Hanukah Lights to burn publicly for the First Time in 500 years
For the first time since the forced baptism of 1497 (unlike Spain, Portugal did not expel its Jews, it simply baptized them all), Hanukah lights will burn in public in the old Jewish quarter of Olival, in downtown historic Porto. Ladina, a Porto based non-profit society dedicated to rescuing Portugal’s Jewish heritage, will erect a giant Hanukiah between two towering palm trees overlooking the red tiled rooftops of the Douro river, a stone’s throw away from the birthplace of Uriel da Costa, a little known New Christian whose tragic death in Amsterdam in 1640 greatly influenced Portugal’s most famous Jew, Bento de Espinoza, better known as Baruch Spinoza, the philosopher. Da Costa, who denied the immortality of the individual soul, is recognized as the world’s first modern secular Jew.
Rabbi Eliezer Shai di Martino, recently arrived from Rome will light the candle on the ten foot high locally made candelabrum on the 3rd day of Hanukah, Sunday, December 17th. In attendance will be members of the fledging Marrano community of the Mekor Haim synagogue known as the “Cathedral of the North”, built by Captain Barros Basto. The charismatic Captain, dubbed the “Apostle of the Marranos” by noted historian Cecil Roth had over 10,000 adherents in northern Portugal in the 1920s and 30s. He started building the synagogue in the year of the depression and with the help of the descendants of the Marrano Diaspora in New York, London and Amsterdam(and the Kadoorie family) finished it in 1938, the year of Kristallhnacht.
There is a strange rumble going on in Portugal, a puported Catholic country. Despite the forced baptism of 1497 and 300 years of the Inquisition, the Jewish soul has survived and is even making a comeback, albeit slowly. Hardly a month goes by in Portugal without a new book on Jewish culture, whether it is a foreign translation such as Martin Gilbert’s Letters to Aunt Fori or a homegrown work such as professor Jorge Martin’s monumental three-volumes, Portugal e os Judeus. From a new synagogue for the Marranos of Belmonte who secretly practiced essential Jewish rituals for 300 years, to the transformation of the Ashkenazi Ohel Jacob synagogue in Lisbon for returning Marranos, the deeply embedded sibylline roots of Jewish Portugal are sprouting new shoots.
The term Marrano was once frowned upon as a pejorative term for those Jews who were forcibly baptized (New Christians). Many academics prefer the term, Anousim, Hebrew for “forced ones”. However, for people like Jorge Neves Oliveira, filmmaker and poet Alexandre Teixeira Mendes, both founders of Ladina, the term Marrano signifies survival against all odds. It is a badge of honour, a source of pride. The Inquisition did not triumph. Oliveira and Mendes are intent on rescuing the nearly lost Jewish heritage that once thrived in the Iberian Peninsula, otherwise known as Sefarad (hence the term, Sephardic Jews). And the Jewish world is taking note. Rabbi di Martino is in Porto courtesy of Shavei Israel, an organization dedicated to returning lost sheep to the flock. In Lisbon, the Conservative movement has facilitated the return of Marranos to normative Judaism by providing educational guidance and support.
Portuguese Jews once helped make Portugal a great centre of culture and education. From astronomy to politics to medicine, Portuguese Jews played an important role in the creation of a modern Europe. In commerce, the so-called “Men of the Nation” were instrumental in the development of modern financial markets of Amsterdam, London and New York (see the Coffee Trader and A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss or the Grandees by Stephen Birmingham).
Portugal is once again mired in economic woes and despite the dark period of the Inquisition, the remnants of its once proud and fiercely patriotic "Men of the nation" may have to come to the rescue, only this time they will be welcomed with open arms.
NO PRÓXIMO DIA 26 de Novembro pelas 22 Horas no CLUBE LITERÁRIO DO PORTO
Conferência sobre Leão Hebreu pelo ProF. Doutor João J. Vila-Chã
Iehudad Abravanel (Leão Hebreu)
Filho de Isaac Abravanel, nasceu em Lisboa, em 1465, tendo vivido também em Espanha e em Itália. Supõe-se que terá morrido em 1534.
Do ponto de vista da filosofia, notabilizou-se pela elaboração dos Diálogos de Amor, cuja primeira edição saiu postumamente em Roma em 1535. Trata-se de uma «filografia universal» em que a propósito de um dos mais fecundos temas do renascimento, o amor, expõe as grandes linhas do seu pensamento, nos planos da cosmologia, teologia, metafísica, antropologia e estética.
O tema do amor, conservando o carácter caritativo e religioso de que se revestira com St. Agostinho e S. Tomás, conhecera um importante influxo com a tradução dos Diálogos de Platão por M. Ficino, sendo por essa via e não pela tradição rabínica que Leão Hebreu receberá a sugestão platonizante.
O seu conceito de sabedoria foi tributário da atitude dominante na época, convidando à erudição de que a sua obra é expressivo exemplo. Assim, procurou fundir a Bíblia com Platão, Aristóteles, os estóicos e os árabes (sobretudo Averróis e Avicena). Por isso, uma das suas maiores preocupações foi a de revelar a concordância de Platão e Aristóteles com a Bíblia, explicando a divergência entre os dois filósofos da antiguidade com base numa diversidade de informação acerca da Escritura.
Abordou desenvolvidamente o tema das relações entre a razão e a revelação, para defender a tese da supremacia desta, afastando o tema averroísta da dupla verdade, não sem que antes acentuasse a origem racional das ciências particulares. Tributário de uma cosmologia neoplatónica em que todos os seres se hierarquizam segundo uma ordem descendente (de Deus até à matéria primeira) e ascendente (da matéria primeira até Deus), Leão Hebreu concebe o amor como princípio universal, mediante o qual o superior se une com o inferior, o eterno com o corruptível e o universo com o seu criador. O amor é o espírito que penetra o mundo, vivificando-o, bem como o laço que abraça todo o universo, estabelecendo a sua harmonia intrínseca. Pode também conceber-se como causa dos dois percursos referidos, cada um dos quais definindo um semicírculo: tendo a sua origem em Deus, dele descende paternalmente do mais para o menos belo. Inversamente, é também o amor que reduz todo o universo a Deus, numa ordem ascendente que une as criaturas ao Criador.
Sobre este pano de fundo aborda os grandes temas da cosmologia, antropologia e estética. A sua cosmologia é de base qualitativa, dando guarida a complexas teorias astrológicas, pois que se dedica à análise do influxo dos planetas no carácter dos indivíduos e à interpretação astrológica das fábulas mitológicas.
À maneira renascentista e de certas correntes platonizantes, entendeu o mundo como um ser vivo onde distinguiu a parte imaterial da corpórea, e nesta, a região celeste da terrestre. Todavia, procurou evitar o panteísmo defendendo que o efeito carece da perfeição da causa. De facto, Deus surge-lhe como o primeiro ser por cuja participação todas as criaturas existem, agindo sempre por inteira e livre omnipotência. O tema da criação é aliás um dado apriorístico, e por ele se entrega à refutação da tese aristotélica da eternidade do mundo.
No plano antropológico veiculou o tema do homem-microcosmo, em coerência aliás com a sua visão qualitativa do universo. Já no que concerne ao significado da felicidade e beatitude do homem, procurou conciliar a mística tradicional, para a qual o homem se une a Deus pelo coração e não por um acto de inteligência, com a mística intelectualista de Maimónedes, para quem, sendo o conhecimento superior à vontade, a atitude mística e a beatitude suprema consistem essencialmente num acto de meditação. Leão Hebreu sintetiza as duas posições: amor e conhecimento são funções distintas apenas ao nível inferior da materialidade e não ao nível do intelecto puro, pelo que é possível falar num amor intelectual de Deus.
Finalmente, no plano da estética, defendeu que a essência do belo é de natureza espiritual, residindo nas ideias, enquanto pré-notícias divinas das coisas produzidas.
Diálogos de Amor, texto fixado, anotado e traduzido por Giacinto Manuppella, vols. I e II, Lisboa, 1983 (inclui ampla bibliografia)
Giuseppe Saitta «La filosofia di Leone Hebreo» in Filosofia Italiana e Humanismo, Veneza, 1928;José Narciso Rodrigues, «A filosofia de Leão Hebreu. O amor e a beleza» in Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia, t. XV, fasc. 4, Braga, 1959, pp. 349-386;José Barata Moura «Amizade humana e amor divino em Leão Hebreu», in Didaskalia, vol. II, fasc. I, Lisboa, 1972, pp. 155-157;Id., «Leão Hebreu e o sentido do amor universal» in Didaskalia,, vol. II, fasc. II, Lisboa, 1972, pp. 375-404; Joaquim de Carvalho, Leão Hebreu Filósofo, in Obras Completas de Joaquim de Carvalho, vol. I, Lisboa, 1978;J. Pinharanda Gomes, A filosofia hebraico-portuguesa, Porto, 1981.
JUDAH ABRABANEL, LEONE EBREO (the HEBREW LION?)
Judah Abrabanel was born in Lisbon, Portugal, sometime between 1460 and 1470. He was the firstborn of Don Isaac Abrabanel (1437-1508), who was an important philosopher in his own right. In addition to their intellectual skills, the Abrabanel family played an important role in international commerce, quickly becoming one of the most prominent families in Lisbon.
Despite the conservative tendencies in the thought of his father, Don Isaac insured that his children received educations that included both Jewish and non-Jewish subjects. Rabbi Joseph ben Abraham ibn Hayoun, the leading rabbinic figure in Lisbon, was responsible for teaching religious subjects (e.g., Bible, commentaries, and halakhic works) to Judah and his brothers. As far as non-Jewish works and subjects were concerned, Judah, like most elite Jews of the fifteenth century, would have been instructed in both the medieval Arabo-Judaic tradition (e.g., Maimonides, Averroes), in addition to humanistic studies imported from Italy.
By profession, Judah was a doctor, one who had a very good reputation and who served the royal court. In 1483, his father was implicated in a political conspiracy against Joao II, the Duke of Braganza, and was forced to flee to Seville, in Spain, with his family. Shortly after his arrival, undoubtedly on account of his impressive connections and diplomatic skills, Isaac was summoned to the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, where he was to become a financial advisor to the royal family. Despite his favorable relationship with them, Isaac was unable to influence them to rescind their famous edict of expulsion – calling on all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity – to depart from the Iberian Peninsula.
Judah seems also to have been well connected at the Spanish court and was one of the physicians who attended the royal family. After the edict of expulsion had been issued, Ferdinand and Isabella requested that he remain in Spain. To do this, however, he still would have had to convert to Christianity. Yet, in order to try and keep Judah in Spain, a plot was hatched to kidnap his firstborn son, Isaac ben Judah. Judah, however, discovered the plot and sent his son, along with his Christian nanny, on to Portugal, where he hoped to meet up with them. Upon hearing that a relative of Isaac Abrabanel had re-entered Portugal, Joao II had the young boy seized and forcefully converted to Christianity. It is uncertain whether or not Judah ever saw or heard from his son again. In a moving poem, entitled Telunah ‘al ha-zeman (“The Travails of Time”), he writes:
Time with his pointed shafts has hit my heart
and split my guts, laid open my entrails,
landed me a blow that will not heal
knocked me down, left me in lasting pain…
He did not stop at whirling me around,
exiling me while yet my days were green
sending me stumbling, drunk, to roam the world…
He scattered everyone I care for northward,
eastward, or to the west, so that
I have no rest from constant thinking, planning –
and never a moment's peace, for all my plans.
Like many of those Jews who refused to convert, Judah and his immediate family, including his father, made their way to Naples. There, Ferdinand II of Aragon, the king of Naples, warmly welcomed the Abrabanel family, owing to its many contacts in international trade. In 1495, however, the French took control of Naples, and Judah was again forced to flee, first to Genoa, then to Barletta, and subsequently to Venice. It seems that he also traveled around Tuscany, and there is some debate as to whether or not he actually met the famous Florentine Humanist, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (it seems unlikely that he did). In 1501, after the defeat of the French in Naples, he was invited back to be the personal physician of the Viceroy of Naples, Fernandez de Córdoba. Among all of these peregrinations, Judah found the time to write (but not publish) his magnum opus, the Dialoghi d'amore. He seems to have died sometime after 1521. Other than these basic facts, we know very little of the life of Judah Abrabanel.
Especially enigmatic are the last years of his life, between 1521 when he was requested to give medical attention to Cardinal San Giorgio until 1535 when Mariano Lenzi published the Dialoghi posthumously in Rome. There is some evidence that Judah moved to Rome near the end of his life; some suggest that he fell in with a Christian group of Neoplatonists. Indeed, the 1541 edition of the work mentions that Judah converted to Christianity (dipoi fatto christiano). This, however, seems highly unlikely as (1) it is not mentioned in the first edition, the one on which all subsequent editions and translations were based, and (2) there is no internal evidence in the Dialoghi to suggest this. In fact, one of the characters in the work implies the exact opposite, stating that “all of us believe in the sacred Mosaic law” (noi tutti che crediamo la sacre legge mosaica). It seems, then, that either a careless or over-zealous editor inserted the phrase “dipoi fatto christiano” into a later edition of the Dialoghi.
Amor intellectualis? Leone Ebreo (Judah Abravanel) and the intelligibility of loveJoao Jose Miranda Vila-Cha, Boston CollegeDate: 1999
Abstract of dissertation by Joao Jose Miranda Vila-Cha, Boston College(1999)
This dissertation provides an analysis of both the text and the context of the philosophy of love developed by Judah Abravanel, also known as Leone Ebreo (ca. 1460-before 1535). As a member of one of the most prestigious Jewish families of the Renaissance, Leone Ebreo was born and raised in Portugal, found temporary refuge in Spain and, after the exodus of 1492, lived most of his life in Renaissance Italy as a man-in-exile. His Dialoghi d'amore, which were first published in Rome in 1535, are a conversation of and about love between a man and a woman, i.e., Filone (Philo) and Sofia (Sophy). We defend that the work was intended as a parable or diagram about the very nature of Philo-Sophy, and, at the same time, as a profound elaboration of the cosmic or transcendental nature of love itself. The Dialoghi d'amore are, thus, both a dramatic representation of a particular philosophy of love and a demonstration of how philosophy as such constitutes a form of love.
A detailed analysis of Leone Ebreo's thought, both a major example of Renaissance Philosophy and a model of interpretation, will here be the way toward progress in our own philosophical treatment of love and of the ontological condition it manifests. Since they constitute a paradigmatic example of philosophical eclecticism in the Renaissance, the Dialoghi d'amore will be read as the representative encyclopedia about the culture of sixteenth-century Europe that they in fact are.
Through a con-textual reading of Leone Ebreo's work we try to illustrate both the philosophical importance and the existential relevance of a text that, located as it is at a crucial moment of transition between the Middle Ages and the Modern Age, is clearly centered upon the Idea of Love (destined to give way to the more modern Idea of Nature) and, as such, came to play a significant role in the development of European thought and letters.
LADINA AND ALFANDEGA FILMS, JOIN FORCES FOR PRODUCTION OF NEW DOCUMENTARY ON THE LIFE AND WORK OF CAPTAIN BARROS BASTO
LADINA E ALFÂNDEGA FILMES ASSOCIAM-SE PARA REALIZAR NOVO DOCUMENTÀRIO SOBRE A VIDA E OBRA DO CAPITÃO BARROS BASTO
Captain Barros Basto, “The Portuguese Dreyfus”
In 1497 the Sephardic Jews of Portugal ceased to exist. They became New Christians, all ordered baptized by the King who promised them that there would be no inquiry into their private religious practices for 20 years, later extended after the Lisbon massacre of 1506. Secretly observing the essential rituals of Judaism, the New Christians maintained their Marrano identity for over 300 years despite relentless persecution by the Inquisition (A Marrano, is a Judaizing New Christian) . Thousands were tortured and/or burned alive. The national archives of Portugal, “Torre de Tombo” contains over 40,000 inquisition files.
In the 1920s, Captain Arthur Carlos de Barros Basto, a decorated Portuguese WW1 veteran who survived gas attacks in Flanders, began a quasi-messianic movement in northern Portugal to “out” Marranos and bring them back to normative Judaism. Basto, a free mason and Republican was informed of his family’s Marrano heritage by his grandfather who announced on his deathbed that he wished to die as a Jew. Basto honoured his grandfather’s message for the rest of his life. He taught himself Hebrew, becoming so proficient that he later taught it at the faculty of Arts at the University of Porto where he also conducted original research into Portuguese medieval Jewish history and translated Hebrew liturgical texts. Later, he traveled to Tangiers to undergo a formal return process to Judaism. Returning to Lisbon, he married the daughter of a prominent Jewish family of that community which initially had rejected him. He then settled down in Porto, near Amarante, his place of birth, to raise a family and start building his dream.
Basto’s mission attracted wide support from Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam, New York, and London (whose ancestors had escaped the clutches of the Inquisition). The London Marranos Committee and the Spanish Portuguese congregation of Bevis Marks, England’s oldest synagogue, provided moral and financial support. Prominent English Jews such as journalist and founder of the Jewish Historical Society of England, Lucien Wolf, Cambridge professor and respected author, Cecil Roth and lawyer Paul Goodman (also president of the London Marranos Committee), became friends and fans. Dr. Rabbi David Sola Pool of New York visited Basto.
Visiting isolated villages and towns, sometime by foot and donkey, the charismatic Captain, dressed in full regalia, convinced thousands of Marranos to give up their syncretism and return openly to the faith of their ancestors. He led the revival of normative rituals and established synagogues in several towns and cities, despite protests from the Catholic Church.
In Porto, a city with a strong mercantile Jewish tradition (birthplace of the world’s first secular Jew, Uriel da Costa, Spinoza’s predecessor) Barros Basto established a yeshiva (theological institute) and founded an instructional Jewish newspaper, “Halapid” (the “Torch”) which he published until 1958. At the height of the depression, with the financial backing of Baron de Rothschild of Paris and the wealthy Kadoorie family of Hong Kong, Barros Basto built a magnificent four-storey art deco synagogue, which he called the “Cathedral of the North”, a beacon for the downtrodden Marranos. The Kadoorie synagogue of Porto (Mekor Haim, Hebrew for “font of life) was inaugurated in 1938, the same year as Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” when synagogues and Jewish businesses were ransacked and destroyed throughout Germany. During the ensuing war, Barros Basto helped many families fleeing the Holocaust.
It was all too much for Portugal’s staunch Catholic neo-fascist state, Salazar’s “Estado Novo” (New State). Relying on “anonymous” complaints and internal intrigue, Salazar’s dictatorship engineered the Captain’s downfall. Although Barros Basto was cleared by civil and military authorities of trumped up charges, Salazar’s fascist ministers condemned him for carrying out alleged circumcisions and stripped him of his military commission, prohibiting him from wearing his uniform on the basis that he lacked the moral capacity to continue his military career. This led to a collapse of the renaissance movement that Barros Basto had started. The very people he had championed shunned him. He fell into disgrace and died a broken man in 1961. The inquisition had not disappeared, it simply had adapted. Marranos once again withdrew into the world of secrecy.
Following Portugal’s peaceful carnation revolution of 1974, which toppled Europe’s longest dictatorship, Basto’s family sought to clear his name. Despite promises to do so, the military and politicians continue to stonewall all efforts to rehabilitate the Captain. Now, with the renaissance of Marrano identity, and the re-birth of the “Cathedral of the North” following a visit by the Sephardic grand rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar in 2004, the Captain is once again a hero. But, unlike Dreyfus, he has yet to been exonerated. Hopefully, he will indeed be the next Dreyfus.
A television documentary proposal;
By Jorge Neves e M Lopes de Azevedo
email@example.com - http://www.alfandega-filmes.com/
BASTO, Arthur Carlos de Barros (Amarante 1887 - Porto 1961) - Ficou conhecido como Abraham Israel Ben Rosh. De origem cripto-judia, a ele se deve a ligação entre as comunidades cripto-judias da raia do Norte e Centro do país, acção que denominou Obra do Resgate, e que lhe valeu o nome de "Apóstolo dos marranos". Capitão republicano, esteve na frente da Flandres na Primeira Guerra Mundial. De volta a Portugal, decide circuncidar-se e aderir ao Judaísmo. A partir de então, dedica-se activamente ao proselitismo religioso, funda a Comunidade Israelita do Porto e promove a criação das sinagogas do Porto, Bragança e Covilhã. Em 1935, num contexto de ideologia anti-semita, é alvo de uma campanha de imprensa hostil e acusado civil e militarmente de crimes de que veio a ser absolvido.
KRISTALLNACHT (Night of Broken Glass)
m lopes azevedo
Today, on November 12, 1938, the Nazi SS leader of the allegedly highly cultured Germany and Austria announced that on November 9, 1938 (the Night of broken Glass or Kristallnaght), 267 synagogues were burned, 177 them totally destroyed. Seven thousand Jewish businesses were destroyed.
Meanwhile, in then poor humble Portugal, in the same year, 1938, captain Barros Basto, the "Apostle of the Marranos" put the finishing touches on the "Cathedral of the North", the Kadoorie Mekor Haim synagogue in Porto, which he had started building in 1929. Kadoorie is the family name of Sir Ellie Kadoorie of Hong Kong who contributed the last 5,000.00 pounds necessary to finish the synagogue. It is the only synagogue ever built in Portugal for Marranos. It is the only new synagogue built in Europe in 1938 and the only synagogue built in the world in the 20th century for Marranos.
The captain was persecuted by Salazar`s new state and the its accomplice, the Catholic Church which built an even bigger temple just up the road in the same art deco style as the synagogue. Although Captain Barros Basto`s dream fell into disrepair, today, his spirit lives on with a new generation of Marranos intent on rescuing Portugal`s Jewish common heritage. We shall not forget.
JEAN PICART (PICARD)
m lopes azevedo
Painter and engraver, he was born in Paris in 1673, son of Etienne Picard, also an engraver. His grandfather was a Parisian bookdealer. He died in Amsterdam in 1733 , where he had settled. There is scant information available on his life. The Grove art dictionary states that he left Paris in 1696 for Amsterdam, returned in 1698 and eventually settled there, where, he supposedly converted to Protestantism.
There is no evidence he ever set foot in Portugal, although he was a keen observer of Portuguese Jewish life in Amsterdam. In fact, the auto de fe in Lisbon print (in Blackhorse square) below which he entitled the manner of burning is perhaps a product of his imagination, for Francisco Bethencourt in Historia Das Inquisicaoes (History of the Inquisitions), Portugal, Espanha, e Italia, Temas& Debates, Lisbon, 1996 states that burnings did not occur in the palace square (Terreiro Do Paço, now Praça Do Comerçio or Blackhorse Square, according to tourist guide books of Lisbon), but further east along the tagus river. Does anyone have any information on Picard and why he was so interested in Portuguese Jews?
These prints of Picart engravings have been created or more correctly adapted, using sophisticated digital technology and quality Epson ink. Their vividness and exceptional detail is enhanced by its application on artist grade cotton canvas. The texture of the canvass reproduces a true likeness of the original. The prints are 41x33 and the canvass is 60x46. They are available from ladina (firstname.lastname@example.org).
WHO WE ARE
m lopes azevedo (from www.lusitania.ca, Nov. 2006)
(ver versão portuguesa a seguir)
Jorge Martins, upon completion of “Portugal e os Judeus” (Nova Vega, 2006-3 Volumes), concludes, that on balance, Portugal will never recover its Jewish soul, “ Na verdade, perdemos a nossa plena identidade a partir do incio do seculo XVI e nunca mais a recuperamos ate hoje (The truth is that we lost our full identity from the beginning of the XVI century and have never recovered it to this day).” In other words, he says, despite the very public presence of Judaism in being Portuguese, we are still not able to assume in the twenty first century, the Jewish dimension of our identity.
It is true that Portugal is considered a Catholic country and its citizens Catholic. It is true that its Jewish history is largely unknown, even amongst the so-called educated classes. It is true that the Inquisition almost succeeded in wiping off the face of the earth every last vestige of Jewish heritage. To this day there is no public acknowledgement, not a plaque or a sign in downtown Lisbon where 4,000 New Christians were butchered in April of 1506. Nor where new Christians or Marranos were left to rot, sometimes up to 10 years or more in the Inquisition cages under the Rossio square in the heart of charming Lisbon, nor in the very public squares in Lisbon, Coimbra or Evora where patriotic Portuguese were beheaded or burned alive. In Evora, the very symbol of the Inquisition remains untouched on the side of an institutional building with no sign of the nefarious business that when on there. No one has ever been charged. No reparations have ever been paid.
Yet, the memory has not been extinguished. Jorge Martins seminal work is itself a monument to Portugal’s Jewish identity. And that Jewishness continues in the people; the Inquisition and the Catholic Church did not succeed. In a recent survey conducted by the European Union, Portugal was found to be the least anti-Semitic country in Europe. The former mullah and rabbi in Lisbon were friends and visited each other’s temples. A child who acts up whom we might call a “smarty-pants’ is called a ‘Rabbi’ in Portuguese. In Tras Montes province, a woman who spends time with her friends in discussion is said to be doing the “Sinagoga”. There are plenty of place names too, like Sinagoga in the Algarve, or Vale dos Judeus, or street names, like Beco da Judiaria in Sintra, Patio dos Judeus in Coimbra, Monte dos Judeus in Porto, or Rua da Judiaria in Lisbon etc. There is still a 15th century building in Tomar that was once a synagogue an now houses the Luso-Hebreo Museum (most synagogues were converted to churches-especially Misericordia churches). And there are active synagogues today in Lisbon, Porto and Belmonte.
What Jorge Martins states and what the generous reviewers of his work have commented on, is the great invisibility of Portuguese Jewishness. However, given 300 years of the Inquisition and 40 years of totalitarian government, it is understandable that it may take a while to recover that essentiality of Portuguese identity. But it is still there and it will be recovered.
QUEM SOMOS NÓS
m lopes azevedo
Jorge Martins na sua recente obra
“Portugal e os Judeus” (Nova Vega,
2006-3 Volumes), conclui que
Portugal nunca mais conseguirá
recuperar a sua alma Judaica “Na
verdade, perdemos a nossa plena
identidade a partir do início do século
XVI e nunca mais a recuperamos até
Por outras palavras ele refere que apesar da clara presença
do Judaísmo no Ser Português, ainda não conseguimos
assumir, em pleno século XXI, a dimensão judaica da nossa
É verdade que Portugal é considerado um país Católico e os
seus cidadãos Católicos. Também é verdade que a sua história judaica é
maioritariamente desconhecida, mesmo entre as
ditas classes mais instruídas. É verdade que a Inquisição
conseguiu exterminar quase por completo qualquer
vestígio desta herança Judaica. Actualmente não existe um
sinal, uma placa, ou qualquer espécie de reconhecimento
público na Baixa lisboeta que nos indique que aí, em Abril
de 1506, 4.000 Cristãos-Novos foram massacrados. Nem o
local onde os Cristãos-Novos ou Marranos foram deixados
a apodrecer durante cerca de 10 anos em prisões debaixo do
Rossio em pleno coração da encantadora cidade de Lisboa,
nem nas praças públicas de Lisboa, Coimbra ou Évora, onde
portugueses patriotas foram decapitados ou queimados
vivos. Em Évora o símbolo maior da Inquisição permanece intocável ao
lado de um edifício público sem qualquer sinal do horror que aí ocorreu.
Ninguém foi acusado. Nenhuma indemnização foi paga.
Contudo, a memória ainda permanece. A obra "seminal" de
Jorge Martins é em si mesma, um monumento à identidade Judaica de
Portugal. E esta judaicidade continua bastante
presente nas pessoas. A Inquisição e a Igreja Católica não
triunfaram. Numa recente sondagem levada a cabo pela
União Europeia, Portugal era o país europeu com menor
anti-semitismo. O antigo imã e rabino em Lisboa eram
amigos e visitavam os seus templos. Uma criança cujos
actos poderemos apelidar de “esperto” chama-se
“rabino” em português. Na região de Trás-os-Montes, uma
mulher que passe o seu tempo em conversa diz-se que está a
fazer sinagoga. Existem imensos nomes de localidade como
Sinagoga no Algarve, ou Vale dos Judeus, ou nomes de ruas
como o Beco da Judiaria em Sintra, Pátio dos Judeus em
Coimbra, Monte dos Judeus no Porto, ou Rua da Judiaria
em Lisboa, etc. Actualmente ainda subsiste em Tomar um
edifício do século XV que chegou a ser sinagoga e que afora
alberga o Museu Luso Hebraico (a maioria das sinagogas
foram convertidas em Igrejas, sobretudo da Misericórdia).
E existem sinagogas activas em Lisboa, Porto e Belmonte.
O que Jorge Martins alega, e que a maioria dos seus
generosos críticos da sua obra têm referido é a enorme
invisibilidade desta Judaicidade.
Contudo, tendo em conta que já decorreram 300 anos da
Inquisição e 40 de Governo totalitário, é incompreensível
que demore mais algum tempo a recuperar a essencialidade de identidade
Mas ela permanece e será recuperada.
Tertúlias LADINA no Clube Literário do Porto
alexandre teixeira mendes
O MARRANISMO E A CULTURA HEBRAICO-PORTUGUESA/MARRANISMO AND PORTUGUESE-HEBREW CULTURE
PARA ALEM DOS SETE SENTIDOS. UMA INICIACAO A KABBALAH
INITIATION INTO THE KABBALAH, BEYOND THE FIVE SENSES
Yosef Rodrigues, escritor, professor e conferencista, writer and teacher.
JUDAH ABRAVANEL (LEÃO HEBREU), UM JUDEU DE PORTUGAL PARA O MUNDO/ A PORTUGUESE JEW FOR THE WORLD
Joao J. Vila-Chã, Professor de Filosofia Contemporânea da Faculdade de Filosofia de Braga (Universidade Católica Portuguesa) e Diretor da Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia (Braga).
Professor of Contemporary Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, Braga (Catholic University of Portugal) and Director of the Portuguese Review of Philosophy (Braga). Author of "Amor Intelectualis? Leone Ebreo(Judah Abravanel) and the Intellegibilty of love"
O projecto das Tertúlias LADINA não descura nenhum dos aspectos mais importantes e problemáticos da tradição judaica-marrana. Elas pretendem conduzir-nos com passo seguro a um debate das tradições da Sepharad, com enriquecimento de perspectivas e com renovadas convicções. Destas áreas, a mais sublinhada aqui talvez seja a da espiritualidade sefardita (cujo exemplo de escrito maior é o livro Sepher HaZohar, “O Livro do Esplendor” que chegou a igualar-se, em santidade, à Torá e ao Talmud). A LADINA –Associação de Cultura Sefardita está convencida, e com razão, que a re-descoberta da cultura marrana gira em torno do desafio da espiritualidade. Digamos, então, imediatamente em síntese, que a espiritualidade judaica pode ser definida como uma tentativa de “reconciliação entre a terra e o céu” (André Neher), um esforço feito para alcançar a unidade do homem e da existência.
Os colóquios LADINA não são um fenómeno isolado (no actual momento histórico de renovação da sabedoria e religião judaicas). “Na busca da sabedoria, segundo Rabi Salomon Ibn Gabirol, o primeiro estágio é calar, o segundo ouvir, o terceiro memorizar, o quarto praticar, o quinto ensinar”.É o tempo este, em que as associações marranas, como a LADINA, se tornam sólido e autorizado ponto de referência, experiência activa de procura, de iluminação, em ordem à “refundação” da vida religiosa ou, se preferirmos, da problematização da cultura marrana.
Os colóquios dos últimos meses promovidos pela LADINA em colaboração com o Clube Literário do Porto (CLP) foram dominados por duas preocupações metodológicas complementares: uma procurava definir o valor e o alcance da cultura sefardita; a outra, chamar a atenção, com toda a simplicidade, para alguns aspectos significativos da herança marrana de modo exacto, e a partir de um material de documentação em que se pode ter suficiente confiança. Na origem e no centro desta permuta, esteve 1. a animação cultural do burgo portuense e, portanto, 2. o equacionar da espiritualidade e da cultura hebraico-portuguesa. Foi o que tentámos fazer.
Kabbalah e Leão Hebreu
As Tertúlias Ladina são um desafio e um enriquecimento recíprocos: por um lado, ao promover o conhecimento e o debate da cultura sefardita que condensa e acumula as nossas experiências passadas, herança de obras e exemplos que, em todas as circunstâncias, mostra o caminho a seguir; por outro, ao divulgar problemáticas essenciais – inultrapassáveis e reconhecidas por todos – em que os conferencistas assumem as suas ideias (opiniões) que, por assim dizer, justificam um esforço de conhecimento objectivo. Podemos dizer que são já sinal ou verdadeiramente um instrumento desta atitude dialógica, que já considerámos, as Conferências da LADINA previstas para Novembro. Vejamos, mais em pormenor.
12 de Novembro, 22h, Clube Literário do Porto. As Tertúlias LADINA abrem com a conferência do Prof. Yosef Rodrigues “Para além dos cinco sentidos – Uma Iniciação à Kabbalah”.
Muito se fala, muito se escreve, hoje em dia, sobre a Kabbalah. Poucos terão ainda defini-la com rigor. Mas ninguém se dará ao luxo de ignorar. Designa-se normalmente como “recebimento” – em sentido estrito – aquela atitude potenciada na Tora, que tende a um esoterismo hermenêutico. Tratando-se e uma arte de cariz mais especulativo que prático, sem prejuízo da vida da piedade, tende a uma leitura amplificada da tradição mística do judaísmo. Yosef Rodrigues é escritor, educador de crianças e conferencista, com especialização em kabbalah. Traduziu recentemente “O poder da Kabbalah” do rabino Yehuda Berg (Bertrand Editora), de quem se assume como discípulo.
26 de Novembro, 22 horas, Clube Literário do Porto. O Professor Doutor João J. Vila-Chã dá-nos uma palestra “Judah Abravanel (Leão Hebreu”) – Um Judeu de Portugal para o Mundo”.
Uma análise cuidadosa das suas ideias mostra-nos que, embora um filósofo doutrinado – esclarecido pela Bíblia e pelo Talmud - , Leão Hebreu assumiu e desenvolveu até às últimas consequências o neoplatonismo renascentista. Os seus “Diálogos de Amor” ou Filografia Universal gozaram de uma reputação comparável à da novela “Celestina”, que também é uma hermenêutica de amor. Ou seja, é um pensador de origem portuguesa que meditou sob o signo da “teologia platónica”. Os seus três diálogos versam a essência, a universalidade e a origem do amor. João J. Vila Chã é actualmente director da Revista Portuguesa de Flosofia (Braga) e professor de Filosofia Contemporânea da Faculdade de Filosofia de Braga (Universidade Católica Portuguesa). Este filósofo e padre jesuíta é autor de uma centena de ensaios filosóficos especializados e organizador de inúmeros seminários sobre as questões da teologia contemporânea, onde podemos destacar entre os seus títulos a recente publicação “Amor intelectualis? Leone Ebreo (Judah Abrabanel) and the intelegibility of love” (Publicações da Faculdade de Filosofia de Braga, 2006).
From: Ralf Pinto mailto:Ralf.Pinto@sapo. pt
JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ALGARVECOMUNIDADE JUDAICA DO ALGARVE
§Rua Judice Biker 11 5* 8500-701 Portimão PortugalTel +351 282416710 Fax +351 282416515 Ralf.Pinto@sapo. pt
October 24, 2006 GOOD NEWS FOR OUR MEMBERS AND THOSE COMING TO VISIT US IN ALGARVE!PLACE YOUR KOSHER FOOD ORDER ON-LINE:www.mogsonline. com <http://www.mogsonli ne.com/> or order@mogsonline, comor by tel +351 282496812fax +351 282496813mobile +351 917774507
Orders placed by noon Tuesday will be at your choice of 21 delivery points throughout Algarve, by Thursday week.Don't miss visiting the Isaac Bitton Museum at the Historic Faro Jewish Cemetery!
The Portuguese Jewsof Faro Algarve, Portugal
By Manuel Luciano da Silva, M. D.
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF FARO (Information from the tourist pamphlet of the City Faro)
The Jews fled the Iberian Peninsula to escape the inquisition at the end of the XV Century. Their descendants, traders and businessmen in Gibraltar and North Africa, were invited back to Portugal by the Marquise de Pombal to help rebuild the economy after the devastating earthquake in 1755. They settled in Faro, a thriving 60 family community, known as "Little Jerusalem". They had 2 synagogues of which neither remain . The community became defunct due to the migration of the young to the cities and the aged dying.
The Faro Jewish Cemetery is the only remaining vestige of the first post inquisition Jewish presence in the Algarve. The first burial was that of Rabbi Joseph Toledano in 1838. The last burial was in 1932.
The entire cemetery is paved with Portuguese calçada and two large shady trees provide a serene ambience. There is a Tahara House in which bodies were washed and prayers were said and is now a Museum.
The land of the Cemetery was purchased in 1851 by three community leaders, Joseph Sicsu the Chazan (cantor), Moses Sequerra and Samuel Amram. The Jewish calendar date 5638 (1887) above the entrance gates is thought to be when the wall was constructed.
The cemetery fell victim to neglect due to the demise of the Jewish Community. The graves were inventoried in 79/80 by Samuel Levy, José and Lawrence Abecassis and the inscriptions were translated by the Reverend Abraham Assor, of the Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa.
1984 saw the establishment of the Faro Cemetery Restoration Fund inc. which was registered by Mr. Isaac "lke" Bitton, native of Lisbon who realized that there was a distinct possibility of the Cemetery, now on prime land, making way for development. His fund raising efforts provided the money for the actual restoration which was arranged by Ralf Pinto of the Jewish Community of Algarve in 1992/93.
A rededication ceremony took place on the 16th of May 1993, in the presence of Dr. Mário Soares, President of Portugal, and some 400 Dignitaries and invited guests.
The international guest list included all denominations, including the Bishop of Algarve. Dr. Soares ceremonially planted the first of 78 trees in honor of the late Dr. Aristides de Sousa Mendes. Dr. Mendes was the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, France, in the 1940’s. He saved the lives of thousands of Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany, by issuing transit visas through Lisbon against the direct orders of his Government.
He was demoted for this. The trees were donated by Leonard Oblowitz. A plaque commemorating Gacon was unveiled by Dr. Botelheiro, Mayor of the Faro City Hall.
The first book printed in Portugal, was in Faro in 1487, by Samuel Porteira Gacon. A copy of his first book exits in the British Museum in London, England.
For additional information: Faro Jewish Cemetery
Faro Jewish Cemetery
The Historic Faro Jewish Cemetery is the only remaining vestige of the first post inquisition Jewish presence in Portugal. The Cemetery is open to visitors on weekdays 9h30 to 12h30. It is in beautiful condition, there is a small but interesting museum, a tile monument to Samuel Gacon, a réplica of Joef de Tomar's 1315 gravestone mounted on a support sculpted by Fernanda Assis, 18 tall cypresses in honour of Dr Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a simple commemorative plaque to our Founder Isaac Bitton, DVD presentations a representation of Barmitzvah boy before a Torah, and we are just installing a 25 sm m wooden house to house the furniture from the original Rua Castilho synagogue. There will be a chuppa depicted with dressed manequins and the wedding music when people enter.
For more information please contact:
Faro Cemetery Restoration Fund Inc. Rua Júdice Biker 11 - 5º 8500-701 Portimão Portugaltel +351 282416710fax +351 282416515Cemetery +351 289829525