ON THE MARRANO TRAIL
March 28, 2007
Train between Lisboa and Porto
We’re traveling to Porto and will be there this evening for the launching of the first ever Tanach in Portuguese. I am singing at this launching, just as last night in Lisboa. I’m traveling with Yaakov Gladstone, the powerhouse behind getting this whole trip happening and Manuel Lopes Azevedo the President in Lisbon of the Friends of the Marranos and blogger of Ladina a site for Portuguese Jewish history. Manuel is an amazingly knowledgeable person who also gives tours on Jewish history in Portugal and traces his ancestry to the Azores. Seeing the two of them work together in support and nurturing of the Marrano community in Portugal has been very inspiring and exciting.
The launching last night was a great success. There was a talk by the translator from Sao Paolo, Brazil, Jairo Freidlin and then I performed some Ladino songs. First Avram Avinu, a song that some people in the audience knew. I thought it would be interesting to start with the father of the Jewish people, especially because there were many present who had never heard Ladino music. There were many Marranos in the audience as well as people from the Orthodox Jewish community in Lisbon. As it turned out, some who were there came up to us afterwards tentatively and curiously asking and expressing a deep, unexplainable thirst for knowledge about Judaism. The Avram Avinu was first in an improvisatory style, low and high to challenge the listeners into deep and different places inside themselves.
The launching was in an auditorium/café in the music department store of a large shopping center in a hip part of downtown Lisbon (FNAC) and during the singing I saw many young Lisbonites (alfacinhas) peeking in from the store and standing there to see what was happening. There was a crowd of at least 80.
The next song was Moshe salio de Misrayim from Tetuán, telling the story of the burning bush and the ten plagues, ending with a line in Hebrew praising Gds mercy. This one I performed with a small drum I have from New Mexico. This small drum shows the syncretism we’re dealing with always in Sephardic culture. This drum is used by Crypto-Jews in New Mexico, and to show audiences the breadth of our adaptability, I have included it in the repertoire. It’s a tiny little drum of wood and leather.
I finished with La Serena another favorite in the Ladino repertoire. This song is an allegory of the seeker and the Shechina (the feminine presence of Gd).
One of the young men from the Marrano synagogue came up to me and said, you are like Porto, you get better with time! It put a smile on my face. I had sung a couple of songs the night before at their synagogue when I was terribly exhausted from just having arrived from Los Angeles on an 18-hour trip and after touring around downtown Lisbon all day. I guess the night’s sleep did me some good!
A young woman came up to me and said she was still trembling. She was going through a deep personal Pesaj and had had such a hard day. She said the songs just shocked her into the center of her self and gave her strength to continue. She was so grateful and enthusiastic and wanted to stay in touch, she took my information and gave me hers. All the cds I brought sold quickly.
Afterwards I was told that the President of the Jewish Community was taking many pictures and filming the whole performance. I hope he sets us up for meals for the last days of Pesaj!
Yesterday I was at the old synagogue of Lisbon built in 1902. The Gates of Hope (Sha’arei Tikva) was not allowed to face the street because at the time it was built only Catholic Churches were allowed to face the street. So there is a metal gate, cameras and a doorbell with a mirrored window where they can look out to see who you are. What a beautiful old building. Wooden benches with people’s name on their seat (their makom kavua) filled the 3 levels. The first level for the men and the next 2 levels are for the women. The shamash, Antonio, that lives behind the synagogue is from a town close to Belmonte and he told me all the stories about the synagogue. The tree outside the synagogue is a Pomegranate tree that gives so much fruit around Rosh Hashana that they have to tie it up so that the branches don’t snap off. In the hatzer (courtyard) between the synagogue and the street there is a wall of plaques of dignitaries and past members, rabbis and presidents who have passed away. There is also a small box that says esperança and one that has Chai written in Hebrew.
We’re coming into Porto. I hope the press makes it tonight and we are able to really reach more and more people and touch their souls.
Translation and Midrash on La Serena
By Vanessa Paloma
If the sea were of milk
And boats were of cinnamon
I would stain myself completely
To save my banner.
If the sea were of milk
I would become a fisherman
I would fish out my pain
With words of love.
If the sea were of milk,
I would become a salesman
Walking and asking
Where does love begin?
In the sea there is a tower
In the tower is a window
In the window is a girl
Who loves sailors.
Give me your hand, dove
So I may come to your nest
Cursed are you that sleeps alone!
I come to sleep with you.
Don’t kill me with a knife
Nor with a revolver
Kill me with your love
I will die in your arms.
If the sea were made of milk—the sea is a representation of the unconscious in nature, the unrevealed, the hidden aspect of reality. Usually it is made of water, which symbolizes Torah, truth and knowledge. Milk symbolizes nurturing and life sustaining love of a mother to its child.
Boats were of cinnamon - Boats are what we are transported in—like Noah’s ark, a vessel, a container that floats on the great unconscious. Cinnamon was a symbol for the upright.
I would stain myself completely – Leave the safety of the vessel and throw myself into the great unconscious, nurturing entity.
To save my banner – for what I stand for, for my identity, and what defines who I am.
If the sea were of milk – the unconscious and the nurturing becomes almost a mantra that carries us through the first part of the song, it’s a recurring image.
I would become a fisherman – the fisherman is he who brings out treasures from the hidden world under the surface of the water. The one who dares venture out beyond the safety of the revealed land into the unknown and brings back sustenance from there.
I would fish out my pain – what is concealed is the hidden pain of the heart, it takes a risk out into the unknown to “fish it out.”
With words of love – the hooks or nets to catch the “hard to catch” (esquivo) effemeral pain are words that show caring, love and compassion.
If the sea were made of milk – the third time the image appears and now the person is getting to the depth of the issue, first it was identity, second it is to scratch beneath the surface and fish out pain with love, now it is about the origin of love. This is where we start to connect with the Source of All.
I would become a salesman – one who interacts with many people and effects an exchange, either just an exchange of words or one of goods for money.
Walking and asking – actively searching through the walk and asking those around me, not a passive waiting for the answer to come my way.
Where does love begin? – Who is the Source of All? What is the point of beginning of the salve that will heal the pain of my wounds and give me a clear identity?
In the sea there’s a tower – Here there’s a shift in the song, this is the answer to where love starts. Now we aren’t asking the question so much as trying to understand how to connect with the Source, the place where love starts. The Tower in the Sea represents the body. The Tower symbolizes the body as a recognizable entity that exists within the sea of hidden knowledge, of the unconscious.
In the tower there’s a window – the window is the point of transition between the body, the shell that conceals the Source of Love and that Source. The window might be the eye. Eyes are referred to as the windows to the soul. The window could also be the mouth. The mouth is considered to be the point of transition between the body and the soul. It is through speaking and singing that we are able to connect with a person’s inner world.
In the window there’s a girl – At this point of transition a girl, the soul/neshama, waits expectantly, hoping to connect and to answer the earlier question of where love starts.
Who loves sailors – the sailor is the seeker. The girl, the neshama, loves those who seek her to out connect with her and she peers out of the window in her tower hoping the seeker will be looking for her.
Give me your hand, dove – Help me reach you, by giving me a hand. Make for me a point of connection, oh dove/soul. The dove (paloma) is a symbol for the soul and for Israel that goes as far back as the poetry of Yehuda HaLevi in the middle ages. The dove, being a bird of peace, has an element of transcendence because it flies and soars beyond the confines of land.
So I may come to your nest – if you facilitate my reaching you then I can come to where you dwell. The nest is also a symbol for the place where the Messiah (Moshiah) awaits his coming. It is a place of unfulfilled potential, an incubator of sorts where potential is developing until the time it is ripe to manifest in the physical world.
Wretched are you that sleeps alone! – how unfortunate, oh dove, oh neshama, oh girl, oh soul that you are alone and I had not connected with you before. You must have endured years of loneliness and wondered if I would never come seeking for you.
I come to sleep with you. – now I am ready for the connection that you deserve and that you seek. I am coming to your nest, the chamber of my developing potential and sleeping with you so we may connect on the deepest levels available.
Don’t kill me with a knife – my transformation should not come in a searing realization, like the blade of a knife that cuts through what is.
Nor with a revolver – my transformation should not come through fire, like the gunpowder of a bullet that consumes what it penetrates.
Kill me with your love – my transformation, death (mystical ecstasy) should come only through your love. I want to reach the level of losing my very life in the transformation that will take place when we are intimate.
I will die in your arms – This connection will make me transcend the previous life that I knew. In your embrace, in your sexual, mystical ecstasy embrace, I will transform into the new me, discard my old self and become the new self you lead me towards.
This whole song shows spiritual awakening and the different stages that the person must go through to reach a point of spiritual transformation that culminates in mystical ecstasy. First there is a search for identity, then a confrontation of pain, finally a question of what is the Source of love. At this point the realization of the soul comes in to the song and the desire to connect with the soul, a sadness of the time lost and the excitement of finally consummating the connection. In the final stanza the seeker requests for this awakening to come through sweetness, through love and not through painful experiences.
ON THE MARRANO TRAIL
Vanessa Paloma in Lisboa 2007
FRIENDS OF MARRANOS
LADINO SINGER IN PORTO WEDNESDAY MARCH 28, 2007
American Friends of Marranos are sponsoring Vanessa Paloma, a reknowned Ladino singer based in Los Angeles, California who will perform at the Literary Club of Porto Rua Nova Da Alfandega No. 22 at 10:30 pm.
This event is being sponsored by Ladina, Association of Sephardic Culture (ladina.blogspot.com).
Ladino, also known as Judeo-Spanish is the language that was maintained by Sephardic Jews after the expulsion from Iberia in the late 15th century. This language is a combination of Hebrew, Castillian, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish or other languages depending on where the people settled.
Vanessa Paloma sings with a replica of a 13th century harp and a 12th century sinfonia. These songs, passed down throughout the generations orally by women,tell stories about life, love and honor. Many of them are allegories of mystical love between the soul and the Divine.
For more information, please contact Jorge Neves Oliveira at (351) 91 755 3042 .
VOLUNTEERS IN PORTUGAL FOR PESACH
Yaacov Gladstone with two of his Belmonte students
PORTUGUESE FRIENDS OF MARRANOS
Largo Leonor Faria Gomes, No. 9-1ºE
Paço D’Arcos, Oeiras
Two volunteer Jewish educators, sponsored by the American Friends of Marranos are in Portugal to work with local Marranos, descendants of Jews who were forced to become Catholics against their will in 1497.
Over 3,000 years ago, in this time, the Hebrews of Egypt miraculously fled the slavery of the Pharaohs. After the destruction of the Temples of Jerusalem, the Hebrew people scattered to many parts of the world, including Sefarad, the Iberian Peninsula. From the very founding of Portugal, Jews played a key role in its development and culture. Just before the forced conversion of 1497, Jewish culture in Portugal was at its height, contributing to a flourishing society. Jewish astronomers showed Vasco da Gama the route to India. Jewish doctors attended to the lepers and the poor. Jewish bankers financed the Discoveries.
In 1497, the Jews of Portugal were forcibly baptized and forced into spiritual slavery, their synagogues turned to churches, their holy books confiscated. Yet, despite the outer appearance of Catholicism, the Marranos continued secret practices, rituals and prayers of their inner Jewish soul, such as the “cutting of the waters’ with olive branches, recalling the parting of the Red Sea.
On April 2nd, at sundown, the Hebrew nation starts celebrating the exodus from slavery with the eight-day festival of Passover, a festival of freedom. In Portugal, the remnants of the Hebrew nation will also celebrate. In Belmonte, where the fires of the Inquisition failed to destroy the Jewish people, the two educators will work to prepare the children to continue this tradition through stories, song, dance and poetry.
The Friends of Marranos support the strengthening of Jewish identity and traditions through education in Portugal. Recently, the newly created American Friends of the Marranos gave generous donations to expand the Lana Liner library of the Beit Israel conservative community of Lisbon, to strengthen Jewish education in Belmonte and to publish a new biography of Captain Barros Basto, in Portuguese and English.
The Friends of Marranos are dedicated to helping Marranos (Crypto-Jews/Anousim) strengthen their Jewish identity, and validate their traditions and customs, which were brutally suppressed by the (un) Holy Office of the Inquisition. Yaacov Gladstone and Manuel Lopes Azevedo are co-founders of the Friends of Marranos.
Yaacov Gladstone is a Jewish educator and history teacher. He holds a masters degree in special education. He is the former director of the Early Childhood Program in East Harlem. He has dedicated his life to bringing Jewish education to the children of the Hebrew nation. He helped bring the Jewish children of Morocco to Israel and worked a number of years as a volunteer worker with the Jewish youth of Ethiopia who in 1984 were airlifted to Israel. This is Mr. Gladstone’s sixth trip to Belmonte where he is well known and loved for his dedication and generosity to the community. At present he lobbys in America on behalf of the Marranos of Portugal. He lives in New York and is the founder of the American Friends of Marranos. While in Portugal he can be contacted at 91 424 1288.
Vanessa Paloma is active as a soloist, performance artist and lecturer. She founded and co-directs Flor de Serena, a Judeo-Spanish ensemble.
In addition to being the Founding Artistic Director of the SYNERGY ensemble and its leader until 2003, Paloma was a soloist with Long Beach Opera, Camerata Pacifica Baroque, Ensemble Nuance (Jerusalem) and the St. Paul Early Music Society among others.
Paloma began her musical studies at a young age at the San Juan Children’s Choir in Puerto Rico and later continued at the Andes University in her native Bogotá, Colombia. After moving to the United States, Paloma studied at Indiana University’s School of Music where she received a Master of Music in Early Music performance, specializing in the music of medieval Spain. Ms. Paloma is a Fullbright Scholar in 2007.
For more information visit www.flordeserena.com
On this trip, the American Friends of Marranos donated over 20,000 US dollars to their Jewish primos in Lisbon, Belmonte and Porto.
AMERICAN FRIENDS OF MARRANOS
310 Lexington Ave; Suite 5D
New York, New York
Labels: FRIENDS OF MARRANOS
LANÇAMENTO EM PORTUGAL DA BÍBLIA HEBRAICA (TANACH)
COM A PRESENÇA DE JAIRO FRIDLIN DA EDITORA E LIVRARIA SÊFER
A LIVRARIA JUDAICA DO BRASIL
É com grande orgulho que comunicamos a chegada da Editora e Livraria Sêfer - maior editora de livros Judaicos em Português - a Portugal por intermédio da Euroenigma, Lda.
A Euroenigma será a parceira da Sêfer para a Europa e têm o prazer oficializar esta parceria com o lançamento o lançamento da Bíblia Hebraica (Tanach) mais de 500 anos após o início da Inquisição em Portugal colmatando esta lacuna do mercado.
O lançamento desta inédita tradução para o Português é directamente do Hebraico e à luz do Talmud, das fontes Judaicas e com supervisão Rabínica e contará com a presença especial de Jairo Fridlin (um dos autores e editor desta tradução) e está marcado para os seguintes dias:
- 27 de Março pelas 18:30 na FNAC do Chiado. Este evento conta com o apoio da FNAC, APEJ (Associação Portuguesa de Estudos Judaicos) e da CIL (Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa)
- 28 de Março pelas 22:00 no Clube Literário do Porto. Este evento conta com o apoio da Ladina (Associação de Cultura Sefardita) e do CLP (Clube Literário do Porto).
Breve explicação da obra agora apresentada em Português:
Tanach é um acrónimo utilizado dentro do Judaísmo para denominar o principal conjunto de livros sagrados, sendo esta a designação mais próxima de uma Bíblia Judaica. O conteúdo do Tanach é o original e equivalente ao Antigo Testamento, mas ligeiramente diferente no conteúdo. O Tanach contém a Torá (também conhecida por Chumash, isto é "Os Cinco" e refere-se aos cinco livros também conhecidos como Pentateuco), Neviim (Profetas) e Ketuvim (Escritos). De acordo com a tradição Judaica, o Tanach consiste de 24 livros. A Torá possui 5 livros, o Neviim possui 8 e o Ketuvim 11.
A versão em português da Bíblia Hebraica (Tanach) tem 880 páginas, capa dura de luxo e uma lombada de apenas dois centímetros e meio, porque empregou-se o chamado papel bíblia, cuja folha pesa apenas 44 gramas. O livro é uma obra coletiva. Ele o traduziu junto com David Gorodovits, do Rio, e teve a revisão técnico-religiosa dos rabinos Marcelo Borer, Daniel Touitou e Saul Paves, e dos professores Norma e Ruben Rosenberg, Daniel Presman e Marcel Berditchevsky.
Para mais informações e marcação de entrevistas contacte:
Ricardo Afonso (Moreno)
Telemóvel: +351 965324201
Sítio desenvolvido por Ribbi Yaaqob haLevi de Oliveira, e tem como principal meta ajudar a resgatar os descendentes de judeus ibéricos nas Américas e Europa, para que regressem ao judaismo sem passar por conversões e outras humilhações, além de ajudá-los a estabelecer suas próprias comunidades, contando já com vários colaboradores em diversos países.
Traz um excelente material para estudos em português e hebraico.
LANÇAMENTO EM PORTUGAL DA BÍBLIA HEBRAICA (TANACH)
COM JAIRO FRIDLIN DA EDITORA E LIVRARIA SEFER, A LIVRARIA JUDAICA DO BRASIL
BOOK LAUNCH IN PORTO On MARCH 28th OF HEBREW BIBLE IN PORTUGUESE with Jairo Fridlin, editor and publisher of Sefer, Brazil's foremost Jewish publisher.
(The Lisbon launch will be on March 27, 6.30 at FNAC in Chiado).
(A versão em português do Tanach tem 880 páginas, capa dura de luxo e uma lombada de apenas dois centímetros e meio, porque empregou-se o chamado papel bíblia, cuja folha pesa apenas 44 gramas. O livro é uma obra coletiva. Ele o traduziu junto com David Gorodovits, do Rio, e teve a revisão técnico-religiosa dos rabinos Marcelo Borer, Daniel Touitou e Saul Paves, e dos professores Norma e Ruben Rosenberg, Daniel Presman e Marcel Berditchevsky.)
Entrevista com Jairo Fridlin
Quais as novidades desta edição?
A maior, sem dúvida, é seu "jeito" judaico, baseado e influenciado pela visão do sábios do Talmud e nas demais fontes judaicas dos últimos 2.000 anos. O uso dos nomes hebraicos - tanto dos personagens como dos lugares - torna o conjunto da obra mais interessante, porque usamos o "ben" para indicar a filiação (ex.: Avner, filho de Ner, virou Avner ben Ner). Quanto aos lugares, é possível entender onde que se passa pois esses pontos são visíveis no mapa hoje. Na grafia, usamos o H sublinhado para representar as letras Chet e Chaf, ao invés do tradicional CH. Acredito que o resultado seja bom. O público vai decidir. Embora seja apresentada convencionalmente, em capítulos e versículos - cuja origem não é judaica, mas teve que ser "oficializada" devidos aos recorrentes debates inter-religiosos da Idade Média -, tentamos demonstrar como é a divisão judaica para evita desmembramentos e descontextualizações de alguns textos. Apresentamos também aquelas "aberturas" que aparecem no textos hebraicos. Ficamos devendo a inclusão de todo o texto em hebraico. Isso fica para a próxima.
Agora, em relação às outras traduções em português, o que mais a distingue é que nenhuma delas foi feita diretamente do hebraico, idioma original da Bíblia. O que ninguém discute e é um fato.
Quais as grandes dificuldades encontradas para a tradução?
Ao não inserir notas de rodapé, tivemos de decidir entre as diferentes opções de tradução de algumas palavras, bem como optar por um dos tantos e ricos caminhos exegéticos. Às vezes, seguimos a opinião de Rashi, outras a de Nachmânides, outras de um terceiro, e assim sucessivamente. Mas sempre apoiados em alguma opinião rabínica, e de preferência, a que melhor se articulava com o texto em si, a que damos o nome de "peshuto shel hamicrá".
Que cuidados tiveram com a tradução?
Em primeiro lugar, a clareza - para os jovens estudantes entenderem o que o texto diz. Nesse ponto, sacrificamos várias palavras - por si só corretas e precisas - por outras mais conhecidas e compreensíveis. Educadores constituíam o grupo de trabalho para dar uma forte conotação educativa à obra.
Segundo, tentamos inserir no texto algo aparentemente abstrato mas cuja ausência é possível sentir em outras traduções: o olhar judaico, o gosto judaico, o som judaico; o estilo judaico, enfim.
Além disso, tentamos extrair do texto certas influências externas que se incorporaram a ele, às vezes intencionalmente, o que o distanciava do original. Um exemplo é traduzir Shabat por "dia de descanso", que amanhã poderia vir a ser o domingo... ou traduzir a palavra Toráh apenas como Lei, quando sabemos que ela é muito, muito mais que isso.
Raramente, e entre parênteses, inserimos palavras que complementam o texto, ou que o comentam, ou que identificam determinados personagens a que o texto faz referência. Isso poderá evitar que certas passagens sejam relacionadas a quem não de direito. Nos Profetas maiores e particularmente em alguns dos Escritos, não nos prendemos mais do que o necessário à letra do texto mas tentamos captar e transmitir sua mensagem de forma bem clara, como anteriormente na edição do livro dos Salmos. Nossa intenção é que o leitor se emocione com o texto, vibre e se envolva com a leitura. Neste caso, a tradução literal e "burocrática" seria um erro.
De que fontes se valeram para a tradução?
Primeiro, baseamo-nos na versão em hebraico do Tanach conhecida como "Kéter Aram Tsová" (ou Alepo), reconhecida como a mais fiel e autêntica, e que remonta à época de Maimônides.
Consultamos traduções para o inglês, espanhol, francês - e mesmo português - como fontes de comparação e apoio, mas no apoiamos principalmente nos comentaristas clássicos do Tanach , conforme relacionado no livro, mencionando até a época em que viveram.
Por que uma tradução para o português?
Porque havia essa carência e, em algum momento, alguém teria de fazê-la. O Tanach é a base de todo o "edifício" do judaísmo. Todos os demais livros se relacionam a ele. E é triste e doloroso constatar que poucos de nós tivemos a oportunidade de conhecê-lo. Eu mesmo, no início de meus estudos, sofri para entender muitas passagens. Talvez agora, disponível uma tradução judaica para o português, mais pessoas se interessem em conhecer e estudá-lo com a profundidade que ele merece!
Qual o significado desta obra?
Para mim, é a maior de todas e tantas contribuições judaicas para a Humanidade. Ela é a ponte que poderá tornar o mundo uma grande família de povos e, à luz de seus ensinamentos, aprenderá, um dia, a se respeitar e a viver de forma harmônica e em paz, como nos ensina aquela famosa profecia do lobo e do cordeiro, de Isaías. Ela é o livro mais importante da cultura judaica e o que mais profundamente influenciou a civilização ocidental. Graças a ela, nos deram, aos judeus, o título honorífico e o devido respeito por sermos "o povo do livro". Pois devemos assumir esta condição, também em português.
O texto foi traduzido na ordem direta, ou tal como se lê no original?
Onde possível, tentamos colocar na ordem direta. Ao invés de "E falou o Eterno a Moisés", adotamos o "E o Eterno falou a Moisés". Mas em trechos dos Profetas e dos Escritos, o estilo do texto exigia que mantivéssemos a forma indireta.
Quem já se mostrou interessado nela?
Primeiramente, as escolas judaicas; creio que logo as famílias judaicas também se interessarão por uma obra tão importante e fundamental para a identidade judaica. O público não-judaico também está ansioso por conhecer a forma como nós, judeus, lemos e entendemos a Bíblia.
Existe a possibilidade de ela vir a ser distribuída nos países de língua portuguesa?
Existe, e vamos tentar fazer isso o mais breve possível.
A edição inclui a exegese do texto bíblico?
Apenas parcialmente, pois não existe tradução sem exegese. Em outras palavras, a própria tradução é, em certa medida, uma exegese.
CONTACTO EM PORTUGAL
Ricardo Afonso (Moreno)
Telemóvel: +351 965324201
LADINA JEWISH HERITAGE WALKING TOURS
Engraving by Jean Picard, 'Manner of Burning'*
Lisbon, Praça do Comercio (Blackhorse Square) before the great earthquake of 1755
* (The vicitms of the Inquisition did not actually burn to death, they were slowly roasted, death ensued usually after 2.5 hours!)
MEDIEVAL JEWISH LISBON
MEDIEVAL JEWISH LISBON
This 3-hour heritage walking tour starts in the Rossio, near the palace of the Inquisition and ends in the Judiaria of Alfama. Jews have lived in the Iberian Peninsula long before the Christian conquest of Lisbon in 1147. For the first three centuries after the birth of Portugal they prospered and served their king and country. They were shoemakers, doctors, astronomers, cartographers, boticaries, poets, blacksmiths, jewellers, traders, lawyers, financiers, civil servants, government ministers, dyers, tax collectors, tailors, etc. By 1492 they made up approximately one quarter of the Portuguese population.
Then fanaticism and intolerance reared its ugly head. First the Catholic monarchs kicked the Jews out of Spain in 1492, then Portugal in 1496. But the Machiavellian Portuguese King, Manuel I, had a plan. He had no intention of losing his most valuable subjects, so he made them all Catholics, one country, one religion.
In 1497 he forcibly baptized all the Jews of Portugal. He permitted only a few to leave, such as Abraham Zacuto, his personal physician and astronomer who developed the navigational tables that enabled Vasco da Gama to reach India and propelled Portugal into a world power.
After 1497 there were supposedly no more Jews in Portugal, only New Christians or Marranos, that is to say, Catholics on the outside but Jews in their hearts. The king expected to solve the Jewish ‘problem’ in a generation but the Marranos survived the flames and torture of the Inquisition for over 250 years, even though many were burned alive. In 1506 between 2,000 and 4,000 New Christians were slaughtered during three days of rioting in Lisbon. The national archives contain over 40,000 Inquisition files.
Come learn their story on this tour. You will also learn about the origins and destruction of downtown Lisbon as well as historical monuments and architecture.
Rossio, National Theatre, formerly the Palace of the Inquisition