News Brief 3/28/2012, Nisan 5, 5772
Seminar for Remote Brazilian Jewish Community
A seminar was held for "Bnei Anusim" in Brazil. Participants were taught how to put on Tefillin and partake in other Jewish customs.
Bnei Anusim is a label given to people who believe they are decedents of Jewish people who escaped the Spanish Inquisition. Shavei Israel has been helping such people return to their Jewish roots through seminars and outreach programs.
David Salgado of the Israeli based Shavei Israel group organized the conference. It was led by Rabbi Moses Elmescany, the chief rabbi of Belem, Brazil. Approximately thirty people attended. This is the first such conference in the region.
The town of Belem at the edge of the Amazon river was populated in the early 17th century by Portuguese, including some Jewish refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition who later hid their identities.