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History of the Jews in Brazil: Wikis


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Brazilian Jew
Judeu Brasileiro  · יְהוּדִי ברזילי
Henrysobel21092006.jpg Marcelo Gleiser.JPG Moacir Scliar.jpg
Silviosantos.jpg Dan Stulbach.jpg Natália Timberg.jpg
Roberto Justus.jpg Serginho Groisman.jpg Juca Chaves.jpg
Bussunda AgBrasil.jpg Niskier09102006.jpg Minc.jpg
Notable Brazilian Jews:

Henry SobelMarcelo GleiserMoacyr Scliar
Silvio Santos • Dan Stulbach • Natália Thimberg
Roberto Justus • Serginho Groisman • Juca Chaves
Bussunda • Arnaldo Niskier • Carlos Minc

Total population
Regions with significant populations

Mainly in the cities of São Paulo and Rio


Brazilian Portuguese, minority speak Hebrew, Judaeo-Spanish, Yiddish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Polish and Russian[citation needed]



Related ethnic groups

White Brazilian, Jew, Barbadian Jews

A Brazilian Jewish person (Portuguese: Judeu Brasileiro, Hebrew: יְהוּדִי ברזילי) is a Brazilian person of Jewish ancestry, or a Brazilian who converted into Judaism.

The history of the Jews in Brazil is a rather long and complex one, as it stretches from the very beginning of the European settlement in the new continent. Jews started settling in Brazil ever since the Inquisition reached Portugal in the 16th century. They arrived in Brazil during the period of Dutch rule, setting up in Recife the first synagogue in the Americas as early as 1636. Most of those Jews were Sephardic Jews who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal to the religious freedom of the Netherlands. After the first Brazilian constitution in 1824 that granted freedom of religion, Jews began to slowly arrive in Brazil. Many Moroccan Jews arrived in the 19th century, principally because of the rubber boom. Waves of Jewish immigration occurred during the rise of Nazis in Europe. In late 1950s, another wave of immigration brought thousands of North African Jews. Nowadays, the Jewish communities thrive in Brazil and there are several Jewish and Zionist groups, clubs, schools, etc. Some antisemitic events and acts occurred mainly during the 2006 Lebanon War.


First Jewish arrivals

The oldest synagogue in the Americas, Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, located in Recife.

Most sources state that the first synagogue of Belém, Sha'ar haShamaim ("Gate of Heaven"), was founded in 1824. There are, however, controversies; Samuel Benchimol, author of Eretz Amazônia: Os Judeus na Amazônia, affirms that the first synagogue in Belém was Eshel Avraham ("Abraham's Tamarisk") and that it was established in 1823 or 1824, while Sha'ar haShamaim was founded in 1826 or 1828. The Jewish population in the capital of Grão-Pará alread had in 1842 an Israelite necropolis.[2]

Because of unfavorable conditions in Europe, European Jews began debating in the 1890s about establishing agricultural settlements in Brazil. At first, the plan did not work because of Brazilian political quarrels.[3] In 1904, the Jewish agricultural colonization, supported by the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) began in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil. The main intention of the JCA in creating those colonies was to resettle Russian Jews during the mass immigration from the hostile Russian empire. The first colonies were Philippson (1904) and Quatro Irmãos (1912).[4] All these colonization attempts, however, failed because of, "Inexperience, insufficient funds and poor planning" and also because of, "Administrative problems, lack of agricultural facilities and the lure of city jobs." In 1920, the JCA began selling some of the land to non-Jewish settlers.[3] Despite the failure, "The colonies aided Brazil and helped change the stereotypical image of the non-productive Jew, capable of working only in commerce and finance. The main benefit from these agricultural experiments was the removal of restrictions in Brazil on Jewish immigration from Europe during the twentieth century."[4] By the First World War, about 7,000 Jews were inhabiting Brazil. In 1910 in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, a Jewish school was opened and a Yiddish newspaper, Di Menshhayt ("Humanity") was established in 1915. One year later, the Jewish community of Rio de Janeiro formed an aid committee for World War I victims.[3]

Present-day Jewish community

There are about 96,000 Jews in Brazil today. The current Jewish community is mostly composed of Ashkenazim Jews of Polish and German descent and also Sephardim, among them a plurality of Egyptian descent.[1] They play an active role in politics, sports, academia, trade and industry, and are overall well integrated in all spheres of Brazilian life. The majority of Brazilian Jews live in the state of São Paulo but there are also sizeable communities in Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, and Paraná.

Jews lead an open religious life in Brazil and there are rarely any reported cases of anti-semitism in the country. In the main urban centers there are schools, associations and synagogues where Brazilian Jews can practice and pass on Jewish culture and traditions.

Some Jewish scholars say that the only threat facing Judaism in Brazil is the relatively high frequence of intermarriage. There have been, however, some instances of vandalism in Jewish cemeteries after Israel's attacks in Lebanon, like the ones in Belo Horizonte in 2007.

Paulinho Rosenbaum, a Brazilian Jewish Sociologist created a new approach of being Jewish within the Brazilian Culture, the TROPICASHER, Tropical and Casher (Kosher).[citation needed]


Size of Jewish communities in Brazil

Other Jewish communities in the state of São Paulo are found in Santos, Guarujá, São Vicente, Praia Grande, Campinas, Valinhos, Vinhedo, Americana, Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo, São Caetano do Sul, Mauá, São José dos Campos, Jacareí, Taubaté, Ubatuba, Guaratinguetá, Ribeirão Preto, São Carlos, Sorocaba, Itu, Araçoiaba da Serra, Boituva, São José do Rio Preto and Araraquara.

Other Jewish communities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul are found in Santa Maria, Passo Fundo and Cruz Alta.

Small Jewish communities can also be found in Bahia (Itabuna), Paraíba (Campina Grande and João Pessoa), Rondônia (Porto Velho) and Sergipe (Aracaju).

See also


  1. ^ a b American Jewish Year Book. 107. American Jewish Committee. 2007. , to see chapter used, see "World Jewish Population, 2007"
  2. ^ Scheinbein (2006), p.45
  3. ^ a b c Oreck, Alden. "Brazil". The Virtual Jewish History Tour. Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  4. ^ a b Nachman, Falbel (2007-08-16). "Jewish agricultural settlement in Brazil". Jewish History (Springer Netherlands) 21 (3-4, September 2007): 325. doi:10.1007/s10835-007-9043-6. OCLC 46840526. Retrieved 2008-06-15. Lay summary – Spinger Link. "Jewish agricultural colonization in Brazil began in 1904 in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, supported by the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA). The JCA created the first colonies – Philippson (1904) and Quatro Irmãos (1912) – with the intention of resettling Russian Jews during the decisive years of mass immigration from the Russian empire.". . No page, quote taken from abstract.
  5. ^ "Federação Israelita do Rio Grande do Sul" (in Portuguese). 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  6. ^ Andréa Telo da Côrte (2009-05-29). "Judeus e Judeus: A Coletividade Judaica de Niterói e as Disputas pela Memória" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  7. ^ Lia Vainer Schuman (2009-05-29). "Produção de Sentidos e a Construção da Identidade Judaica em Florianópolis" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  8. ^ Daniele Ricci (2009-05-29). "Volta para casa: Restos mortais de três judeus deixam Piracicaba" (in Portuguese). Gazeta de Piracicaba. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  9. ^ Álvaro Guimarães (2009-05-29). "Perdão e reverência no Sábado dos Sábados" (in Portuguese). Diário Popular. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  10. ^ "Prefeitura Municipal de Erechim" (in Portuguese). 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 

Further reading

Lesser, Jeffrey (1995). Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520084136. 


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