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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Portugal’

Fallen Soldier’s Family Suing to Ban Hamas Prisoners from Watching Soccer Final

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Sunday at 10 PM Israel time, most males (and many females) will be seated before their TV screens to watch the final game in the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, between the national teams of France and Portugal, two of the best teams on the planet. The family of Oron Shaul HY”D, an IDF soldier who is missing in action since the 2014 Gaza War, and whose body is being held by the Hamas government as a bargaining chip for future prisoner release negotiations, wants to make sure Hamas security prisoners will not be allowed this pleasure which they argue should be preserved to the non-murderous-terrorist portion of the public.

And argue they did, in Israel’s Supreme Court. On Sunday morning the family petitioned the court saying the decision to make all the TV channels carrying the game tonight available to security prisoners, most of whom are members of Hamas, is repugnant.

The family wrote that “we must deliver a message to the Hamas organization that our values are not your values, but in war let it be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Last week Zehava and Herzl Shaul, Oron’s parents, appealed to the Israel Prison Service Commissioner, Lieutenant General Ofra Klinger, and are yet to be answered, saying, “We were astonished to discover that you decided to approve benefits to 3,500 Hamas prisoners.”

JNi.Media

‘Venice, Jews and Europe 1516-2016’ Opens in Venice

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Organized on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the creation of Venice’s Ghetto, the exhibition “Venice, the Jews and Europe 1516 – 2016,” at the Doge’s Palace—once the seat of power of the city’s rulers and now a museum, aims to describe the processes that led to the creation, implementation and transformation of the first fenced habitation for Jews in history, Art Daily reports.

The first ghetto’s area was defined by two gates which, as designed by the Venice Senate in 1516, were opened in the morning to the sound of the bell in St. Mark’s belfry, and closed at midnight by four Christian keepers, paid by the Jews and living on the premises to supervise Jewish activities. The original design envisioned two high walls that would enclose the area from the banks of the canals. Those walls were never built. Ten boats with guards paid by the Jews patrolled the canal around the ghetto island at night. The decision was signed on March 29, 1516, and proclaimed in Rialto—the financial and commercial center of Venice, and from the bridges in every city district in which Jews resided.

The project’s initial premise was that the history of the Ghetto in Venice should be studied as part of the Venetian Republic’s administration of national, ethnic and religious minorities living in the city, which at the time was the financial capital of the world. But it also attempts to show how the city-state’s relationship with its Jews expanded over a much larger geographical area, adapting to political, social and cultural changes.

Important paintings, by Bellini and Carpaccio, Foraboschi, Hayez and Poletti, Balla and Wildt, all the way up to Chagall; architectural drawings of the period; very rare original editions; archival documents; liturgical objects; and furniture, together with multimedia reconstruction, enable the visitor to learn about this long-term relationship in which Venice Jews were able to reach access and close contacts, which also resulted in cultural exchange.

Venice permitted Jews to enter the city as war refugees when Europe was expelling them from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1496). The decision not to expel the Jews but to keep them inside the ghetto served Venice well. The Jews became autonomous within the walls, almost masters of their own fate, and their ghetto was gradually transformed into an independent institution, with freedoms of initiative that were rare at the time, and resulted in a great deal of wealth, as well as defense, for the city rulers.

“Venice, Jews and Europe: 1516-2016,” June 19 to November 13 at Palazzo Ducale.

JNi.Media

Muslims Demand Equal Terms after Spanish Law for Jewish Return

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Spanish Muslims urged their government to grant citizenship to descendants of Muslims who were expelled from Spain in addition to Jews.

The demand was made this week in a statement by the Association for Historical Legacy of Al-Andalus, the Spanish news agency EFE reported on Feb. 17.

“The Spanish state should grant the same rights to all those who were expelled, otherwise their decision is selective, if not racist,” Bayi Loubaris, the association’s president, told EFE.

The association named several families currently residing in North Africa as candidates for receiving Spanish citizenship.

Several other prominent Muslims and legal experts accused the Spanish government of pursuing a double standard following the approval on Feb. 10 of a bill proposing to naturalize descendants of Sephardic Jews, which the governments said was to atone for the expulsions 500 years ago.

Submitted by Spain’s Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, the bill is expected to go up to a vote in Spanish congress this year. Portugal already passed a law granting citizenship to descendants last year and its interior ministry is currently drafting regulations ahead of the law’s application, according to Portuguese lawmakers who submitted the bill.

The Jews were persecuted in Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition which the Catholic Church and royal houses of both countries led against non-Christians in the 15th and 16th centuries.

“Recognition of the Sephardic community is symbolic, necessary and just. The same applies to those who have kept their Andalus-Moorish identity in exile,” Manuel Antonio Rodríguez, a professor of law at the University of Cordoba, told the El Confidencial daily on Sunday.

In 2006, the United Left party in the parliament of the autonomous Spanish region of Andalusia submitted a bill which proposed recognizing the rights of descendants of Muslims who were expelled but the bill never made it to a vote.

Portuguese lawmakers who drafted the country’s law on Sephardic Jews rejected calls to naturalize the descendants of Muslims who were expelled, citing the fact that the expulsion of the Muslims was part of a war to end the occupation of Spain by North African invaders.

“Persecution of Jews was just that, while what happened with the Arabs was part of a conflict,” Jose Ribeiro e Castro, a Spanish lawmaker who drafted Portugal’s law of return, said. ”There’s no basis for comparison.”

JTA

How to Say ‘Disgusting Abuse of Public Trust’ in French?

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

When you next hear European politicians, and particularly the French, declaring their total and absolute opposition to terrorism, bear in mind this little story emanating from Paris.

An exhibition entitled “Death” (on the web here) and made up of 68 photographs created by one Ahlam Shibli, opened at the Jeu de Paume Museum of Contemporary Art in Paris on May 28. It will run until September 1. The museum is funded by France’s Ministry of Culture [source]. Shibli describes herself as “a Palestinian Bedouin photographer based in Haifa“. Translation: she is an Israeli. She was awarded the Nathan Gottesdiener Israeli Art Prize in 2003 [source].

Its website (here), according to a JTA report, describes the people in the pictures as suicide bombers, a galling name for anyone who understands the religiously-inspired hatred-rich process by which they carry out their acts of murder.

Playing the usual black-is-white games, the catalog notes say the people depicted are “those who lost their lives fighting against the occupation,” and the exhibition as being about “the efforts of Palestinian society to preserve their presence.” As far as we can tell, the idea that the people who carried out armed attacks on generally defenceless Israeli civilians are in fact terrorists who were sent by terrorist organizations and whose terrorism is celebrated by all branches of the two Palestinian Arab statelets is never mentioned.

The exhibition is a joint effort of the Jeu de Paume people as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), and the Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal.

CRIF, the umbrella body of French Jewish communities, says the the people in the pictures are drawn principally from al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which is a unit of Fatah, the political faction headed by the non-moderate Mahmoud Abbas otherwise known as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority; from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which is a unit of Hamas, and from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The European Union calls all three of them terrorist groups. But in France, Spain and Portugal, such designations are not taken seriously.

There is a deadly-serious cognitive war underway in Europe. The people who run and fund some of Europe’s publicly-funded museums are foot-soldiers in that war, though they (some of them at least) probably have no idea that’s what they are doing and would scream in protest when it’s pointed out to them. They make terrorism safe, and for this they deserve our utter scorn.

Visit This Ongoing War

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Masorti Rabbis Perform First Conversions in Lisbon

Monday, April 29th, 2013

For the first time in the history of the Masorti movement, its rabbis performed conversions to Judaism in Portugal.

The two conversions were performed in the Portuguese capital at a Beit Din rabbinical court of three judges, who recognized Juliana Fernandes da Silva and her life partner Edgard Pimentel as Jews.

Though the Masorti movement — the smallest of the three major streams of Judaism — has performed conversions of several Portuguese Jews, this was the first time that the rabbinical court convened in Portugal, according to Rabbi Chaim Weiner of London, who oversaw the proceedings of the court.

Usually European Masorti converts travel to London, he added, but this time it was decided to hold the court in Lisbon because several rabbis were already in Portugal on a month-long study trip of the country’s Jewish heritage.

Da Silva, a 26-year-old Brazilian mathematician who grew up in a Catholic home, took a ritual dip in the mikveh following the court’s decision.

Immersion in the mikveh is required as part of the conversion process, and not afterwards, according to Jewish law.

Da Silva and Pimentel, a Brazilian born to an atheist father and a Catholic, non-observant mother, were welcomed at a reception the following day into Lisbon’s small Masorti community of a few dozen people.

JTA

March 31 and Dona Gracia

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

At first glance, March 31 is not a day that particularly stands out in Jewish memory, but it is actually a day of significance.

In 1492, the Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) was signed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which led to the expulsion of all Jews from Spain 3 months later on Tisha B’Av 1492.

Some Jews at the time also went into hiding as Crypto-Jews (Conversos). Many went to Portugal, which welcomed Jews in.

Two such Converso families were the Nasi (de Luna) and Benveniste (Mendes) families who eventually joined together in marriage.

In the 1500’s Dona Gracia (Hanna Nasi) took over her husband’s (Francisco Mendes) spice business after his death, building it up, and ending up becoming one of the richest Jewish women in Renaissance Europe.

But what stands out most about Dona Gracia is that she bought the entire city of Tiberias from the Sultan.

She began to rebuild the city, and invited the Jews of Europe to go to Tiberias, where she would give them start-up funds and land, in the hope that the Jews of Europe could finally come back to their home in the Holy Land, and find refuge from unfriendly Europe. Unfortunately, it appears that very few people took her up on her pre-Nefesh B’Nefesh offer.

Dona Gracia herself never visited Israel.

Today there is a Dona Gracia museum in her honor, located in Tiberias.

Jewish Press Staff

Securing Our Future Through Historic Jewish Communities

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Since becoming the first ordained rabbi in Jamaica in thirty-three years, I have been working tirelessly with my community to build a Jewish future on this tropical island. Every Jewish community wants to survive and indeed thrive, but there is a particular importance to the preservation and development of the world’s small, history-rich Jewish communities.

As I see it, our collective Jewish future depends on it.

Before I explain my reasoning, let’s briefly review the momentous – but often overlooked – history of our community in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Jewish community of Jamaica traces its origin to Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, who came to the Caribbean in order to escape from the Inquisition. In most cases they originated from parts of Spain that bordered on Portugal. When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issued an expulsion decree on March 30, 1492, the Jewish community was given exactly four months to liquidate their affairs and leave the country. Those who fled to Portugal were forcibly converted in 1497. Because the Inquisition was not introduced in Portugal for several decades, many Jews in Portugal continued to practice their religion quietly.

In 1536 the Inquisition reached Portugal and Conversos began to leave. The Portuguese held their first auto-da-fe in 1540. This obviously frightened our ancestors, who made discreet attempts to plan their escape. Slowly, Portuguese Jews made their way to a number of cities that had or developed Converso communities. Amsterdam was the largest of these communities. From Amsterdam, they pursued business opportunities in the Caribbean, settling in Port Royal or later, Spanish Town and Kingston. We can trace our current community back to Neveh Shalom Synagogue, which was founded in 1704, but our roots go back even further.

There are similar communities throughout the Caribbean and Central America, including Willemstad, Curacao; St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; and Suriname. Each of these communities still conduct services on a regular basis. Preserving these and other historic Jewish communities is critical for a number of reasons.

First, the fact that the Jews were the original Diaspora needs to be emphasized at a time when various other communities are discovering their own Diasporas. This can help build strong bonds between various national groups, allowing us to share common experiences with those who may not have obvious connections to the Jewish people. This would, of course, promote tolerance, which is always “good news for the Jews.”

Second, the experiences of the Jewish people in virtually every corner of the globe over the course of hundreds and, in many cases, thousands of years is part of the narrative that needs to be told to those who are legitimately asking questions about Jewish existence and Jewish history.

Whether in Israel or in various parts of the Diaspora, we need to be able to explain to skeptics that we have survived seemingly unending persecution and numerous expulsions and have nevertheless maintained our commitment to our people and our religion.

This narrative needs to be preserved and enhanced in actual living terms, and not just through books and museum exhibits. We must be able to tell the story of our peoplehood and be able to demonstrate living examples of that history.

Finally, when individuals travel the world looking for adventure and existential meaning, it is important that we “surprise” them with Jewish history and living, breathing Jewish tradition. Visitors are beside themselves when they discover that the Caribbean island they are exploring not only had a historic Jewish community but has living indigenous Jews who continue to gather together for communal events.

In my short time here, I have met and interacted with numerous individuals and groups who come searching for the Jamaican Jewish community in an effort to discover their own Jewish identities. Some of those who seek us out come away with a new perspective on life and a revitalized commitment to their Jewish observance. In a way, we are like a living exhibit from the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.

Over the past seventy years there has been a dramatic contraction of the Jewish Diaspora. From a large and diverse population spread out among most of the countries of the world, we have concentrated ourselves in a handful of countries, living mostly in a couple of dozen large urban regions. This is quite an unfortunate demographic trend.

Dana Evan Kaplan

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/securing-our-future-through-historic-jewish-communities/2012/05/31/

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