THE Jewish community on Majorca (La Comunidad Israelita de Mallorca) has appointed its first full-time rabbi in its 40-year history.
Swedish born Rabbi Shaul Friberg, pictured, was inaugurated recently in a ceremony which was attended by colleagues from Israel and representatives of other Jewish communities throughout Spain. He is sponsored by Amishav, an outreach organisation that helps small Jewish communities throughout the world.
The Palma Synagogue is in Calle Monseñor Palmer and Rabbi Friberg has opened an office there.
He expects to spend four years in the post.
The Rabbi, who is 46, fills a year long gap after the departure of the congregation's last minister, Rabbi Aharon Katz, who moved to the United States. Like his predecessors, Rabbi Levenson and Rabbi Doctor Van der Zyll, Rabbi Katz held office on a part-time basis only, officiating at Sabbath prayers, holy days and ceremonial events. But, as the Majorcan Jewish congregation grew to include over 100 families, its leaders decided that there was scope and need for a full-time minister.
Rabbi Friberg was educated at Uppsala University, where he gained a degree in classical languages, and he was ordained in Israel.
He was previously an assistant rabbi in Munich.
The Rabbi, who has settled on the island with his wife Natasha and their three children, is widely travelled and has worked with Jewish communities in Israel, South America and Europe. While here, he hopes to expand links between the Jewish community, the Catholic Church and groups from other faiths on the island.uncovered, recognised and celebrated by historians and students of culture. And the local government should be congratulated for organising the series of guided tours of El Call, as the medieval Jewish ghettos were called, in old Palma. He says: I feel we have a common bond in the roots of our respective beliefs and we can all learn something from one another. Judaism after all was the basis on which Christianity and Islam were formed and is a very useful source of history and culture to all mankind. We acknowledge this through our open door policy at the synagogue and we are already pleased to welcome interdenominational groups and classes from schools to explain about Jewish history and customs. So if I can be of help in a role as an ambassador for Judaism, I will be delighted to do so. Rabbi Friberg has also begun a study of Majorca's rich Jewish history.
He says: Until their expulsion or enforced conversion in the 14th Century, Jews made immense intellectual, cultural, commercial and scientific contributions to the island's success.
It is interesting that Majorca's remarkable Jewish heritage is beginning to be
The Jewish community in Majorca is small, but dynamic and it was the first in Spain, in 500 years, to install an officially-recognised rabbi.