Congregation Rodeph Sholom Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tradition Through Open Doors! A Conservative synagogue affiliated with USCJ

Poland’s President Apologizes for Jews Being Driven Out in 1968

Posted on March 12th, 2018
By Hana Levi Julian for The Jewish Press

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda apologized on Thursday to Polish Jews who were driven from their homeland 50 years ago.

Some 13,000 Jews were expelled from Poland, including Holocaust survivors and prominent thinkers and philosophers, by the communist party of 1968, using the excuse of a purge by the Moscow-backed communist regime in response to mass student protests.

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Mistaken Identity? The Case of New Mexico's "Hidden Jews"

Posted on March 5th, 2018

Imagine descendants of Jews pursued by the Spanish Inquisition, still tending the dying embers of their faith among peasant Latinos in the American Southwest. The story has obvious resonance, and it has garnered considerable publicity. The truth of the matter may turn out to be vastly different, and nearly as improbable.

THE telling has become almost stylized through repetition. In the mid-1980s a number of people with Spanish surnames began stealing into an office in Santa Fe, peering over their shoulders, shutting the door behind them, and whispering that their neighbors were engaging in strange customs that were decidedly out of place in the region's overwhelmingly Catholic culture. Soon those reports would lead to proud testimonials from southwesterners of Iberian descent claiming kinship with Jewish victims of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. And not just genetic descent: some of these people would say that though outwardly they were raised as Christians, their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were secretly observant Jews. Such stories are now so common in the Southwest that almost everyone takes them at face value.

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US agrees to Libyan request that activists say prevents Jewish artifacts from leaving the country

Posted on February 26th, 2018
By Josefin Dolsten for JTA

(JTA) — The United States is signing an agreement with Libya that activists say legitimizes the confiscation of Jewish property by the North African country.

On Tuesday, the State Department announced that the U.S. will sign a memorandum of understanding that will impose restrictions on importing ancient materials from the country.

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Brazilian-Jewish pioneers to New York celebrated in Rio Carnival parade

Posted on February 19th, 2018
By Marcus M. Gilban for JTA

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The saga of the European Jewish refugees who established the first synagogue in the New World and eventually also North America’s first congregation was celebrated in Rio’s Carnival parade.

A group of 80 Jewish community members joined more than 3,000 of Portela samba school performers on Monday night as they paraded along the half-mile street telling the bold story of the Jews expelled from Portugal, their temporary religious freedom and prosperity in a Dutch-ruled Brazilian region, and their second expulsion leading them to found the Shearith Israel synagogue in New York.

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SACRED PROTECTORS: Crossing Boundaries of Time and Faith, These Muslims Safeguard Morocco’s Holy Jewish Sites

Posted on February 12th, 2018

It’s a hot summer day when I arrive at Khmis Arazan, a small rural town in southern Morocco, about 170 miles south of Marrakesh. It’s Thursday, market day, and a group of local children spots me. Before I say a word, they know where I’m headed. There’s only one reason why outsiders find their way to this remote community: to visit the synagogue.

It has been four decades since the last of the Jews left Khmis Arazan, whose 8,000-some residents are nearly all Muslims. But it’s clear from the well-trodden path that more than a few tourists have made their way down these unpaved streets to the now crumbling Jewish neighborhood.

Arriving at the synagogue — an adobe structure dating from the late 19th century and recently renovated — I am greeted by Hmad Harim, a Muslim man in his late 60s who has spent much of his life working as caretaker for this relic of Morocco’s rich Jewish past.

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