The major event: the “European Day of Jewish Culture”, takes place in Oporto on 3 September

The major event: the “European Day of Jewish Culture”, takes place in Oporto on 3 September

The Jewish Community of Oporto will celebrate the “European Day of Jewish Culture” next 3 September, a Sunday. The organisation hopes to welcome a total of 10.000 people, double the number of 2022, and has prepared this event in close cooperation with the European Jewish Association.

“This is the greatest concentrated event of its kind in Europe”, says Isabel Lopes, granddaughter of the Community founder, Captain Barros Basto. “The programme includes visits to the largest synagogue in Sepharad, the Holocaust Museum, the Jewish Museum, cinemas, art gallery, library, the kosher wine store and the community restaurants. The public can attend conferences and get to know different arts such as Jewish music, painting, literature, cinema, videography, photography and gastronomy.”

The European Day of Jewish Culture is celebrated in the main European cities, with many activities coordinated by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage, the B'nai B'rith International and the National Library of Israel. The aim of the event, according to Isabel Lopes, “is to provide information on the history, religion, laws, customs, principles, symbology and philosophy of the Jewish people. This is a rare opportunity for the public to get to know the city’s main Jewish institutions which, apart from the Holocaust Museum, only open during the year to welcome school students, teachers and members of the Jewish community”, she says.

Below is the full programme:

Oporto: Sunday, 3 September 2023, 10h00-17h30

Jewish Museum of Oporto

The Jewish Museum of Oporto reveals the four millennia of Jewish history in the world and about two millennia on the land that is now Portugal, to the present day. Valuable objects, documents and films are dedicated to the brightest era of the Jewish community of Oporto, the edict of King D. Manuel, the times of the Inquisition and the community’s return in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to the rooms of the museum with the centuries-old history of the community, the Museum has a room with the film awards won by the community, a room on modern antisemitism, a room dedicated to operation Yonathan, a room-wine cellar with kosher Port wine and even a cinema.

The Inquisition

There are three exhibits displayed at the Jewish Museum that relate to the period of the Inquisition. The first is a replica of a prison wagon that was used in the award-winning film "1618" whose trailer can be seen here. The second is a book entitled "Sentinela Contra os Judeus" by Frei de Torrejoncillo. It described Jews as dangerous and having a tail. The third exhibit is a plaque with the names of people persecuted in the 16th century for Judaizing heresies. The Jewish Community of Oporto paid for the preservation and digitization of the original documents that were in danger of deterioration and loss.

The film “Sefarad” in the cinema of the Jewish Museum

Screening of the film “Sefarad”. Showings at 10h30, 12h30 and 15h00. See the trailer here. “Sefarad” tells the story of the Jewish community in the city of Oporto from 1923 to the present day, highlighting the action of Captain Barros Basto who, together with about thirty Ashkenazi Jews, tried to build a strong Jewish organisation in the city. The Captain was slandered by anonymous denunciations which led to him being expelled from the army. He became known as the “Portuguese Dreyfus”.

The public talks with Isabel Lopes, granddaughter of the “Portuguese Dreyfus”

Each showing of the film “Sefarad” is followed by a talk between the audience and the granddaughter of Captain Barros Basto, Isabel Lopes, current Vice-President of the Jewish Community of Oporto.

Holocaust Museum of Oporto

The Holocaust Museum of Oporto, the only one of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula, exhibits objects left behind in the city by the refugees in 1940 and depicts Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust. It also has a replica of the dormitories at Auschwitz and a room of names.

Film “The Light of Judah” at the Holocaust Museum

During the visit to the Holocaust Museum part of the feature film “The Light of Judah” will be shown, focusing on the Jewish refugees who passed through the city of Oporto. Their lives in tatters, these men, women, children and old people wished to leave Europe as soon as possible and go as far away as they could. “Europe, never again!”, they said.

A talk with Josef Lassmann, whose mother was in “Block 10” at Auschwitz

At 15h00, community member Josef Lassmann will be present to talk with visitors about his mother’s experience in the block run by the “Angel of Death”. In a video, Nacha Lassmann will explain what she lived through. As for Josef’s father, he never said one word about what he experienced in the Holocaust. He only looked ahead. He was 19 years old and his whole family was dead.

Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue

Inaugurated in 1938, the Kadoorie Synagogue is the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, a Jewish centre with two prayer rooms, patios for sukkot, library, study room, mikvah for ritual bathing, restaurant, grocery, security bunkers and others. On the “European Day of Jewish Culture”, the garden, the main prayer room and the library will be open.

Performance by the Mekor Haim Choir in the Synagogue’s Prayer Room

The Mekor Haim male choir will perform in the main prayer room of Kadoorie Synagogue, at noon, singing liturgical music from its vast repertoire. The aim is to share Jewish melodies with the city’s friendly population.

Painting Exhibition on the 1st floor of the Synagogue

15 large paintings portraying the millenary history of the Jewish community of Oporto. Many Portuguese and foreign artists worked under the coordination of the artist of the Jewish Community, Flor Mizhahi – a Sephardic Jewess born in Venezuela.

Exhibition on the “Day of Shame” at the entrance to the Synagogue

On March 11, 2022, the Synagogue was invaded by police as if it were a brothel. The warrants were based on slanderous anonymous denunciations of convicts and robbers. All completely false. The seven indictments were technically impossible. "Privileged connections" did exist, but only between some state agents, journalists and criminals.

Giant cartoon of the anonymous slanderer

He existed at all times. He acted in antiquity, in the Middle Ages, and in the Inquisition. He destroyed Captain Barros Basto. He spat on the Jewish community of Oporto in the 21st century. Cowardly and foul-mouthed, the anonymous slanderer always threw the stone and hid his hand. He benefitted from decadent authorities who used wrongdoers and anonymous letters.

Ibéria kosher Restaurant

Located on Rua do Campo Alegre n.º 676, this kosher restaurant of the Jewish community of Oporto will be open to the general public, inviting visitors to taste Israeli kosher cuisine.

Hotel da Música kosher restaurant

A kosher restaurant, located in Bom Sucesso Market, in Hotel da Música, which will be open to the general public, inviting all those who are interested in tasting strictly prepared kosher Jewish food.

Centennial Book Giveaway

The organization will offer interested visitors a copy of its centenary book, entitled "Two Millennia of the Jewish Community of Oporto, Chronology 1923-2023".