Portugal’s Jewish and Catholic communities use cinema to fight anti-Semitism


The joint efforts of the Jewish community of Porto, Portugal, and the city’s Roman Catholic diocese against anti-Semitism are increasing, with the proceeds of a new film being fully donated to social projects of solidarity.

The film, 1618, tells the story of the Inquisition’s visit to Porto which encountered resistance from priests, residents and municipal authorities. The film was directed by Luís Ismael and has received more than 50 international awards.

1618 is part of a joint project of the Jewish and Roman Catholic communities in Porto. The two communities have also produced three other films, including “The Nun’s Kaddish”, “Sefarad” and “The Light of Judah”. Profits from all films go to social causes.

Proceeds from the streaming in Israel of the film Light of Judah, totaling 15,000 euros, were donated to Leket Israel, Israel’s largest food bank, about 10 months ago. Proceeds from the film’s streaming in Portugal, also totaling 15,000 euros, were donated to the Porto Food Bank and three local Catholic charities.

Social initiatives carried out by the two communities have received financial and practical support from Jewish families and philanthropic organizations such as the Israeli Embassy in Portugal, B’nai Brith International and the Anti-Defamation League.

Religious, social, cultural and social cooperation between the city’s Jewish and Catholic communities began in December 2019, with the aim of combating anti-Semitism, creating dialogue and promoting social initiatives.

The two communities established a protocol in 2018 to cooperate in social and philanthropic efforts and for their leaders to meet regularly to strengthen good relations, mutual respect and friendship.

The Jewish community of Porto is led by President Diaz Ben Zion.

“After three centuries of the Inquisition, the Jewish community in Porto has reappeared. Today the community has about 500 members of 30 nationalities, a Holocaust museum and a Jewish museum,” said Gabriela Cantergi, of the community. Jewish woman from Porto, in a statement.

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