The Jewish Community of the Algarve was born

Although not formally, there already existed in the Algarve, until 2014, a Jewish community, which brought together Portuguese and foreigners and was presided over by Ralf Pinto, who died that year.

The Jewish Community of the Algarve was born, the fourth in the whole country. The new community will meet at the Ezra & Sasson Synagogue in Albufeira. 

Registered as a Religious Collective Person on the 4th of January, it is the most recent community «with this specific legal figure» and will also be, perhaps, «the one that is closest to an extraordinary and ancient legacy of Jewish presence in Portugal, with nearly two millennia".

The traces of the confirmed presence of these communities date back at least to the 390th century with the discovery in Silves of the tombstone of Yehiel from the year XNUMX of the common era, the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula.

«The new community gathers at its Ezra & Sasson Synagogue in Albufeira, in the presence of a Sephardic Torah from Morocco (which was the place where many Portuguese Jews fled at the time of the expulsion edict). The synagogue has a certified kosher kitchen and also has the support of a store that sells kosher food products and religious items, fundamental to ensuring the needs of the community», he says, in a press release.

“It will soon also provide a wide range of support services to its community and also to the external community, following a policy of cultural sharing and dynamism”, he adds.

As a community of Sephardic tradition, it welcomes, however, among its members, Jews from all over the world, also of Ashkenazi descent.

«The Algarve, and Portugal in general, is a territory considered safe by Jews who can enjoy their religious life here without feeling the pressure of anti-Semitism, despite the growth of some organizations that take advantage of the moment of crisis to discriminate against minorities on the basis of their religion, race, ethnicity, nationality or migration status», says the Jewish Community of the Algarve.

There are many marks in the territory of the presence of the Jewish people, including the toponymic ones in localities such as Vale Judeu (Loulé) or Sinagoga (Tavira), and there were community centers in the main cities of the Algarve such as Faro, Tavira, Silves and in dozens of other places such as Lagos where the Hebrew inscriptions of Espiche from the XNUMXth-XNUMXth century are located.

It was also in the Algarve, in Faro, that the first Portuguese book, a Tora (Pentateuch), was printed by a Jew, Samuel Gacon, in 1487. Many of these vestiges were lost in the 1755 earthquake, but there are other important marks of periods of great prosperity already in the XNUMXth century, the Jewish Cemetery of Faro of that time and its small museum nucleus.

In addition to the Algarve, the Jewish communities already organized in Portuguese territory are those of Belmonte, Lisbon and Porto.

Although not formally, until 2014 there was already a Jewish community in the Algarve, which brought together Portuguese and foreigners and was presided over by Ralf Pinto, who died that year.