08 November 2006

Baking matza in Portugal

A new story in the Jerusalem Post touches on Porto and Belmonte, Portugal, on Taini in Italy and on records in London archives.

Over the years, Ari Greenspan and Ari Z. Zivotofsky have taken journeys they call "halachic adventures," as they "combine travels to exotic locations with digging up Jewish history and artifacts as well as uncovering local Jewish law and custom."

Our destination this time was Portugal via Italy in an attempt to trace the roots of the ancient marrano community that has managed to cling tenaciously to some small semblance of Jewish custom, despite close to 500 years of isolation and persecution by the Catholic Church.

Our primary goal on this trip was to see if we could track down any hidden crypto-Jews in Portugal and find out how they had secretly baked their matza for the hundreds of years they practiced their rites clandestinely.

And when they searched London archives, they discovered a 1927 letter referring to anousim communities in Portugal: "700-800 in Bragance, 500 in Vilarinho, over 500 in Moncorvo, a village full in Lagoaca, etc."

Click here for the whole article.

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