The Bishop, Dom Manuel Linda and Dias Ben Zion
The Bishop, Dom Manuel Linda and Dias Ben ZionCJP/CIP

The Jewish Community of Oporto, Portugal, will donate all proceeds from the Video On Demand film "The Light of Judah" to the Food Bank of Israel.

The initiative is supported by B’Nai B’rith International and in memory of Shimon Reem Biton, who died on Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.

Available with Hebrew subtitles and produced by Portuguese director Luís Ismael, The Light of Judah is based on true events, portraying the historic relationship between Jews and Catholics in the Middle Ages, during the Inquisition and in modern times, from the expulsion to the return of citizenship for Sephardic Jews.

The film is part of an interfaith project, in conjunction with the Catholic Diocese of Oporto, to fight anti-Semitism. This initiative has received financial and practical support from Jewish philanthropic families as well as B'nai B'rith International.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in the demand for meals from people who have lost their jobs as a result of the global economic downturn.

Earlier this week, in the Bishop’s Apostolic Palace, the film and project were presented by the leadership of the Jewish Community of Oporto, headed by the President of the Jewish Community of Oporto, Dias Ben Zion, and the Catholic Bishop of Porto, Dom Manuel Linda. Also attending: the President of the Jewish Community of Lisbon, a Councilman from Porto Municipality, the president of the Food Bank of Porto, and the three Catholic charities who will also receive the proceeds from the Portuguese viewings of the film.

At the presentation, Prof. Hugo Vaz and Michael Rothwell – from the Community's History Centre – made a brief summary of the film and there will be a moment of remembrance for the memory of Shimon Reem Biton.

On March 10, 2019, a Boeing 737-Max crashed in Ethiopia, causing the death of 157 people, including Shimon Reem Biton, a Sephardic Jew of Moroccan origin, who was in the process of obtaining Portuguese nationality. Even after this disaster, the deceased's sister wanted to fulfill his wish to be Portuguese, but then it was too late.

Now, the name of Shimon Reem Biton will be forever associated with the film "The Light of Judah." According to his sister, Yaffa Biton, "Shimon was born on June 2nd, so this is the best birthday present our family can receive."

B'nai B'rith President Charles O. Kaufman said, "B'nai B'rith endorses its brothers' and sisters' stalwart efforts in Oporto to fight hunger in this beautiful city and Israel in the face of hardships associated with COVID-19. The Jewish community in Oporto is working in the tradition and spirit of emergency services in which our organization has engaged since its founding in 1843. We have proudly promoted and executed recent pandemic relief services throughout the world."

Gabriela Cantergi of the board of the Jewish community of Oporto said, "We are proud of the work that many people and organizations are doing around the world to remedy this pandemic situation and serve humanity and encourage others to help."