It only took 500 years after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain for this museum to open, in an attempt to explain Judaism and Jewish history to a city where the Jewish population was essential to the functioning of the court and the country for centuries. Since 1992, it has blossomed into one of the most visited spots in Toledo. The most important section is the Sinagoga del Tránsito, built in 1355 by Samuel Leví with a special dispensation from Pedro I. Leví had significant influence with the king, having served Pedro as royal treasurer, among other roles. It was the only Toledo synagogue untouched in the 1391 attacks on the city’s Jewish ghetto. The building was Christianized after 1492, so only some of the scrollwork on the walls is original. Restorations in 1910 and 1992 filled in most of the blanks in the original scripts, which include psalms inscribed along the tops of the walls and a poetic description of the Temple on the east wall. Museum display cases chronicle the Jewish communities on the Iberian peninsula from the Roman era to 1492. One gallery deals with slow changes in 19th-century Spanish law, from the 1802 edict that allowed Jewish religious observances to the 1869 formal retraction of Fernando and Isabel’s expulsion order. The museum fits nicely with the Museo del Greco next door and San Juan de los Reyes across the street to make a full morning.
- Frommer's Staff