The Oral History of the Portuguese Jewish Community in the XXI Century: Family Histories and Life Stories of Three Generations in Portugal
My presentation will draw on the oral history of the Portuguese Jewish Community in XXI century using family histories and life stories of three generations in Portugal, particularly from the Jewish Community of Lisbon. The images that you are seeing here are from the synagogue of Lisbon, called “Shaaré Tikva” or ‘Gates of Hope’, from the beginning of the XX century, that has a symbolic meaning in the history of the Portuguese Jewish Community, in a country that is mainly Catholic by religion. This synagogue is a reflex of the social and historical relationship that was developed over centuries: the synagogue is in one of the main streets of the capital city, but at the time it could not be visible from the street because it was not Catholic. Today I will present the outcome of an anthropological, sociological and historical study over three generations of Portuguese Jews, especially focused on the history of the Sephardim and Ashkenazim in and out of Portugal from the XV century until the present day. I used an ethnographic methodology, doing an extensive ethnographic fieldwork for two years, that allowed me to do an oral reconstruction of their life stories and family memories until modern times, debating issues such as nation, belonging, religion and the meaning of being a Portuguese Jew nowadays. The reconstruction of their history is done taking in account the national and transnational narratives of Europe, Middle-East, Africa and America. It is my intention to contribute for an understanding of the national identity in Portugal and within Europe in a time when questions such as the right of belonging or living is becoming an important part of the public and private discourses.
Jewish Community Main Topic: Identity and Community Ethnography Oral History and Biography Memory Synagogues
Lecture presented at SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies Evening Lectures Series, London, UK
PDF (via academia.edu), The Oral History of the Portuguese Jewish Community in the XXI Century: Family Histories and Life Stories of Three Generations in Portugal
The Oral History of the Portuguese Jewish Community in the XXI Century: Family Histories and Life Stories of Three Generations in Portugal. 2015: https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-1216