A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!
Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.
Michael and Ariellah Waizman
For Advocate Joshua Pex.
We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.
The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!
The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.
We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!
If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.
Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.
I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.
I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.
We were very satisfied with the service of Nehama. She was very professional in all her dealings and kept us informed all the way.
We highly recommend this law firm. They proved to be reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with.
We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.
Alexander P Gutterman
EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.
Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.
We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
They really care about helping their customers without any other interest
Nadia gave us service behind what we expected; she was professional which lead to fast and easy process with great result
We definitely recommend using them
competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended
Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.
The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.
The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them
We have been working with Decker, Pex Ofir & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.
I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.
I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.
Courteous, clear, efficient service.
Very knowledgeable and professional
Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
When you hear Decker,Pex,Ofir &Co, you hear 10+ class services, luxurious professionals, confidentiality and exclusive attention to your needs.
Marce Ruth St. Rey
Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.
The team at Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!
Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.
Dongdiet & Nellie
We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.
We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.
I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.
We were very pleased and content with the services of this law firm. They supported us 100% and solved our case successfully, we couldn't be happier.
Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.
Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!
Spain has a rich and fascinating Jewish history. It is the first country where the members of the Jewish diaspora had political and social success in all fields of life, including with regards to their religion. For a period, Jews were involved almost totally in Spanish social life, without fear or religious restriction.
Our law offices have extensive experience in the field of immigration. Our offices provide assistance with filing applications to many Israelis and Jews around the world, that are interested in issuing a Portuguese passport for Sephardic Jews. We are in contact with the Jweish communities in Porto and Lisbon, who are in charge of giving a final approval for the applicant’s European passport applications.
The Jewish History of Spain – from the Days of Babel Exile
There are traditions that indicate that Jews came to Spain after the destruction of the first Holy Temple in 586 BCE. They arrived by ship, or on foot via Morocco. According to archeological and historical findings, we know that Jews settled in Spain shortly before the birth of Jesus. This is because one of the first Christian apostles, known as Paul, has mentioned in his epistles to the Christian community in Greece, that he plans to reach Spain in order to convert more Jews to Christianity. Rabbi Isaac Abarbanel stated that the name of the city Toledo (in Arabic: Tulitula) derives from the hebrew verb taltala (“a collapse”). It is a hint for the Jews who came after the destruction of the first Temple.
In 1783, an ancient tombstone was found in the city of Adra, in the south of Spain. The writing on the tombstone mentions the name of an infant (most of the name has been erased): “The daughter of Solomon, died at the age of a year and 4 months, a Jew.” The tombstone is from the second century CE, and it helped researchers and historians to discover when and where the Sephardic Jews settled in the country, prior to the Christian age.
During the period of their settlements, Jews lived under different dynasties and kingdoms. At first, they lived under the Greeks, then under the Phoenicians. For 600 years, between the year 220 BCE and until 409 CE, they lived under the Romans. After them came the German Vandals and Swabians, the Iranian Alans, and then the German Visigoths came into power. From 475 until 711 the Sephardic Jews were governed by the Visigoths.
At first the Visigoths were Aryan Christians (an ancient Christian stream that denied the Catholic Holy Trinity). Apart from prohibiting marriage between Jews and Christians, as well as close social connection between them, the Visigoths did not consider the Jews as a risk or danger. However, in the year 589, they adopted Catholic Chrisitanity and their attitude toward Jews became extreme.
In the year 711, the Muslim forces have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and won several victories over the Visigoth armies. 5 years later, Spain was entirely conquered by Muslims, with the exception of the Basque Country. Although in most of its years, Spain was a distant and remote periphery for Jews, a glorious period started from the beginning of the Muslim occupation, under the enlightened and tolerant Islamic regime, known as “the Golden Age”.
The Golden Age of the Spanish Jewry
The Golden Age is a term retroactively coined by the Haskalah movement in 19th century Europe. Unlike previous successful Jewish glorious periods in the Babylonian countries, the land of Israel, Tunisia, France or even modern Europe, the Jews of Spain prospered in both the Jewish spiritual life and the local spiritual life. In the beginning there were Jewish ministers of military and kings’ apprentice, such as Samuel Ibn Naghrillah, Joseph Ibn Naghrillah & Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, who were part of the Muslim elite in Spain. But after them, there were Jewish poets, philosophers, scholars, astronomers, mathematicians, torah commentators, kabbalists, professionals, translators, doctors, etc.
During the golden age, Spanish rabbis used to sit and study astronomy together with the top Muslims astronomers. In Great Toledo, a school of translation was established, where many Jews were hired by the authorities as translators from Hebrew and Arabic to Latin.
The Torah and Chazal Commentaries
The Kabbalah Jewish school of thought was developed together with the sefirot, about 900 years ago, by Rabbi Isaac the Blind and his students, Rabbi Ezra & Rabbi Azriel from Girona, who were the predecessors of the Ramban (Nachmanides). The version of the Jewish prayer book (Sidur), which is accepted nowadays by all the Jewish ethnic groups, was first published in Barcelona, after the city’s community asked Rabbi Amram Gaon to send a correct and unified version of prayer. The foundational Zohar book was published by the great Kabbalah figure Rabbi Moses de León.
The three great Hebrew law (halacha) decisiors (poskim) lived in Spain – Rabbi Isaac Alfasi was the head of the Lucena Yeshiva; Rabbi Asher Ben Yechiel was the head of the Toledo Yeshiva; and Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides), who is considered the most important Rabbi in the past 1000 years. Ben Maimon served as Rais al-Yahud in Egypt, as the private doctor of the Egyptian governor and then as the private doctor of King Al-Afdal, son of Saladin. Maran Rabbi Joseph Karo, the author of the book of halacha “Shulchan Aruch”, based his writings on the decisions of the three aforementioned decisiors. Shulchan Aruch is used as a foundational book for all the decisiors (poskim) until present times.
Geographers of the middle ages marked Lucena, Granada and Tarragona as Jewish cities. In the cities of Zaragoza, Calatayud, Zamora, Seville, Toledo, Granada, Lucena, Barcelona and Córdoba, there have been important Yeshiva institutions, where the most important religious figures have led the Jewry of Spain and abroad. Among them were Rabbi Shlomo ibn Aderet, Rabbi Yonah from Girona, the Ramban, Rabbi Yom Tov Asevilli, Rabbi Nissim from Girona, Rabbi Isaac ben Sheshet, Rabbi Aharon HaLevi, Rabbi Maimon ben Joseph, Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash and other great and known Rabbis.
In the field of poetry, Spanish-Jewish poets who became known are Rabbi Juddah Halevi, Shlomo ibn Gabirol, Moshe ibn Ezra, Abraham ibn Ezra, Yehuda Alharizi, Todros Abulafia, Joseph ibn Abitur, Abun, etc.
Scholars and Commentaries of the Spanish Jewry
Sephardic famous philosophers were the Rambam, Rabbi Hasdai Crescas, Rabbi Joseph ben Judah ibn Aknin, Shem-Tov ibn Flaquera, Rabbi Juddah Halevi, Zarchia Chen, Joseph Albo, Isaac Albalag, Isaac Orobio de Castro and many others.
Known Sephardic commentaries: Isaac Abarbanel, the Ramban, Rabbi David Kimhi, Rabbi Joseph Kimhi (father of the aforementioned), Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra, Rabbi Levi ben Gershon (Gersonides), Rabbi Moses Narbonne, Joseph Caspi, Rabbi Isaac ben Moses Arama and others. A large part of the above list consists of commentaries from the Region of Provence in southern France. The Provence Jewry in the middle ages was an independent community with a Jewish Provencal dialect, within the Roman-Latin family of dialects. This community was influential and unique in its Rabbis, who were significantly influenced by the Spanish Jewry. They even used the phrase “ibn” (like the Spanish Jewry) in order to describe their dynasty. For instance, Rabbi Juddah ibn Tibbon, Rabbi Joseph ibn Caspi, and so on.
Senior Sephardic astronomers and mathematicians: Rabbi Judah ibn Verga, Abraham bar Hiyya, Abraham Zacuto, Abraham ibn Daud, Isaac Israeli ben Joseph, Isaac ibn al-Ahdab, Jacob ben Machir ibn Tibbon.
The Christian Conquest of Spain (Reconquista)
Over the years the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain continued to fight Muslims. At first it was the French, then guerrilla forces of Spanish kingdoms like Aragon, Castile, Navarre and others (who were founded as a result of the wars with the Muslims) also took part. For 700 years the Christian kingdoms have pushed the Muslims toward Southern Spain. As a result, more and more small Christian kingdoms were formed over the time. The kingdoms of Castile and Aragon took over these kingdoms in the 12th century. In 1479 Castile and Aragon united and created the unified Spain.
The Alhambra Decree
In January 1492, after 700 years of continuous war, the Christian forces managed to take over all the fields of the Iberian Peninsula. Due to the increasing bloodshed and extreme religious patriotism for hundreds of years, Spain became known as a dark, sadistic and cruel place.
Psychologically, the Spanish saw themselves as fragile in comparison with the Muslims, as well as the Jews. They demanded the expulsion of the Jews. Two months after the great victory over the last of the Muslims, the Spanish Royal House declared a general expulsion order for all the Spanish citizens who refused to convert to Christianity at the Alhambra Castle of Granada. The expulsion order stated that Jews and Muslims will have to Spain leave before July 31, 1492. Jewish and Muslim citizens who stayed in Spain and secretly followed their traditions after the deportation, if caught, were cruelly turtured on the breaking wheel, burned alive, were teared alive on the Spanish “donkey” (wooden horse) device or suffered other cruel punishments.
Nowadays, Jews of North Africa, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Iraq, Syria etc., are called Sephardim, because they are descendants of the great Spanish Jewish diaspora, which covered those places and swallowed up the Jewish population assimilated into it. The Jews who came to the aforementioned countries were considered as a bourgeois, literate, educated and progressive population. Thus, except for a few cities that refused to accept the Sephardic authority, wherever the Sephardic communities came, they instilled their customs and the Sephardic traditions on the local Jewish citizens.
Additional Articles on Sephardic Jews and Examination of Eligibility for a Portuguese Passport:
- Who is Eligible for a Portuguese Passport?
- Non-Jews and Sephardic Citizenship
- Portuguese Citizenship for Israelis
We thank Mr. Jonathan Gavrielov for his help with the research on The Jewish history of Spain and the expelled Jews of Alhambra Decree, as well as with the assistance in writing this article.
Our law offices specialize in immigration law to Israel, the US, the UK, Canada and Portugal. If there are Sephardic traditions in your family, attesting Spanish or Portuguese affiliation, we can help you with clarifying your rights, based on the Portuguese Nationality Law. Check if you are also eligible for a Portuguese citizenship, like thousands of other Israelis. For examination of your eligibility, call one of the phone numbers below.