Xueta Island

IN ORDER TO RETURN, YOU MUST FIRST HAVE GONE

 

The Spanish island of Majorca has a secret history — a group of families have been discriminated against for centuries because their surnames have a connection to a once suppressed Jewish heritage. A few have been inspired to return to the faith of their ancestors. Are they the best suited to lead Mallorquin Judaism despite not having practiced their faith for centuries?

Synopsis

Xueta Island explores the fascinating legacy of the Xuetas (pronounced Chuetas): a unique group of families on the Balearic island of Majorca who are believed to be descendants of the island’s Inquisition-era Jewish population.

Most of the families were forced to renounce their Judaism, officially converted and functionally “eliminated” Jewish life in Majorca. Yet many continued to practice their Judaism in secret.

Though they were practicing Catholics, the Chuetas were discriminated against up until the middle of the 20th century, always forced to marry within their subgroup population. It is estimated that there are roughly 20,000 Chuetas living on the island today.

Current-day Majorca presents a compelling case study for silenced Judaism, as practicing Catholic families cite Jewish “traditions” that date back centuries, without ever being openly acknowledged or explained.

Our story follows Dani Rotstein, a Jewish-American expat who moved to the island recently and quickly became fascinated with the story. Rotstein currently works as a social activist and filmmaker on the island, where he uses discoveries from his ongoing investigation to give added context to touring the winding streets of the medieval Jewish quarter.

Filmmakers

DANI ROTSTEIN

Producer, Protagonist
and Co-director

Content producer, entrepreneur and storyteller, Dani settled in Majorca in 2014, after years spent traveling the world producing advertisements for large commercial firms. With his partner, Carla Sainz Rozas Ciscar, Dani founded “Jewish Majorca,” an initiative that offers historical tours of the old town of Palma and organizes constant social events to promote Jewish activities on the island. The reality of Covid-19 prompted them to design virtual tours with VR / 360 and Zoom technology. The tours offer a comprehensive virtual vision of the local Jewish quarter. In addition, Dani produces and supervises the editing of video content and designs content strategies for social networks of different clients. He is also active in Limud Mallorca, a cultural association that he founded together with Carla in 2018.

OFER LASZEWICKI

Co-director, Journalist, and
Additional Camera

Based in Barcelona, Ofer collaborated for years as a freelancer for a multitude of media in Spain and Latin America. A multimedia journalist with a master’s degree in International Politics from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, he is currently editor and announcer on the program “Kan in Spanish” of the national radio of Israel and correspondent for the newspaper “La Razón” (Madrid). Ofer also films and edits videos for social networks and international press agencies. In 2017, he published the book “Israel Out of Focus: Portraits of Society Beyond the Conflict” (UOC editorial), a selection of reports that explores the diversity of Israeli society. Ofer also worked in production and script writing for documentaries published on the Israeli channels Kan11 and i24news.

FELIPE WOLOKITA

Co-director, Director of
Photography, Editor

A graduate in Film and Television from Tel Aviv University, Felipe has been working since 2012 on the production and filming of documentaries, as well as on content for media and international agencies. He is originally from Rio de Janeiro Brazil and immigrated to Israel in 2007 and currently lives in Tel Aviv. His film, “The Prince and the Frog,” was shown on Channel 8 in Israel and at film festivals around the world, including the “Mostra de Tiradentes” in Brazil. Felipe is currently working as a freelancer for the main Brazilian media (Red Globo, Sportv and Band), and is a cameraman and editor for the SIC channel in Portugal. He produced and filmed dozens of television programs, documentaries, and video clips in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, the Balkans, Spain, Brazil, Turkey and Greece.

Dani Rotstein

Producer and founder of “Jewish Majorca”
(historical tours). Member of the board of directors
of the Jewish Community of the Balearic Islands,
and activist in Limud Mallorca.

Miquel Segura

Chueta journalist and writer. Returned to Judaism.
Member of the board of directors of the Jewish
Community of the Balearic Islands.

Toni Pinya

Chueta cook. Converted to Judaism. Member of
the board of directors of the Jewish Community of
the Balearic Islands.

Laura Miró Bonnín

Chueta historian, writer and historical tour guide.

Juan Manuel Segura (Jota)

Chueta teacher of philosophy.
Activist in Limud Mallorca.

Ari Molina

Current president of the Jewish Community of the
Balearic Islands and chief of police of Andratx.

Abraham Barchilón

Former president of the Jewish Community of
the Balearic Islands and lawyer.

Itzhak Baruj & Yael Rivka

Resident couple in Biniamar, Orthodox Jews on the
island of Mallorca. Itzhak is a doctor in Inca.

Tomeu Arbona

Mallorquin pastry chef, specialized in local
gastronomy and its Jewish roots.

Manuel Ripoll

Mallorquin antiquarian bookseller. He has the 1st
edition of the book “La Fe Triunfante” (Chronicle of
the Autos de Fe) from 1691.

Karen Kochmann

Limud Mallorca president.

Robert López & Ferran Tarongí

Robert is a restorer of old buildings, owner of Can Monroig in
the Mallorquin town of Inca where there is a potential
synagogue and mikveh discovery.
Ferran is a Chueta Mallorquin archaeologist.

Xisca Valls

Chueta returned to Judaism, wife of Toni Pinya and
descendant of Rabbi Rafael Valls who was burned alive
in 1691.

Dani Rotstein

Producer and founder of “Jewish Majorca” (historical tours). Member of the board of directors of the Jewish Community of the Balearic Islands, and activist in Limud Mallorca.

Miquel Segura

Chueta journalist and writer. Returned to Judaism. Member of the board of directors of the Jewish Community of the Balearic Islands.

Toni Pinya

Chueta cook. Converted to Judaism. Member of the board of directors of the Jewish Community of the Balearic Islands.

Laura Miró Bonnín

Chueta historian, writer and historical tour guide.

Juan Manuel Segura (Jota)

Chueta teacher of philosophy. Activist in Limud Mallorca.

Ari Molina

Current president of the Jewish Community of the Balearic Islands and chief of police of Andratx.

Abraham Barchilón

Former president of the Jewish Community of the Balearic Islands and lawyer.

Itzhak Baruj & Yael Rivka

Resident couple in Biniamar, Orthodox Jews on the island of Mallorca. Itzhak is a doctor in Inca.

Tomeu Arbona

Mallorquin pastry chef, specialized in local gastronomy and its Jewish roots.

Manuel Ripoll

Mallorquin antiquarian bookseller. He has the 1st edition of the book “La Fe Triunfante” (Chronicle of
the Autos de Fe) from 1691.

Karen Kochmann

Limud Mallorca president.

Robert López & Ferran Tarongí

Robert is a restorer of old buildings, owner of Can Monroig in
the Mallorquin town of Inca where there is a potential
synagogue and mikveh discovery.
Ferran is a Chueta Mallorquin archaeologist.

Xisca Valls

Chueta returned to Judaism, wife of Toni Pinya and descendant of Rabbi Rafael Valls who was burned alive in 1691.

Screenings

Film festivals and screenings are updated frequently.
Please check back for more as they become available.

Austin Jewish Film Festival – November 2021
Miami Jewish Film Festival – January 2022
New York Jewish Film Festival – January 2022
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival – February 2022
Charlotte Jewish Film Festival – February 2022
Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival – February 2022
UK Jewish Film at JW3 London – March 2022
NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival – April 2022
Buffalo Jewish Film Festival – May 2022
Toronto Jewish Film Festival – June 2022

Jacksonville Jewish Film Festival – November 2022 

Get Involved

We appreciate your support in helping us tell the story of the Chueta people and the Jewish legacy of Majorca. We are currently seeking funds to further the outreach. Your valuable donations will help us explore, learn and educate others about this unique aspect of Jewish history.

Become part of the Jewish future in Majorca with a donation today!

Contact

info@xuetaislandthemovie.com

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