April 2017 / 5777
Boas vindas! Bienvenida! Bienvenue! Benvenuto! Shalom shalom! Following are some items we hope you will enjoy reading during the Pesah holiday.
Wishing you a Pesah Alegre!
Major Updates Made to Amsterdam S&P Prayer App
Followers of the Amsterdam S&P minhag can now enjoy a new and improved prayer app. Creator Rene Samson, a former hazan at the Esnoga, has just added the daily Shachrit (or morning) service, helped by two other former hazanim of the Esnoga, Nachshon Rodrigues Pereira and Daniel Zecharja Baruch. The latest updates are in addition to Minha, Arbit, and other prayers that users can already find on the app. To download it, please go here: https://play.google.com/store/ apps/details?id=nl.neepie.tefi lot&hl=en
Historic Synagogue Hit by Anti-Semitic Graffiti
An increase in anti-Semitic attacks worldwide reached Barbados recently when it was discovered that the Nidḥe Israel Synagogue was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti. The spray-painted words were removed the same day they were discovered. Built in 1654, the synagogue and an adjacent mikveh are designated as UNESCO-protected properties. More here:
http://www.jta.org/2017/03/19/ default/historic-barbados-syna gogue-hit-with-red-spray-paint ed-anti-semitic-messages#.WM6h zSYOaPs.email
Rabbi Morris Visits Venice
During March, Rabbi Shalom Morris of Bevis Marks Synagogue in London joined Dr. Marc Epstein (Chair in Religion and Visual Culture at Vassar College and its first Director of Jewish Studies) on a student study trip to Venice. Rabbi Morris spoke about the history and ethos of the Western Sephardim (diaspora Portuguese Jewry). Venice was the first major Western Sephardic Jewish community, dating to the 1500s. Its important port attracted Portuguese New Christians seeking economic opportunity and a return to open Jewish life. Venice’s community structure became a model for later Western Sephardic communities in Europe and the Americas. Read more here:
https://shalommorris.com/2017/ 03/24/behind-the-scenes-in-ven ice-italy/
https://shalommorris.com/2017/ 03/27/lido-italy-venices-jewis h-cemetery-island/
Rabbi Gabbai Gives Two Talks on S&P Synagogue Customs
To help sustain congregational knowledge of S&P traditions, Mikveh Israel
Rabbi Albert Gabbai gave two talks in March, detailing various rituals, among them: opening the hekhal, carrying the Sefer Torah, the role of accompagnhar, the role of levantar,
being called to the Torah, reading the Haftarah, removing and putting on the bells and bands, standing at the tebah, making offerings, and more. To learn about this and future events at the synagogue, please go here: http://mikvehisrael.org/e2_cms _display.php?p=events
Community Convenes Conversation on Rationalist vs. Mystical Judaism
On March 28, the S&P Sephardi community organized an evening of discussion between its senior rabbi, Joseph Dweck, and Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin, Director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh, Israel. The discussion focused on an exploration of rationalist vs. mystical Judaism. For more information:
https://www.sephardi.org.uk/ev ent/rationalist-vs-mystical-ju daism/
Kadoorie Mekor Haim Holds Special Shabbaton
During Tu Bivshat, the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue hosted a Shabbaton with 250 guests from around the globe, including Turkey, Brazil, the UK, and Israel. In his greetings, Community President Sam Elijah described the synagogue’s success in welcoming back victims of the Portuguese expulsion in 1496. Other speakers included Dutch scholar Rudie Cortissos on the history of Portuguese Jews in Amsterdam; Turkish lawyer Rita Ender, who shared a film, « Las Ultimas Palavras, » on Ladino’s role in the Turkish community today; and talks by Rabbi Doron Ahiel of London, Rabbi Zeev Shierin of Israel, and Rabbi Daniel Litvak of Oporto. More details here on the community’s website:
http://jewishcommunityofoporto .blogspot.pt/2014/10/t-jewish- community-of-oporto.html
The Spanish Hosts Leonard Cohen / Bob Dylan Tribute Concert
As followers of Western Sephardi minhag know a good melody when they hear one, they will no doubt appreciate this concert honoring the music of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. On April 5th, The Spanish hosted Montreal’s Vintage Wine Band, directed by Craig Morrison of Concordia University in a sold-out tribute concert to Leonard Cohen, one of Montreal’s most famous musicians, and to Bob Dylan. The event was attended by some of Montreal’s eminent dignitaries. For more info, see: www.thespanish.org.
Congregation Organizes Several Special Pre-Passover Events
Savannah’s Mickve Israel Synagogue thoroughly prepared for the upcoming Pesah holiday with several special community meals: On March 2, they hosted a Men’s Steak and Bourbon Seder, and on March 26, they hosted both a Chocolate Seder for families and a Women’s Seder later that day. On March 10 and 11, the congregation will welcome one and all for the two actual Passover seders. Read more about all of these events in their March bulletin: http://www.mickveisr ael.org/images/stories/pdfs/20 17_03_Contact.pdf
Community to Soon Publish a New S&P Siddur
The first new British edition of the Spanish and Portuguese prayer book in over 100 years will soon be published, representing the culmination of many years of planning, major re-editing, and preparation of a new translation by professional staff and volunteers. Dr. Roy Shasha discusses the history of the new S&P siddur as well as earlier published and unpublished editions here:
https://www.sephardi.org.uk/mi lestones-publishing-spanish-po rtuguese-prayer-book-london/
To order the new siddur when it is published, please see the community’s website:
Shearith Israel Produces an Introduction to its Services
The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue in New York has just published, “A Guide for the Perplexed: A Newcomer’s Primer to Congregation Shearith Israel.” The booklet explains the S&P community’s distinctive traditions in order to make visitors and newcomers feel welcome and to familiarize them with the service.
And here is the melody as sung by Rev. Abraham Lopes Cardozo, late hazzan of Shearith Israel in New York: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NC9I1VKO2k4&index=41&l ist=PLVLuBXFXNkq5gVQCRyUaMYlVC HvF1z0We
Prayer for Dew
On the first day of Pesah, we officially stop praying for rain and instead begin praying for dew. A special prayer for dew is therefore sung during the holiday Musaf. Consisting of four piyutim (poems), it is inserted into the reader’s repetition of the Amidah (while many other communities sing it before the Amidah). You can listen to melodies for these four poems here on Rabbi Jonathan Cohen’s webpage:
https://sites.google.com/site/ londonsephardimusic/pesah/pray er-for-dew
Another recording of one of the four poems, Lekh Leshalom Geshem (Go in Peace, Rain), sung by Rev. Halfon Benarroch, former hazzan of Bevis Marks Synagogue in London, can be heard here:
http://www.londonsephardimusic .org/files/Music/Pesah/Benarro ch/Tikkun_Hatal_4.mp3
On the first day of Pesah, the Hodu section of Hallel is also sung to the Lekh
Leshalom Geshem melody, as in this recording by Rev. Lopes Cardozo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=QBWtIZpOANo&index=51&list=PL VLuBXFXNkq5gVQCRyUaMYlVCHvF1z0 We
Finally, a fascinating 2007 documentary film explores the surprising possibility that the Lekh Leshalom Geshem melody and Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, may have common roots:
http://www.ruthfilms.com/films /docs/jewish/go-in-peace-rain. html
Seven-Fruit Charoset from Suriname
This issue’s special Passover recipe comes from Judy Cardozo Tenenbaum and Debby Cardozo Smith, who received it from their mother, Irma Robles Cardozo, who grew up in Suriname. Later while living in New York with her husband Bram, who served as Hazan at Congregation Shearith Israel, word of her charoset recipe spread widely, making an appearance in The New York Times as well as in the book Jewish Holiday Cooking by Joan Nathan, who quotes their mother as follows:
“On the morning before Pesach, a stream of people would appear at our door, holding containers and sheepish looks: ‘Could we have some of your charoset?’ they would ask. We would bring them into the kitchen where generous scoops were doled out from the large, simmering pot. In those days, before the new age of Passover convenience foods, Marc Levi a Surinamese friend of our parents, would come over help us grate the coconut.”
Unsweetened coconut 8 ounces
Chopped walnuts or grated almonds 8 ounces
Sugar ¼ cup
Cinnamon 1 tablespoon
Raisins 8 ounces
Dried Apples 8 ounces
Dried Prunes 8 ounces
Dried Apricots 8 ounces
Dried Pears 8 ounces
Cherry Jam 4 ounces
Sweet Red Wine
Combine everything except the jam and wine in a pot. Cover with water and simmer over low heat. Periodically, add small amounts of water to prevent sticking. Cook at least 90 minutes. When it is cohesive, stir in the jam and let stand until cool. Add enough sweet wine to be absorbed by the charoset and chill.
Amsterdam, Antwerp, and The Hague
« Rembrandt and The Rabbis » Trip Led by Rabbi Soloveichik, June 28-July 5
Those who would like to explore Portuguese Jewish life in the Netherlands have the opportunity to join Rabbi Meir Soloveichik on a trip this summer to key places where they lived and prayed there – and learn about some of the neighbors with whom they interacted, including the famed painter Rembrandt. For more information, please see here: http://www.makorjourneys .com/yu-amsterdam
Mikveh Israel Trip to the Azores with Rabbi Gabbai, May 10-14
Rabbi Albert Gabbai of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia will lead
a mission trip to support the restoration of the Sahar Hassamayim Synagogue in Ponta Delgada. The trip will visit the beautiful
island of Sao Miguel to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of
Thanks to this issue’s writers: Judy Cardozo Tenenbaum, Naftali Friedman, Janet Kirchheimer, David Lerner, Daniel Marcou, Joshua Mendes, and Michael Rothwell.
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This is an all-volunteer effort to help preserve and perpetuate the small but precious S&P traditions and create connections and community.
For ongoing discussions of Western Sephardic customs and history, we recommend the Facebook group, Foundation for Preservation of Western Sephardic Tradition.
S&P / WESTERN SEPHARDI COMMUNITIES
HISTORICALLY S&P COMMUNITIES (services do not currently follow S&P practice)