> TEL. 91-445-5296
>
> C. GDK
> Gourmet Deli Kosher
> Avd. San Luis, 76 (Galería 31 y 32)
> Tel:913 818 453
> e-mail:info@gourmetdelikosher.com
>
> D. EL CORTE INGLES (CASTELLANA)
> Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde, 79
> TEL. 91-418-8800
> IN THE SUPERMARKET - CHECK FOR (KNOWN RELIABLE) KOSHER SEALS
>
> BH
> Parcial Kosher list - Spain
>
> PASTA
> BRAND NAME: GALLO - ONLY WHEN INGREDIENTS ARE ONLY SEMOLINA AND WATER
> CEREALS:
> KELLOGG'S-
> CORN FLAKES
> RICE CRISPIES
> SMACK'S
> CHOCHO KRISPIES
>
> WHEETABIX -
> BISQUITS ORIGINAL (PLAIN)
>
> SUNFLOWER OIL
> BRAND: SAFLOR
>
> GRANOLA BARS
> BRAND: NATURE VALLEY (HAS O-U)
>
> GENERICALLY KOSHER:
> PLAIN RICE CAKES
>
> NATURAL JUICES
> ONLY 100% FRUIT JUICE (ZUMO) OR BASED ON CONCENTRATE
> EXCEPT IF IT CONTAINS "UVA" WHICH IS GRAPE JUICE - NON KOSHER
>
> ALL BREAD & MILK & MILK PRODUCTS ARE TOLD TO BE NON KOSHER EXCEPT IF
> CERTIFIED BY A RABBI.

And of course, I, a jewish guy who arranges private walking tours to Toledo and show the old part of the city to my customers from a jewish perspective. If you come from United Staes and travel to Israel and looking for an entertaining program during your long stop before you take your transfer flight, we offer you a great walking tour in the old jewish quarter of Toledo.
You can contact us by sending a message via the contact form of our web page.

I hope this information is useful for you.

What happened to the jewish property in Spain after the expulsion of 1492, Is there any jewish guide in Toledo who can show us the city from a jewish perspective?

I'd read in many books that Toledo (Spain) had a very very important role in the sefardic jewish culture. Jews start to settle there after the destruction of the second temple and co existed with muslims and christians until they expelled all of them in 1492.

In this year, the catholic kings (Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand) issued an edict against the jews where they were accusing them for desgenerating their faith. This document is known as the "Alhamra Decree". Alhamra is the name of a palace in a southern city of Spain called Granada. Today, in Granada there is a royal palace with its huge garden with tha same name and it's one of the most important touristic stops of Spain.

You can see a picture of that document in the main page of this adress. All you need to do is observe the slide show which will give youa general idea about Toledo from a jewish perspective.

As the aim of this page is to facilitate to contact me for customers who want special tours focused on the jewish past of Toledo I thought it was important to put a presentation.
If you wanna see it larger you just double click on one of the pictures.

Any way....let's get back to the main question!

After the jews were expelled from Spain without any property or money, the city's economy started to getting worse as the cristians were not allowed to practice any comercial business at that time. It's known that the biggest part of the jewelery business was controled by the jews. Even today, the street which was the center of jewelery business in that days, still keeps his original name; "Calle del Plata" which would be translated to english as "Street of silver".
Just after the deadline mencioned in the expulsion decree, the king gave the control of the jewish cementaries to the control of "nice and sweet" spanish inquisition, in other words to the churh. The inquisitors remove all the jewish tombstones and used them for constructional purposes. Especialy to built the entry of the buildings with a big and well-shaped marble stone.
Today we can see two archived examples of these stones in Toledo. One it's in Calle del Plata which we mentioned before and the other one is the main entry of a building called Corral de Don Diego close to the main square of Zocodover.

During my Visit Jewish Toledo Tour I show my customers both of these two stones who witnessed one of the most darkest period of the european jewish history.

I think that it's very important not to forget the unbearable sufferings that our ancestory lived in the hand of cruel inquisition after a golden age who flourished all the spanish culture.

During this terrifying days, tens of thousands of refugees died while trying to reach safety. In some instances, Spanish ship captains charged Jewish passengers unmerciful amount of moneys, then abondoned them in the middle of the ocean. In the last days before the expulsion, rumors spread throughout Spain that the fleeing refugees had swallowed gold and diamonds, and many Jews were knifed to death by reaver bandids hoping to find precious items in their stomachs.

If you wanna feel the ambiance of these day and visit Toledo from a jewish perspective please don't hesitate to contact us.

Do you know any jewish tour guide in Toledo, Spain?

A friend of mine was traveling from United States to Israel with a transfer stop of 12 hours in Spain. He asked me if I knew where to find a jewish tour guide who could pick them up from the airport and show them the most symbolic parts of Toledo, maybe Madrid from a jewish perspective, in a very quick tour.

As I lived there more then one year, close to the old jewish quarter of Toledo (Spain), I'd already learn the important role of the sefardic jewish culture in the history of Spain. Thanks to readings and useful lectures of my local friends I learned every corner of Jewish Toledo with its corresponding story.

Basicly, jews started to settle in Toledo after the destruction of the second temple and co existed with muslims and christians until they expelled all of them in 1492.
My friend explained me that before he consulted me, he occurred to him the idea to consult the local chabad house of Madrid or Toledo. Apparently in Toledo there is no chabad house but in Madrid yes...there is one. After a quick research in the internet, my friend send to the rabbi lubavitch an e-mail. The chabad rabbi replied him right away by recomending a shomer mitzvot guy in Madrid whit the name of Shlomo. It was me again.....what a coincidence::))!!

So my first experience in this job was was with a good friend of mine. Then I realized that organizing Jewish Toledo Tours could be a good oportunity to meet with new yehudim from every corner of the world. From United States to South Africa ... from Canada to Australia. The need for a presentable jewish guide for especial jewish customers pushed me to create this web site in order to facilitate them to reach me easily.

Later on, slowly slowly baruch H'm I started to have more custmomer thanks to the references of my previous customers. When you listen that cute "adios!" with a strong american accent there is no word to describe your profesional satisfaction after a long day of working.

Sometimes people ask me how can enjoy the same thing when yo do it repeatedly. In theory it's a good question. I have a good answer for this good question:

Basicly, I don't do the same think. The secret is the angle from which you see the things. Every person is a different world. When you become a good friend of your customer in a short period of time by sharing and interchanging the details of your life by means of cultural commun points, every moment of this "Jewish Toledo Tour" become a new and interesting experience. Each customer teach me something else about his comunity, their traditions, their shuls, their food, their piont of view in some particular matters, etc. etc.....

For whom who wants to have a general idea it goes like this:

Our "Jewish Toledo Tour" starts as follows:

At the beginning of the day I pick them up from the airport or their hotel with my car. Then we head to Toledo. After a trip of almost one hour we arrive the destination. We park the car and make a tour of the old city of Toledo on foot. This Jewish Toledo tour takes aproximately 4-5 hours.

Then we go back to Madrid for the dinner in the kosher restaurant of the city.
If the customer wishes also to visit Madrid, optionally I could arrange a tour the next day or within the afternoon of the same day.

Here is my web page:
http://www.jewishtoledotour.com/

I hope this information about the tour will be useful for everybody.
Hope to see you soon:)