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Celebrating Jewish Life in Portugal

Mekor Haim Synagogue in Porto, Portugal (Photo: wikicommons/Bricking)

While much of Europe is proving to be a frightening and anti-Semitic place for European Jewry, Portugal is welcoming Jewish people. The Inquisition saw the expulsion of the country's Jews, but now the country is giving them back their citizenship. The Times of Israel's Rachel Delia Benaim reports on the celebrations at one renewed Portuguese synagogue:

Just before sunset on a balmy Friday evening in January, nearly 200 Jews congregated at the entrance of the Mekor Haim synagogue in the northern Portuguese city of Porto to welcome a new Torah into a restored holy space.

Men danced with the ornately decorated Torah scroll on the freshly painted sanctuary’s main floor, while separately, women danced and sang from the second floor balcony.

Typical of Porto’s native Sephardic style, the Torah was encased in ornate jewel-encrusted silver. Written in Jerusalem and completed in London, the scroll only arrived in its new home a few hours before the event, which was billed as the largest gathering of Jews in Portugal since the Inquisition.

Coming from 14 countries, including Israel, the UK, and Turkey, some 200 Jews converged on Porto’s refurbished synagogue in a weekend retreat celebrating the return of vibrant Jewish life to Portugal...

Tags: Europe

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