Jewish wedding in Spain with ordained Rabbi Haim Casas
Today Sunshine Weddings Spain has the honour of talking with a very special guest, Rabbi Haim Casas, who happens to be the first rabbi born in Cordoba in the last five centuries and founder of ‘Alma-Exploring the Soul of Andalucia.’
Hi Haim, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us today and for offering to give us an educational insight into Jewish Bride and Groom Weddings in Spain and your role as a Rabbi in the Spanish-Jewish community.
Firstly, tell us a little about yourself and how you became an ordained Rabbi?
I was born in the beautiful city of Cordoba, and spent most of my childhood and youth between Cordoba and Cadiz. I then studied law at the University of Sevilla.
After graduating in law from the University of Sevilla I decided to continue with my studies, this time focusing on the Spanish Jewish legacy, and in 2017 I was ordained rabbi at Leo Baeck College in London. This was a very special moment for me, in fact the event has meant that I’m now the first rabbi born in Cordoba in five centuries.
Wow, that’s quite amazing. I believe that in its heyday, the Spanish Jewry was one of the largest, most prosperous and cultivated Jewish communities in the world, is this true?
This is correct, however, despite centuries of unrivaled Jewish success, this “Golden Age” came to an end in 1492 with the promulgation of the “Alhambra Decree.”
At this point, Jews were given three options: conversion to Catholicism, exile or death.
Today, there are an estimated 50,000 Jewish residents in Spain.
As an ordained Rabbi, what do you consider to be your role when officiating a Jewish wedding?
Firstly I like to ensure that the entire wedding is properly conducted according to Jewish law and custom.
Then, I often recite the wedding blessing, typically the groom’s responsibility, but sometimes if the groom is too nervous, I’ll say it for him.
What’s one of your most special memories when officiating a Jewish wedding?
I have so many. Every wedding is unique and beautiful, but perhaps what I most enjoy are the shabbat experiences I get to share with the bridal couple, either before or after the actual wedding.
Sometimes, if I get to spend time with the bridal party on the run up to the wedding, I might show them around the area they are staying at, or do a night tour with some of the younger clients, we might go for a drink on a roof terrace and meet with other local Jews, this makes the whole wedding experience very special for everyone.
Which is your favourite wedding location in Andalucia?
Andalucia is full of beautiful places to visit and to get married, impossible to name just one place. What I can say is that my most favourite place in Andalucia would be somewhere between Cordoba, Cadiz and Sevilla, the three cities where I was raised. In fact I would say that these three cities have marked my life and are responsible for the three pillars on which my rabbinate is built: love for history and tradition, hospitality, and joy.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy listening to music, cooking and travelling. And though it’s not a hobby as such, I’m also the promoter of “La Sinagoga Abierta”(The Open Synagogue). A project carried out thanks to the support of ROI and the Schusterman Family Foundation.
I’m also fluent in Spanish, English and French which has permitted me to serve Jewish communities in Switzerland, France and Spain, always guided by three principles: openness, humility, and joy.
On behalf of Sunshine Weddings Spain, thank you for sharing your story with us, and for giving us an insight into your noteworthy role as a Rabbi in the Spanish-Jewish community.
You can learn more about Rabbi Haim Casas vocation as a tour guide by clicking here.