I will [try] to write about some of our special moments shared together on our journey through Portugal. It has been a time of great spiritual growth – magic and wonder … so much so that I’m finding it difficult to express myself adequately.. I can’t possibly do justice to the times when heaven touched earth (us) on our journey through Portugal, meeting our brothers and sisters and having them join us along the way.
The two rabbi’s presently in Belmonte and Lisbon have written beautiful letters of thanks and support. They send blessings and love to all Saudades members and are looking forward to many more of us visiting them again real soon.
They both sent messages saying we brought them and the communities they serve great joy and inspiration but the truth is, we left them far richer in spirit . Having met them, the Belmonte, Porto Communities as well as the growing number of Anusim fighting for recognition…. studying and getting ready for their return home to Judaism. We are grateful for having rabbis like Rabbi’s Boaz Pash and Elisha Salas who are welcoming the Anusim, going out of their way to fight for them as well as teach them.
May they be blessed in the work they are doing for our people (in spite of the many obstacles put in their way) How do I express all of this in mere words? Unfortunately, in spite of the ‘good stuff’ there have been problems too. We, [Saudade Sefarad] have run into a financial problem due to the disbanding of our ‘Steering Committee’, set up especially for the purpose of fundraising, for those who had committed themselves to helping the Anusim and Belmonte community.
Those of you who know Yosef or who were with us in Belmonte for Shabbat, who met him, danced and sang with him after Friday evening services or heard him on Shabbat morning taking the lead for part of the service… will understand how important it is for this young man to be able to continue his studies ….. for him to return to Portugal as a rabbi. A Rabbi of our very own -someone exactly like those of us who are [or were] Anusim.
We are committed to sponsoring Yosef (Jose Joao) Mendes Rodrigo to attend the Sephardic Yeshiva in Jerusalem for a minimum of three years…. but now that the members who committed to this mitzvah reneged on their promise, we are faced with the problem of having no fundraisers. We need funds to keep our (Saudade Sefarad’s) part of our commitment.
SAUDADE SEFARAD is an international, non-governmental organization assisting the Belmonte and Anusim communities of Portugal . The American Sephardi Federation serves as non-profit, 501.c.3 umbrella agency for SAUDADE SEFARAD donors and grantors, facilitating the acceptance of gifts and funds.