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Portugal: European Citizenship for Sephardic Jews.



A. Historical view


Sephardic Jews, the descendants of the ancient Jews and the traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula are designated.

The presence of these communities in the Iberian Peninsula is very old, being the same before the formation of two Iberian Christian kingdoms, as happened with Portugal since the 12th century.


That community does not end do sec. XV e with Edito de Alhambra of 1492, was persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, these members having a refuge in Portugal.

However, King D. Manuel, who initially enacted a law guaranteeing protection, determined, beginning in 1496, to expel all Sephardic Jews who were not subject to Catholic baptism. Thus, numerous Sephardic Jews were expelled from Portugal in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.


In general, these peninsular Jews settled, among others, in countries such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Turkey, as in the North African regions and, later, in United States territories, such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the United States of America.

Despite the persecution of the ancestral territory, many of the Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin and their descendants maintained many traditional rituals of Jewish worship in Portugal, keeping throughout their years objects and documents that prove the Portuguese origin, along with a Strongly related memorial evoking the name "Portuguese Jews" or "Jews of the Portuguese nation".


During the period of the Inquisition, many Portuguese Jews will be able to escape from the Kingdom, settling in some regions of the Mediterranean (Gibraltar, Morocco, Southern France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel Jordan, Egypt, Libya , Tunisia and Algeria), Northern Europe (London, Nantes, Paris, Antwerp, Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam), Brazil, the Antilles and the United States, among others, creating communities of great renown and founding notable synagogues such as the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam, the Shearith Israel synagogue in New York, the Bevis Marks synagogue in London, the Touro synagogue in Newport (Rhode Island - USA), the Portuguese synagogue in Montreal and the Tzur Israel synagogue in Recife.


Even today, in many surnames of Sephardic Jewish families, the Portuguese matrix is ​​preserved, although in some cases it is mixed with Castilian.


B. Article 6/7 of the Nationality Law (Law No. 37/81)


The Portuguese nationality law establishes that the Government can grant nationality by naturalization to the descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, through the demonstration of the tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on proven objective requirements of connection to Portugal, namely surnames, direct or collateral descent.

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