(February 2, 2022, Oporto, Portugal, JNS Wire) Its name is Campo da Igualdade Isaac Aboab, or the Isaac Aboab Field of Equality. It is set in a quiet location on the outskirts of the city of Oporto. There are no high-rise buildings, no streets, no traffic lights, no sound of cars passing or people’s loud and constant chatter. It is as peaceful as it can possibly be. There are trees, grass, a lake, the chirping of carefree birds. And silence.
Oporto’s Chief Rabbi Daniel Litvak says, “It would be impossible in Oporto to build a private cemetery in a quiet, discreet location. The few available spaces are inside municipal cemeteries and it would be unfeasible to purchase and fence off such areas. Having considered the limitations, the Jewish community of Oporto decided to buy land outside the city.”
To avoid acts of vandalism the Jewish community of Oporto does not publicly reveal the address of the cemetery. The space is surrounded by a very high wall, there is an armed guard and it is equipped with surveillance cameras. However, the community knows that the graffiti is done by people in hoodies who live on the margins of society and usually make a quick getaway after carrying out their crimes.
The name of the cemetery is a reference to Chief Rabbi Isaac Aboab, who lived and died in Oporto following the expulsion of the Jews from Castile. “Unfortunately, we do not even know where the Chief Rabbi is buried because the Edict and the Inquisition destroyed all traces of the Jewish community of the time,” says Rabbi Yoel Zekri of the Jewish community of Oporto.
The new cemetery has about 300 individual graves as well as family vaults and the final details of the purification house are being completed. The Chevra Kadisha of the community is a professional London team headed by Rabbi Assaf Portal, who is also a member of the Jewish community of Oporto. Members of the team include volunteers from Golders Green, an Orthodox neighborhood of London, who will travel at once to Oporto when someone dies.
Rabbi Portal told the Portuguese Jewish News that the cemetery “is a sign of Jewish life. Before, the Jews of Oporto were robbed of all their assets, houses, even their cemetery was destroyed. The new cemetery of the Jewish community is proof that the Jews always regenerate, even in the most unexpected places.”
Five Sephardic Jews — Elad Dror, Nir Shalom, Eyal Sheni, Segev Danino and Eli Omer — are honorary members of the Jewish cemetery of Oporto. The families of these men fled Portugal a long time ago and today they have returned to develop and enrich this country with their wisdom, wealth and talent. Life.