The Jewish Museum David Melul is housed in a 15th century building located next to a monumental ensemble made up of the Church of St Mary, (with a 13th century mudejar apse , a few large residence that were home to wealthy bourgeois families of the past, an 18th century textile factory still bearing the shield of King Charles III and a 19th century glove factory. This historical ensemble is located in back of the Palace of the Duke of Bejar. The Museum is housed in a three-floor building, purchased by the city council in 2003 thanks to the economic contribution of Mr. David Melul. The building was restored to be used as museum by COMARQ-IV, its architect was Mr. José Luis Rodríguez Antúnez.
On the ground floor you will find information about the history of the Spanish Jews, including their presence in Bejar and its county. Items of particular importance are the Bejar Charter, which included the rules of cohabitation between its Christians, Muslims and Jewish residents , the gravestone of lady Fadueña (from the 12th or 13th century.) The gravestone was found, in perfect condition, in the 19th century, along with several originals items used in sacred ceremonies (Menorah, Megillot, Tefillim y Tallitot…) as well as object of daily life in the Middle Ages such as coins, purchasing and sales documents, etcetera. The tour in this floor ends with an audiovisual media exhibit about the Order of Expulsion of 1492.
The Museum’s first floor is dedicated to the Spanish ‘conversos’ (Sephardic Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity in order to avoid expulsion). Visitors will see a beautiful scaled reproduction of the city of Bejar in the 15h century, where they will be able to locate its Jewish neighborhood. Also are displayed, are some documents related to inquisitorial trials, a 17th century Megillah Esther, examples of anti-Semitic books about so called purity of blood and works related to a most curious resident of Bejar, of probable Jewish origin: Mr. Frances de Zuniga, who served as Court jester for emperor Charles V and is well known as the author of a scathingly he wrote his burlesque court chronicle.
On the second floor, ending the cycle dedicated to the faithful who chose to maintain their faith aware therefore forced to abandon Spain, there is an area devoted to their exile. It includes maps of their paths into exile through Europe, Asia and America, as well as audiovisual reproductions about their language (Ladino); also the visitor will see photograms and object from all over the world sent to us by Jewish families from whose last names are Bejar, Behar, Bejarano, Bicerano…
The Museum also offers a meeting room, a research area, restrooms and a little shop.