OPORTO, Portugal and ISTANBUL, March 31, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
During the first month that the Portuguese law, which grants a right of return to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, has been in effect, hundreds of Turkish Jews, especially from Istanbul, have contacted the Jewish community of Oporto to obtain the certificate as required by law. The Portuguese law stipulates that applicants must present a document issued by the Jewish Community of Oporto or the Jewish Community of Lisbon.
The Jewish Community of Oporto, which has published an English-language text for prospective applicants on its website, believes that, due to its long history, the Sephardic community of Turkey is necessarily comprised of descendants of Portuguese and Spanish Jews, who were forced to leave Sefarad at the end of the fifteenth century. However, because Portuguese law required an objective proof of a connection to Portugal, it is necessary that the candidates seek in their known genealogy, Portuguese names or names used by Portuguese Sephardic Jews. The Jewish Community of Oporto has an extensive list of Portuguese family names in order to mor easily resolve the cases that applicants present for its consideration. In addition, applicants must prove other personal documents through a notary, including proof that they have no criminal record in their country of origin or residence.
Elected Best European Destination 2014 by the European citizens, Oporto is life, history and culture. There is no anti-Semitism in this city, the second largest city in the country. It would be an honor for the Jewish Community of Oporto, located in the largest synagogue in the Iberian Peninsula (Sefarad) to see Sephardic Jews from Turkey one day living in this beautiful land.
Michael Rothwell, a delegate of the Committee of the Jewish Community of Oporto, speaking to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, stated: "Israel is for Jews the land of return but in Europe, the best safe harbor for Jews is Portugal, perhaps the only country in Europe where one can safely walk anywhere at any time while wearing a kippah."
SOURCE Jewish Community of Oporto