Portuguese synagogue celebrates 75th anniversary

(JTA) — Nearly 300 guests attended the 75th anniversary celebration of a Portuguese synagogue.

Last week’s event for the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue in Porto brought Jewish leaders from the U.S., Israel, the United Kingdom and Argentina to the northern Portuguese city. The synagogue services a community of 39 members, according to the Porto-based daily Jornal de Noticias. 

Many members of the Porto’s Jewish community have converted to Judaism after having traced their lineages to Anousim, or conversos — Jews forced to convert or practice Judaism secretly during the Portuguese Inquisition of the 15th century. 

The synagogue was built by Artur Barros Basto, an army captain who started an outreach program for the descendants of conversos. Basto paid for his actions with his career and his reputation. 

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