(Washington, D.C., Dec. 17, 2019)-The Jewish Community of Oporto and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oporto, Portugal, meet today in an unprecedented interfaith gathering between the two Portuguese communities as part of the Global Project in the Fields of Culture and Religion. As part of the project, the two communities have collaborated on artistic and humanitarian ventures. Today’s event is an unprecedented meeting promoting dialogue and understanding between the two communities and their heritage, culture and religion. The following is information from the Jewish Community of Oporto:
At 10:30am, hosted by the Bishop of Oporto – Dom Manuel Linda –, twenty faithful of each community are joined in dialogue at the Catholic Episcopalian Palace. Together, they visited the catholic museum, and the Jewish Community presented a gift of financial aid to two of Oporto charities.
At 11:30am, for a better understating of their History and experiences, the delegations visited the Jewish Museum of Oporto.
Today’s unparalleled event ended in a common lunch at the Kadoorie - Mekor Haim Synagogue.
The protocol Global Project in the Fields of Culture and Religion was established to reinforce the relationship between both communities, in cooperation. D. Manuel Linda, Bishop of Oporto stated – “this project is a cut with the past of misunderstandings and certainty of a future made hand in hand. It is unique in the world, as Oporto is also unique”.
According to the President of the Jewish Community of Oporto, Dias ben Zion: “It is difficult to achieve positive relationships between Catholics and Jews without social, cultural and interfaith cooperation”
Gabriela Cantergi, member of the board of the Jewish Community in charge of interfaith relations, explained the Global Project in the Fields of Culture and Religion:
“Social, cultural and other dialogue is necessary to achieve full tolerance between the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish communities, particularly in societies in which negative stereotypes are entrenched, ignoring for example the fact that many Jews struggle financially.”
The Jewish Community of Oporto has devised a global project involving close cooperation with Oporto Roman Catholic Diocese, with the following activities:
1) Social causes, helping children, the elderly and the sick;
2) Promotion of the Jewish Museum and the Episcopal Palace Museum; and
3) The Production of four films - "The Nun's Kaddish", "Sefarad", "1618" and "The Light of Judah" - covering events that have occurred over the centuries in the Portuguese society. The proceeds from films in Portugal will go to social causes.
These initiatives have received financial and practical support from Jewish philanthropic families as well as organisations such as the Embassy of the State of Israel in Portugal, B´nai B´rith International and Anti-Defamation League.
The Jewish museum and films mentioned depict true events and have won the respect of Roman Catholic Church organisations. The scripts and rough cuts having been shown beforehand to the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oporto. Gabriela Cantergi stated: “the proceeds from films in Portugal will go to social causes.”
About “The Nun’s Kaddish” and the other films
- Today the short film “The Nun’s Kaddish” is exhibited at the Catholic Museum, a short film that portrays a true story of inter-religious kindness when two catholic nuns observe the Jewish ritual, raising the spirituality of the two faiths towards a higher feeling of universal brotherhood.
Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Jewish community about the film “The Nun’s Kaddish”, saying that he, “Calls down divine favours in abundance on all those directly or indirectly involved and represented in carrying out this film, that they may be the leaven of fraternity, hope and joy in the heart of the world, and wishes everyone the greatest happiness with God’s blessings.”
- “1618” is a film about the inquisitorial visit to Porto that encountered resistance from priests, ordinary citizens and the city authorities themselves, all accustomed for centuries to living alongside the Jews.
- “Sefarad” reveals the existence in Portugal of Marranos right in the middle of the 20th century. They were neither Jews nor Christians but both at one and the same time, living outside the mainstream of both religions.
- “The Light of Judah” is a historical documentary covering centuries of the history of the Jews in Portugal and the city of Oporto in particular, from the Middle Ages to the Inquisition, from modernity to the present day.
The movies are directed by Luís Ismael: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1644176/
About the Jewish Community of Oporto
The Synagogue Kadoorie Mekor Haim is the largest in the Iberian Peninsula and the Jewish Community of Oporto is composed by more than 400 members, from over 30 countries. It has a rabbinic court, structures for kashrut, offers courses to schoolteachers to combat anti-Semitism and provides food for Shabbat meals in 11 countries. It has a museum, a cinema and cooperation protocols with the Portuguese State, the Israeli Embassy to Portugal, B´nai B´rith International, the Anti-Defamation League, Keren Hayesod, Chabad Lubavitch, as well as with the Oporto Diocese and Oporto’s Muslim community.
The Oporto Jewish Museum was inaugurated this year, was opened by the President of B´nai B´rith International. In his speech, Charles Kaufman said: “This Jewish Museum will punctuate a reawakening of Jewish life in Portugal. It should serve as a beacon of light to the rest of Europe, a land darkened today by resurgent Antisemitism".
Abouth the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oporto
Established as Diocese of Portucale in 576 CE, Oporto is the most populated Diocese of Portugal. Situated in the North of Portugal, by the Atlantic Ocean, has a jurisdiction of over 3010km² (1162mi²).
The current Bishop (77th) is Dom Manuel Linda.
The Cathedral of Oporto is one of the city's oldest monuments and one of the most important local Romanesque monuments, started in the 12Ith century. The Episcopal Palace, where is now the Museum, is the former residence of the bishops of Porto, built in a late baroque and rococo style and is believed to be the work of Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org