20160506_Ronda - the cradle of modern bullfighting

posted 14 May 2016, 15:34 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin

Ronda - mountaintop city in Spain’s Malaga province - set dramatically above a deep gorge.

Today, (May 6,) we took our friends (200 students, 4 buses, 4 guides, 200 boxed lunches, 400 sandwiches, 200 individual copies of foldable Birkat haMazon; trust me, I counted) to Ronda.

Ronda is somewhat outstanding on our route: it's the only site we visit for its unique scenery, its gorgeous architecture and deeply mystical ambience rather than particularly Jewish historical connection.

El Tajo from Ronda_w600.jpg

See me on the Puente Nuevo bridge over El Tajo gorge? Now look at the next picture: that's our 200 friends, climbing the gorge in an energetic hike. The weather is definitely right for it; we didn't stop praying for rain since Pesach for nothing.

El Tajo gorge from Puente Nuevo, Chabad group_w600.jpg

It is noteworthy that Israeli Jews when traveling look for points of general interest, like any other travelers; while Jews from anywhere else, especially when going as a group, look primarily for points of Jewish interest. (The same phenomenon is well reflected in the Jews who do not define themselves as observant being much more likely to attend a synagogue if they live in Toronto, Paris, or Melbourne than their Israeli counterparts; indeed, in our neck of the woods the Schule stands for a general source of all things Jewish, while in Israel one does not need to go to a synagogue in search of a Jewish touch. :)

Our current guests all live in Russia but visit Israel frequently, and their Jewish needs are constantly catered to by their Lubavich friends and teachers. So we had to come up with a program combining Jewish history (no lack of that in Spain and Portugal, for better or worse!) with general interest landmarks. After Granada, with its exquisite Jewish quarter of Realejo, and Cordova (where Maimonides was born), we take them to Ronda on the way for Shabbat in Seville.


Here's the famous bullring in Ronda... definitely not my kind of rodeo, really; the place is famous though, and someone takes a shot of me as I explain to the group how a matador is supposed to move his mantilla (you should know my wife calls me the greatest theorist on earth). I also tell them the fascinating and tragicomic story of Sidney Franklin, the matador from Brooklyn, born to Jewish Orthodox parents at the dawn of the last century.

A few years ago we came upon an essay by a French Jewish philosopher defending the institution of corrida. Frankly, didn't convince me, but - judge for yourself:



Rabbi Eli