For well-known and infamous historical reasons, Spain’s Jewish community is a decidedly small one, yet it has produced one of the most dynamic Jewish leaders in Europe. David Hatchwell Altaras is president of the Jewish community in Madrid and has served in numerous Jewish organizations over the years, including Birthright, the Genesis Prize, and the Maccabi World Union, and has shown a strong interest in relations between Israel and China.
Altaras has also been involved in combating antisemitism and the BDS movement, most notably ensuring that Jewish rapper Matisyahu could perform at a Spanish music festival despite racist attempts at canceling his show over his support for Israel. Of his outsized influence,
Altaras says, “It doesn’t matter how big or small you are; it’s all about your attitude.”
Asked about his understanding of Judaism,
Altaras simply replied, “Judaism is Faith, Commitment and Free Will at once.” (Photo credit: YouTube screenshot.)