Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 3:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. We will be joined by acclaimed novelist Richard Zimler who will give us a presentation on his novel “The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon” and the massacre of converted Jews that began on April 19, 1506. By the time it ended a few days later, between 2,000-4,000 “New Christians” had been slaughtered. Zimler’s book describes the city and re-creates several sections of Lisbon in the early 16th Century, revealing a dangerous place for Jews living half-hidden on the run from the Spanish Inquisition. Richard will also talk about his experience as an American Jew living in Portugal for more than 30 years. Followed by Q&A.
12:10 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will “explore” Medieval Lisbon and places related to the massacre of 1506. Beginning at the castle of Saint George overlooking Lisbon and the Tagus River, we will move through the streets of the Alfama Quarter — the oldest part of the city that survived the natural disasters of 1755 — and the old Jewish Quarter. We’ll also see highlights of downtown Lisbon on our way to Rossio Square in the heart of the city, where we will end at the Memorial of the Massacre of 1506. Followed by Q&A. 1:10 p.m. Break. 1:30 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will “depart” Lisbon and cross the center of Portugal to the rural mountain area of Belmonte. We will explore the birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral, a Portuguese navigator who discovered the sea route to Brazil in 1500. We’ll also learn about the existence of a Jewish community that was already prosperous in the 13th Century and that survived until 1496 when the Manuel I, King of Portugal, decreed the forced conversion of all Jews to Catholicism. At the Belmonte Jewish Museum, we will see how a crypto-Jewish community survived over the centuries, maintaining its rituals and traditions, and how it has become a very active community since the 1980s. 2:30 p.m. Interactive discussion. Several experts have developed studies on the evolution of the Portuguese diet in relation to different religious groups. With our Group Leader, we will discuss how religious interdictions served to denounce neighbors and friends during the Inquisition for what they included in their diet or refused to include in their diet, and how New Christians managed to deceive Christians making them think they ate pork. 2:50 p.m. Wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 3:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.