quinta-feira, 10 de maio de 2018

Jewish Community of Oporto.


The Jewish Community of Oporto (CIP) is a legally constituted organisation based in Portugal. The registered statutory purpose of the organisation is to support the creation and development of  Jewish life and religion, provide moral and material assistance to Jewish people and Jewish organizations, foster peace and the security of the Jewish people in general, strengthen and disseminate Jewish culture and history, and promote a better, fairer and more equitable world.
The Community has two synagogues, rabbis, religious services, regular minyan, Beit Midrash, mikveh, kosher grocery store, restaurant and cemetery. The organisation includes multiple departments: tzedakah, kashrut, chevra kadisha, security, legal, accounting, administrative services, media, nationality law, archive, museum, etc. 
The Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue is the largest Synagogue in Iberian Peninsula and the Oporto Rabbinate is recognised by the Rabbanut Harashit of Israel. Rabbi Daniel Litvak (Ashkenazi) is assisted by Rabbi Yoel Zekri (Sephardic). In Oporto the Jewish community includes about two hundred fifty Jews, originally from more than twenty countries. They are a mix of old and new Jewish families who, over the last few years, have connected the organization with the rest of the Jewish world, written the Community's rules, restored the synagogue building, organized departments and created the necessary conditions for Jewish life to flourish again in Oporto. More than 500 years after the Jewish synagogues and cemetery were destroyed and the houses of the Jewish people looted at the time of the Expulsion, the Jewish Community of Oporto flourishes once again.
To support the creation and development of Jewish life and religion, the Board of Directors gives its full support to the synagogue leaders (who are the Rabbis) to foster the practice of Judaism, creation of a kosher structures in the city, and ensure the proper functioning of the departments that manage the synagogue, kashrut, mikveh, Beit Midrash, the cemetery, the reception of Jews newcomers to the city, etc. 
To provide moral and material assistance to Jewish people and Jewish organization, the organization maintains a Tzedakah department that respects Jewish tradition and operates in any part of the world where there are Jews, so as to provide moral and material assistance to Jewish organizations. It gives tzedakah for Klal Israel via a vast network of synagogues and communities and provides products for Shabbat meals (in Israel, UK, USA, Russia, China, Australia and South Africa) to needy families who currently do not have the resources to prepare their own.
In order to promote peace and the security of Jewish people in general, the organization maintains a department agaisn't Antisemitism, takes measures for the Jews of Oporto and the synagogue to be safe, and keeps close relations with Portuguese legal institutions, such as the police and the courts, and foreign institutions: Sochnut, Anti-Defamation League, etc. To disseminate and strengthen Jewish culture and history in Portugal, and dispel prejudices against Jews, the organization keeps a functioning museum, hosts schools, visitors and tourists, and encourages cultural and historical content through books, pamphlets, films, concerts, and others means. Finally, in order to promote a better, fairer and more equitable world, the organization practices acts of kindness (chessed) in Portugal and abroad, namely by helping children, the poor,
the elderly, the sick, the disabled, hospitals and animal welfare associations. It is promoting ideas and tendencies that are rooted in timeless principles defined by the Congress of the United States as "the values and ethical principles that are the basis of civilized society and that have been the foundation of society since the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws" (Public Law 102-14, 102D, Congress of the United States of America, 1st Session, HJ Resolution 104, ratified on 20th March, 1991). In 2018, the Jewish Community of Oporto willl offer "Chanukiot of Peace" (produced in Toledo, Sefarad) to the top representatives of China, USA and Russia, asking them to avoid the war in the world, which destroys the natural ecosystem, depletes food supplies, causes economic collapse, and destroys people's living conditions.  

Portugal and Portuguese Jews
The Jewish Community of Oporto has excellent relations with the Portuguese authorities. Although mostly of foreign origin, the members of the Oporto Community are "Portuguese Jews" and productive, responsible and tolerant citizens. The Portuguese Minister of Justice has already welcomed the fact that the Nationality Law "is allowing Sephardic Jews to re-establish ties with the national community from which they were once separated, thus enabling their full participation in the construction of a more pluralistic and fraternal society in Portugal".
Since Portuguese Jews have in the past been denied many things to which they were entitled, it is imperative that, at present, every Jew knows that he/she may only demand that to which there is a corresponding right.
Portugal is a Republic with a constitution based on the fundamental rights of citizens and is committed to building a free and fair society. For this reason, in 2013, the Portuguese Parliament approved the bill, amending the Nationality Law making descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews eligible for Portuguese nationality. The Jewish communities of Oporto and Lisbon know that the bill was passed exclusively in order to promote Justice.

Kashrut in Oporto
The Jewish Community of Oporto is able to provide members of the Community and Jewish visitors or tourists with various options in terms of kashrut, as part of a project that is coordinated by the Oporto Rabbinate whose supervision is recognised by the Grand Rabbinate of Israel.
The project involved rigorous training of the employees. There are several kashrut structures already in existence: 1. Hotel da Música restaurant (Portuguese food); 2. Kadoorie restaurant (Portuguese food); 3. Bola Falafel restaurant (israeli food); 4. Casa do Hummus restaurant (israeli food); 5. Bom Sucesso Store; 6. Kadoorie Vending Store; 7. Community Grocery; 8. Low cost kosher meals are also availabre. For more information, please visit the website of the Jewish Community of Oporto.

Kosher mikveh
The new mikveh of the community, inaugurated in 2015, may only be used in accordance with the following rules: 1) Under the supervision of Oporto Rabbinate, the mikveh may be used only for halakhic purposes. Any matters related to family purity or tevilah should be directed to the Rabbis. uring the night, the mikveh may only be used by women. 3) Men should use the mikveh during the day. 
4) Women who wish to use the mikveh must be accompanied by the community balanit, who must be contacted at least 24 hours in advance. 5) Men who wish to use the mikveh must make this wish known to the community at least 24 hours in advance. 6) The use of mikveh is free for members of the Jewish Community of Oporto. Non-members of the community must pay a fee to use the mikveh. 7) Submerging utensils can be carried out free of charge by arrangement with the community shamash and under his supervision.A tour of the mikvah is available on request. Balanit contact: mikvah.porto@gmail.com. There is also a large natural mikveh, a waveless stretch of beach adjacent to a breakwater, about 7 km from the synagogue. 

Tzedekah and chessed
The Jewish Community of Oporto gives tzedakah via a vast network of synagogues, communities, institutions for the elderly and disabled, essential Israeli organizations for the future of the country, etc..
The ''Shabbat Meals from the Diaspora'' project aims to provide Shabbat meals to Jewish citizens who currently do not have the resources to prepare their own. The meals are offered to synagogues in Ashdod, London, Brooklyn, Moscow, Odessa, Beijing, Sydney and Johannesburg that distribute them to needy families. The Community is also a partner of Keren Hayesod in various programmes to support Israeli institutions in Israel and supports the representatives of Yavneh Olami in Portugal, an international student organization that works to inspire and educate Jewish students from the Diaspora to strengthen their connection to the Jewish People.  

School and education  
The Community activities include Torah weekly classes, Hebrew language classes, krav maga classes, kindergarten, religious library, library of history books and study room. I
n 2016 a request was made to the Prime Minister of Portugal for him to streamline and expedite mechanisms for education history textbooks to include the presence of Jews in the Iberian Peninsula in general and in Portugal in particular.
The Portuguese government recognized that educational programs should be changed. The Jewish Museum of Oporto occupies rooms in the first floor of the synagogue. It is closed during Shabbat and Yom Tov, to both Jews and non-Jews. The main purpose of the museum is to spread awareness of Jewish history, Jewish culture and Sheva Mitzvot to non-Jewish students from Portuguese schools and non-Jewish tourists from all over the world. See TourismKadoorieMekorHaim on Facebook.

The Jewish Organization 
The management of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue and the religious matters belongs to the Rabbinate. Therefore, the leaders of the Jewish community in Oporto are its Rabbis: Rabbi Daniel Litvak and his assistant Rabbi Yoel Zekri.
 
However, there is a legally constituted organisation based in Oporto called "Jewish Community of Oporto", in fact, Comunidade Israelita do Porto/Comunidade Judaica do Porto.
The Board of Directors of this organization is chosen every three years and it is composed by managers with technical skills to manage diverse areas and strategic issues: to support the creation and development of Jewish life and religion, strengthen and disseminate Jewish culture and history, foster peace and the security of the Jewish people in general, provide moral and material assistance to Jewish people and Jewish organizations, and promote a better, fairer and more equitable world. The decisions from the Board of Directors are recorded in books of legal minutes, serving as a register for posterity. 
The Presidents of the Supervisory Board and the General Assembly follow up communications, meetings and minutes of the Board of Directors and can make suggestions whenever they wish. 
The momentous responsabilities of the Oporto Rabbinate and the Organziation Bodies occupy them so completely with serious matters that they have no time for mediocrity and trivialities. 
Jonathan Rideau and Vivian Grossman are delegates of the Board of Directors and have the power to represent it and be their spokespersons in Portugal and abroad, especially in cultural matters and social actions, bearing in mind that one of the main objectives of the organization is to promote a better, fairer and more equitable world. Jonathan is a Sephardic Jew born in France in a family of Tunisian origin, while Vivian is an Ashkenazi Jewess born in Brazil in a family that fled Poland in the first half of the 20th century. Both are single and have been living and working in Oporto for several years. Overall, they are an image of youth, competence and consensus within the Jewish community of Oporto, especially as they help newly arrived families to integrate quickly in the city and in the community, and promote a good atmosphere and harmony among the members of the synagogue, be they Sephardim or Ashkenazim, religious or not religious, rich or poor, more or less capable, etc.
   
Security department
The security department of the Community has interlocutors in the courts and police forces and is willing to use all means to prevent or repress actions involving danger. The Community has security men accredited to the Portuguese authorities for the use of firearms and (discreet or ostentatious) policing is requested, in greater or lesser numbers, depending on the circunstances. On cybersecurity and "dark web", the Community has hired a specialist to be its permanent advisor. The mission of this department also includes the detection of false "Jewish conspiracy theories" on the internet that could jeopardize the Jewish Community of Oporto and the Jews in general. Related to this Security department, in 2018 the organization has created a department against Antisemitism that works in conjunction with police and courts. 

Memorandum of Friendship
In 2016 the Jewish Community of Oporto and the Islamic Community of Oporto agreed on the following Memorandum: “Whereas it is often better and more effective to create and extend local bonds of peace, so that they can spread from one place to another, than to try to achieve world peace through international forums and much less through the massive propaganda of agnostic belief; and whereas relations between Jews and Muslims, which thrived during centuries, have endured extremely negative episodes in many places during the last decades -- which is deeply to be lamented; the Jewish Community of Oporto and the Islamic Community of Oporto affirm this Memorandum of Friendship and Cooperation.”

Legal department
The Community has a specialised legal department to prosecute any criminals who may harm the community in Portugal and any coutry in the world. Some Law Offices which work with the Community in Portugal:
PLMJ – Sociedade de Advogados, RL
Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados
Oehen Mendes - Yolanda Busse, Oehen Mendes & Associados
Campos Pereira, Pedro Alhinho, Leopoldo Carvalhais, Cãndida Mesquita & Associados - Sociedade de Advogados
Rui Silva Leal and Mónica Quintela - Advogados
The Community hired the best Law Offices in Portugal and has criminal defense lawyers in Jerusalem, New York, London, Amsterdam, etc., to prosecute criminals in general and also corrupt journalists who may harm the community in any country in the world. Journalism has been progressively diverging from its ethical and social aims, with “journalists" committing outrageous deeds to receive illicit compensation.
The cases of journalistic corruption must be denounced in the courts and punished. Corrupt journalists should be banned from journalism. By common consent the term corruption is applied to the theft of public monies. It is much more than that, however. There is corruption in the public sphere and corruption in the private sphere. Corruption contaminates society in every area. One of these areas is journalism. Journalistic corruption is a million-dollar business. There are shocking indications of the debasement of journalistic truth in exchange for illicit advantages for journalists and for their friends or corruptors. We witness the promotion of the image of a person or the organisation he or she belongs to and the destruction of the public image of their opponents. Journalistic corruption is an invisible enemy that can attack worldwide. Naturally it can also attack the Jewish Community of Porto on the orders of corruptors. This is a serious issue that cannot be considered merely in the sphere of information ethics and the professional deontology of journalism. Corrupt journalists must be persecuted just as other corrupt people are. Measures against corrupt journalists who may cause damage to the Jewish Community of Porto:
1) File a criminal complaint regarding the crime of journalistic corruption which in Portugal is punishable with a prison sentence of 1 to 8 years (article 8 nº 2 of Law 20/2008 of 21 April); 2) File a civil claim for a very large sum in compensation against a corrupt journalist and the type of media he uses; 3) Publicly expose the corrupt journalist who must be compelled to divulge his source of information, his history regarding the issue at stake, also who wins and who loses with this information and how much he was paid for it; 4) Contact the professional association of the corrupt journalist. Corruption endangers that which is most sacred to a journalist: his honour and his credibility, so he must be stripped of his press and membership cards and change his profession. Journalism and the media are some of the most important tools for the development of society, of citizenship and of human civilisation. They are as important as school is to education. Public debate and journalistic truth cannot be debased by corrupt journalists. 

Certification Process of descendents of Sephardic Jews
The descendents of Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin must obtain a Certificate from the Portuguese Jewish Community which attests to his/her ties to a Sephardic Jewish Community of Portuguese origin. A request for this Certificate must be addressed to the Jewish Community of Oporto or to the Jewish Community of Lisbon. Having worked for three years on the certification process of the descendants of Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin the Board of the Jewish Community of Porto (CIP) would like to emphasise the following points:
1. The overwhelming majority of the certificates issued so far by CIP were granted to applicants descending from traditional Sephardic families who for centuries lived in Balkan countries – Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia – and in Arab or Muslim countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, the former Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya – rife with marriages between Jews of Portuguese origin and Jews of Spanish origin. These applicants may request their nationality in Portugal or Spain. 

2. The Nationality Law Committee at CIP assesses applicants’ processes based on every single element that may guarantee that they have a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin – e.g. the family surnames (and not only the applicant’s last name), the lists of surnames of the traditional Sephardic families of the countries where their forebears settled in the last five centuries, the communities and synagogues they belonged to, cemetery records, the types of ketubot and other objects the families may have kept down to the present, the religious or food rites and customs, episodes narrated in history books about the Portuguese Jewish diaspora, the applicant’s connection to the Jewish world in the present and their status in the light of Halacha, the religious temples they still frequent today and the knowledge, however limited, of the history of such families by famous academics or Rabbis recognised by organisations with Halachic credibility – critically articulated with our knowledge and understanding of the reality, culture, religious law and Jewish communities as a whole and with other materials gathered throughout the assessment process, using the work tools at our disposal.
The contents described above in the preceding item led the Portuguese legislator to include the Jewish communities of Porto and Lisbon in the certification process.
3. The CIP Committee, headed by the Oporto Rabbinate, is made up of authorities on the Sephardic diaspora of Portuguese origin, who call upon consultants and experts available worldwide. The team members of the Committee and the administrative services work 24 hours a day to ensure a fast and effective response to the large number of applications made from all over the world, which has led to more than 300 thousand communications being exchanged in the last three years.
4. Many Jews from all over the world have visited the country where their ancestors lived, including Rabbi Isaak Haleva (Hachacham Bashi, the Chief Rabbi of Turkey) who was present at a shabbaton at Oporto Synagogue (currently the largest in Sepharad).
The Chief Rabbi was accompanied by one hundred Turkish Sephardic Jews, many of whom cried and called Portugal their home. Portuguese newspapers widely reported the purchase of buildings and the opening of other business in Oporto (including kosher restaurants) by families originally from Sepharad.
5. In 2018, the Jewish Community of Oporto promoted the distribution by libraries around the world of the bilingual book (English and Hebrew) entitled "The Portuguese Sephardic Diaspora in light of the archives of the Jewish Community of Oporto", written by the historian Arthur Villares, which shows the results of the intensive work carried out by the CIP Committee: statistics, number of applications, countries of origin, age of the applicants, criteria and means of proof, lists of Sephardic surnames, etc.
6. Training sessions for Portuguese and foreign lawyers representing many applicants are held regularly at CIP headquarters. The presence of the Porto Registrar will be requested at forthcoming sessions. CIP and the Portuguese Ministry of Justice are in permanent contact.

7. Certificates may be cancelled if it comes to the Committee’s notice that false documents were used in the certification process. In such cases the applicants shall be prosecuted anywhere in the world by CIP’s lawyers, the same occurring with slanderers acting for material reasons, journalistic corruption, extreme Zionism, malevolence of mediocre men, etc.  
8. The Concert of Sephardic Memory - "Tradition and Modernity - Tribute to our Jewish musical heritage" - took place in Oporto and was attended by 1000 members and friends of the Jewish Community of Oporto and personalities of Portuguese public life.
The event was performed in appreciation of the wise support of Portuguese citizens and members of the Parliament for legislating the return of descendants of exiled Jewish Portuguese citizens after more than five centuries.
9. The Portuguese Minister of Justice has already welcomed the fact that the Nationality Law "is allowing Sephardic Jews to re-establish ties with the national community from which they were once separated, thus enabling their full participation in the construction of a more pluralistic and fraternal society in Portugal". Since Portuguese Jews have in the past been denied many things to which they were entitled, it is imperative that, at present, every Jew knows that he/she may only demand that to which there is a corresponding right.

10. The movie called "Sefarad", which tells the story of the Jewish people in Oporto from the end of the 15th century to the present day, is being produced by the Jewish Community of Oporto. The film will be available in movie theaters around the world. 

The Jewish Community of Oporto and the World Jewish Congress
The Jewish Community of Oporto is currently the strongest Jewish organisation in Portugal in all the relevant fields and it would be natural for the World Jewish Congress to include the strongest Jewish organisations and communities of each country amongst its members.

Unfortunately, however, the Board members and the Rabbis of the Jewish Community of Oporto have no time to spare for the trips, the socialising and the events that the World Jewish Congress (and the European Jewish Congress) organise around the world. The priorities of the World Jewish Congress are to support Israel, promote a better world and to combat anti-Semitism, and the Jewish Community of Oporto already fulfils these objectives to the fullest extent. 
1) The Jewish Community of Oporto gives tzedakah for Klal Israel via a vast network of synagogues and communities, provides products for Shabbat meals (in Israel, UK, USA, Russia, Ukraine, China, Australia and South Africa) to needy families who currently do not have the resources to prepare their own. The big truck of the Jewish Community of Oporto symbolizes the great desire to help these families. The organization supports essential Israeli organizations for the future of Israel, and it is a partner of Keren Hayesod for the physical and social development of the Negev and sparsely populated areas of Galilee; in "Youth
Futures" project, which provides 14,000 children at-risk (ages 6 - 13) with interventions that will enable them to take their place as independent, productive members of society; to promote and prepare for Aliyah to Israel; for smooth and successful integration of immigrants into Israeli society; to get young Jews from the Diaspora to visit Israel and stay there for six months to a year to create ties with the country; to give young people from the periphery of Israel the technological education they need to succeed in life; to support Israeli soldiers who are without their families in Israel; to provide a home for children at social risk; a programme to give children at social risk the possibility of learning music and being part of an orchestra; and to help older adults, preventing senior hunger and malnutrition, providing healthcare needs, etc.
2) In order to promote a better, fairer and more equitable world, the Jewish Community of Oporto is helping (in Portugal and abroad) children, the poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, hospitals, animal welfare associations, etc., and promoting ideas and tendencies that are rooted in timeless principles defined by the Congress of the United States as "the values and ethical principles that are the basis of civilized society and that have been the foundation of society since the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws" (Public Law 102-14, 102D, Congress of the United States of America, 1st Session, HJ Resolution 104, ratified on 20th March, 1991). In 2018, the Jewish Community of Oporto willl offer "Chanukiot of Peace" (produced in Toledo, Sefarad) to the top representatives of China, USA and Russia, asking them to avoid the war in the world, which destroys the natural ecosystem, depletes food supplies, causes economic collapse, and destroys people's living conditions. In terms of political strength to influence world diplomacy, the most powerful countries on Earth are the United States of America (the largest economy), Russia (the largest territory) and China (the largest population). The fourth strongest country is Israel, despite its small territory and small population.
3) The department of the Jewish Community of Oporto that combats anti-Semitism, which works in collaboration with the Portuguese State and its security institutions, aims to observe and monitor in real time the phenomenon of anti-Semitism on Portuguese territory, find ways to extenuate or eliminate the prejudice against Jews and Jewish communities, draw up scientific opinions and reports for information and for action, if required, by the competent instances of control. It also aims to raise the awareness of the political forces to the need to improve the existing legislation and promote school programmes to combat the "material image" of the Jew, the collective guilt addressed to “the Jews” and the traditional myths concerning this people of forced migrants.
Therefore, it is a well-established fact that the mission of the Jewish Community of Oporto is something of such magnitude that requires a team of people working all day and every day in many countries. Under these circumstances, the leaders and Rabbis of the organization have no time for socialising. 


 Letter to the UN Secretary-General (January 31, 2017)
"The Jewish Community of Oporto wishes to congratulate you on the statements made at the United Nations on the occasion of International Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January 2017 about the Temple Mount and the dispersion of the Jewish people.

In the wake of the primary and senseless criticism of your words, the Jewish Community of Oporto asks that you never be shirk from speaking the truth on this key issue. As all informed and reasonable people are aware, there was indeed a Beit HaMikdash on Temple Mount - where Israel's children and Noah's children prayed in peace - just as there was a people who were expelled from Israel 2000 years ago and expelled from Arab countries in the 20th century. All this is unassailable and can not be called into question by any openly anti-Israel and anti-Jewish UNESCO resolution."

The Centre for Historic Research
The Centre for Historic Research (CIPH) of the Jewish Community of Oporto, created in 2015, seeks to reconstruct the entire history of the organisation from its foundation in 1923 to the present day, together with the Jewish presence in the city in previous centuries, putting an end to colourful myths that for decades have been part of the collective imagination.
The CIPH is composed of members of the Jewish community, historians, museologists and diverse personalities, and is responsible for the production of written and audio-visual content on the history of the Jewish community in Oporto, using as historical sources the records available in the archives of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim synagogue, the archives of the old members from the community, publications in public and private libraries and memories and credible testimonies from people with direct knowledge of the facts.

The Building of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim synagogue
The building of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue (Rua de Guerra Junqueiro, 340, Porto, Portugal) was inaugurated oficially on Januay 1938. The Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue is the largest Synagogue in Iberian Peninsula. It includes not only a great prayer room but also spaces for many other activities. In the 50s, 60s and 90s, maintenance work and painting in the synagogue were carried out, paid for by Lawrence and Horace Kadoorie, a Jewish family from Hong Kong. 
In 2011 the building had a very rundown picture and looked like a ghost building. Large quantities of rotting moss covered all the outer walls of the temple and two dead palm trees seemed to be presiding over a very sad and decadent setting. Between 2012 and 2015, the following work was carried out using the community's own financial resources: Exterior and interior renovation and painting throughout the synagogue building; Construction of a new kosher Mikveh; Installation of a new fully kosher kitchen; Creation of a pantry for kosher products with 7 refrigerators or freezers; Painting and refurbishment of rooms for the nursery school; Repair and reconstruction of the Synagogue's stone walls; Raising the height of the synagogue's front railing; Repair of both existing toilets and construction of a new toilet for men; Transformation of the first floor rooms to create the Jewish Museum of Oporto;
Installation of video surveillance cameras in the building (for a total of 16 cameras); Felling of the palm trees, killed by beetles. Between 2016 and 2017, the following work was carried out using the community's own financial resources: (Exterior) Cleaning the façades; Lighting all façades; Restoring and replacing all paving, stair landing, side stairs, in the synagogue, entrance foyer with granite gravel; Rebuilding and starting up the irrigation system; Rebuilding the sewage network; Building rainwater drainage pipes around the building and placing receiving grilles; Erecting a new building, in 2 1/2 months at the rear of the synagogue; Building gas, water and sewage networks for the new building; Repainting the gates; Electrification of the new building; Placing artificial grass around the new building; Lighting the surroundings of the new building; Building, setting up a screen, electrification of Suka in the new building. (Main Temple) Main chandelier fully electrified; Replacing the electrical installation (except main cable inlet to building); Doubling the lighting capacity of the main chandelier with LED lamps, each equal to 150 watts... More: Doubling the lighting capacity in the side corridors; Doubling the lighting capacity in the women’s section; Placing curtain rods in the two parochets; Restoring and painting the walls; Restoring and replacing the electrical installation in the two rooms next to the Ehal;
Putting Pest Repellent and placing rodent traps. (1st floor) Restoring the walls and ceilings on the 1st floor; Painting the whole space; Rebuilding the ladies’ lavatory; Building a men’s lavatory; Replacing the electrical installation on the 1st floor (except for right stairwell); Restoring and painting Yeshiva; Painting the stairwells. (2nd floor) Shoring the whole building; Full reconstruction of the 2nd floor kitchen; Gas connection to the 2nd floor; Extending and restoring the dining room, involving demolition and reinforcement of supporting walls with steel beams. Demolition of two adjacent rooms; Flooring reinforced with transverse and longitudinal steel beams; Building a Suka on the 2nd floor patio; Remodelling and building two WCs on the 2nd floor; Replacing the electrical installation on the 2nd floor; Buying and hanging suitable pendant lights for the space; Partial replacement of the flooring; Building a pantry on the 2nd floor; Restoring the ceilings and windows on the 2nd floor; Painting the 2nd floor; Painting the stairwell between the 1st and 2nd floors. (Ground floor) Replacing the electrical installation; Building a kosher grocery; Replacing flooring on first level; Replacing flooring on second level with wooden floor; Restoring, painting and renovating flooring in the Vending area; Restoring all doors and clad the side doors;
Restoring ceilings and walls; Paintwork. (Basement) Replacing the electrical installation; Installing adequate lighting; Building a new temple; Installing insulated plasterboard on all basement walls; Installing central heating in the basement; Installing a backlit screen; Restoring a space for an Archives Room and an office; Replacing all windows with double-glazed thermal break windows; Installing floating floor; Putting Pest Repellent on the walls; Installing an attached storeroom; Underground shelters are created in the case of terrorist attacks.


Concert of Sephardic Memory - "Tradition and Modernity - Tribute to our Jewish musical heritage"
More than 500 years after the Expulsion of the Jews from Portugal, the Concert of Sephardic Memory - "Tradition and Modernity - Tribute to our Jewish musical heritage" - took place at the Casa da Música on November 16, 2017 (LINK). The event was attended by 1000 members and friends of the Jewish Community of Oporto and personalities of Portuguese public life. The event began with a speech by Dale Jeffries, Board member of the Jewish Community of Oporto and himself a pianist.
Jeffries said: "Tonight‘s concert is performed in appreciation of the wise support of Portuguese citizens and members of the Parliament for legislating the return of descendants of exiled Jewish Portuguese citizens after more than five centuries." The Ladino language, a mixture of the Portuguese, Castilian and other languages, still spoken and sung today in many countries by more than 150 thousand Jews of Portuguese and Castilian origin, was a feature of the Concert.
The lyrical singers Linet Saul (from Turkey) and Judit Rajk (from Hungary) interpreted musical pieces in the Ladino language, accompanied by more than 100 members of the Orchestra of ESMAE - Superior School of Music and Arts of the Spectacle, directed by Maestro António Saiote.
The soprano Linet Saul was born in Istanbul, Turkey from a sefardic family, butnowadays lives in Izmir. This city, the ancient Smirna, the birth place of Homeros, later, from the end of the 15th century, became the home of a large sefardic community, a home of those Jewish refugees who arrived from Portugal and Spain.
Linet Saul sang several solo roles in operas at the Izmir State Opera since 1998. She did a speech in Ladino dedicated to all the presents: "Kinyentos anyos antes los cudyos fueron ekspulsados de Espanya i Portugal. Munchoz fuyeron al Emperio Otomano i empesaron a avlar el Ladino, una mesklada de Portughez, Espanyol con un poco de Turko i Grego. Agora despuez de 5 siglos esto en Portugal. A Kinda pueser yo se la una sola ke avla el Ladino. El sentimiento de aboltar es muy ermozo. Mersi muncho a todos Portughesez che estan aki esta noche i a la Comunida cudia para invitarme i mi amiga Judit che viene de Hungaria. Un abraso fuerte."
The contralto soloist of the concert, Judit Rajk arrived from Budapest, Hungary. Jews have a long history in Hungary. The Jews in Hungary are mostly descendants of ashkenazi jewish families. Judit Rajk obtained her diploma in singing and her doctorate at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, where she is now an associate professor in the Church Music Department.
She is teaching voice training, methodology and voice training history. Since 1998 Ms. Rajk has been the Board member of the European Cultural Foundation Budapest and in 2009 she was elected as the Head of the Board. The Concert of Sephardic Memory - "Tradition and Modernity - Tribute to our Jewish musical heritage" had a fantastic program: G. F. Hãndel: Esther. | Arie Bar Droma: Una Noche al Lunar. | Hugo Weisgall : Psalm of the Distant Dove | Shimon Cohen: Seven Sephardic Folk Songs | Osse Shalom Bimromav | The Exodus Song | Theme of the Sephardic memory.

Community development (2012-2017)

Summary 2012:
Approval of the Community's internal by-laws and disciplinary regulations.

Total rehabilitation of the building of the Synagogue, inside and out.

Engaging a rabbi (recognized by the Grand Rabbinate of Israel), the first rabbi of the Community's history paid for with the Communitys own financial resources.

Appointment of a Religious Committee.

Adjustment of the myth of "bnei anousim" to its proper limits. There are no longer marranos in Portugal.

Admission of new members into the Community; secular, shomer mitzvot, philanthropists, ashkenazim. Sephardic, etc.

Establishment of a Chevra Kadisha primary care.

Formation of a security department.

Creation of tourism department.

The Portuguese Parliament officially declared that Captain Barros Basto (the founder of the Jewish Community of Oporto) “was separated from the Army due to a general climate of animosity against him driven by the fact that being a Jew. The conviction of Captain was factually justified and motivated by religious intolerance and an anti-Semitic prejudice."

Summary, 2013:

The building of the synagogue was recorded in the Land Registry as belonging to the Community. The building at no. 340 Guerra Junqueiro Street "did not exist" in the Land Registry, and for 75 years was a phantom building.

The statutes of the Community were amended, as they had not been in accordance with the law and were totally outdated (dating from 1923).

The Community participated in the drafting of the Nationality Law granting Portuguese nationality to the descendants of Sephardic Jews once forced to leave the country.

The Community was officially recognized by the Government as a religious Community rooted in Portugal, the highest possible legal status.

Shabbatons celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Synagogue and the 90th anniversary of the Jewish Community of Oporto, with the participation of renowned rabbis, official guests and Jewish families from many countries.

The Community initiated relationships with the highest religious and secular authorities of the Jewish world.

The Community's security, both electronic and static surveillance, was reinforced.

The Chief of the Portuguese Army recognised that “the reinstatement of Captain Barros Basto's career can be materialised as follows: Second Lieutenant (15Nov1912), Lieutenant (01Dec1916), Captain (17Aug1918), Major (05Sept1938), Lieutenant-Colonel (28Jan1943), Colonel (22Nov1945), Reserve (26Mar1947)".

Summary 2014:

The Community participated in the drafting of the Regulation of the Nationality Law, as previously it had done in drafting the Nationality Law itself.

In partnership with the hotel group Hoti Hotels, the Community established a kosher hotel in Porto – the Music Hotel – fully prepared to receive Jewish tourism.

There were several meetings in the Synagogue with the Ambassador of Israel, which served to strengthen relations between the two institutions that have complementary purposes.

A department was created for interfaith relations.

The tourism department produced a bilingual book, "The Synagogue of Oporto", available for tourists.

The public presentation of the bilingual book "The Route of the Oporto Jews", by historian César Santos Silva, was held in the Synagogue.

The Community provided the Municipality of Oporto with a fold-out leaflet on the Jewish Tour in 4 languages: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

The Oporto City Council placed signposts throughout the city indicating the direction of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue.

The city maps began to highlight the Synagogue of Oporto. (In 2011, the Parish Council of Massarelos described the synagogue as a "mosque" in an official monograph.)

The Community has created a department overseen by the Oporto Rabbinate to issue certificates to the descendants of Sephardic Jews originating in Portugal. The department began operating on December 15, 2014.

Summary 2015:

Creation of Tzadakah department.

Engaging another Rabbi to assist Rabbi Daniel Litvak.

A new mikveh was built in the Synagogue.

A kosher kitchen was built in the Synagogue.

A nursery for children up to 6 years old was set up. Attendance is free for the children of Community members.

Creation of the Centre for Historic Research (CIPH) to reconstruct the entire history of the "Jewish Community of Oporto" organisation from its foundation in 1923 to the present day.

The Community has acquired a Jewish library consisting of hundreds of high-quality books.

It was inaugurated the Jewish Museum of Oporto, in rooms on the 1st floor of the Synagogue.

The walls and railings around the synagogue were raised, for security reasons.

The electrical installation was completely overhauled and lights replaced.

The Community has created a specialized legal department to prosecute any criminals and corrupt journalists who may cause harm to the Community.

Sephardic Jews obtained Portuguese nationality with the certificates issued by the Jewish community of Oporto.

Summary 2016:

The Community completed the annual cycle of Torah readings always having had a minyan and kiddush, for the first time in its 90 year history.

Receipt of a Sephardic Sefer Torah, the first in the Community's history.

The Community bought a land for its cemetery. The land was chosen in a discreet and green location, a few kilometers from the Synagogue.

A community grocery store was established in the Synagogue, with all essential products (meat, milk, wine, bread, mezunot) available at a symbolic price.

Creation of the Oporto Women’s Section of Keren Kayesod that has the full support of the Community

A large Shabbaton was held in Oporto, which gathered Sephardic Jews from every continent.

Creation of the Reception and Settlement department.

A request was made to the Prime Minister of Portugal for him to streamline and expedite mechanisms for secondary education history textbooks to include, albeit with limited space, the presence of Jews in the Iberian Peninsula in general and in Portugal in particular.

The Jewish Community of Oporto and the Islamic Community of Oporto affirmed a Memorandum of Friendship and Cooperation.

The Community consulted world-renowned rabbis of an Orthodox Beit Din to answer the following question: “Should a conversion done in a false scenario (false parental crypto-Judaism) and false witnesses (from a proselytizing organization) be considered a conversion ‘according to halacha’?” The Rabbis’ written response was as follows: “No.”

Summary 2017:

For the second consecutive year, during Tishrei the Community completed the annual cycle of Torah readings always having had a minyan and kiddush.

Receipt of a Sephardic Sefer Torah, the second in the Community's history.

A debate ensues between the more representative members of the Community, members of the Kadoorie family and Jacob Safra regarding the best way to protect and invest the Community’s financial assets.

An endowment fund has been created (in the USA). In the future it can meet the Community’s cash flow needs.

A library with religious books and a study room were created at the synagogue.

The Community activities include Torah weekly classes, Hebrew language classes and Krav Maga classes.

Creation of a delegation of the Jewish Community of Oporto, which can promote social relations and visit the Portuguese institutions that receive donations from the Community.

A chronology 1923-2017 was done to provide an understanding of the 95 years of the Community and the 80 years of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim synagogue.

Underground shelters are created.

Strengthening of the security department with the police.

Works begin on the cemetery plot of the Jewish Community of Oporto.

A parochet (which had never existed before) is commissioned for the Ehal of the synagogue.

The bimah is placed in the centre of the prayer room and the capacity of the men’s prayer room is increased by 50 seats.

A second prayer room is built in the basement to be used during the winter and also because of the division between Sephardim and Ashkenazim that inevitably occurs on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Behind the synagogue, inside the Community grounds, a building is raised to serve as a kosher restaurant for groups of Jewish tourists.

A vending store in the synagogue, a large Sukkah which can take 150 people and also a Kiddush room for 200 people are crated.

Concert of Sephardic Memory - "Tradition and Modernity - Tribute to our Jewish musical heritage". The event was attended by 1000 members and friends of the Jewish Community of Oporto.

The Community has supported the creation and certification of a new kosher restaurant: the "Bola Falafel".

Summary 2018:

Change in the name of the organisation, which has been called Comunidade Israelita do Porto (CIP) since 1923 and now is called Comunidade Israelita do Porto/Comunidade Judaica do Porto (CIP/CJP) in Portuguese, but will continue to be known as the Jewish Community of Oporto (JCO) in English.

Creation of a counter Anti-Semitism department that works together with the police and the courts.

Arrival of two new Sephardic Sifrei Torah.

Creation of a Beit Midrash in Oporto.

Community activities include Hebrew language classes for about 30 Jewish children who live in Oporto.

The JCO has launched the ''Shabbat Meals from the Diaspora'' project to provide Shabbat meals to Jewish citizens who currently do not have the resources to prepare their own in Ashdod, London, Brooklyn, Moscow, Beijing, Sydney and Johannesburg.

The Community has supported the creation and certification of a new kosher restaurant in Oporto: the "Casa de Hummus".

Production of the "Oporto Kosher" pamphlet to inform tourists about kosher restaurants, kosher shops and the Jewish City Tour.

A large Shabbaton in Oporto with Sephardic Jews from many countries.

The Community had a full synagogue for Kaddish for former member Emil Oppenheim who died in 1982 without any Jew present at the funeral.

Srul Finkelstein (a former member of the JCO and the religious leader of the Community between 1949 and 1969) was made a meritorious member.

Publication of the complete writings of Amílcar Paulo, a former member of the JCO and a foremost investigator of crypto-Judaism who achieved world renown.

Distribution by libraries around the world of the bilingual book (English and Hebrew) entitled "The Portuguese Sephardic Diaspora in light of the archives of the Jewish Community of Oporto".

Filming of the movie called "Sefarad", which tells the story of the Jewish community of Oporto from the end of the 15th century to the present day.

(The activities briefly described above are part of the general aim of rehabilitating the Jewish Community of Oporto and the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue, now a force in society with a respectable image never achieved in the past.)

Jewish tradition and some of the evils of the world
The Midrash says that the practice of chesed (goodness) is the stone upon which stands the Universe. The “ish chesed” is not vain, does not speak ill of others, does not try to destroy the honour of others and does not envy anyone. Jealousy, slander, lashon harah and rechilut are such indecent behaviors that they are forbidden by three commandments of the Decalogue. Mediocre men always wish to be important and famous. They are absolutely ineffective in their lives and do nothing to dignify others and to improve the world. Their lives are lost in vanity, speaking evil of others or envying those who are not envious. 
Jealousy is part of the daily life of the mediocre. Jealousy keeps hate in the heart, wishing that other people are not successful. It is a fact that the mediocre men lack envy only for their children and disciples. (Talmud, St. 105b)
The ‘evil eye’ (ain ha-ra) is the name given to negative energy that is created by mediocre men who look at others with envy or bad feelings. It only affects those who care about it. (Pesachim 110 b)
Behind a beautiful smile are the teeth. Sometimes the mediocre men throw a stone and hides their hands. “He who throws a stone and hides his hand in prison will land”. (old Proverb)
The central saying of Jewish tradition, "Shema Israel", commands us to hear and not to speak. However, mediocre men have a long tongue. About three quarters of human conflicts come from the spoken or written word.
Gossip usually involves conversations speaking evil of others (lashon hara). 
This is wrong for both those who do it and those who hear it. It is forbidden to hear gossip and including to turn your face towards the speaker. (Shaarei Teshuva, s.3.)
Passing on stories (rechilut) is also considered gossip. The Talmud says that the storyteller lives in the shadow of slander. "You shall not go about retelling stories among your people". (Lev 19:16)
One who tells disparaging things about others that are false is referred to as a ‘motzi sheim ra’, that is, one who spreads a bad name or report. This person is considered the lowest of the low. It is believed that the results of his slander will return and destroy him, like a boomerang.  
There is a question that is usually answered only by silence. Why are some men ineffective in their lives and others have the blessings of Hashem to create life, culture, influence, and wealth? What was said above is a part of the answer.