“Every person that I spoke to in Portugal tells me there is no anti-Semitism from the taxi drivers, you can wear a kippah, people can pray at the synagogue. I think it’s a unique country in Europe now, where people can pray and openly expose their Jewish belonging.”
So says Yigal Ben Zion, a Turkish-born Tel Avivi who is considering a permanent move to Porto following a recent Shabbaton in the Portuguese city. As reported in the Tablet's fascinating story, Ben Zion is part of a wave of Turkish and other Jews who are being invited to return to Sephard -- the historic homeland spanning Portugal and Spain.
Five hundred years after the Ottoman empire opened their gates to Jews fleeing Iberia, now Iberia is opening its gates to Jews fleeing Turkey and elsewhere. Who is heeding the call to return? What are they seeking? And how are they being received by the Portuguese Jewish community? The article addresses these issues and many more.