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May 25, 1984 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-05-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

LA NAILERY

GETTING THE CHILDREN
TO EAT A DELICIOUS
HOT MEAL IS EASY AS

European
Pedicure & Manicure

Jews in the Amazon

BY JILL KLINE

can immigrants were given
a Jewish education. Their
descendants today still fast
on Yom Kippur, eat matzah
on Pesach, name their chil-
dren Esther, Menachem,
Moses . . . and treasure
their possessions of talitot,
tefilin and siddurim
brought over from Morocco.
The Jewish community of
Belem, located in Para
state, today comprises 250
families — more than 1,000
souls — but the acting rabbi
is skeptical, noting that
perhaps 660 of those 1,000
are "real" Jews.
Nevertheless, Veltman
takes a social and an-
thropological view of the
situation. He has calculated
50,000-60,000 Hebrew de-
scendants — half of the ac-
tual Brazilian Jewish popu-
lation of 110,000 in this
country where 90 percent of
the 120 million inhabitants
profess Catholicism.
"Most importantly, in
this immense majority,"
Veltman emphasizes, "they'
are extremely aware of
their origins, and a great
part are guarding the
Jewish precepts, or trying to
return."
The history of the Jews of
the Amazon began in the
past century when the
Moroccan immigrants ar-
rived from Tangier and
Teuan as a result of those
cities being quartered into
ghettos until 1912.
During the first half of
the century in the northern
states and Amazon region,
the Jews prospered, and de-
veloped the regions they in-
habited. For example, in
Cameta, the government
maintains the Jewish
cemetery, regarding it as a
monument to the city be-
cause the Jews were integ-
ral in the city's develop-
ment.
There is a small house in
front of the cemetery which
has on the wall an inscrip-
tion: "Be-it El." Veltman
asked the owners if they
knew what it meant — "No,
but they say it brings good
luck, so we always renovate
it."

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42
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AI

fst

New York — A 15th Cen-
tury Hebrew Bible from
Prague is among the items
of Judaica to be auctioned
off June 26 at Sotheby's.
The Prague Bible is one of
70 Hebrew books and
manuscripts from various
collections being offered by
the auction house. The
Bible was published in 1489
for a prominent citizen of
Prague and subsequently
acquired by German
philosopher Moses Mendel-
sohn.

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/1-

Sao Paulo (JTA) — Would
you believe the "Wandering
Jews" have left about-
50,000 descendants still liv-
ing in remote river com-
munities in the Amazon? A
Brazilian sociologist -
turned - journalist has
proof.
Henrique Veltman, a
47-year-old Sao Paulo
writer, has documented
major participation by
Moroccan Jews in the origi-
nal European settlement of
the Amazon.
He has found that even in
places where intermarriage
with Indians and mestizos
(Indians - Black - Por-
tuguese - Spanish) was so
extensive that Hebrew
words had crept into indig-
enous languages, and chil-
dren and grandchildren of
Jewish immigrants still
kept some customs intact.
The results form his
explorations and investiga-
tions will be organized into
a presentation of Latin
American Jews by Beit
Hatefusoth, The Museum of
the Diaspora, in Tel Aviv.
The museum concentrates
its efforts on obtaining in-
formation about Jewish life
outside of Israel.
Veltman, in an interview
with the Jewish Tele-
graphic Agency, said he
succeeded in contacting
several descendants during
his month-long search,
which covered 12 cities
spread out in northern
Brazil, and the interior of
the Amazon region, where
encounters with monkeys,
snakes and other jungle
animals were a frequent
reminder of just how deep
the Moroccan immigrants
had penetrated.
A remnant descendant
hospitalized in Cameta, a
city in the state of Para,
asked Veltman to tell him
the story of the modern
State of Israel — his eyes
widened, ". . . then it's true,
there really does exist a
state of the Jews!" His
father arrived in Brazil at
the age of 12 from Tangier,
Morocco.
Another descendant, Car-
lindo, born in 1915 in
Cameta to Joseph Cohen
and Vitoria Maria Cohen —
Joseph from Tangier and
Vitoria a Catholic from
Cameta married Luna Ben
Sabat Cohen, daughter of
Jaime Ben Sabat and the
granddaughter of Manesse
Cohen, both from Tangier
— showed Veltman maga-
zines and calendars that he
periodically receives from
Beit Chabad. He can't read
Hebrew, yet he remembers
his father's hymns from the
synagogue.
Sons of Jewish immig-
rants found no Jewish
women to marry — the
women they did find,
wouldn't convert. However,
the children of the Moroc-

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Friday, May 25, 1984 35

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Thursday
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Saturday
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