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  Sephardim - God's Precious Jewels

Sephardim - God's Precious Jewels
Assisting Your Return to the Land of Sepharad

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Welcome Beloved Sephardim back to the land of your ancestors, the land of Sepharad, today known as Spain.

For years, Father God has longed to gather you back to His heart of love, to set you in His arms and tell you, ‘My love cries out for you, I love you.’  His desire is for you to know your true INDENTITY, to be once again connected to the land and to His heart.  You are Sephardim and You are important!

You are HIS missing treasure and is time for Sephardim to shine and be revealed to the earth as SEPHARDIM, GOD’S PRECIOUS JEWELS.  You are hidden no longer; His love is upon you!


The Law of Return to Spain

October 1, 2015, Spain began the process of reconciliation between Spain and Sephardim, the Jewish people who once graced the land of Sepharad.  A new Law of Return was created to allow the descendants of the expelled Jewish people during the time of the Spanish Inquisition of 1492, the legal right to reclaim Spanish Nationality.  The law is in affect for only three years and will end October 1, 2019. 


What does the new law mean for Sephardim?

This is a beautiful step towards healing of the millions of Sephardim scattered throughout the world. The historic law was created to repair the wrong caused to our people.  The Spanish Jews founded Spain and suffered unjustly during what marked a dreadful and horrific time in the history of the Jewish people.  Although the new law cannot heal our ancestors, we have the privilege and honor to partake of this New and Unexpected Gift from Spain and the hand of God; to help heal our generation and future generations of Sephardim.  It is my prayer and hope you will feel compelled as I do, to accept the gift of Spanish Nationality and in essence reclaim what is rightfully ours, and that of our people.  As we accept this gift of Spanish Nationality, we are in essence saying, “we forgive you Spain, we love you, and we stand with you.”  As we know, the heart of God is the restoration of all things; which includes the land, the blood, the people, the nations….  Spain has prophetically made a bold move in standing with the Jewish people once again and blessing the heart of God. I believe Spain will be a blessed nation and once again Father will bless the land of Sepharad for her act of obedience and kindness towards the Jewish people. 


How does the Law work?

The law is available to any and all descendants of Sephardim.  You can be of any religion. The Spanish government has established a list of necessary documents needed to prove your special connection to Spain and to prove your Sephardic heritage.  All of the requirements can be completed from your home country. Once you’ve completed all of the requirements, you then travel to Spain to sign the acta de notaridad.  At that point, you are finished with the process and wait for the official good news from the Spanish government acceptance of your paperwork and granting of Spanish nationality.  The passport you apply for will actually say, Sephardim!  How awesome is that!


Why is Spanish Nationality Important?

Spanish Nationality is important for many reasons.  First of all, you have the incredible opportunity to reclaim Sephardic nationality for you, your family and descendants; and if you chose, come as we did, to live in this beautiful land. God and the current King of Spain (12/15) have declared we have been missed!  Second, your Spanish Nationality grants you citizenship to all European Union nations; you can travel, study, work and live in any of the 27 European nations.  Third, you will be legally recognized as a Sephardic Jew in all the world and have a passport to prove it.  This is an amazing opportunity in so many ways.  I believe if you feel called to Israel, this passport is the Key to overcoming any obstacles you may have in acquiring Israeli nationality—you will legally be considered Jewish.  Israel is working hard to reach out to Sephardim and have publicly stated Israel has the obligation to reach out to Sephardim and embrace Her.


What is the process to gain Spanish Nationality?  The following is a brief overview of the law and requirements.  In the section that follows, I'll show you the "how to process, step by step".  Please read the following to have an over view and clear picture of the law. 

Time Frame: October 1, 2015 - October 1, 2019 to submit applications. Please do not hesitate beginning your process.  You can complete everything in about 7 months (document gathering and Cervantes exams)  if you are diligent. 

Dual-Citizenship:  A beautiful gift of the law of return to Spain, is you are NOT required to surrender current nationality.  You will be granted Dual-Citizenship!

4 Step Process to follow:

1.  Gather and File: on line application and attach documents to Spanish Ministry of Justice site.  Once you gather all documents as prescribed by the Spanish government, the next step is visiting the beautiful land of Spain to sign your "acta de notaridad." 

2.  Signing and Travel: Travel to Spain for the signing of Acta de Notaridad.  This is the time you officially submit all original documents to a sworn Spanish notary.

3. Review and Approval: The notary then submits the documents to the Directorate General for Registers and Notaries (DGRN) for review and approval. Once approved, you will receive notification in your home country via mail. 

4. Apply and Oath: At this point you go before the Consulate of Spain in your home country and apply for registration of citizenship title at the Civil Registry.  You will need to provide once again a current criminal background check (stay out of trouble!).  You then swear allegiance to the Spanish King to obey the Spanish Constitution and laws.

The Law is open to Jews and Non-Jewish applicants. Applicants must provide evidence that they descended from Spanish Jewish families expelled from Spain between 1492-1498.

In all cases, applicants must provide current documents, 3 months or newer (at the time you visit Spain, submit paperwork and sign the acta de notaridad, with Spain assigned notary):

  • birth certificate - notarized and apostilled in the state of birth, translated by Spanish Sworn Translator
  • marriage certificate (if applicable) - notarized and apostilled in the state of marriage, translated by Spanish Sworn Translator
  • state criminal background check - notarized and apostilled at the state level, translated by Spanish Sworn Translator
  • FBI report, apostilled in Washington, DC, translated by Spanish Sworn Translator (for USA applicants)
  • These documents will need to be translated by Spanish Sworn Translator.  See below for the person I hired in Spain.  She was excellent and fast.  Please don't let distance scare you.  You can email her scanned documents, review and then receive via mail your official Spanish Sworn Translation document.  You will take these documents with you to Spain

Two Requirements to the Law:

1. Applicants are required to prove their Sephardic origin

How to prove Sephardic origin:  Evidence applicable to Jews and non Jews: 

A SEPHARDIC SURNAME REPORT OR GENEALOGY TREE TRACING BACK TO 1492 report issued by a recognized organization evidencing that the applicant's sur-names, family are of Sephardic lineage, and Certificates issued by the President and Rabbi of a Jewish Federation.

How I Can Help:

I am able to assist you with a detailed SEPHARDIC Onomastic Surname History Report:

All of my reports have been approved  by the New Mexico Jewish Federations in America.  I write the reports using guidelines they have provided. 

My fee for a written report is euros 300.  

I am able to complete your report in 2 weeks time frame.  The report will be approximately 30 pages and can include birth certificates, genealogy trees, oral traditions, book facts on your surname, marriage certificates, Ketubah certificates and other documents you provide will be included in the report.  

When I complete your report, I will forward the report to the Jewish Federation in America.
The Jewish Federation will review your report and ask you to complete their on-line application.
When you are approved, you will then make a payment of $180 to the Jewish Federation in New Mexico to receive a certified and apostilled certificate from the President and Rabbi of the Jewish Federation, along with a donation certificate. 
With these certificates,  you are able to prove your Sephardic Origin, which fulfill a portion of the law.

My contact at the NMJF, Sara Koplik, the director, has sent me guidelines on what should be written within my reports to receive approval. I include everything required as well as what a person has on hand to make it more complete. I also have a client send me family photos, in your case documents to support my research.

My main job is to prove your descendants are Sephardim from Spain so I focus my book research on this. The reports tend to be a minimum of 30 pages. Ten are standard pages that I include in every report and the rest of the pages include findings from the dozen of books I have on hand as well as other sources I have access to on line.

I also have the client write a short oral history to which I provide a sample (1-2 pages long). The oral history includes any information you may know about your Sephardic family journey as well as any Sephardic Jewish customs your family has kept. Not everyone has an oral history, but if they do, I like to include this in the report.

All of my Sephardic Name reports have received approval with the New Mexico Jewish Federation. Upon approval, you will receive the certificate from the rabbi and president of the NMJF (which come already translated and apostilled), which fulfills the first requirement of the law. They also send a certificate stating you are a member and have giving a contribution, which fulfills the Special Connection portion of the law.

The Special Connection is also met with the certification of having passed the Cervantes DELE and CCSE exams.

Hope this helps. Shalom as you work through this amazing journey!

2. Applicants are required to prove Special Connection to Spain

Cervantes Institute exams/passing grade: DELE- Spanish Language Exam Level A2 (unless you live in country where main language is Spanish) and CCSE Constitution & Cultural Exams (everyone must take this exam). 

Connection to any charitable, cultural or economic activities in favor of Spanish or Spain-based people or organization aimed at promoting Sephardic preservation, study and culture.

Inclusion of applicant, or parents, in the lists of Sephardic famlies protected by Spain, Royal Decree of December 29, 1948 regarding Greece and Egypt and those who obtained naturalization by Royal Decree December 20, 1024.

How To Begin Your Process, Step by Step:  You can do this!  Please do not get over-whelmed.

Cervantes Institute: www.cervantes.es.   You must pass two Cervantes Institute Exams, both exams are taken at a Cervantes Institute in your local region, country.  Register now and be diligent to study for both exams.  This was the most challenging part of the process for me. Both exams are in Spanish. The average cost to take both exams is $250 total.

DELE (level A2 Spanish exam) and CCSE (Spanish constitution and cultural exam).  Go to Cervantes Institute on-line and begin to study.  The DELE exam must be taken if you were born in a nation whose main language is NOT Spanish.  For example, if you were born in the USA, you will need to take the DELE exam.  You can take on-line classes at the Cervantes website and take practice exams. 

The CCSE exam is the Spanish constitution and cultural exam; very interesting to study, I really enjoyed learning about Spain; this exam is in Spanish.  You will need to study 300 problems, answers included in Spanish and take an exam and pass with a mark of 15 out of 25 questions.  The good news is that they have 12 practice exams on-line you can study as well.  I had the app on my iphone and whenever I had free time, I studied.  It took me three months to study and pass both exams. 

The DELE exam is challenging, please give yourself time to study each day if you can while preparing for your exam. 
The DELE exam has four parts: comprehension, oral, written and auditory.  See the practice exams on the Cervantes web site and I suggest you practice writing letters to friends to feel comfortable writing and speaking in Spanish.

For the oral exam, you will be given three topics and 5 minutes to write a few notes on the 3 topics and present an oral presentation about the topic. You can make things up as you go and try to have fun and relax.  You will be in a room with two people.  One person will ask you questions as you go along to help you articulate your subject.  I froze at one point and it was helpful for the administrator to ask a question to keep me on track.

Examples:  I was able to choose two topics:  Music and Travel.  A surprise topic was given.

On the subject of Music, I totally winged it.  I made up a trip to New York to see Andrea Bocelli for Christmas. I talked about my awesome front seat ticket, the cost of the ticket, the season and my love for music. 

Travel.  I had to answer questions about a generic tour I wanted to take. I chose the Spanish Pyrenees mountains.  I froze at times, the administrator asked me questions which helped me along my process.

My surprise topic was to interact with the administrator about a gift we wanted to give to our cousin who is difficult to shop for.  I had to  convince my teacher that my gift idea was better than hers. I had so much fun!  I won because my gift included traveling to a beautiful city in Spain and a weekend get away in the Pyrenees mountains at a nice resort that overlooked the mountains with an outdoor heated hot tub.  I had so much fun with this one and the language came so easy to me because of my natural love for the mountains (I live in the Pyrenees mountains!).

A warning:  I thought the auditory would be my strength, it turned out to be my weakest part of the exam.  Why? Because you will listen to about 8, 1 minute super fast commercial announcements and then answer about 5 questions.  You are not given much time before the following ad begins.  My suggestion: take the free exams on the Cervantes website and practice all 4 exams listed on the site.  Practice writing as well.  The written part of the exam consists of 3 different written exercises varying with 40-300 words. I did really well in this portion, even though I thought it would be my weakest portion of the exam. I kept a journal, and wrote often, letters to friends, etc.  One of the items listed on the test, was to write an advertisement for a room-mate for university.  You were asked to include certain questions as part of the advertisement.

  • I recommend this is the first thing you begin to work on while you are gathering everything else.  Find a Cervantes Institute near you, and enroll in the exams.  Exams are taken in person, all study can be done on-line for free.  The exams are challenging, you will need to be diligent to study.
  • Once you pass the exams, you will receive a passing letter pdf from Cervantes Institute. You’ll need these two letters as part of your application process.  Print them and keep for your submission to Spain.  This will count towards your Special Connection to Spain.
2. OBTAIN A SEPHARDIC SURNAME REPORT OR A GENEALOGY REPORT TRACING YOUR ANCESTORS BACK TO 1492 JEWS OF SPAIN: (you will need this report in order to receive step 3, the certificates from the Jewish Federation).

I can help with the Sephardic Surname report, this works well especially if you have no paper trail of your past.
If you have a genealogy record of your family tree, have it notarized and apostilled, and translated in Spanish*.  If you need help finding your genealogy, an excellent resource in Spain is Professor, Miguel Angel Motis of the San Jorge University in Zaragoza, Spain.  He is an expert in Sephardic Studies and provided me with 25 pages of information on my family, even dating back to Inquisition time.  He is able to help families with ties to Aragon.  If you use Dr. Miguel Motis, you will need him to send you a letter on letterhead as well as pdf file. His document does not need to be certified.  This report will be in Spanish.

Letters from a Rabbi & President of a recognized Sephardic Congregation are needed as proof of your Sephardic heritage.  Letters must be notarized.  Once you receive the letter/report from step 2, you can easily request both letters in step 3.
  • Contact in the USA:  Jewish Federation of New Mexico: www.sephardiccertificate.org, 505-242-1127.  Fee $180, plus shipping.
  • Contact in the USA:  B’Nai Sephardim, Shaare Shalom in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Fee  $500.  They will ask you to provide letter/report from step 2.  www.mybnai.com   954.983.9981
  • Both Federations are approved congregations by the Ministry of Justice in Spain.


4. Copy of all passport pages and original for when you travel to Spain.  Make sure you have plenty of time left on your passport, at least 6 months at time of travel

5. Current Birth Certificate ($50).  Notarized and apostilled in state you were born and translated into Spanish*

6. Marriage Certificate (if applicable) Notaried and appostilled in state you were married.  Translated in to Spanish*

7. FBI background check ($50). Apostilled in Washington, DC. Can be done via mail and translated into Spanish*

8. Local state criminal background check ($50), apostilled at state level and translated into Spanish *
9. *Documents translated by Sworn Spanish translator: $450
  • Send documents needed to Laura Palacin in Spain via pdf.:  Laura_aisina_palacin@hotmail.com
  • Laura speaks English well if you want to call or write.  She is fast and does great work.  When she is complete with your translation, she will send you a pdf file for your review and give final approval
  • She will mail you certified originals as well as send you pdf file
  • You will need originals to take with you to Spain


10. Travel to Spain once you have all your documents ($1400 airline ticket) and Acta de Notaridad appointment scheduled.
  • My home is your home.  I’m making my home available to Sephardim coming to Spain to sign their acta de notaridad and who like to come and visit the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain.  These mountains were a main escape route our ancestors took to flee into Europe
  • I can give you recommendations of Spanish Jewish Quarters to visit and other Sephardic sites
  • I can even go with you to sign your acta de notaridad for moral support


11. Signing of Acta de notaridad (submission of your paperwork to notary). $500

12. Spain government fee $100.  Paid at local bank and needed to submit your acta de notaridad.

13. Wait for good news and official letter from Directorate General for Registers and Notaries (DGRN).

14. Apply and Oath: At this point you go before the Consulate of Spain in your home country and apply for registration of citizenship title at the Civil Registry.  You will need to provide once again a current criminal background check (stay out of trouble!).  You then swear allegiance to the Spanish King to obey the Spanish Constitution and laws.
15. Receive Spain birth certificate.  
16. Apply for Spanish passport.
17. You are done!  Celebrate!


I am here in Spain and can assist anyone needing help, guidance and prayer support in this process.  Please visit the web page created to help make your journey simple.  I’m including copies of documents, and other helpful information.   If you would like to make a donation, the funds collected will go the help those in the process who need financial assistance.  Please visit How To Sponsor or Donate page.


Shalom!  May Father’s Joy rest upon you!  You are His Crown Center-Piece!

Jessica Zaragoza Duarte

34.616.141.629  mobile and WhatsApp

Sephardim God’s Jewels