domingo, 5 de janeiro de 2020

Jewish Community of Oporto


Supported by philanthropic Jewish families and having its own financial resources, the Jewish Community of Oporto (CIP/CJP) is a legally constituted organisation based in Portugal. It includes about 400 Jews originally from more than thirty countries and gathers around the same table all standards and degrees of observance of Judaism.
The members of the community are a mix of old and new Jewish families who since 2012 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. With two synagogues, mikvaot, restaurants, supermarkets, a youth centre for achdut, cemetery, museum, cinema and other goods, the community serves Jews and non Jews, the young, the old, the tourists and the deceased. The organisation has a Beit Din, structures for kashrut, gives tzedakah via a vast network of synagogues, hands out food in 11 countries for Shabbat meals in close cooperation with Chabad Lubavitch, offers courses to school teachers to combat anti-Semitism, and has a museum, a cinema, films about its history and cooperation protocols with the Portuguese State, the Israeli Embassy to Portugal, Bnei Brith International, the Anti-Defamation League, Keren Hayesod, Chabad Lubavitch, as well as with the Oporto Diocese and Oporto’s Muslim community. 
The so-called "Kadoorie Mekor Haim synagogue" of the Jewish Community of Oporto is much more than a synagogue. It is a Jewish center that includes two prayer rooms (290 people, 130 people), two sukkot, one of the best Jewish libraries in Europe, mikveh, kosher restaurant, kosher grocery store, bunkers and other spaces. The Oporto Rabbinate is recognised by the Rabbanut Harashit of Israel. Rabbi Daniel Litvak (Ashkenazi) is assisted by Rabbi Yoel Zekri (Sephardic). Although Oporto is one of the European cities with the fewest number of foreign Jewish students, the local Jewish community amicably integrates and supports all such foreign students, who establish friendships amongst themselves (perhaps the essence of future marriages) and become more observant of mitzvot than in their home countries. 
The Jewish Community of Oporto (CIP/CJP) is a legally constituted organisation based in Portugal whose registered statutory purpose is 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. So the CIP/CJP is not a community, it has also a community.
Historically in Oporto it is possible that Jewish tradition dates back to a time immemorial, even though the earliest documentary references are dated from the 12th century. On December 5th 1496, the Edict of Expulsion of the Jews (moreover, of Judaism) from Portugal was signed by King D. Manuel I.
Currently, more than 500 years after the Jewish synagogues and cemetery were destroyed and the houses of the Jewish people looted, the Jewish Community of Oporto flourishes once again. The Community's careful planning for the future, its links to the entire international Jewish world, its savings and property ensure the prosperity of the community in the coming decades.
The organisation of the Jewish Community of Oporto (CIP/CJP) is not there to please everyone but to be a strong religious, cultural and social organisation in Portugal and abroad. 

Global Project in the Fields of Culture and Religion
The Jewish Community of Oporto (CIP/CJP) is not only a Jewish community but also an organization with cultural and interfaith objectives particularly in the fight against intolerance. Social, cultural and other dialogue is necessary to achieve full tolerance between the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish communities, particularly in societies in which negative stereotypes are entrenched, ignoring for example the fact that many Jews struggle financially.
The CIP/CJP has devised a global project involving close cooperation with Oporto Roman Catholic Diocese, with the following activities: Social causes (helping children, the elderly and the sick), the promotion of the Episcopal Palace Museum and Jewish Museum of Oporto, and the production of four films - "The Nun's Kaddish", "Sefarad", "1618" and "The Light of Judah" - covering events that have occurred over the centuries in the Portuguese society. The proceeds from films in Portugal will go to social causes. These initiatives have received financial and practical support from Jewish philanthropic families as well as organisations such as the Embassy of the State of Israel in Portugal, Bnai Brith International and Anti Defamation League. The CIP/CJP works on the premise that leadership to defeat barriers of prejudice includes combining aid to the needy and education, such as through films/museums. In 2019, the Jewish Museum of Oporto was opened by the President of Bnei Brith International. In his speech, Charles Kaufman said: “This Jewish Museum will punctuate a reawakening of Jewish life in Portugal. It should serve as a beacon of light to the rest of Europe, a land darkened today by resurgent Antisemitism".
The films mentioned above contain no melodramatic sensationalism, and the scripts and rough cuts having been shown beforehand to the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oporto. Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Jewish community about the film “The Nun’s Kaddish”, saying that he, “Calls down divine favours in abundance on all those directly or indirectly involved and represented in carrying out this film, that they may be the leaven of fraternity, hope and joy in the heart of the world, and wishes everyone the greatest happiness with God’s blessings.” Although the films were released commercially, the aim of culture and interfaith is not profit and the revenue from films in Portugal will go to social causes. CIP/CJP and its international partners do not comment on production costs and disassociate ourselves from rumours on this topic.


Michael Kadoorie’s message to the Community
"From afar, the development of your community has bought pride and honour to our family.

The temporal and spiritual leadership in your community are energetic sources of inspiration. The Kadoorie Synagogue is an embodiment of our ancient family tradition to derive satisfaction from sustainable charitable works and to provide practical assistance to those most in need. We are pleased that the Kadoorie synagogue continues to provide a house of prayer, learning and sustenance to a substantial and growing Jewish people. The current positive state of relations between the Jewish community and the Roman Catholic Church is a source of gratitude for our family and your community has an important responsibility in this inter-faith work. May the congregation of the Kadoorie Synagogue continue to adhere and prosper!"

Message from the President of the Portuguese Republic
More than five centuries after a Portuguese head of State visited the Jewish community of Oporto, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa not only visited the Oporto synagogue, but also participated in the prayers of Kabbalat Shabbat and Arbit, along with 220 members of the community, young and old, men and women, and many children. The vast majority of the community members did not know that the President would be in the synagogue, so it was a wonderful surprise to them. He declared for posterity that "On behalf of Portugal and the Portuguese I thank the Jewish community for a whole history of dedication to our common Homeland." (Photograph kindly given by photographer)

President's message after three weeks: "Not long has passed since my unforgettable visit to you, the memorable time I spent with you all, when we commemorated historic relations, the past, but also the present and the future."

Message from the Portuguese Prime Minister
Jews were always present in the history of Portugal. With the establishment of the Inquisition, Jewish diasporas from Portugal benefited greatly the communities in which they established themselves, in cultural, artistic, scientific and economic terms, in Northern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the United States and other regions of the globe. Contemporary Portugal, tolerant and open to the world, welcomes an increasing number of Sephardic Jews from the old and traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula, to which Portuguese law recognizes the right to acquire nationality, and there has also been an active policy in favor of our country's Jewish heritage. The Jewish Community of Oporto has been a key partner in this journey, has grown in size and is experiencing a period of intense dynamism and cultural and religious resurgence." 
 

Ministry of Justice 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.  

Message from the Pope Francis
Letter from the Vatican:

"Pope Francis prays for the members of the Jewish Community of Porto that they may always work together with the Church in a spirit of fraternity for the greater good of all men, expressing his deep gratitude for this delicate tribute and at the same time conveying his wishes of great happiness to the Jewish community of Porto, and all who belong to and guide it.” 

Oporto Community and Keren Hayesod  
The Community 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. 

Oporto Community and Chabad Lubavitch  
The Jewish Community of Oporto, though essentially Sephardic, works closely with Chabad Lubavitch in many places around the world. Chabad-Lubavitch is the most dynamic force in Jewish life of the Diaspora. It is a philosophy, a movement, and an organization with over 4,500 full-time emissary families who lead institutions dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish people worldwide.
Chabad is one of the world's best-known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach activities. It is one of the largest Hasidic groups and Jewish religious organizations in the world. The Chabad representative in Portugal is Rabbi Ely Rosenfeld. 


Registered statutory purpose
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.

To support the creation and development of Jewish life and religion, the Board of Directors gives its full support to the synagogue leaders (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 institutions, the Community maintains a Tzedakah department that respects Jewish tradition, gives tzedakah via a vast network of synagogues, and in close cooperation with Chabad Lubavitch provides products for Shabbat meals in Israel, UK, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, India, Argentina, China, Australia and South Africa to needy families who currently do not have the resources to prepare their own. 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 Oporto who are working to inspire and educate Jewish students from the Diaspora to strengthen their connection to the Jewish People.
In order to promote peace and the security of Jewish people in general, the organization maintains a department agaisnt 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. 
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 necessary to build a world commanded by the principles defined by the Congress of the United States as "the values 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).
Revere the Creator, respect His greatness, defend life, promote the sanctity of sexuality, honour the property and the rights of others, protect animals, foster Justice.
"Those who fulfil the Seven Laws of Noah to serve G-d are Righteous Among Nations and will have their part in the World to Come." - Moses Maimonides (1135-1204).

Friendship and Cooperation Protocol with the Catholic Church of Oporto 
Whereas the Catholic and Jewish Communities of Oporto cohabited peacefully, even before the foundation of Portugal, and currently enjoy excellent relations, the Catholic Church of Oporto, represented by its Bishop, Manuel Linda, and the Jewish Community of Oporto, represented by its President, Dias Zion, and its Rabbi, Daniel Litvak, have established this Protocol subject to the following articles.
Article 1 - As of this date (17.09.2018), the Jewish and Catholic Communities of Oporto will cooperate in social and philanthropic endeavours, striving to organize and cooperate in joint charitable works, so as to bestow a Life with dignity on many of those shackled by poverty, lethal vice, or moral desolation.
Article 2 - The leaders of the Jewish and Catholic Communities will meet regularly to bolster their good relations, mutual respect and friendship, and undertake to lead their members to respect differences, and enjoy mutual friendship and cooperation. 


Friendship and Cooperation Protocol with the Islamic Community of Oporto
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 Boards od Directors of the Jewish Community of Oporto and the Islamic Community of Oporto have 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, today (30.09.2016) the leaders of the Jewish and Islamic Communities affirm this Memorandum of Friendship and Cooperation and they will meet regularly to bolster their good relations, and undertake to lead their members to enjoy mutual friendship and cooperation in different areas."

Oporto Beth Din (OBD)
The Oporto Beth Din provides a central religious authority within the Jewish Community of Oporto dealing with responsa to Halachic enquiries from communal bodies affecting Synagogal matters – collectively or individually, personal status and regularisation of status, marriage authorisations (verifying that the prospective marriage does not contravene the Halachah),
gittin (effecting the issuance of a get from the husband to the wife in
the event of the marriage having broken down irretrievably), overseeing kosher caterers, restaurants and manufacturers of kosher food products for Passover and all year round use, shechita, resolving any problem related to congregational cemetery, funeral services and interment of deceased and other tribulations of community life. The Beth Din is composed of six rabbis (full members and substitutes) and supported by world renowned Dayanim. 

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.
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. Bom Sucesso Store; 4. Kadoorie Vending Store; 5. Community Grocery; 6. Low cost kosher meals are also available. 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. 2) During 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.

Jewish Education Centre
The Jewish Education Centre is an institute created by the cultural department of the Porto Jewish Community.

Its mission is to provide courses for professional development of teachers in Portuguese secondary schools. With the help of the Ministry of Education, courses are given in the facilities of the Mekor Haim synagogue and the Museum and Cinema of the Oporto Jewish Community. The subjects of the course include the history of the Jewish People, Jewish identity, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, and the stigma of collective guilt. Teachers of the course will include people from a wide range of nationalities and backgrounds.

The Group of Women 
The group of women of Oporto’s Jewish community is coordinated by Gabriela Cantergi and Luísa Finkelstein. It meets regularly at charity or cultural events and its aims include contributing to building a better world and debating Jewish history and culture. The meetings bring about interaction between Jewish women of many professional, scientific and administrative areas, whose constructive spirit is focused on the development of Portuguese society and of the Jewish community of Porto, an integral part of that society.

Legal and Security department 
The Community has a specialised legal department to prosecute any criminals who may harm the community in Portugal and any country 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 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 personnel accredited by the Portuguese authorities for the use of firearms and (discreet or ostentatious) policing is requested, in greater or lesser numbers, depending on the circumstances. On cybersecurity and "dark web", the Community has hired a specialist to be its permanent advisor. Related to this Security department, the organization has created a department that combats anti-Semitism, working in collaboration with the Portuguese State and its security institutions. This department 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.

Jewish Organisation (CIP/CJP)
The Jewish Community of Oporto (Comunidade Israelita do Porto/Comunidade Judaica do Porto) is a legally constituted organisation based in Portugal whose
registered statutory purpose is 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. It includes multiple departments: tzedakah, kashrut, chevra kadisha, security, legal, accounting, administrative services, media, nationality law, archive, museum, etc. Each department has its own management. 
The mission of the Jewish Community of Oporto is something of such magnitude that requires a team of people permanently advised by lawyers, working all day, every day in many countries at the same time. According the laws of the CIP/CJP, the members of the Board of Directors are chosen every three years among members with technical skills to manage diverse areas, and the Presidents of the Supervisory Board and the General Assembly follow up communications, meetings and minutes of the Board and can make suggestions whenever they wish.  
The decisions of the Board of Directors are recorded in books of legal minutes serving as a register for posterity and are taken and signed by the majority of its members.
The President of the organisation is a Board member who represents the institution in official acts such as the reception of politicians or ambassadors. (The institutional representation is done also by the Rabbis in case of a reception of religious leaders). 
The CIP / CJP executives (supported by the most reputed Law Offices of Portugal) must implement the policies decided at the meetings of the Board of Directors as recorded in the minutes of these meetings, but they are not permitted either to interfere in religious matters, or to officially represent the organization, or to have access to its financial resources.
The accounts/finances are managed by the Vice President, the treasurer and two teams of professional accountants, one of them providing technical support to the Supervisory Board chaired by a lawyer. The finance department is led by ladies.

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. 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. 

Rehabilitation of Portugal’s name within the Jewish world
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, before the Edict of Expulsion of 1492 and 1496, the Jewish families of Portugal and Spain were the same because of marriages and permanent trade relations. The common names were Abeatar, Sasson, Aboab, Abulafia, Aragones, Zekri, Baruc, Barzilai, Benatar, Calderon, Dayan, Franco, Funes, Gabay, Galego, Habib, Hadida, Harari, Nahmias, Sarfati, Sevilhano, Shalom, Sofer, Toledano, Veniste, Verdugo, Vivas, Zacuto, etc.
Although in international literature Sepharad (Iberian Peninsula) was and continues to be confused with “Spain” (as if Portugal had always been a region of Castile), there are two major branches of Jews in the world: the Ashkenazi branch (originating in central and eastern Europe) and the Portuguese branch. This is a very true affirmation, and indeed present in French 19th and 20th century literature. 
Kadmi Kohen (in Nomades, 1929, pag. 129) wrote: "From an ethnic point of view, two species of Jews are ordinarily distinguished: those of the Portuguese branch and those of the German branch (Sephardim and Ashkenazim).”
It was from Portugal (a veritable Judea in the late 15th century with about 200 thousand souls integrated in a total population of under 1 million inhabitants) that the Jews departed to found, on the one hand, the modern communities of the west (London, Bordeaux, Hamburg, Amsterdam, USA, etc.) and, on the other, together with the Spanish to whom they had always been united in marriage, the traditional Sephardic communities of Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, etc.) and the (rest of the) Ottoman Empire (Balkans, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, etc.).

In 1496, at the time of the Edict of Expulsion in Portugal, the Jews in Portugal also included tens of thousands of Spanish Jews (who arrived after the Spanish Edict of 1492) and their destinations were also similar. To that extent, the first large Sephardic communities in North Africa and throughout the Ottoman Empire were in fact the first "Portuguese&Spanish communities." A Sephardic Jew from a traditional family of North Africa or of the Ottoman Empire will most assuredly have 15th century Portuguese and Spanish ancestors, as five centuries are equivalent to 18 or 19 generations and to approximately half a million ancestors who always intermarried within the Jewish community. This origin cannot be denied.
Portuguese Jews created many "Kahal Kadosh" Portugal, Évora, Lisbon, etc., a Purim Sebastiano (in this case in Morocco where they escaped the new forced conversion) and even languages that mixed Portuguese, Spanish and local dialects (ladino) in which the word for hat is “chapéu” (not “sombrero”), now is “agora” (not “ahora”), and many words that testify to the Portuguese influence.
This is also present in dozens of "New Christians" surnames (Mendes, Pereira, Galante, Nunes, Ventura, Silva, Pinto...) that in the 20th century can be found in all Sephardic communities in the world, from the Balkans to North Africa and to Palestine. Portuguese influence was such that it actually penetrated into the Ashkenazi communities. Chabad Lubavitch was founded in Rua de Portugal (Portugal Street).
"There are now some two million Sephardic Jews of Portuguese and Spanish origin living outside the Iberian Peninsula in various parts of the world. The majority of these live in the State of Israel." - Edmond Malka, The Jews from Iberian Peninsula, 1977, pag. 158
Certification Process of descendants of Sephardic Jews
The descendants of Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin may 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. Everyone who lives in one of the 200 countries of the world, from Australia to Portugal, and wishes to claim Sephardic origins for themselves or third parties, should address their request to the e-mail address portuguesenationality@comunidade-israelita-porto.org. This request is immediately forwarded to the CIP/CJP committee, which is independent and not open to pressure, operating outside the Community’s headquarters. The petitioner is approved if he or she proves that they are Jewish and have maintained the tradition of belonging to a Jewish community of Portuguese origin. Otherwise, they are turned down. Simple.
Having worked for five 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/CJP 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/CJP 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/CJP 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.
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 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/CJP 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/CJP headquarters. The organization 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 Jewish Community of Oporto and the Oporto Roman Catholic Diocese are promoting the following activities: social causes, promotion of the Jewish Museum and the Episcopal Palace Museum, and four films - "The Nun's Kaddish", "Sefarad", "1618" and "The Light of Judah" - covering events that have occurred over the centuries in the Portuguese society.

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, but nowadays 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.   

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 officially on January 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.

Community development (2012-2019)

Summary 2012:
Total rehabilitation of the building of the Synagogue, inside and out.

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

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

Appointment of a Religious Committee and 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, formation of a security department and creation of tourism department. 

At the request of the Parliamentary Group of the Portuguese Socialist Party, the Jewish Community of Oporto gave suggestions for the first draft of the Nationality Law granting Portuguese nationality to the descendants of Sephardic Jews once forced to leave the country.

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:

It was approved the Nationality Law granting Portuguese nationality to the descendants of Sephardic Jews once forced to leave the country.

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

The building of the synagogue was recorded in the Land Registry as belonging to the Community. It means that the building at no. 340 Guerra Junqueiro Street "did not exist" in the Land Registry, and for 75 years was a phantom building.
 
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 Chief of the Portuguese Army recognised that Captain Barros Basto could be Colonel since 22 November 1945.

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.

A department was created for interfaith relations.

The tourism department produced a bilingual book, "The Synagogue of Oporto", available for tourists, and provided the Municipality of Oporto with a fold-out leaflet on the Jewish Tour in 4 languages: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. 

The Municipality placed signposts throughout the city indicating the direction of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue, and 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.)

Summary 2015:

Engaging also the Sephardi rabbi Yoel Zekri. Rabbi Litvak is assisted by Rabbi Zekri.

A new mikveh and a new kitchen were 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 Tzadakah department.

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

The Community has created a department overseen by the Oporto Rabbinate to issue certificates to the descendants of Sephardic Jews originating in Portugal. 

The walls and railings around the synagogue were raised, for security reasons, and the Community has created a specialized legal department to prosecute any criminals and corrupt journalists who may cause harm to the Community.

Summary 2016:

With the return of many Sephardim, 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, 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.

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.

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.
The Community activities include Torah weekly classes, Hebrew language classes and Krav Maga classes. 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 the community. In addition, a library with religious books, a large Sukkah which can take 180 people, a Kiddush room for 200 people and also a vending store in the synagogue were created.
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.

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.

Summary 2018:

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

A large Shabbaton in Oporto, arrival of two new Sephardic Sifrei Torah and creation of a Beit Midrash in Oporto. 


The Community 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, Odessa, Moscow, Beijing, Sydney and Johannesburg.

The name of the organisation and its headquarters were changed. The registered statutory purpose now includes fostering peace and the security for the Jewish people in general, and promoting a better, fairer and more equitable world.

The Jewish Community of Oporto and the Roman Diocese of Oporto signed a Memorandum of Friendship and Cooperation to act in social, cultural and philanthropic endeavours.
 
The Community has acquired a new building to house the Jewish Museum and Cinema of Oporto and offered the most beautiful chanukiot in the world (produced in Toledo, Sepharad) to the top representatives of USA, Russia and Portugal.

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


Summary 2019:

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

Creation of the Oporto Beth Din.


A large Shabbaton in Oporto.

The Community is providing products for Shabbat meals to synagogues in Jerusalem, New Delhi, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Brooklyn, Moscow, Odessa, Beijing, Sydney, London, Ashdod and Johannesburg that distribute them to needy families.

Global project involving close cooperation with Oporto Roman Catholic Diocese, with the following activities: social causes, promotion of the Jewish Museum and the Episcopal Palace Museum, and four films - "The Nun's Kaddish", "Sefarad", "1618" and "The Light of Judah" - covering events that have occurred over the centuries in the Portuguese Jewish community. 

The President of the Portuguese Republic visited the Oporto synagogue and participated in the prayers of Kabbalat Shabbat and Arvit.
 

Inauguration of the Jewish Museum and Cinema of Oporto.

Creation of a Jewish Education Centre to provide courses for professional development of teachers in Portuguese secondary schools.

(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
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 is said below is a part of the answer.
1. Mediocre men 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.
2. 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)

3. 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)
4. Mediocre men have a long tongue. About three quarters of human conflicts come from the spoken or written word. The central saying of Jewish tradition, "Shema Israel", commands us to hear and not to speak.
-- Gossip usually involves conversations speaking evil of others (lashon hara). 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. 

The Midrash says that the practice of chesed (goodness) is the stone upon which stands the Universe.