Forman asociación para rescatar el último shul en las Islas Azores (en Inglés)

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Portuguese historian Jose Mello is coming to the United States to speak at SER-Jobs for Progress, 164 Bedford St., on Sunday at 4 p.m. about the Sabar Hassamain Synagogue. The synagogue was founded in 1836 by a group of Jews fleeing the Inquisition in Portugal and Spain. It was abandoned in the 1950s and has fallen into disrepair since that time. At one point, the island of Sao Miguel was home to five synagogues.

A delegation from Massachusetts, which included state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, visited the Azores last fall and was devastated by the condition of the synagogue. In an effort to find support for restoring the synagogue, the Azorean-Jewish Heritage Foundation was formed earlier this year.


The city of Ponta Delgada named Mello to spearhead the synagogue restoration plans, restore its santuary and develop an on-site library and lecture hall.

“When I walked into the sanctuary, I felt the weight of history, and the power of the faith that this community once carried with them,” Rodrigues said. “It was an extremely powerful and moving experience. I hope that the synagogue is once again restored to its greatness.”

With the assistance of Mello, the Azorean-Jewish Heritage Foundation is hoping to recruit people to contribute to the project. Foundation president Gideon Gradman toured the synagogue alongside Mello and felt compelled to join the restoration effort.

“When I saw the synagogue for the first time alongside Dr. Mello I was struck by the beauty of the building and history present within,” Gradman said. “At the same time, I felt heartbroken to see it in such disrepair. The building was once the focal point for the Jewish community and I strongly support efforts to move forward with this restoration project.”

The presentation is open to the public and admission is free. For more information, contact Rodrigues’ district director Pedro Amaral at 508-646-0650.

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