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Today, the Jewish community of Portugal numbers approximately 600 people.

century BCE or maybe even beforehand during the reign of King Solomon in 900s BCE.

The clergy wanted to invoke restrictions of the Lateran Council against the Jews, but King Dinis (1279-1235) resisted and reassured the Jews that they did not have to pay tithes to the church.

century, more than 200,000 Jews lived in Portugal, which was about 20 percent of the total population.

From the Golden Age of Discovery to the Inquisition, Portugese Jewry went from the heights of wealth and success to the depths of anguish and despair.

Tensions arose between the Jewish community, who choose to remain faithful to their religion, and the local clergy and middle/lower classes.Jews lived in separate quarters, but had freedom to move within the country; these quarters remained until the Jewish expulsion from Portugal.Each of these quarters had its own synagogue, slaughter house, hospital, jails, bath houses and other institutions.It was common to see Jews adorned in silk clothing, carrying gilt swords and riding beautiful horses.They were given preferential treatment by the kings.Jealous of the Jews’ success, anti-Jewish sentiment arose in the peasant and middle classes.Fights between Jews and Christians became more common after the influx of Jews from Spain into Portugal, in 1391.Walking along Lisbon’s streets, remnants remain of Portugal’s rich Jewish life.Sparks of Portugal’s past can be found in the remote mountain villages, where the some of the last remaining Marrano communities can still be found practicing Jewish rituals behind closed doors, fear of persecutions still looming.A rabbi served as the administrative and legal authority within the commune.Portugal was home to many famous Jews during this period.

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