Madeira to Host 1st Public Seder

On an isolated island tucked away deep in the Atlantic Ocean, some 600 miles from the European continent and 300 miles away from Africa, a most unusual Passover Seder sponsored by Shavei Israel is taking place this week.

Thirteen Jews, many of them Bnei Anousim – descendants of Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism more than 500 years ago – will gather in Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, to celebrate the Exodus from Egypt

It will be the first public Seder held in centuries in a region that once had a thriving Jewish population until the Inquisition arrived, even in this remote location, so far from the mainland.

The Madeira Seder will be led by Marvin and Danby Meital, an American-Israeli- couple with a keen interest in crypto-Jewish history. Shavei Israel is sponsoring the Seder, providing funding to make it possible and also supplying the participants with specially designed Portuguese-Hebrew Haggadot.


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