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24311
Online Program

Adventures Online: The Jewish Heritage of Portugal

Join experts for an immersive look into Portugal’s Jewish community through history during this live, online learning adventure that offers a look into Jewish heritage and traditions.
Rating (5)
Program No. 24311RJ
Length
3 days
Starts at
349
Online Program

Adventures Online: The Jewish Heritage of Portugal

Join experts for an immersive look into Portugal’s Jewish community through history during this live, online learning adventure that offers a look into Jewish heritage and traditions.
Length
3 days
Starts at
349
Program No. 24311 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person

DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

At a Glance

Portugal has a rich Jewish history that is both complicated and fascinating. Join historians and authors for a live, online learning adventure that offers a look into the traditions and modern life of Portugal’s Jewish community. Embark on virtual field trips to the town of Tomar to learn about one of the oldest medieval synagogues in Portugal, and to medieval Lisbon to trace the events of the massacre of 1506. Virtually explore the mountain region of Belmonte to get insight into its Crypto-Jew community, and take a virtual journey to Cascais and Estoril to explore the history of the Portuguese Riviera. Take in lectures and presentations on the history of Jewish presence in Portugal, meet author Richard Zimler to hear about his novel on the 1506 massacre, learn about the evolution of the Portuguese diet and how it relates to different religious groups, and discuss the past and present subject of refugees. Along the way, join in discussion with your fellow Road Scholars as you become immersed in the stories and history of Portugal’s Jewish heritage.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Meet American journalist Richard Zimler and author of “The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon,” to learn about the 1506 massacre in Lisbon, and hear about his experience as an American Jew living in Portugal for 30 years.
  • Join the historian Inês Brandão to learn about the history of refugees who stayed in Portugal between 1936-1955, and hear stories of Aristides Sousa Mendes, known as the Portuguese Schindler.
  • Take a virtual field trip to Belmonte to learn about its Crypto-Jew community, and learn how the community was contacted by mine engineer Samuel Schwarz.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. This session is offered live only and will not be available on demand. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Inês Brandão
Inês Brandão has a degree in History from the University of Edinburgh and a Master's degree in Islamic Studies and Museology from the University of New York. She is interested in the history of refugees who stayed in the Cascais/Estoril area of Portugal during the period between 1936 and 1955.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Richard Zimler
Richard Zimler View biography
Richard Zimler is a novelist (born 1956). His works have been published in 23 languages and have become bestsellers in 13 countries including the USA, UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Australia, and Portugal. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in comparative religion from Duke University and a Master’s in journalism from Stanford University, then worked for eight years as a journalist in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1990, he moved to Porto, Portugal, and taught journalism at the College of Journalism and the University of Porto.
Profile Image of Inês Brandão
Inês Brandão View biography
Inês Brandão has a degree in History from the University of Edinburgh and a Master's degree in Islamic Studies and Museology from the University of New York. She is interested in the history of refugees who stayed in the Cascais/Estoril area of Portugal during the period between 1936 and 1955.
Profile Image of Leonor Sousa
Leonor Sousa View biography
Leonor Sousa lives in Lisbon. She speaks several languages fluently and has taken courses in Medieval art and architecture as well as Jewish history. Leonor is experienced in product planning and coordinating events and conferences. She has been working as a Certified Guide and Tour Manager for national and international clients for a number of years.
Profile Image of Elisabete Manteigueiro
Elisabete Manteigueiro View biography
Elisabete Manteigueiro graduated in Portuguese Language and Culture. She has worked at Empresa Municipal de Belmonte since 2009. Among several activities, she leads explorations in the different museum spaces of the municipality and collaborates in the realization of cultural events.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Hunting Midnight
by Richard Zimler
The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon
by Richard Zimler
GARBO: The Spy Who Saved D-Day (Secret History Files)
by National Archives (Author), Mark Seaman (introduction)
Online article “Portuguese Crypto-Jews: The Genetic Heritage of a Complex History”
by Inês Nogueiros and others
Online article Digging Portugal's Jewish Past: Samuel Schwarz (1880- 1953)
by Claude B. Stuczynski, Bar-Ilan University
The Lisbon Route: Entry and Escape in Nazi Europe
by Ronald Weber
Guardian of the Dawn
by Richard Zimler
Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45
by Neil Lochery
Sephardic Jews of Spain and Portugal
by Dolores Sloan
The Jews of Spain
by Jane S. Gerber
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3 days
DAY
1
Orientation, Introductions, The Jewish Presence, Tomar
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 3:00 p.m.

Morning: Welcome, Orientation, Introductions. The Group Leader will greet everyone and review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, Zoom meeting protocols, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. We will then say hello to our fellow Road Scholars. 11:30 a.m. Lecture. We will have an introduction to Portugal, its geography, language, and aspects of history that will prepare us for understanding the roles played by Portuguese Jews. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “From the Golden Age of Discovery to the Inquisition, Portuguese Jewry went from the heights of wealth and success to the depths of anguish and despair.” Followed by Q&A.

Afternoon: 12:15 p.m. Break. 12:30 p.m. Lecture. We will be joined by Inês Fialho-Brandão, a historian from whom we’ll learn about the history of the Jewish presence in Portugal since Roman times until the forced conversion in 1496 to Catholicism and the introduction of the Inquisition in Portugal in the 16th Century. Followed by Q&A. 1:50 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will “visit” Tomar, a small town that preserves one of the oldest Medieval synagogues in Portugal. We will start with a “walk” to the hill top and see the view over the historic center to the castle — constructed in 1160 — that served as the headquarters of the Knights Templar in Portugal for 700 years. The castle and the convent within have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “Originally designed as a monument symbolizing the Reconquest, the Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar (transferred in 1344 to the Knights of the Order of Christ) came to symbolize just the opposite during the Manueline period — the opening up of Portugal to other civilizations.” Later we’ll stroll along old streets and squares en route to our exploration of the synagogue. Followed by Q&A. 2:50 p.m. Wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 3:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

DAY
2
The Last Kabbalist, Medieval Lisbon, Belmonte, Jewish Museum
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 3:00 p.m.

Morning: 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.

Afternoon: 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.

DAY
3
War Refugees, Mendes, Cascais & Estoril, Community Today
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 3:00 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. Inês Brandão will return for a presentation on refugees in Portugal during World War II. We’ll also learn about the role of Aristides Sousa Mendes — known as the Portuguese Schindler — who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis. Professor Brandão will contextualize the arrival of thousands of Jewish refugees during World War II to Portugal, the relationship of these refugees with the authorities and with locals, who they were, where they stayed, and where they went. Followed by Q&A.

Afternoon: 12:05 p.m. Break. 12:15 p.m. Virtual field trip. Cascais and Estoril are known has the Portuguese Riviera. Since the late 19th Century, they have been cosmopolitan havens for kings and queens in exile — as well as spies during World War II. Hotels and beautiful villas hide fascinating stories we will examine. We will start at the citadel of Cascais where we can see the coastline all the way to Lisbon. Our virtual walk will alternate with a train ride. Followed by Q&A. 1:15 p.m. Break. 1:30 p.m. Conversation. We will be joined by a representative of the Jewish community of Porto who will tell us about the challenges faced by the community today, and the recognition of descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews — people who can obtain Portuguese nationality by demonstrating the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin. 2:20 p.m. Interactive discussion. We will discuss the policy of the European Union regarding the arrival of refugees annually to Europe from Africa and Asia. We’ll also focus on how Portugal positions itself in relation to the quotas attributed to the country by the EU. 2:40 p.m. Wrap-up and farewells. 3:00 p.m. This concludes our program.






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