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Portugal Sets Sights on Renewing Jewish Life

The first Jewish cultural and religious center in Portugal was inaugurated last week following expulsion of Jews 500 years ago.
By Rina Tzvi
First Publish: 7/31/2013, 9:48 PM

Jew walks next to synagogue
Jew walks next to synagogue
Flash 90

The first Jewish cultural and religious center in Portugal was inaugurated last week in the city of Trancoso, Portuguese American Journal reported.

The new complex, which houses the new synagogue called Beit Mayim Hayim [House of Living Waters], was co-sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel and the Trancoso Municipality.

“This is an historic moment,” said Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund in his speech at the inaugural ceremony, according to the report. “The new Jewish center will commemorate the countless Portuguese Jews who were persecuted, forcibly converted or expelled more than five centuries ago,” he said.

The event, which was attended by over 100 people, was marked with a Torah dedication ceremony followed by mezuzot being attached to doors.

The Isaac Cardoso Center is dedicated to the many local Bnei Anousim, descendants of converso Jews, and to the renewal of Jewish life in the region, from which Jews were expelled 500 years ago.

The center will promote Jewish cultural and religious activities and hold a permanent exhibition about the Jewish history of Portugal.

The Sefarad Route project was also launched in Lisbon, Portugal, last week dedicated to reviving the Portuguese Jewish identity in the country. The project is aimed at attracting tourists from the Jewish diaspora interested in visiting Jewish historic sites in Portugal.