Doing the work of memory: a special concert of the Mekor Haim Choir for the European Day of Jewish Culture

Doing the work of memory: a special concert of the Mekor Haim Choir for the European Day of Jewish Culture

The Mekor Haim Choir of the Jewish Community of Oporto, conducted by Maestro Leonardo Mendonça, will give a special concert in honour of the European Day of Jewish Culture on Sunday September 3, 2023 at 5 p.m. in the Mekor Haim Synagogue.

The theme of the Day this year is Memory. The program will feature 10 songs from 7 countries, including melodies from Spain, Holland, Italy, Germany, Turkey, America and Israel, composed over 8 centuries. The subjects of the songs reflect important themes in Jewish life including the Sabbath, festivals, historical events, and faith.

Sabbath songs will include Lecha Dodi (music by Mordechai Zeira, Israel, 20th C), Shalom Aleichem (music by Israel Goldfarb, USA, 20th C), Veshomeru and Tzadik k’Tamar (both songs with music by Luis Lewandowski, Germany, 19th C). Two songs sung in Ladino, Avram Avinu and La Rosa Enflorece, remind us of the influence of Jewish culture that spread throughout Europe and the New World following the expulsion of the Jews from Iberia in the 15th century. Hishki Hizki was written for the inauguration of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam in the 17th century. Maoz Tzur is a song traditionally sung for the Hanukkah holiday in the winter. The choir sings a version composed by the 17th century Italian composer Benedetto Marcello. Ani Ma’amin uses words from the articles of faith written by Maimonides in Spain in the 12th century, set to music by Ariel David Fastag, a victim of the Holocaust. The version of Hatikvah that the choir sings is also unique in that is uses the harmonies of the 17th century Italian composer Giuseppe Cenci.

The Mekor Haim Choir, was formed two and half years ago with the objective of teaching, learning, and performing Jewish music for members of the congregation and the community at large. Regular concerts are given in the Holocaust Museum of Porto on the last Friday afternoon of every month.

All are welcome to attend this concert. For those interested in joining the choir, please contact for more information.