Jerusalem nonprofit hosts candle lighting in Palace of the Inquisition in Mexico

The palace in Mexico City represented the colonization and control of Mexico by the Catholic Church.

 Rabbi Yitzhak Abud (left) and Rabbi Michael Freund (right). (photo credit: SHAVEI ISRAEL)
Rabbi Yitzhak Abud (left) and Rabbi Michael Freund (right).
(photo credit: SHAVEI ISRAEL)

Nonprofit organization Shavei Israel held the first Hanukkah candle lighting event at the infamous Palace of the Inquisition in Mexico City on Thursday night, the organization announced.

Shavei Israel is based in Jerusalem, but organized with the Beit Moshe Jewish community in Mexico in order to host the event.

The candle lighting was led by the organization's founder and chairman Michael Freund where he was joined by Rabbi Yitzhak Abud of Mexico City, as well as many officials and participants from the Beit Moshe community.

Among others, participants included Bnei Anousim, Jewish people whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, but continued practicing Judaism in secret against Spanish law.

Why is the Palace of the Inquisition so infamous?

“Centuries after the Palace of the Inquisition was used in an attempt to snuff out the light of Israel, we came here to show that the flame of Judaism can never be extinguished,” Freund said. “For centuries, Jews were tortured by the zealots of the Inquisition, and many were burned at the stake for secretly practicing Judaism.”  

 Jerusalem nonprofit hosts candle lighting in Palace of the Inquisition in Mexico. (credit: SHAVEI ISRAEL) Jerusalem nonprofit hosts candle lighting in Palace of the Inquisition in Mexico. (credit: SHAVEI ISRAEL)

The palace in Mexico City represented the colonization of Mexico by the Spanish, while being controlled by the Catholic Church. It was active for nearly 250 years - from 1571 to 1820 and assisted in the persecution of those who practiced Judaism, whether by torture or execution.

“Centuries after the Palace of the Inquisition was used in an attempt to snuff out the light of Israel, we came here to show that the flame of Judaism can never be extinguished.”

Michael Freund