Jewish and Catholic Communities in Porto Team Up to Fight Antisemitism, Build Social Solidarity

Bishop of Porto Manuel Linda and President of the Jewish Community of Oporto Diaz Ben Zion.

July 22, 2021

The Jewish community and Roman Catholic Diocese in Porto, Portugal, are working together to fight antisemitism, with the proceeds from a new film to allocated to future social solidarity projects.

The film, 1618, was directed by Luis Ismael and tells the story of the Inquisition in Porto.

Watch the trailer for 1618 — which has won more than 50 international awards — here:

Three other films — The Nun’s Kaddish, Sefarad, and The Light of Judah — were also jointly produced by the Jewish and Catholic communities of Porto.

The proceeds from the streaming in Israel of The Light of Judah, a sum of 15,000 euros, were donated to Leket, an Israeli food bank, while the proceeds from the streaming in Portugal, also 15,000 euros, were given the food bank in Porto and three local Catholic charity organizations.

In 2018, the Jewish and Catholic communities in Porto agreed to pursue collaboration in social and philanthropic activities, with their leaders meeting regularly.

The interfaith projects have received backing from local philanthropists, the Israeli Embassy in Portugal, B’nai B’rith International, and the Anti-Defamations League, among other entities.

“After three centuries of Inquisition, the Jewish community of Oporto reappeared. Today the community has about 500 members of 30 nationalities, a Holocaust Museum and a Jewish Museum,” stated Gabriela Cantergi, of the Jewish Community of Oporto.

In May, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) was honored to host a special webinar with Porto Mayor Dr. Rui Moreira.

Mayor Moreira reflected on his city’s storied Jewish past and spoke to the future of its once-again thriving Jewish community, sharing his leadership insights on how local governments can fight bigotry and promote cross-religious harmony.

“The theme is that people in Porto appreciate when they see different people and different creeds, this is a tolerant society that we have been trying to boost,” Mayor Moreira said. “The main boost we have given it is through culture. The expansion of culture is what brings about tolerance. We try to show people that differences are what make mankind different from everyone else.”