mulheresMARRANASwomen in the Inquisition-LANÇAMENTO/BOOK LAUNCH
Bonita, a Mona Lisa Marrana/the Marrano Mona Lisa?

Sabado Junho 4, 2011 @22.00-Clube Literario do (O)Porto

Apresentação/Presentation- Alexandre Teixeira Mendes, author of Barros Basto, A Miragem Marrana, and a co-founder of Ladina

(For English text, see below)
Bonita é o primeiro livro de uma colecção de histórias de sete mulheres, vítimas da Inquisição Portuguesa (1536-1821). Esta série bilingue, intitulada “mulheresMARRANASwomen”, conta as histórias daquelas mulheres, reveladas nas transcrições oficiais dos arquivos da Inquisição alojados na Torre de Tombo em Lisboa.
Fernanda Guimarães fez a transcrição dos originais do arquivo, escrito por notários da Inquisição e, Manuel Azevedo traduziu as transcrições para Inglês com comentários explicativos e históricos. A esta obra foi adicionado um glossário. A versão em Português contém um prefácio de Paulo Lopes, presidente da Associação Cultural dos Almocreves de Carção, berço da Bonita. Esta associação está actualmente a construir um museu Marrano em Carção. (http://almocreve.pt/). E as receitas provenientes do lançamento do livro serão doadas para esse mesmo museu. O prefácio em Inglês é da autoria de Manuel Azevedo.
Fernanda Guimarães é investigadora-adjunta da Cátedra de Estudos Sefarditas Alberto Benveniste da Universidade de Lisboa, desde a sua criação. Colabora com vários jornais e é co-autora de seis livros sobre a Inquisição Portuguesa. Por sua vez, o Comendador Manuel Azevedo é um advogado Açoriano, Luso-Canadiano, e co-fundador da Ladina, uma sociedade sem fins lucrativos com sede no Porto dedicada ao resgate da memória dos Marranos Judaicos de Portugal.
A publicação deste livro foi possível graças à contribuição de muitas pessoas e ao generoso apoio financeiro do Sr. Yaacov Gladstone.
Bonita is the first book in a collection of stories about seven women, victims of the Portuguese Inquisition (1536-1821). This bilingual series, entitled mulheresMARRANASwomen, tells the stories of those women, revealed in the official transcripts of the Inquisition archives housed at Torre de Tombo in Lisbon.
Fernanda Guimarães transcribed the original records written by Inquisition notaries and Manuel Azevedo translated them into English with explanatory and historical commentary. A glossary was added.
The Portuguese version contains a preface by Paulo Lopes, president of the Almocreve Cultural Association of Carção, Bonita's birthplace. Almocreve is presently building a Marrano Jew-ish museum in Carção. (http://almocreve.pt/ ). The proceeds from the book launch will be donated to the museum. The English preface is by Manuel Azevedo.
Fernanda Guimarães has been an adjunct researcher at the Alberto Benveniste Chair of Sephardic Studies, University of Lisbon since its inception. She contributes to several newspapers and has co-authored six books on the Portuguese Inquisition. Comendador Manuel Azevedo is an Azorean Luso-Canadian lawyer and a co-founder of Ladina, a non-profit society based in Porto dedicated to rescuing the memory of Portugal's Jew-ish Marranos.
The publication of this book is made possible by the contribution of many people and the generous financial support of Mr. Yaacov Gladstone, founder of Friends of Marranos and his late dear friend Dr. Harold Michal-Smith of New York city.




Lisbon, Sintra, Évora, Castelo de Vide, Belmonte and Tomar

This private tour of Portugal was designed for luxury travelers who seek to experience the unique character of Lisbon and explore some idyllic corner of the country drenched in heritage, with an emphasis on Portugal’s incredible Jewish history. Lisbon, on the banks of the vast estuary of the Tagus River with its sloping hills and contrasting districts, is one of the most surprising and beautiful of European capitals. This is a city both Atlantic and Mediterranean characteristics, with a rich variety of heritage and styles, illuminated by an extraordinary light always reflected from the ever-present river Tagus. Then spend a night in a converted monastery in Evora, one of Portugal’s most fascinating towns and continue to the Jewish Quarter in Castelo de Vide, a medieval castle town of winding streets and whitewashed houses. In tinyMarvão, learn about the hill town’s place in Jewish history, and take in spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from the walls of the 13th-century castle. Spend the night at a luxury posada in the medieval town of Belmonte, home to a unique Jewish community that practiced rites in secret for 500 years, as well as a Jewish museum and active synagogue. and historic. Finally discover Tomar, home to the oldest synagogue in Portugal. Touring in each location is with extremely knowledgeable expert guides and accommodation is in the very best hotels throughout the tour.

Sunday / August 21, 2011 EN ROUTE

Today we’ll depart the USA on our overnight flight to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.

Monday / August 22, 2011

Upon arrival at Lisbon International Airport we will meet our carefully selected Deluxe Kosher Tours representative who will take us to our deluxe city center hotel - the CS Vintage. The remainder of the day is enjoyed at leisure. Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Tuesday / August 23, 2011

Following breakfast we depart to Évora. Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986, is an ancient city of narrow streets, unforgettable churches and white, sun-washed houses. Check in at M`AR De AR Aqueduto, a new five star hotel located right in the historic center of Évora. The building known as the Sepulveda Palace, is a magnificent construction of the 16th century that still keeps a beautiful chapel, dome ceilings and a set of three Manueline windows on the main façade. Enjoy lunch in the hotel restaurant. This afternoon we have a walking tour in Évora to discover the secret treasure of this fascinating city and its ancient history. Visit Roman Temple; Duques de Cadaval Tower and Chapel;Cathedral, GiraldoSquare. In the past, Évora had one of the largest Jewish communities in Portugal, and several houses still bear traces of the old Mezuzot.

Return to the hotel where we may wish relax in the spa prior to enjoying dinner.

Wednesday/ August 24, 2011

Following breakfast we travel to the border towns of Castelo de Vide andMarvão. The first, set in a natural amphitheater of hills, is a lively town whose labyrinthine streets reveal a medieval Jewish neighborhood and whitewashed houses. Along the maze of narrow cobbled alleys you find a 15th Century Synagogue and adjacent religious school, recently restored by using the original architectural lines; the Rabbi’s home, the village fountain, and even the oven used for baking. Continue to Marvão, a geranium-filled, walled village perched on a high rocky peak. Enjoy a short walking tour of this delightful, traditional Portuguese village in which many Jews once lived. Of particular interest, The Museum Municipal houses two tombstones decorated with carved Menorahs, telling of the formerly Jewish presence. Leave to Belmonte and check in at Convento de Belmonte. Time at leisure and dinner in the hotel

Thursday / August 25, 2011

Following breakfast we tour Belmonte on a guided walking tour: we visit the Medieval Castle, the Jewish Museum, the Old Jewish Quarter and the Synagogue. Belmonte today is an active and vibrant community with a unique Jewish history. This is a secret history that during the tour you will have the privilege to uncover, composed of religious and cultural practices that have outlasted history’s adversities. Its highlights come with meeting people whose family stories are richly intertwined and about whom there is always so much to hear. Lunch in Belmonte is in the Synagogue or hosted by the community. Afternoon visit the charming town of Sortelha.

Return to the hotel for dinner.

Friday / August 26, 2011

Today depart to Tomar, one of the oldest and most charming towns in Portugal, founded by the Order of Knights Templar. Visit the 15thCentury Synagogue, now the Museum Luso- Hebraico AbraãoZacuto located on what was once Rua da Judiaria, Here is a significant reminder of one of the greatest Sephardic Jewish communities, now classified as a national monument. With Gothic vaults upheld by four central columns, this structure houses Jewish gravestones, the cornerstones of the 13th Century Synagogue of Belmonte and the 14thCentury Lisbon Synagogue, and other remains of Tomar’s medieval Jewish community. Later, we visit the Convent of Christ (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which once served as the headquarters of the Order which promoted the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, assisted always by the contribution of Jewish scientists.

Return to Lisbon, check in at the hotel and time to rest and refresh for Shabbat.

Walk to the ShaaréTikváSynagogue for Shabbat services. Return to the hotel for a Seudat Shabbat.

Shabbat / August 27, 2011

Following breakfast in our hotel we walk to the ShaaréTikvá Synagogue for Shabbat services. We return to the hotel for a Seudat Shabbat. Those that desire are then taken by our escort on a Shabbat afternoon walking tour of Lisbon to Chiado and Baixa. From São Pedro de Alcântara – city’s most famous belvedere – continue to the Chiado District, where we walk amongst atmospheric cafés and enticing book, fashion and design stores, all set against the backdrop of a striking contemporary restoration project by leading Portuguese architect A. Siza Vieira. Then explore the streets of Baixa, laid out in a special, ordered design according to the urban ideals of the Enlightenment. The Pombaline reconstruction of Lisbon (as a result of the destruction of the greater part of the city, by the 1755 earthquake) is one of the first, contemporary, large-scale, town-planning schemes. Here, we will walk through the streets immortalized by the great poet Fernando Pessoa and evoke the way of life described by the author of The Book of Disquiet. Later pass by the Rossio Square, the original headquarters of the Inquisition and where the ‘Autos-de-Fé’ took place.

Sunday / August 29, 2011

Today’s itinerary will take us back to the remote origins of the city. Starting from the medieval castle of São Jorge, with its unparalleled views, descend into the ancient Alfama area, with its narrow, labyrinthine alleys – once Arabic and still evoking the atmosphere of the Discoveries. Here we will find the “Rua da Judiaria” the old Jewish Quarter with its narrow cobbled streets. Visit also the Cathedral or Sé, the oldest church in the city (built from 1147) most likely on the site of an ancient mosque. Lunch will be served in a restaurant set in a typical area of the old city with a fantastic view: Mercado de Santa Clara

The afternoon is dedicated to the Belémárea where we visit the breathtaking Mosteiro dos Jerónimos’closter and the Torre de Belém – both jewels of Manueline art in Portugal, and both listed as World Heritage sites. Near the Belém Tower, guarding the mouth of the Tagus River from where the navigators set out on voyages of discovery of the trade routes, is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, where some New-Christians who contributed with their knowledge towards the Discoveries, are represented. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Monday / August 29, 2011

The Atlantic coast up to Cascais, with its surprising beaches and coves, initiates this morning’s program, before the climb up to Sintrais made via a road that runs through a landscape of rare beauty. This land overlooking the sea, covered in luxuriant vegetation, has long seduced poets from home and abroad. Sintra, the “Glorious Eden” of Lord Byron and ancient summer refuge of the royal court, is today the natural setting for stunning monuments, singular estates, houses and landscaped gardens bounteous with exotic plants. In the historic center of the town we find the Paço Real, a notable conjunction of architecture from various eras whose origins go back to the start of the 15th Century.

Lunch will be enjoyed in the Palácio de Seteais, a neoclassical aristocratic house that features a baroque triumphal arch. Inside, the original decorations evoke the aura of the age of grace with frescos depicting mythological scenes and attributed to a disciple of Jean Pillement. This afternoon we climb the winding route to Sintra’s rocky summit, where the most notable example of Portuguese Romantic architecture, the Palácio e Parque da Pena, was constructed. Even more surprising is the park, planned to imitate the perfection of nature. For this different and contrasting environments were created, joining the unusual with the exotic, inspired by scenes from operas and far distant landscapes and bringing together 2,000 different botanical species.

On our return to Lisbon we might have time to visit the C. Gulbenkian’sMusuem a very interesting collection of Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Mesopotamian; Easter Islamic, Armenian and Far Eastern Art. Also European Art: Sculpture, Painting and Decorative Arts particularly 18thcentury French art and the work of René Lalique. Return to the hotel for a farewell dinner.

Tuesday / August 30, 2011

Following breakfast we are transferred to Lisbon International airport for our flight home.


$4,995 based on double occupancy (two to a room)

Single Supplement — $ 1,295

Includes airfare from New York or Tel Aviv. Call for other cities.

Additional $700 from Tel Aviv or London

LAND ONLY: $4,295


  • Visa fees as required
  • Snacks or items of a personal nature


  • Lisbon VCS Vintage Hotel
  • Évora Mar-de-ArAqueduto Luxury and Spa
  • Belmonte Convento de Belmonte




Apologizing for the Inquisition -SPAIN

by Michael Freund
The Jerusalem Post
May 12, 2011

Last week, the Mediterranean resort city of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, was the scene of a remarkable historical event. After centuries of denial, a Spanish regional government condemned the Inquisition, and its persecution of Jews who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism.

At a special ceremony, Frances Antich Oliver, president of Spain's Balearic Islands, uttered words that no Spanish leader before him had ever had the courage to declare.

The burning of Jews at the stake by the Inquisition was, he said, "our worst sin. It horrifies us, but we must always remember it so that it never occurs again." Highlighting the maltreatment meted out to the Chuetas – as descendants of Mallorcan Jews who were compelled to convert in the 15th century are known – Oliver said in no uncertain terms that they had been subjected to "a grave injustice."

This marked the first time that a Spanish official had spoken so boldly in denunciation of the Inquisition' s crimes, signaling a possible turning point in the process of Spain coming to terms with the horrors of its past.

The timing of the ceremony was rife with meaning.

It was held on the 320th anniversary of the infamous Auto-da-fé of May 6, 1691, when the zealots of the Inquisition put 37 Chuetas to death in Palma for secretly practicing Judaism. Three of the victims were burned alive in front of tens of thousands of enthusiastic locals in the city's Gomila Square.

One of them, Rafael Valls, was the secret rabbi of the Chuetas, and despite the torture to which he had been subjected for the previous three years, he refused to renounce his faith in the God of Israel, even as the flames engulfed him.

Another victim, Raphael Benito Terongi, also demonstrated incredible fidelity to the heritage of his ancestors. While sitting in the Inquisition' s prison awaiting execution, Terongi found a piece of glass and, in a staggering act of defiance, used it to circumsize himself. He too, along with his sister Catalina, was cast onto the pyre.

Looking back on their sacrifice, one can only marvel at their valor and determination. Valls and the Terongi siblings – and others like them – were Jewish heroes, and their memories should be preserved.

THE PALMA ceremony came about as the result of a meeting I held three months ago with Oliver's top aide, Albert Moragues. Accompanied by Rabbi Yossi Wallis, head of the Arachim organization and a direct descendant of Rafael Valls, we proposed the idea for the ceremony and, much to our surprise, the government consented.

The event drew hundreds of local participants, and generated a great deal of discussion in the local press about the misdeeds of the Inquisition and the suffering that had been inflicted on the Chuetas.

It compelled Majorcan society to take an honest look at itself, and helped educate a new generation about this dark chapter in the island's history.

In the popular imagination, the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain are intertwined, and often confused, even though the former began before 1492 and continued long afterwards.

Among other things, the Inquisitors were hunting down Bnei Anusim (whom historians refer to by the derogatory term "Marranos") because they clung to their Jewish faith in private even as they professed Catholicism in public.

According to the late historian Cecil Roth, the Inquisition' s henchmen murdered over 30,000 of these "secret Jews," while countless others were condemned for covertly preserving Jewish practices.

Their descendants now live throughout the Spanish- and Portuguese- speaking countries, with many now seeking to return to the Jewish people.

IN LIGHT of the success of the Palma event, I think it's time for other regions of Spain, as well as the Spanish national government, to hold similar ceremonies.

Spanish officials should apologize for the Inquisition, and its state-sponsored violence.

Even after the passage of so many centuries, it is not too late for Spain and its government to seek atonement for the sins of their past against the Jewish people. Pope John Paul II apologized on behalf of the papacy, so why shouldn't Spain do so as well? Some might think there is little point in revisiting the events of so long ago. Why open old wounds? But such an attitude only compounds the wrong done to generations of hidden Spanish Jews and Bnei Anousim. They and their descendants deserve an official apology and an act of contrition.

The tenacity they demonstrated in the face of the Inquisition is a living example of the power of Jewish memory, and of our people's refusal to succumb, submit or surrender.

Many gave their lives for the sake of their Jewish identity.

The least we can do is to ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten.


Western Sephardic Intellectual Tradition


Hakham Sa'ul Morteira - Gibngath Sa'ul http://www.hebrewbooks.org/30803

Derushim Yeqarim http://www.hebrewbooks.org/44778

Tratado da Verdade da Lei de Moises http://goo.gl/XdZCF


Hakham Yangaqob Sasportas - Ngeduth Biyangaqob http://www.hebrewbooks.org/22358

Ohel Yangaqob http://www.hebrewbooks.org/21275

Ses Sengarim http://www.hebrewbooks.org/45992

Toledoth Yangaqob http://www.hebrewbooks.org/24549


Hakham Selomo De Oliveira - Darkhe H' http://www.hebrewbooks.org/23852

Ayeleth Ahabim http://www.hebrewbooks.org/23876

Mebo Haggemara http://www.hebrewbooks.org/42077

Yad Lason http://www.hebrewbooks.org/22100

Sarsoth Gebuloth http://www.hebrewbooks.org/21551


Hakham David Nieto - Esh Dath http://www.hebrewbooks.org/23808

Matte Dan http://www.hebrewbooks.org/449099

De La Divina Providencia http://goo.gl/q1HA1


Hakham Ishaq `Uzzi'el - Mangane Lashon http://www.hebrewbooks.org/9445


Hakham Yoseph Pardo - Shulhan Hattahor http://www.hebrewbooks.org/24322 /http://www.hebrewbooks.org/41301


Hakham Menasse Ben Isra'el - Pene Rabba http://www.hebrewbooks.org/45129

Miqwe Yisra'el http://www.hebrewbooks.org/42251

Thesouro Dos Dinim http://goo.gl/72UAs


Hakham Hezqiya De Silva - Mayim Hayyim http://www.hebrewbooks.org/22083

Peri Hadash http://www.hebrewbooks.org/19333

Bina Wadangath http://www.hebrewbooks.org/38398


Hakham Ishaq Aboab - Me'a Berakhoth http://www.hebrewbooks.org/24869

Nahar Pishon http://www.hebrewbooks.org/44470


Hakham Immanuel Aboab - Nomologia o Discursos Legales http://goo.gl/a4H7e


Hakham Mose De Pisa - Hamsa'a Hadasha http://www.hebrewbooks.org/24988


Hakham Yehuda Piza - Zibhe Yehuda http://www.hebrewbooks.org/45320


Hakham Yishaq Abendana - Peri Nges Hayyim http://www.hebrewbooks.org/20605


Hakham Abraham Pimentel - Minhath Cohen http://www.hebrewbooks.org/19373


Hakham Yehuda de Leon Templo - Tabnith Hekhal http://www.hebrewbooks.org/24349


More books online in the Menasse ben Israel collection of the Bibliotheca Rosenthalia of the University of Amsterdam: http://cf.uba.uva.nl/en/collections/rosenthaliana/menasseh/books.html


The Foundation for the Preservation of the Western Sephardic Tradition (facebook group)

David Ramirez
Suggestions for the Preservation of Western Sephardic Tradition

To all Jews for the Preservation of Western Sephardic tradition,

My apologies for not paying attention to this, William, as other current objectives has kept me away from this very important subject. After recently reviewing the posts in this group, I want to contribute with my suggestions, all of which can only be enacted by a concerted group effort among us who really have in their heart to rescue our traditions from oblivion. I want to say all the following in the most unapologetic straightforward manner, and not without the intention to offend anyone, but to show truth wherever I find it.

Before I proceed to give my suggestions, I want to give my opinion about how we got to the stage of disrepair we are currently experiencing. First of, the Spanish & Portuguese Jewish (hereto on referred as “S&P”) communities were never very numerous to begin with, and being that our kehilót were relatively wealthy, this in part contributed to the low birth-rate among us. The decline of new Converso arrivals during the 18th c., coincidently the epoch when the Inquisition was abating their activities, further declined the constancy of a S&P majority.

Adding to our faulty demographics, the crisis of belief during the 19th century also brought with it a separation and dilution of the S&P tradition in several communities, especially across the Americas. Less and less we acted with the cross-continental unity that once characterized us, and our mutual logistic and economic fraternity that once were markers of our strength. With the exception of Amsterdam, all other communities sought to keep afloat by accepting more and more Forasteros into our kehilót, which slowly changed their constituencies and therefore the objectives and support of native S&P institutions of education and ssedaqá. In the post-WWII era, much of the remaining S&P moved outside their communities in search of better economic opportunities or made Aliyáh moved by our ancient desire to live in Israel.

The evil Nazi regime shot a deathblow to the still stronger Amsterdam community, and Sephardic rabbis everywhere sought to smooth out our differences with our more numerous and ever more influential Ashkenazi coreligionists – thus enabling our religious assimilation to them, which coupled with the nationalists priorities of the nascent State of Israel, completely disbanded the last institutions of religious learning we had left.

The results of these both voluntary and involuntary historical circumstances have left the remaining S&P communities as shells of their former selves, an entire generation of rabbis not trained in natively-grown Sephardic institutions with traditional Sephardic prerogatives; a dispersed S&P Jewry, much of whom are not religiously committed, and a lot more ignoring both the history and traditions of S&P Jewry; some even ashamed of originating from this tradition, and worse yet, a cynicism informing the tradition has no chance of surviving.

So why is it important to come to its rescue, and how do we begin to remedy the situation?

After the Expulsions from Iberia, two distinct Sephardic traditions sprung from those Jews first settling elsewhere in Europe – more specifically in Italy –, and those settling through the Levant and the Maghreb. Those Sephardim remaining in Europe were more inclined to the traditional Talmudist and rationalist schools of thought akin to Maimonides’ own, whereas for Eastern and North African Sephardim were more influenced by Zoharic-mystical thought.

The S&P tradition, which started just with a handful of returning Conversos, developed mostly under the tutelage of Italian Sephardim, and soon created more communities across the Netherlands, northern Italy, Germany, and eventually England, France and the Americas, with some outpost in Africa and East Asia. Being part of the ebullient mercantile and intellectual scene of late Renaissance Europe, the S&P communities became the most successful of Jewish communities of their time, both in economic and intellectual terms.

The two things above mentioned rendered a tradition that continued the Middle-Path approach to Toráh of old Sefarad and, uncharacteristic of Jewish communities before or since, formed a vast global network of S&P communities united in common bonds of custom, fraternity and purpose. This tradition was able to successfully navigate the changing currents that modernization brought, while clinging to traditional Jewish prerogatives, just as we have done elsewhere in our history.

In our current environment of assimilation to a fierce secularism or obtuse religiosity, S&P tradition offers solutions that meet evolving challenges, through the study of its communal and rabbinical legacy. This answers why we should come to its rescue, which should not only be seen in terms of nostalgia, but essential to Jewish survival.

To begin to remedy our state of disrepair, first and foremost we need to create awareness. Being that our problems stem much from our dispersion as much for the lack of knowledge, we lack proper support and the sense that preserving S&P tradition is of any necessity.

These suggestions take the shape of creating awareness, which leads to interest, which leads to support, which leads to the creation of bigger and more concrete projects and demands for and to institutions, common unity and future growth. This without alienating any current idiosyncratic ways communities or individuals may have, but through fomenting the very value of the S&P tradition and the impact this can have in enhancing or presenting better alternatives to what they currently have and experience. All without loosing sight that the heart and essence of the once successful S&P tradition lies in the spiritual guidance that our rabbinical and communal leaders were able to create and sustain for over three centuries.

For the stage of awareness (A), I recommend the following:

1a. As it has been already suggested, the creation of a central website is a great idea, where Jews for the Preservation of the Western Sephardic tradition can upload any type of written, auditory or visual material pertaining to this tradition, and which can be essential for the education and know-how of communities and individuals. Ideally, this should be done through the website of the Ets Haim Library-Livraria Montezinos in Amsterdam, and if not, in the beginning through an independently created website for that purpose.

2a. To create a dedicated YouTube site, where to load video presentations created for the very purpose to disseminate vignettes and key features of the S&P tradition, relating its history, major personalities – their works and contributions, customs and music. Besides being informative, this material in turn can serve to give on the fly presentations to educational institutions, philanthropists, or to anyone able to contribute in any shape or form, to garner more value-added support.

3a. To start disseminating the idea at the grassroots level among those already belonging to the historic and existing S&P congregations to create an umbrella organization, formed as a League of S&P Congregations or the Federation of S&P Communities, where we can once again start connecting the international bonds we once had among all communities, S&P and philo-Sephardim worldwide.

If and when interest (B) is created through the promotion of awareness, the tentative schedule emanating from the very historic communities, working independently or in tandem, is suggested as follows:

1b. To begin documenting, organizing and cataloguing all surviving textual, audio and visual material of each and every community, and perhaps scanning key material – like homilies, responsa or community resolutions – to be put on line.

2b. To start making a campaign, and funding support, for the digitalization of all or at least important works contained in the Ets Haim-Livraria Montezinos, for easy on-line access and study of all interested.

3b. To form committees that will speak to major educational institutions in their respective countries, fomenting the inclusion of this material in their already existing Jewish Studies departments (if available), or to create separate chairs of Western Sephardic studies for the learning and investigation of this very material as it pertains to their locale or region, with the addition of offering scholarships for this very purpose.

Once having created the interest that leads to support (C), the quality of our leadership will only be reflected by the quality of those who choose them. In other words, a well-informed community of its past, and the value of such past, can and will be able to demand better institutions of learning and communal framework.


Aristides de Sousa Mendes

By Tom Harvey

The Salt Lake Tribune
First published May 01 2011 05:47PM
Updated May 2, 2011 12:52AM

Members of the Jewish community and others in Utah remembered a Portuguese consul in France during World War II who saved the lives of several people who are now state residents and tens of thousands of other Jews trying to escape the Nazis.

Speakers on Sunday at Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Utah State Capitol Rotunda told about the exploits of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who was called an "unsung hero" for saving the lives of 30,000 Jews who faced possible extermination in Hitler's death camps.

One was Daniel Mattis, a University of Utah physics professor, who told a crowd of about 250 people that he was 7 years old when his family was forced to flee. They had visas for Brazil but needed some way to first get out of France.

Then someone told his father that the Portuguese consul was giving out visas in Bordeaux, France, and from him the family obtained visas for Portugal, then went to Brazil and eventually to the United States.

In 1980, Mattis said he and his wife, Noemi, a psychiatrist, moved to Utah. In 1996, the couple attended a show of slides and movies about "Unsung Heroes of World War II."

"One of them was Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the man who had saved our lives," said Mattis.

From there, a foundation was born to research the history of Sousa Mendes and his role in saving thousands of lives. An exhibition remembering Sousa Mendes is in place at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah through the end of this month.

A grandson of his now lives in Salt Lake City and was introduced at the ceremony. A foundation is trying to name and locate those whose lives Sousa Mendes saved and their descendants.

The Sunday ceremony included the lighting of six candles to commemorate the 6 million Jews murdered during World War II. The lighting was followed by a minute of silence.

Rabbi Benny Zippel, of the Congregation Bais Menchem/Chabad, referred in a prayer to the Jewish belief from "the first murder in history that an individual is a whole world."

"This is a potent message in the wake of the Holocaust," Zippel said. "Each individual of the 6 million Jews and beyond was a whole world. The Nazis did not just wipe out one-third of Jewry, the Nazis destroyed the world 6 million times."

Gov. Gary Herbert was on the program to read a proclamation but instead was represented by Mike Mower, his deputy chief of staff. The Utah Valley University Choir provided music for the event.
Copyright 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
http://www.sltrib. com/sltrib/ news/51729959- 78/holocaust- shapiro-utah- lives.html. csp

Balearic Islands honors 33 Jews massacred 3 centuries

agohttp://www. jpost.com/ JewishWorld/ JewishNews/ Article.aspx? id=219087
By GIL SHEFLER gilshef@jpost. com>
05/04/2011 03:14

The local government of the Balearic Islands
<http://newstopics. jpost.com/ topic/Balearic_ Islands> in Spain will, for
the first time, officially acknowledge the suffering of a local
community, whose ancestors were Jewish, at a ceremony in Palma de
Majorca on Thursday.

Balearic Island President, Francesc Antich Oliver, will attend the
commemorative event held on the 320th anniversary of the killing of 33
locals who belonged to the Cheuta minority, and were executed by the
Spanish Inquisition for secretly practicing Judaism in 1691.

Franco, an Israeli, and the Inquisition
<http://www.jpost. com/ArtsAndCultu re/Entertainment /Article. aspx?id=16961\
Analysis: EU-funded Palestinian NGO leading the 'Spanish inquisition'
<http://www.jpost. com/Internationa l/Article. aspx?id=131160>

"We don't know for sure if they will apologize or express
regret, but just the holding of the event in of itself is of
significance, " said Michael Fruend, the head of the Shavei Israel
organization, who first proposed the idea to hold the ceremony last
year, and will be in attendance.

The Cheuta (also spelled Xeuta), is a community of about 20,000 people
living on the Mediterranean islands whose ancestors were forcibly
converted from Judaism to Christianity in the 15th century.

While the group by and large ceased to practice Judaism because of the
Spanish Inquisition, they continued to be discriminated against, and
remained an isolated group on the island well into modern times.

Presently, most decedents of the Chuetas are said to be unaware or
indifferent to their Jewish heritage, but about a dozen individuals
have returned to Judaism – including Nisan Ben-Avraham, who
underwent an official conversion in New York
<http://newstopics. jpost.com/ topic/New_ York> , and lives in Palma as an
ordained rabbi.

Shavei Israel, which helps people claiming Jewish ancestry to convert
around the world, has been active on the island for years. Freund
suggested the idea to hold such an event last year.

"I visited the islands, and we met with the vice president of the
Balearic Islands," Freund said. "In [a] conversation I asked if
they apologized for what they had done to the Jewish community and the
Cheuta, who were subject to terrible discrimination. I asked him to
consider apologizing, and including their story in the school

Over the past decade, a plethora of Jewish museums and heritage sites
have sprung up across Spain. While some say the new-found interest in
the scant remains of Spain's Medieval Jews (who were expelled from
the country in 1492) is motivated by a genuine desire to preserve their
legacy, others say it is exploitative, and aimed at drawing tourists.

Fruend rejected the notion that the event set to take place in Palma on
Thursday was part of such a trend.

"Palma, as you know, is already a major tourist site. It's very
popular among the Brits and Germans, and others," he said.
"It's never too late to try and make up for the past, and try
to bring about some form of reconciliation.

"The first step in such a process is acknowledgement of guilt for
what happened. This is important because this is an open wound on
Spanish society <http://newstopics. jpost.com/ topic/Spain> ."