views updated May 11 2018


OPORTO , port city in northern Portugal, on the Douro River. Oporto had a vibrant Jewish community before the establishment of the Portuguese kingdom in 1143. One of its three Jewish neighborhoods was called Monte dos Judeus (Jews' Hill). The ancient synagogue structure – approved by King John in 1388 – was confiscated in 1554 for use by the Order of Santa Clara. Stairs adjoining the ruins are still known as Escadas de Esnoga ("the Synagogue Steps"), and an inscription unearthed in 1875 reveals that the synagogue had been dedicated by Don Judah. With the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, Oporto received an influx of Spanish Jews, including some 30 families who arrived as a group under the illustrious rabbi Isaac *Aboab. When Portugal ousted its Jews in 1497, Jewish communal life in Oporto was reduced to underground *Marrano activities. The Inquisition was active in the city and an auto-da-fé took place on Feb. 11, 1543. Local public opinion was so adverse, however, that no additional inquisitorial spectacles were permitted. In 1920 when Arturo Carlos de *Barros Basto set out to revive Judaism among the Marranos, Oporto became the center of his activities. The congregation Mekor Ḥayyim was organized there in 1927. In 1929 the imposing Kadoorie Synagogue was erected, housing both the congregation and an affiliated seminary for religious studies. In 1970 the Jewish community of Oporto numbered about 100 persons.


N. Slouschz, Ha-Anusim be-Portugal (1932), index; Pinho Leal, Portugal, antigo e moderno 12 vols. (1873–90); L. Piles Ros, in: Sefarad, 6 (1946), 139; 7 (1947), 357; H. Beinart, in: Sefunot, 5 (1961), 75–134. add. bibliography: H. Baquero Moreno, in: Revista de história (Pôrto) 1 (1978), 7–38 [rep. in idem, Marginalidade e conflitos sociais em Portugal nos séculos xiv e xv (1985), 133–60]; A. Paulo, in: Miscelánea de estrudios árabes y hebraicos 23:2 (1974), 93–102; idem, in: Proceedings of the 6thWorld Congress of Jewish Studies, vol. 2 (1976), 61–69; G.J.A. Coelho Dias, in: Humanística e teología 4 (1983), 321–58; H. Vasconcelos Vilar, in: Revista de história económica e social, 21 1987), 29–37.

[Aaron Lichtenstein]


views updated May 23 2018

Oporto City and port on the River Douro, nw Portugal. A Roman settlement, it was occupied by the Visigoths (540–716) and the Moors (716–997) before being brought under Portuguese control in 1092. By the 17th century, it was a famous wine centre and its port is still exported. Portugal's second-largest city, it lies in an industrialized region. Industries: textiles, fishing, fruit, olive oil. Pop. (2001) 262,928.