The history of the Jews in Portugal reaches back over two thousand years and is directly related to Sephardi history, a Jewish ethnic division that represents communities that originated in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).Jewish populations have existed in the area even before the country was established, back to the Roman era (province of Lusitania ), or even before – an attested Jewish presence in Portuguese territory, however, can only be documented since 482 CE.
He said the approach “helped society be more open to the expression of love between men.”The rabbi understood that giving such a lecture — and having it recorded — left him vulnerable to criticism, or even worse, anger, from anyone with differing views on the topic.Throughout their vibrant history, Sephardic Jews have had the strength and fortitude to hold the community’s diverse perspectives together. On that day, speaking to a packed London Orthodox audience, Rabbi Joseph Dweck, a respected rabbinical authority, took an inclusive stand on the subject of male homosexuality.Rabbi Dweck, a Brooklyn-born Syrian Jew now serving as a rabbi and educator in London, presented an historically informed, transparent and detailed examination of the traditionally taboo topic.Some reactions from the right of Orthodoxy even suggested that his metaphoric black hat be removed.In response to the outcry he has taken a leave from his position on a rabbinic court in London.The map area in light green, the Iberian area, is the Catalonia of antiquity while the dark-green area is the homeland of the Basques. If we look at a map of Europe of the sixth century BCE (Figure 2), we can see how Spain fits into the overall picture of Europe in the early first millennium BCE.
The traditional date for the founding of Rome is 753 BCE and Alexander the Great didn’t begin his campaign in Asia until 334 BCE.
Rapidly in the 8th century, the Christian kingdoms of the north mountainous areas of the Iberian Peninsula (Kingdom of Asturias) started a long military campaign against the Muslim invaders, the Reconquista.
The Jews, since many knew the Arabic language, were used by the Christians as both spies and diplomats on this campaign that took centuries.
This granted them some respect, although there was always prejudice.
King Afonso I of Portugal entrusted Yahia Ben Yahi III with the post of supervisor of tax collection and nominated him the first Chief-Rabbi of Portugal (a position always appointed by the King of Portugal).
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