Jewish Heritage Europe

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory.

Jews were readmitted to the tiny peninsula on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula after the British took the territory from Spain in 1704. By the mid 18th century, the community comprised about one third of the Gibraltar’s population. Today, the Gibraltarian Jewish community numbers around 600, many of whom are Sephardim with their roots in Morocco. Four historic synagogues are still in use.

Jewish Community of Gibraltar 

The web site includes detailed information information on the synagogues and other Jewish sites, as well as community history and activities.

Synagogues

Sha’ar Hashamayim – Esnoga Grande or Great Synagogue

47/49 Engineer Lane (Box 174)
Gibraltar
Tel: +35) 200 74030

The main synagogue in Gibraltar, originally built in the 1720s. It was destroyed during heavy storms in 1766 and rebuilt in 1768. It was again destroyed gunfire during the Great Siege of Gibraltar on 17 May 1781 and then rebuilt or reconstructed again, particularly after a fire in 1812. . The current form, with its vaulted ceiling, dates from then.

Ets Hayim – Esnoga Chica or The Little Synagogue

91, Irish Town (P.O. Box 31)
Gibraltar
Tel: +350 200 75563

The Ets Hayim yeshiva was converted into this synagogue in 1759, but it most likely has been damaged and rebuilt several times.

Nefutsot Yehoda – Esnoga Flamenca or Flemish Synagogue

65 Line Wall Road, Gibraltar
Tel: +350 200 76477

Opened in 1799 and rebuilt after serious damage  from fire in the early 20th century. It exhibits a mixture of Dutch and Italian architectural styles, and has the Bimah right in front of the ark, rather than in the center of the sanctuary as in Sephardic practice.

Esnoga Abudarham – Abudarham Synagogue

P.O. Box 190, 19 Parliament Lane, Gibraltar
Tel: +350 200 77789

Established in the early 19th century by immigrants from Morocco in a building that had served as a Yeshiva and also as a Freemasons hall.

Jewish Cemeteries

Windmill Hill (Jews Gate) Cemetery

The oldest Jewish cemetery on Gilbralter, with the oldest known grave dating to 1746, the cemetery was closed in 1848. It has the graves of many notables.The cemetery was officially rededicated in May 2015 after extensive clean up ad restoration. The gravestones are mainly horizontal, in the Sephardic style, and many noted rabbis are buried here. A raised pathway leads over the graves.

Rabbi Roni Hassid writes of an unusual feature:

During the winter and spring months, the vegetation is allowed to grow rapidly and profusely giving the impression of neglect. In fact, the place is the favourite mating ground of the rare Barbary partridge and it is in deference to the Ornithological Society that the vegetation is left until after the nesting season.

Read Hassid’s detailed description of the cemetery

Read our JHE post about the rededication

North Front Cemetery

Currently in use, an expanse of tightly-packed tombs, horizontal in the Sephardic fashion.

Gibraltar City Hall

Today’s Gibraltar City Hall occupies the mansion built in 1819 as his family home by the prosperous Jewish merchant Aaron Cardozo. Cardozo’s ancestors had come to Gibraltar from Portugal.