Visit of Friends of Beit Hatfutsot Group to Portugal - October 2018

A delegation of 30 members of the Friends of Beit Hatfutsot Group went on a ‘Roots Journey’ to Portugal to witness the glorious past of the Portuguese Jewish Community and to become acquainted with the Community today.  The purpose was to create cooperation and collaborations with collectors, donors and prominent members of the local community.

The Israel Ambassador to Portugal, Raphael Gamzou, together with his wife Michal, arranged a festive Cocktail Reception at their residence, attended by some 60 dignitaries from the local Jewish community as well as representatives from the city and the local cultural scene.

In addition to the Ambassador, Catarina Vaz Pinto, the Deputy Mayor of Lisbon with responsibility for Culture and International Relations also brought greetings.  In her speech she made reference to the intention of establishing a Jewish Museum in Lisbon and the difficulties they are facing.  The President of the local Jewish community, Gabriel Steinhardt also brought greetings and Roberto Bachmann, a well-known international collector of works, that are of great interest to Beit Hatfutsot, spoke about his collection.  Hana Pri-Zan, Chair of the Friends Group responded on behalf of the delegation and spoke about the renovation and renewal process currently underway in Beit Hatfutsot and the wish to establish cooperation’s with communities and individuals abroad.

A film on Beit Hatfutsot was then screened.

The trip included visiting three local Synagogues and the Chief Rabbi of Lisbon, Nathan Peres, received and welcomed the group on their visit to the ‘Shaarei Tikva’ Synagogue.

Especially moving was the visit to the oldest Synagogue in Portugal, located in the town of Tomar. Built in 1438, it is now considered a National Site. Though under  major renovations, the synagogue was opened especially for our visit. The visit to the ‘Makor Haim’ Synagogue in Porto which was built in the 1930’s was another high point of the tour.

The group also visited all the important sites in Portugal including the Monument of the Discoveries, St Jerome Monastery, the town of Fatima where the miracle took place well over a century ago, Sintra, Cabo de Roca and many other places.