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Hehaver-Ohel Jacob | Part V

  |   Institutional

Conclusion

The Ohel Jacob and the B'nei Anusim

“You could say that in Lisbon, this B’nei Anusim cluster is a set of people who, in addition of being few are also quite heterogeneous. On the one hand, there are those who are actually descendants of second or third generation, therefore, children or grandchildren of individuals who have preserved traces of Jewish identity mixed with other similar traits of habits of non-Jews who came to the city. There are others who are from families already born in Lisbon for many generations but who found their Jewish roots, either by chance or intentional search, and even though may be very much retracted in generational terms, feel strongly and appropriate in terms of identity. Aside from these B’nei Anusim, there is still a group of individuals who seek conversion by an intense affinity, for many of them even inexplicable, but that is still genuine and spontaneous. Finally, there are those who consider themselves Jews but who are frustrated because they are not considered by the Jewish orthodoxy because they are not children of Jewish mother or they haven’t been converted in accordance to the dictates of the Jewish Orthodoxy.

Among these are the children of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, or the ones who joined a different Jewish movements such as Reform, Conservative or Masorti, Liberals, or secular.

(…) These individuals are faced with three possible alternatives. They may just give up because they do not feel the need to deepen their self-perception as Jews and only assume it very sporadically; or they may be part of the CIL, following the process of re-initiation and conversion within the molds that are proposed there, which usually involves a catechism and rites of passage quite rigorous at several levels, a complex and time-consuming process, having no guarantees of attending the Shaareh Tikvah Synagogue (Sephardic Orthodox rite, tradition from León and Castile, with some Ashkenazi songs mixed) (…); or the third alternative is searching for the only alternative synagogue that operates in the city, the Ohel Jacob Synagogue, where the rite has always been mainly Ashkenazi (…).” [Marina Pignatelli]

Aron Katzan had always had difficulty in understanding that these sons of cripto-Jews “having Jewish ancestry and desire to return to the faith of their ancestors, they are no longer welcomed” by Sephardic orthodoxy.

“You could say that in Lisbon, this B’nei Anusim cluster is a set of people who, in addition of being few are also quite heterogeneous. On the one hand, there are those who are actually descendants of second or third generation, therefore, children or grandchildren of individuals who have preserved traces of Jewish identity mixed with other similar traits of habits of non-Jews who came to the city. There are others who are from families already born in Lisbon for many generations but who found their Jewish roots, either by chance or intentional search, and even though may be very much retracted in generational terms, feel strongly and appropriate in terms of identity. Aside from these B’nei Anusim, there is still a group of individuals who seek conversion by an intense affinity, for many of them even inexplicable, but that is still genuine and spontaneous. Finally, there are those who consider themselves Jews but who are frustrated because they are not considered by the Jewish orthodoxy because they are not children of Jewish mother or they haven’t been converted in accordance to the dictates of the Jewish Orthodoxy.

Among these are the children of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, or the ones who joined a different Jewish movements such as Reform, Conservative or Masorti, Liberals, or secular.

(…) These individuals are faced with three possible alternatives. They may just give up because they do not feel the need to deepen their self-perception as Jews and only assume it very sporadically; or they may be part of the CIL, following the process of re-initiation and conversion within the molds that are proposed there, which usually involves a catechism and rites of passage quite rigorous at several levels, a complex and time-consuming process, having no guarantees of attending the Shaareh Tikvah Synagogue (Sephardic Orthodox rite, tradition from León and Castile, with some Ashkenazi songs mixed) (…); or the third alternative is searching for the only alternative synagogue that operates in the city, the Ohel Jacob Synagogue, where the rite has always been mainly Ashkenazi (…).” [Marina Pignatelli]

Aron Katzan had always had difficulty in understanding that these sons of cripto-Jews “having Jewish ancestry and desire to return to the faith of their ancestors, they are no longer welcomed” by Sephardic orthodoxy.

Of Orthodox roots, Ashkenazi heart and now Progressive rite, the Ohel Jacob Synagogue is the tent of All and for All.

Hehaver/Ohel Jacob

July 2016

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MA TOVU, by Rachel Hyman

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Bibliography

Abrami, Rabino Leo “The Anussim of Portugal” www.kulanu.org
Irwin, M. Berg “The Rebirth in Portugal” www.kulano.org
“Sinagoga Ohel Jacob” www.wikipedia.pt
“Sinagoga Renasce em Lisboa” www.expresso.pt
Corrêa, Emílio Manuel da Silva “Judaísmo E Judeus na Legislação Portuguesa” – 2012
Chalante, Susana “O Discurso de Estado Salazarista Perante o «Indesejável»” – 2011
Sanches, António Ribeiro “Cristãos Novos e Cristãos Velhos em Portugal” – 1748
Associação de Juventude Israelita HEHAVER “Homenagem” – 30.11.2014
Pignatelli, Marina “Os Judeus Askenazi de Lisboa: Contactos Culturais Durante a Recongregação de Uma Comunidade” – 2012
“O Capitão Barros Basto Escondia um Segredo” www.publico.pt
Enciclopédia Luso Brasileira de Cultura
Souto, José Correia “Dicionário de História de Portugal”
Saraiva, José Hermano “História Concisa de Portugal”
“Comunidade Judaica Masorti Beit Israel” www.masorti.eu
Ohel Jacob
The synagogue of Progressive rite, the only Askenazi synagogue in Portugal, founded in 1934. Affiliate member of EUPJ/WUPJ (European Union of Progressive Judaism/World Union of Progressive Judaism) since April 2016.