The Ohel Jacob and the B'nei Anusim
The Ohel Jacob Synagogue (“Tent of Jacob”) was founded in 1934 by a small Jewish group of Ashkenazic origin from Central Europe, which began by meeting at the premises of the now established Hehaber – Israel Youth Zionist character, which had been created by young Israelis in Lisbon in 1925. This group of Jews, mostly Poles, would play a remarkable role in the dynamization of this religious space, a singular synagogue, characterized by its openness to the outside, tolerance and understanding for Jews of all origins, especially the integration of the descendants of Marranos – or b’nei anussim -, these sons of the “forced” in search of their Jewish roots and identity. But to better understand the extraordinary nature of this initiative, it is necessary, although briefly, to expose the context and related historical antecedents, especially the origin of these anusim in Portugal.
First leader of the Ohel Jacob Synagogue – 1934