In the last 1400s the Roman Catholic Church and Spain were seeking to eliminate any heresy, meaning beliefs that didn't conform to Catholic doctrines. Protestants, Muslims and Jews were persecuted in Spain. Under duress, many "converted" to Roman Catholicism, but this left them open to greater persecution if they were even suspected of practicing Judaism. Many of these Sephardic Jews went to neighboring Portugal, but cruel persecution soon found them.
In 1536 at the request of Portuguese King Joas III, Portugal began what we call the Portuguese Inquisition. In Portugal, the Sephardic Jews were especially singled out for persecution. Some agreed to become Roman Catholics, but even then, they were often persecuted by suspicious Catholic authorities just as they were in Spain. Fleeing to colonies of either country was only a temporary fix; the Inquisition was soon extended there as well. The Jewish people of Portugal were scattered for five centuries. Eventually some made their home in Israel after she became a nation in 1948.
In 1987, Mario Soares, then president of Portugal, asked for forgiveness from the Jewish people in his country for Portugal's role in the Inquisition. In 2015 the Portuguese government offered dual citizenship to the descendants of those Jews who were expelled five centuries earlier. Some have returned to Portugal, but most remain in Israel.
They are currently a distinct community of Jews, numbering 1,800, located in Jerusalem. They have a synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Those Sephardic Jewish people from Portugal are living peaceful lives in Israel. They have preserved traditions from Portugal, including folk songs, proverbs, and food. Some still use Portuguese names but others prefer Hebrew ones.
They practice the Jewish faith, but maintain their ethnic Portuguese identity and language in Israel. Some Portuguese Jewish individuals have given up on God and live secular lives. Some have turned to New Age beliefs. This is also true of many other Jewish people groups in Israel.
Numerous Christian resources are available in Portuguese, such as Bibles and presentations in print, audio and video. However, many Jewish people feel that Bible believing Christians are a threat, and evangelistic activities are opposed in some Jewish quarters. There are now Bible training colleges in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel. Portuguese Jewish background believers can attend these colleges.
* Ask the Lord to open the minds of the Portuguese Sephardic Jews to listen to the gospel message and embrace their true messiah.
* Pray that Portuguese speaking evangelicals will feel called to minister to these Sephardic Jews in Jerusalem.
* Pray for a disciple making movement among Sephardic Jews in Israel to spread far and wide.
|Profile Source: Keith Carey|
|People Name General||Jew, Portuguese Speaking|
|People Name in Country||Jew, Portuguese|
|Population in Israel||1,800|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|GSEC||1 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Alternate Names||Portuguese Jewish|
|Primary Language||Portuguese (1,800 speakers)|
|Language Code||por Ethnologue Listing|
|Language Written||Yes ScriptSource Listing|
|Other People Groups||Speaking Portuguese|
Primary Language: Portuguese
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1681-2004)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Amazon||National Bible Societies|
|Forum of Bible Agencies||World Bible Finder|
|Gospel Go||World Bibles|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name||New|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Atualizada (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Corrigida (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Interconfessional (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Todays New Language (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Oral Bible stories in Portuguese|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||Fathers Love Letter|
|Film / Video||God's Story Video|
|Film / Video||Jesus film: view in Portuguese|
|Film / Video||Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)|
|Film / Video||Rivka (Jesus Film Project)||★|
|Film / Video||Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)|
|Film / Video||The Hope Video: View in Portuguese|
|Film / Video||Walk with Jesus (Africa, JFP)|
|General||Four Spiritual Laws|
|General||Got Questions Ministry|
|General||Open-licensed Bible stories on mobile app|
|Primary Religion:||Ethnic Religions|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent *|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.10 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|