Portuguese American Journal http://portuguese-american-journal.com/

Heritage: Interfaith group launches the Sabar Hassamain Synagogue restoration project – Azores

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By Carolina Matos, Editor (*)
The Azorean-Jewish Heritage Foundation, an interfaith delegation from Massachusetts, is in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel island, Azores, to launch the Sabar Hassamain Synagogue restoration project.
The non-profit group is hoping to restore the only remaining synagogue in the Azores.  The delegation met Monday with José Manuel Bolieiro, Ponta Delgada’s acting Mayor.
To find support to accomplish their goal, the Massachusetts based Azorean-Jewish Heritage Foundation is joining efforts with  Azores based sister organization, the Associação Cultural – Amigos da Sinagoga de Ponta Delgada, established on September  28, 2012, by José de Almeida Mello, Jorge Delmar Soares and Nuno Bettencourt Raposo,
The Ponta Delgada synagogue is the oldest known on the islands and the oldest of Portugal’s remaining synagogues. It was built around 1820, and consecrated by Abraão Bensaúde, in 1836. He was the head the Jewish community in the Azores, a group of Jewish entrepreneurs and their families who settled on the island in early19th century.
According to author Fátima Sequeira Dias, professor of Economic History at the University of the Azores, beginning in 1818, a group of Jewish immigrants came to the Azores, after the Bensaúde family moved from Morocco to the islands. They traded with England and transported emigrants to Brazil. In the process, they made a fortune while changing the economy of the Azores and the Azorean way of life.
The Sabar Hassamain Synagogue was later abandoned in the 1950s, following the departure from the island of the last members of the resident Jewish community, and has fallen into disrepair since then. Currently, the Sabar Hassamain Synagogue is owned by the Jewish Community of Lisbon.
The last religious service took place in 1966, with a group of Jewish soldiers stationed at the US Military Base on Lajes, Terceira island, celebrating Yom Kippur. At one point, the island of São Miguel was home to five synagogues. There are five Jewish cemeteries on the islands; two on São Miguel island, one on Terceira, one on Faial and one on Graciosa island.
The city of Ponta Delgada named historian José de Almeida Mello, from the University of the Azores and a member of Ponta Delgada’s City Council, to coordinate the synagogue restoration project.
According to an agreement signed in 2009, the project includes restoring the sanctuary and developing an on-site library and lecture hall. Azorean architect, Igor França, will be in charge of the restoration project details.
Scholars from the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University will identify, research and catalogue the many documents and artifacts found in the Sabar Hassamain Synagogue, some of them dating back to the 15th century.
The Azorean-Jewish Heritage Foundation was formed in Massachusetts, earlier this year. The Foundation hopes to recruit people in the Azores and the United States to help support the project.
In a statement in Ponta Delgada, for the Portuguese American Journal, Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the head of the Massachusetts delegation, expressed his enthusiasm for the project. He said, “It is an honor and a pleasure to work with the municipality of Ponta Delgada to restore this historically significant Synagogue. I look forward to working with both the Azorean and Jewish communities to help this dream become a reality.” A delegation from Massachusetts, which included state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, had visited the Azores last year.
The Azorean Jewish Heritage Foundation is presided by Gideon Gradman with Donald Berube as treasurer and Lisa Rosen secretary. The board of directors include Paula Raposo, Fernando Garcia, Michael J. Rodrigues, Robert Waxler and Pedro Amaral.
(*) Carolina Matos is the founder and editor of Portuguese American Journal online. She was the Editor–in-Chief for The Portuguese American Journal, in print, from 1985 to 1995. From 1995 to 2010, she was a consultant for Lisbon based Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD). She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and a Master’s Degree in English and Education from Brown University and holds a Doctorate in Education from Lesley University. She is also an adjunct professor at Lesley University where she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses. In 2004, Carolina Matos was honored with the Comenda da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique presented by Jorge Sampaio, President of Portugal.



"Henriquez has an interesting history himself. He's of Portuguese-Jewish descent, from a family that left their home in the 17th century to escape the Portuguese Inquisition."

John Mackie, Vancouver Sun, Canada

 Architect adds new gallery to career

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG , Vancouver Sun

Richard Henriquez is one of Vancouver's most acclaimed architects. He designed the condo tower with the tree on the roof near the Sylvia Hotel in the West End, as well as the BC Cancer Agency building with the groovy round petri dish windows near Vancouver General Hospital. He even revitalized several historic structures by melding them into the Sinclair Centre at Granville and Hastings.
But architecture isn't his only creative outlet: he's also an artist. And at 71, he's having his first show in a commercial gallery.
Narrative Fragments brings together Henriquez's sculptures, drawings and computer-animated "digital collages." The opening at the Winsor Gallery last Thurs-day drew a crowd of about 400 of Henriquez's friends and admirers, including one who spent $8,000 for the mixed media collage Violin in Richmond.
"I'm an old guy, I've got lots of friends," Henriquez chuck-led when asked about the big turnout.
The first thing you notice about Henriquez's art is the tripods. He's been collecting them for years, then adding found objects to turn them into sculptures.
"I have maybe 60 of them now." he notes. "They come in two varieties: they're either for cameras or they're for surveying instruments. They're a very primitive, stable form of structure that was used to lift stone blocks, probably in the Roman times. I just love the look of them, the materiality of them and so on.
"I started collecting them, and started to think about what they really represented. They sup-ported instruments, very technical instruments that measured things or recorded things. So I thought I would replace these technical things with intuitively created objects that came from the other side of the brain."
Hence you get tripods affixed with toy bulls, surveyor's boxes, old animal skulls, fans, driftwood, and paper mâche creatures. The funkiest one might be Toy Trumpet, which actually features a toy saxophone.
"It's a little [instrument] that comes with a scroll," he explains. "I took the scroll off. I guess you wound it up and it made a sound, like a toy player piano. I found it on Main Street in a junk shop."
Violin in Richmond is a collage with a toy violin at the centre, reminiscent of something by the great Spanish artist Juan Gris.
"It's got a little toy violin, it's got a soup bone, and it's got part of an architectural model," Henriquez relates.
"I saved it because I liked the look of it, and started applying things, putting [bits of] newspaper on it. Each piece in a collage has its own story, you see. These fragments represent history.
"Think about this violin, where it comes from. Wood was grown somewhere in Southeast Asia, someone cut it down. Someone sold it from a wholesaler to some-one who made toy violins, some guy carved the thing, and it found its way to Vancouver into a junk shop."
Henriquez has an interesting history himself. He's of Portuguese-Jewish descent, from a family that left their home in the 17th century to escape the Portuguese Inquisition.
"I grew up in Jamaica," he explains. "My family [first] moved there in 1690. They lived in one little corner of Jamaica from 1690 till when I was born, on the north coast, near Ocho Rios. They had plantations, or they were merchants, things like that."
He fell in love with architecture as a kid.
"I had a grand-uncle who was an architect and an engineer and a sculptor/painter, a really neat guy," he says. "When I was 10 I decided [to become an architect]."
His uncle's son was studying architecture at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, so that's where Henriquez went, too.
"It was kind of exciting when the snow came for the first time," he laughs.
"I made angels in the snow and all that. But then the cold set in. I remember standing at a bus stop in front of the Great West Life Building on Osborne one night thinking I was going to die. I was sure I was going to die."
After he graduated in 1964, he moved back to Jamaica with his wife Carol and son Gregory. Gregory is now a prominent architect, while Carol founded and ran Arts Umbrella for 25 years. But he left to get a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), then came to Vancouver in 1967.
"My wife's from Saskatoon," he says. "She wasn't that keen on Jamaica, so we decided to come back, and settled in the warmest place we could find in the country."
A classmate from Winnipeg, Bob Todd, helped him land a job at Rhone & Iredale. Two years later he and Todd set up their own firm.
"We were together for eight years," he says. "We did little houses, cabins on the Gulf Islands. What starting architects do, houses, renovations. Optical shops.
"The Gaslight Square project [on Water Street in Gastown], the courtyard, was the first sort of significant project that we got. Then I did a building for Bob Lee in Chinatown, the Lee Building."
Henriquez thrived in the 1980s, when he worked on the tower beside the Sylvia Hotel (1984), the Sinclair Centre (1986) and Eugenia Place (1987), the condo with the tree on the roof.
"I got interested in trying to combine narrative with architecture," says Henriquez, who won the gold medal from the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada in 2005.
"I thought if we could somehow think of [Eugenia Place] as an archeological site, with layers of history, trying to represent every-thing that has ever been on the site, [you could] give people the idea that they live in a historical continuum.
"The first thing on the site was the first-growth forest. Then they built four little cabins at the turn of the century, and in 1947 they built a three-storey wood frame building that we tore down to build the tower. So if you look at the site, you'll see the footprints of all of them."
How? He had a sculptor create concrete stumps to represent the trees that had been cut, then he put a tree on the roof, to represent the height of the old-growth forest before Europeans arrived to chop it all down.
"But just to stick it up there didn't seem kind of right," he says. "So there's this screw-like thing [in the front] that looks like it could have lifted it up to the height of the first-growth forest."
It's a cool little feature, like a futuristic 19-storey high bay window. Like a screw, it tapers at the bottom and has a big head at the top. Unlike a screw, it looks like it has a tree growing out of it. Which is one of the most distinctive architectural touches on any recent building in Vancouver - and is historically appropriate, to boot.
"The forest was about a couple hundred feet tall," he says with a smile. "They were big trees."

Where: Winsor Gallery, 3025 Granville
Info: http: //winsorgallery.com http: //henriquezpartners.com/

Richard Henriquez | Henriquez Partners Architects




 The Canadian Jeiwsh News


Canada to chair Holocaust task force in 2013

Tags: Canada
Mario Silva
TORONTO — Canada will assume the chairmanship of the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research in 2013.
Former Davenport Liberal MP Mario Silva will chair the organization for that year. Chair countries hold the position for 12 months, during which time it hosts meetings for member states.
Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, made the announcement Dec. 15. “I am proud of the leadership role that Canada is taking to further Holocaust education and combat antisemitism together with all forms of racism and xenophobia,” Kenney said in a statement.
Established in 1998, the task force is composed of 31 member countries. Canada became involved with the organization in 2007 and was made a full member in 2009.
Silva has been active in Holocaust education for years. He was chair of the inquiry committee and vice-chair of the steering committee of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA).
He also helped ensure the success of the 2010 Ottawa conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA), which brought together parliamentarians and experts from around the world to “lead the fight against global antisemitism,” Kenney said.
The 2010 ICCA Conference produced the Ottawa Protocol, which called for leaders of faith groups to combat all hatred and discrimination, including antisemitism, “which is inextricably linked to the universal lessons of the Holocaust,” the task force’s website states.
Both Kenney and Liberal MP for Mount Royal Irwin Cotler are ex-officio members of the steering committee of CPCCA.
Cotler, who has championed human rights issues throughout his career, lauded Silva’s appointment.
“This is an important responsibility and Mario will be an excellent chair,” Cotler wrote to The CJN in an e-mail. “Canada will be playing a major role in Holocaust remembrance, education and research during its chairmanship in 2013 and Mario will be the right person to exercise leadership on Canada’s behalf.”
Silva, who lost his seat in the 2011 election to NDPer Andrew Cash, said he was inspired to become involved in combating antisemitism because of his personal history as an immigrant to Canada from Portugal.
“I see myself as a minority… and I see this [appointment] as part and parcel of my work on and support of human rights around the world,” Silva said. “We cannot be complacent when we have leaders like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad spewing hatred and targeting [Israel] with destruction. We can’t stand by when an ally like Israel is being made out to be the scapegoat for every problem in the world.”
He said it is crucial to take on antisemitism around the world because it attempts to “dehumanize” the Jewish people and by extension “vilify” and “delegitimize” the State of Israel.
“I look forward to working with [Kenney and Cotler] to help define what Canada’s objectives will be while chairing the task force,” Silva told The CJN in a phone interview a day after his appointment.
He noted that both Kenney and Cotler encouraged him to accept the chair of the task force, believing him to be the best candidate for the job.