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Tibau, Brazil - Descendants Of Forcefully Converted Jews Open Mikvah In Northern Brazil

Published on: August 9, 2019 01:30 PM
By: JTA
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Rabbi Gilberto Venturas and his wife, Jacqueline. (Courtesy of Sinagoga sem Froteiras)Rabbi Gilberto Venturas and his wife, Jacqueline. (Courtesy of Sinagoga sem Froteiras)

Tibau, Brazil - Descendants of Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity inaugurated in Brazil what they say is the first ritual bath built for and by people with their family history.

Members of the Sinagoga sem Fronteiras Jewish group built the mikvah last month in the coastal city of Tibau, situated more than 1,000 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. It was built according to the strictest Jewish Orthodox rules for ritual baths, the group’s rabbi, Gilberto Ventura, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Ventura, who lives in Sao Paulo with his wife, Jacqueline, said the project was led by Antônio Fabiano Cavalcante, a local descendant of Jews who were forced to accept the Christian faith, or bnei anusim. Cavalcante is also responsible for running the local synagogue, which was constructed a few years ago for other bnei anusim who have returned to Judaism.

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Since 2015, at least 400 people with Sephardic ancestry have undergone Orthodox conversions to Judaism in northern Brazil.

In the state of Pernambuco, whose capital is Recife, these individuals established two Jewish congregations that operate their own synagogues and feature holiday events, including Passover seders. Since 2010, more than a dozen such congregations opened across Brazil’s north. They recently started their own Jewish summer camp for children.

Many Jews who fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal settled in northern Brazil because it was controlled by the relatively tolerant Dutch in the years 1630 to 1654. But then it fell to Portugal, which enforced the Inquisition in its colonies as well.



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Read Comments (10)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 09, 2019 at 02:07 PM commonsense99 Says:

what beis din did the conversions?

2

 Aug 09, 2019 at 02:21 PM NoCommonSense Says:

Reply to #1  
commonsense99 Says:

what beis din did the conversions?

#1 Because they don't look like Jews from Monsey or Willy (who look like Polaks from the 1500's) they shouldn't be allowed to rejoin the Jewish People? They have as much right to worship HaShem as you do. Wake up already.. You don't have a monopoly on breathing.

3

 Aug 09, 2019 at 02:22 PM FarRockDude Says:

Beautiful story!

4

 Aug 09, 2019 at 02:25 PM Phineas Says:

Reply to #1  
commonsense99 Says:

what beis din did the conversions?

Can't convert without a mikveh.

5

 Aug 09, 2019 at 04:25 PM commonsense99 Says:

Reply to #2  
NoCommonSense Says:

#1 Because they don't look like Jews from Monsey or Willy (who look like Polaks from the 1500's) they shouldn't be allowed to rejoin the Jewish People? They have as much right to worship HaShem as you do. Wake up already.. You don't have a monopoly on breathing.

They can breath all they want, to be come Jewish you need to do certain things, just like to become a US citizen requires certain things, but I will excuse your ignorance because it erev Tisha Bav

6

 Aug 09, 2019 at 05:04 PM AH Says:

Reply to #4  
Phineas Says:

Can't convert without a mikveh.

Fine. Who says they didn't go to the mikvah? There are ones in Recife and in other cities in Brazil. The article says that they have "undergone Orthodox conversions," and unless you have evidence to the contrary, you have no right to doubt their genuineness as Jews.

7

 Aug 09, 2019 at 05:17 PM Heeb Says:

Reply to #1  
commonsense99 Says:

what beis din did the conversions?

I think they were waiting for your haskomo prior to finalizing the geirus. You should go there immediately! forget Shabbos just get on a plane and go...

8

 Aug 09, 2019 at 05:34 PM elyeh Says:

These bnei anusim are taking a big step to return with "Orthodox conversion." They are making major sacrifices to make these changes in their life and in their relations with others in their community.

If you believe they have not done well enough, and have evidence of this, then help them correct. They are the descendants of a major churbon called the inquisition.

Please welcome them, and celebrate that this can occur! This will I"YH lead to b'oineh Beis Chadosh.

9

 Aug 09, 2019 at 06:53 PM Phineas Says:

Reply to #6  
AH Says:

Fine. Who says they didn't go to the mikvah? There are ones in Recife and in other cities in Brazil. The article says that they have "undergone Orthodox conversions," and unless you have evidence to the contrary, you have no right to doubt their genuineness as Jews.

Oy. I was joking. They're building a milkvah

10

 Aug 11, 2019 at 06:43 PM Uberjude Says:

Reply to #6  
AH Says:

Fine. Who says they didn't go to the mikvah? There are ones in Recife and in other cities in Brazil. The article says that they have "undergone Orthodox conversions," and unless you have evidence to the contrary, you have no right to doubt their genuineness as Jews.

It also says it's on the coast, so you've got the ocean in a pinch.

There seems a big difference between what this community is doing and the way that some people simply discover or claim Jewish ancestry. Pretty sure that building a mikva is a pretty good sign of how serious the process was.

And as for commonsense99, while it's reasonable to ask questions of a beis din's credentials when questions arise, it seems there is no reason to question anything based on this. You have an Orthodox rabbi, performing what is claimed to be halachic conversions.

11

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