Spanish and Portuguese Jews (also known as Western Sephardim, or more ambiguously as Spanish Jews, Portuguese Jews and Jews of the Portuguese Nation) are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardi Jews, some of who were forcibly converted to Catholicism in Spain and Portugal up to the late 15th century, consequently becoming New Christian conversos. Many Spanish and Portuguese jews emigrated out of the Iberian Peninsula in a continuos flow between the 1600's to 1800's as a result of the unceasing trials and persecutions of Jewish-origin New Christians by the Inquisition, whereupon in their new tolerant environments of refuge outside the Iberian cultural sphere they eventually returned to Judaism.

Spanish and Portuguese Jews have a distinctive ritual based on that of pre-expulsion Spain. It was also influenced by the Spanish-Moroccan rite and the Italian Jewish rite.

  • 1. [Sephardic law and customs] Sephardic law and customs means the practice of Judaism as observed by the Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, so far as it is peculiar to themselves and not shared with other Jewish groups such as the Ashkenazim. Sephardim do not constitute a separate denomination within Judaism, but rather a distinct cultural, juridical and philosophical tradition.
  • 2. [Marrano] Marranos were originally Jews living in Iberia who converted or were forced to convert to Christianity, some of whom may have continued to practice Judaism in secret. The term came into later use in 1492 with the Castilian Alhambra Decree, reversing protections originally in the Treaty of Granada (1491).
  • 3. [Congregation Shearith Israel] The Congregation Shearith Israel (Hebrew, "Remnant of Israel") – often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue – is the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. It was established in 1654 and until 1825 was the only Jewish congregation in New York City.
  • 4. [Italian Jews] Italian Jews can be used in a broad sense to mean all Jews living or with roots in Italy or in a narrower sense to mean the Italkim, an ancient community who use the Italian rite, as distinct from the communities dating from medieval or modern times who use the Sephardi or Ashkenazi rite.
  • 5. [Portuguese Inquisition] The Portuguese Inquisition (Portuguese: Inquisição Portuguesa) was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of its king, John III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515 to fulfill the commitment of marriage with Maria of Aragon, but it was only after his death that Pope Paul III acquiesced.
  • 6. [Converso] A converso (Spanish: [komˈberso]; Portuguese: [kõˈvɛɾsu]; Catalan: convers [kumˈbɛrs], [komˈvɛɾs]; "a convert", from Latin conversvs, "converted, turned around") and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries, or one of their descendents. Mass conversions at that time took place
  • 7. [Bevis Marks Synagogue] Bevis Marks Synagogue, officially Qahal Kadosh Sha'ar ha-Shamayim (Hebrew: קהל קדוש שער השמים , "Holy Congregation Gate of Heaven") is the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom. It is located off Bevis Marks, in the City of London.
  • 8. [Alhambra Decree] The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) was an edict issued on 31 March 1492, by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and its territories and possessions by 31 July, of that year.
  • 9. [Portuguese Synagogue (Amsterdam)] The Portuguese Synagogue, also known as the Esnoga (Ladino: אסנוגה), or Snoge, is a late 17th-century Sephardic synagogue in Amsterdam, completed in 1675. Esnoga is the Ladino word for synagogue.
  • 10. [Judaeo-Spanish] Judaeo-Spanish (also Judeo-Spanish and Judæo-Spanish: Judeo-Español, Hebrew script: גֿודֿיאו-איספאנייול, Cyrillic: Ђудео-Еспањол), commonly referred to as Ladino, is a Romance language derived from Old Spanish. Originally spoken in the former territories of the Ottoman Empire (the Balkans, Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa) as well as in France, Italy, Netherlands, Morocco, and the UK, today
  • 11. [Minhag] Minhag (Hebrew: מנהג‎ "custom", pl. minhagim) is an accepted tradition or group of traditions in Judaism. A related concept, Nusach (נוסח), refers to the traditional order and form of the prayers.
  • 12. [Crypto-Judaism] Crypto-Judaism is the secret adherence to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith; practitioners are referred to as "crypto-Jews" (origin from Greek kryptos - κρυπτός, 'hidden'). The term crypto-Jew is also used to describe descendants of Jews who maintain some Jewish traditions of their ancestors while publicly adhering to other faiths.
  • 13. [History of the Jews in Portugal] 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 who have originated in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).
  • 14. [David Nieto] David Nieto (1654 – 10 January 1728) was the Haham of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community in London, later succeeded in this capacity by his son, Isaac Nieto.
  • 15. [Syrian Jews] Syrian Jews (Hebrew: יהודי סוריה‎, Arabic: اليهود السوريون‎) are Jews who lived in the region of the modern state of Syria, and their descendants born outside Syria. Syrian Jews derive their origin from two groups: from the Jews who inhabited the region of today's Syria from ancient times (known as Musta'arabi Jews, and sometimes classified
  • 16. [Siddur] A siddur (Hebrew: סדור[siˈduʁ]; plural סדורים, [siduˈʁim]) is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. The word siddur comes from the Hebrew root Hebrew: סד״ר‎ meaning "order".
  • 17. [History of the Jews in Spain] Spanish Jews once constituted one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in the world. This period ended definitively with the Alhambra decree of 1492, as a result of which they were forced to convert to Catholicism, go into exile, or be killed. The Castilian Muslims suffered the same fate in 1500, and a generation later those of Aragón and Valencia.
  • 18. [Menasseh Ben Israel] Manoel Dias Soeiro (1604 – November 20, 1657), better known by his Hebrew name Menasseh ben Israel (מנשה בן ישראל), also, Menasheh ben Yossef ben Yisrael, also known with the Hebrew acronym, MB"Y, was a Portuguese rabbi, kabbalist, writer, diplomat, printer and publisher, founder of the first Hebrew printing press (named Emeth Meerets Titsma`h) in Amsterdam in 1626.
  • 19. [Sephardic Bnei Anusim] Sephardic Bnei Anusim (Hebrew: בני אנוסים ספרדיים, pronounced ['bnei anu'sim sfara'dim], lit. "Children [of the] coerced [converted] Spanish [Jews]) are the contemporary and largely nominal Christian descendants of assimilated 15th-century Sephardic Jewish anusim. After the forced or coerced conversions of their Sephardic Jewish ancestors to Catholicism, this group of descendants of Jews from Spain and
  • 20. [Sephardic Jews in the Netherlands] As a result of the Alhambra Decree and the Inquisition, many Sephardim (Spanish and Portuguese Jews) left the Iberian peninsula at the end of the 15th century and throughout the 16th century, in search of religious freedom. Some migrated to the newly independent Dutch provinces which welcomed the Sephardic Jews. Many of the Jews who
  • 21. [Mizrahi Jews] Mizrahi Jews, Mizrahim (Hebrew: מזרחים‎) or Mashriqiyyun (Arabic: الم‍شرقيون‎), also referred to as Edot HaMizrach (עֲדוֹת-הַמִּזְרָח; Communities of the East; Mizrahi Hebrew: ʿEdot(h) Ha(m)Mizraḥ), Ben ha-Mizraḥ; Bene ha-Mizraḥ ("Sons of the East") or Oriental Jews are Jews descended from local Jewish communities of the Middle East. The term Mizrahi is most commonly used in Israel
  • 22. [Isaac Nieto] Isaac Nieto (1702–1774) (Hebrew: יצחק ניטו) was Haham of the Portuguese congregation Sha'are Hashamayim, Bevis Marks, London, and the son of David Nieto. He was officially appointed as "ḥakham ha-shalem" in 1733, but gave up the post in 1741 and went abroad. He returned in 1747 and took up the profession of notary.
  • 23. [History of the Jews in Belmonte] The history of the Jews in Belmonte, Portugal, reaches back over six hundred years.
  • 24. [Romaniote Jews] The Romaniote Jews or Romaniots (Greek: Ρωμανιῶτες, Rōmaniōtes) are a Jewish community with distinctive cultural features and who have lived in the territory of Greece and neighboring areas for more than 2,000 years. Their languages were Yevanic, a Greek dialect, and modern Greek. They derived their name from the old name for the people of
  • 25. [North African Sephardim] North African Sephardim are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardi Jews, mostly descended from families expelled and exiled from Iberia as Jews in the 15th century following the Alhambra Decree of 1492 in Spain and the decree of 1497 in Portugal. This branch of descendants of the Jews of Iberia settled in North Africa (except Egypt,
  • 26. [Eastern Sephardim] Eastern Sephardim are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardi Jews, mostly descended from families expelled and exiled from Iberia as Jews in the 15th century following the Alhambra Decree of 1492 in Spain and the decree of 1497 in Portugal. This branch of descendants of the Jews of Iberia settled in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • 27. [Neo-Western Sephardim] Neo-Western Sephardim refers to a small but growing population among the Sephardic Bnei Anusim in Iberia and Ibero-America who in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have recently begun returning to Judaism.
  • 28. [Raphael Meldola (Sephardic Rabbi)] Raphael Meldola (1754 – 1 June 1828) was an English Rabbi. Born in Livorno, he died in London .
    He was one of the most prominent members of the Meldola family. He received a thorough university training, both in theological and in secular branches, and displayed such remarkable talents that when only fifteen years old he was permitted to take his seat in the rabbinical college. He was preacher in Leghorn for some years, and in 1803 he obtained the title of rabbi.
  • 29. [Anusim] Anusim (Hebrew: אֲנוּסִים, pronounced [anuˈsim]; singular male, Anús, Hebrew: אָנוּסpronounced [aˈnus]; singular female, Anusáh, Hebrew: אָנוּסָהpronounced [anuˈsa], meaning "Coerced [converted Jews]") is a legal category of Jews in halakha (Jewish law) who were forced to abandon Judaism against their will, typically while forcibly converted to another religion. The term "anusim" is most properly translated as the "coerced [ones]" or the "forced [ones]".
  • 30. [New Christian] New Christian (Spanish: cristiano nuevo; Portuguese: cristão-novo; Catalan: cristià nou) was a law-effective and social category developed from the 15th century onwards, and used in what is today Spain and Portugal, and their New World colonies, to refer to Sephardim (Iberian Jews) and Moors (Iberian Muslims) who had converted to Roman Catholicism, often by force or coercion. It was developed and employed after the successful reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Catholic Monarchs.
  • 31. [Curaçao synagogue] The Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue (Hebrew: בית הכנסת מקווה ישראל-עמנואל‎; English: The Hope of Israel-Emanuel Synagogue), in Willemstad, Curaçao, is the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas. It is commonly known as the Snoa (short for esnoga, an old Portuguese and Ladino word for synagogue) and is a major tourist attraction in Curaçao, with one notable group of visitors including Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family, in 1992.
  • 32. [Joseph Salvador] Joseph Salvador (1716–1786) was a British-Jewish businessman of London, perhaps most notable for being the first and only Jew to serve as a director of the British East India Company. He was descended from Portuguese Sephardic Jews who had escaped persecution during the Portuguese Inquisition and migrated to the Netherlands. From there they immigrated to London, England in the eighteenth century.
  • 33. [Nusach] Nusach (Hebrew: נוסחnosaħ, modern pronunciation nósakh or núsakh), plural nuschaot or nusachim, is a concept in Judaism that has two distinct meanings. One is the style of a prayer service (Nosach Teiman, Nusach Ashkenaz, Nusach Sefard or Nusach Ari); another is the melody of the service depending on when the service is being conducted.
  • 34. [David de Sola Pool] David de Sola Pool (1885–1970) (Hebrew: דוד די סולה פול) was a leading American rabbi, scholar, author and civic leader.
  • 35. [Jewish ethnic divisions] Jewish ethnic divisions refers to a number of distinctive communities within the world's ethnically Jewish population. Although considered one single self-identifying ethnicity, there are distinctive ethnic divisions among Jews, most of which are primarily the result of geographic branching from an originating Israelite population, mixing with local populations, and subsequent independent evolutions.
  • 36. [History of the Jews in Livorno] The history of the Jews in Livorno (Liorne or Liorna in Ladino), Italy has been documented since 1583, when descendants of the late 15th-century expulsions from Spain and Portugal settled in the city. They were settled initially by Sephardic Jews from Pisa. The Jewish community of Livorno, although the youngest among the historic Jewish communities
  • 37. [Sepharad] Sepharad, or Sefarad, or Sfard, is a biblical place name of uncertain location. It is mentioned only once in the Bible, in the Book of Obadiah Obadiah 1:20. There are, however, Old Persian inscriptions that refer to two places called Saparda (alternative reading: Sparda): one area in Media and another in Asia Minor. It is speculated that Sepharad could have been Sardis, whose native Lydian name is Sfard.
  • 38. [Judaeo-Portuguese] Judeo-Portuguese is the extinct Jewish language that was used by the Portuguese Jews of Portugal.
  • 39. [Haham Pinchas Toledano] Pinchas Toledano is the current Haham (Chief Rabbi) of Amsterdam and of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of the Netherlands.
  • 40. [Alan Mocatta] Sir Alan Abraham Mocatta (27 June 1907 – 1 November 1990) was an English judge, an expert on restrictive practices and a leader of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Britain.
  • 41. [Sephardi Jews] Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim (Hebrew: סְפָרַדִּי, Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddi, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddî, lit. "The Jews of Spain"), are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced in the Iberian Peninsula around the start of the 2nd millennium (i.e., about the year 1000). They
  • 42. [Moses Gaster] Moses Gaster (17 September 1856 – 5 March 1939) was a Romanian-born Jewish-British scholar, the Hakham of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation, London, and a Hebrew linguist. He was the father of Jack and Theodor Gaster and the grandfather of Marghanita Laski. He was also son-in-law to Michael Friedländer and father-in-law to Neville Laski.
  • 43. [Abraham Lopes Cardozo] Abraham Lopes Cardozo (1914–2006) was hazzan of Congregation Shearith Israel, the historic Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in New York City.
  • 44. [Bendigamos] Bendigamos is a hymn sung after meals according to the custom of Spanish and Portuguese Jews. It has also been traditionally sung by the Jews of Turkish descent. It is similar in meaning to the Birkat Hamazon that is said by all Jews. Bendigamos is said in addition to Birkat Hamazon, either immediately before or
  • 45. [Artur Carlos de Barros Basto] Artur Carlos de Barros Basto (Hebrew name: Abraham Israel Ben-Rosh) was born December 18, 1887 in Amarante, Portugal, and died in Porto on March 8, 1961. He made a career in the military and as a writer, who published several works related to Judaism. He was an important Jewish leader and one of the people
  • 46. [David de Aaron de Sola] David de Aaron de Sola or David Aaron de Sola (1796 – 1860) (Hebrew: דוד אהרן די סולה) was a rabbi and author, born in Amsterdam, the son of Aaron de Sola. When but eleven years of age he entered as a student the bet ha-midrash of his native city, and after a course of
  • 47. [Nusach Ashkenaz] Nusach Ashkenaz is a style of Jewish religious service conducted by Ashkenazi Jews, originating from Central and Western Europe.
    It is primarily a way to order and include prayers, and differs from Nusach Sefard (as used by the Hasidim), and still more from the Sephardic rite proper, in the placement and presence of certain prayers.
  • 48. [Amidah] The Amidah (Hebrew: תפילת העמידה, Tefilat HaAmidah, "The Standing Prayer"), also called the Shmoneh Esreh (שמנה עשרה, "The Eighteen," in reference to the original number of constituent blessings; there are now nineteen), is the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy. This prayer, among others, is found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book. As Judaism's central prayer, the Amidah is often designated simply as tefila (תפילה, "prayer") in Rabbinic literature.
  • 49. [Shem Tob Gaguine] Shemtob Gaguin(e) (5 September 1884 in Jerusalem – 30 July 1953 in Manchester) was a British Sephardic rabbi and scion of a famous Moroccan rabbinical dynasty which emigrated to Palestine from Spain at the time of the Inquisition.
  • 50. [Antonio Fernandez Carvajal] Antonio Fernandez Carvajal (c.1590–November 10, 1659)—in Portuguese: António Fernandes Carvalhal—was a Portuguese-Jewish merchant, who became the first endenizened English Jew.
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