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A modest placard beside a storefront door announces the existence of the Beth Minzi Synagogue in Torrremolinos on Spain’s Costa del Sol. It is a Friday night in late February, and some twenty men, a few fathers with young sons, and three women assemble in the small sanctuary while the Moroccan-born rabbi/cantor, natty in a trim black beard, long gray coat, and black homburg, begins the Sephardic service. During the next two hours, men in the congregation ascend the altar one at a time to sing a portion in Arabic-sounding melodies until a spirited rendition of Leha Dodi (Welcome the Bride of the Sabbath) concludes the service.
“You should come tomorrow morning when we get a much bigger crowd,” says Victor Alberto Pinto, a youthful businessman, as we exit onto the quiet darkened street. “Ashkenazim as well. There is so much opportunity with the tourist industry that Jews keep moving here. The situation is fantastic. It’s hard to believe that 500 years ago the Spaniards threw out the Jews.”