Spanish and Portuguese Jews are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardim who have their main ethnic origins within the crypto-Jewish communities of the Iberian peninsula and who shaped communities mainly in Western Europe and the Americas from the late 16th century on. These communities must be clearly distinguished from:
Spanish and Portuguese Jews have a distinctive ritual based on that of pre-expulsion Spain, but influenced by the Spanish-Moroccan rite on the one side and the Italian rite on the other.
As well as "Spanish and Portuguese Jews", one sometimes comes across designations such as Portuguese Jews, Jews of the Portuguese nation, Spanish Jews (mainly in Italy) and Western Sephardim.
The use of the terms Portuguese Jews and Jews of the Portuguese nation in some areas (mainly in the Netherlands and Hamburg/Scandinavia) seems to have arisen primarily as a way for the Spanish and Portuguese Jews to distance themselves from Spain in the times of political tension and war between Spain and the Netherlands in the 17th century. Similar considerations may have played a rôle in the case of Bayonne and Bordeaux given their proximity to the Spanish border. Another reason for this coinage may have been that a relatively high proportion of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews had Portugal as their immediate point of departure from the Iberian peninsula, as the decree forbidding Judaism in Portugal took place some years later than the expulsion from Spain. It could be argued that, while all Sephardim had a link with Spain, the distinguishing feature of the group in question was the added link with Portugal: thus as a subset of the Sephardim "Portuguese" and "Spanish and Portuguese" could be used interchangeably.
In Italy, the term Spanish Jews (Ebrei Spagnoli) is frequently used, but includes the descendants of Jews expelled from the kingdom of Naples as well as Spanish and Portuguese Jews proper (i.e. conversos and their descendants). In Venice, Spanish and Portuguese Jews were often described as Ponentine (western), to distinguish them from Levantine (eastern) Sephardim.
The term Western Sephardim is frequently used in modern research literature, but may be problematic in that it can be found to refer to either Spanish and Portuguese Jews or Moroccan Jews or, in some cases, both of these. It is even occasionally used to include Greek and Balkan Sephardim, so as to contrast European Sephardim in general with Mizrahi Jews. The scholar Joseph Dan distinguishes "medieval Sephardim" (Spanish exiles in the Ottoman Empire) from "Renaissance Sephardim" (Spanish and Portuguese communities), referring to the respective times of their formative contacts with Spanish language and culture.
Legend has it that conversos existed as early as the Visigothic period, and that there was a continuous phenomenon of crypto-Judaism from that time lasting throughout Spanish history. This is unlikely, as in the Muslim period there was no advantage in passing as a Christian instead of a Jew. The main wave of conversions, often forced, followed major anti-Jewish persecutions in 1391. Legal definitions of the time theoretically acknowledged that a forced baptism was not a valid sacrament, but confined this to cases where it was literally administered by physical force: a person who had chosen to be baptized as an alternative to death or serious injury was still regarded as a voluntary convert, and accordingly forbidden to revert to Judaism. Crypto-Judaism as a large scale phenomenon mainly dates from that time.
Conversos, whatever their real religious views, often (but not always) tended to marry and associate among themselves, and occupied prominent positions in trade and in the Royal administration, attracting considerable resentment from the "Old Christians". The ostensible reason given for the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 was that the unconverted Jews had supported the conversos in their crypto-Jewish practices and thus delayed their assimilation into the Christian community.
Most of the (previously unconverted) Spanish Jews in 1492 chose exile rather than conversion, many of them crossing the border to Portugal. In Portugal, the Jews were given the choice of exile or conversion in 1497, but were mostly prevented from leaving, thus necessarily staying as ostensible converts whether they wished to or not. For this reason, crypto-Judaism was far more prevalent in Portugal than in Spain, even though many of these families were originally of Spanish rather than Portuguese descent.
Conversos fell into several groups. Given the secrecy surrounding their situation, they are not easy to distinguish, and scholars are still divided on the relative size and importance of these groups.
For these reasons, there was a continuous flow of people leaving Spain and Portugal (mostly Portugal) for places where they could practise Judaism openly, from 1492 till the end of the eighteenth century. They were generally accepted by the host Jewish communities as anusim (forced converts), whose conversion, being involuntary, did not compromise their Jewish status.
Conversos of the first generation after the expulsion still had some knowledge of Judaism based on memory of contact with a living Jewish community. In later generations it was important to avoid known Jewish practices that might attract undesired attention: conversos in group 3 evolved a home-made Judaism with practices peculiar to themselves, while those in group 2 had a purely intellectual conception of Judaism based on their reading of Christian sources. Both groups therefore needed extensive re-education in Judaism on reaching their places of refuge outside the peninsula. This was achieved partly with the help of Sephardim living in Italy and partly with that of the 1492 exiles living in Morocco, who were the immediate heirs of the Andalusi Jewish tradition.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Jewish communities have been re-established in Spain and Portugal, largely with the help of foreign Spanish and Portuguese communities such as London. The most recent example, however, the Belmonte Jews, have chosen to model themselves on the London Masorti (Conservative) community, using the Ashkenazi rite, rather than on the older Lisbon community which is closer to the Spanish and Portuguese family. It is unknown to what extent crypto-Judaism still exists in Spain and Portugal.
As there were already Sephardic Jewish communities in central and northern Italy, following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and from the Kingdom of Naples in 1533, this was an obvious destination for conversos wishing to leave Spain and Portugal; the similarity of the Italian language to Spanish was another attraction. Given their Christian cultural background and high level of European-style education they were less likely to follow the 1492 expellees to settle in the Ottoman Empire, where a complete culture change would be required. On the other hand, in Italy they ran the risk of prosecution for Judaizing, given that in law they were baptized Christians; for this reason they generally avoided the Papal States. The Popes did allow some Spanish-Jewish settlement at Ancona, as this was the main port for the Turkey trade, in which their links with the Ottoman Sephardim were useful. Other states found it advantageous to allow the conversos to settle and mix with the existing Jewish communities, and to turn a blind eye to their religious status; while in the next generation, the children of conversos could be brought up as fully Jewish with no legal problem, as they had never been baptized.
The main places of settlement were as follows.
On the whole the Spanish and Portuguese Jews remained separate from the native Italian rite Jews, though there was considerable mutual religious and intellectual influence between the groups. In a given city there was often an "Italian synagogue" and a "Spanish synagogue", and occasionally a "German synagogue" as well. Many of these synagogues have since merged, but this diversity of rites remains in modern Italy.
The Scola Spagnola of Venice was originally regarded as the "mother synagogue" for the Spanish and Portuguese community world wide, as it was among the earliest to be established, and the first prayer book was published there: later communities, such as Amsterdam, followed its lead on ritual questions. With the decline in the importance of Venice in the eighteenth century, the leading role passed to Livorno (for Italy and the Mediterranean) and Amsterdam (for western countries). The Livorno synagogue was destroyed in the Second World War: a modern building was erected in 1958-62.
Many merchants maintained a presence in both Italy and countries in the Ottoman Empire, and even those who settled permanently in the Ottoman Empire retained their Tuscan or other Italian nationality, so as to have the benefit of the Ottoman Capitulations. Thus in Tunisia there was a community of Juifs Portugais, or L'Grana (Livornese), separate from, and regarding itself as superior to, the native Tunisian Jews (Tuansa). Smaller communities of the same kind existed in other countries, such as Syria, where they were known as Señores Francos, though they generally were not numerous enough to establish their own synagogues, instead meeting for prayer in each other's houses.
During the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands converso merchants had a strong trading presence there. On the independence of the United Provinces in 1581, the Dutch retained trading links with Portugal (rather than Spain, which was regarded as a hostile power). As there were penal laws against Catholics, and Catholicism was regarded with greater hostility than Judaism, conversos were encouraged to "come out" as Jews, and given the multiplicity of Protestant sects the Netherlands was the first country in the Western world to establish a policy of religious tolerance. This made Amsterdam a magnet for conversos leaving Portugal.
There were originally three Sephardi communities: the first, Beth Jacob, already existed in 1610, and perhaps as early as 1602; Neve Shalom was founded between 1608 and 1612 by Jews of Spanish origin. The third community, Beth Israel, was established in 1618. These three communities began co-operating more closely in 1622. Eventually, in 1639, they merged to form Talmud Torah, the Portuguese Jewish Community of Amsterdam which still exists today. The current synagogue, sometimes known as the Amsterdam Esnoga, was inaugurated in 1675.
At first the Dutch conversos had little knowledge of Judaism and had to recruit rabbis and hazzanim from Italy, and occasionally Morocco and Salonica, to teach them. Later on Amsterdam became a centre of religious learning: a religious college Ets Haim was established, with a copious Jewish and general library (which still exists), and its transactions were published in a periodical, Peri Ets Haim. There were formerly several synagogues in other cities such as The Hague. Since the Second World War the Amsterdam synagogue is the only one that remains, and serves a membership of about 600.
The position in the Spanish Netherlands (modern Belgium) was rather different. Considerable numbers of conversos lived there, in particular in Antwerp, and the Inquisition was not allowed to operate. Nevertheless their practice of Judaism remained under cover and unofficial, as acts of Judaizing in Belgium could expose one to proceedings elsewhere in the Spanish possessions, and sporadic persecutions alternated with periods of unofficial toleration. The position improved somewhat in 1713, with the cession of the southern Netherlands to Austria, but no community was officially formed till the nineteenth century. There is still a Portuguese synagogue in Antwerp, but its members, like the Sephardim of Brussels, are now predominantly of North African origin and few if any pre-War families or traditions remain.
In pre-Revolutionary France the Portuguese Jews were one of three tolerated Jewish communities, the other two being the Ashkenazim of Alsace-Lorraine and the Jews of the former Papal enclave of Comtat Venaissin (who originally had their own Provençal rite, but have since adopted the Spanish and Portuguese rite). All were emancipated at the Revolution. Today there are still a few Spanish and Portuguese communities in Bordeaux and Bayonne, and one in Paris, but they are greatly outnumbered by Sephardim of North African origin.
There were certainly Spanish and Portuguese merchants, many of them conversos, in England at the time of Queen Elizabeth I; another notable marrano was the physician Rodrigo Lopez. In the time of Oliver Cromwell, Menasseh ben Israel led a delegation seeking permission for Dutch Sephardim to settle in England: Cromwell was known to look favourably on the request, but no official act of permission has been found. In the time of Charles II and James II we find a congregation of Spanish and Portuguese Jews worshipping at synagogue in Creechurch Lane, and both these kings showed their assent to this situation by quashing indictments against the Jews for unlawful assembly. For this reason Spanish and Portuguese Jews often cite 1656 as the year of re-admission, but look to Charles II as the real founder of the community.
Bevis Marks Synagogue was opened in 1701. In the 1830s and 40s there was agitation for the formation of a branch synagogue in the West End, nearer where most congregants lived, but this was refused on the basis of Ascama 1, forbidding the establishment of other synagogues within six miles of Bevis Marks. This led to the formation of the West London Synagogue in Burton Street. An official branch synagogue in Wigmore Street was opened in 1853. This moved to Bryanston Street in the 1860s, and to Lauderdale Road in Maida Vale in 1896. (A private synagogue existed in Highbury from 1883 to 1936.) A third synagogue has been formed in Wembley. Over the centuries the community has absorbed many Sephardi immigrants from Italy and North Africa, including many of its rabbis and hazzanim. The current membership includes many Iraqi Jews and some Ashkenazim in addition to the original families: the Wembley community is predominantly Egyptian.
These three synagogues are all owned by the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community Sahar Asamaim (Sha'ar ha-Shamayim), and have no separate organisational identity. The community is served by a team rabbinate: the post of Haham, or chief rabbi, is currently vacant (and has frequently been so in the community's history). The day-to-day running of the community is the responsibility of a Mahamad, elected periodically and consisting of four parnasim (wardens) and one gabbai (treasurer). Former members of the mahamad are known as velhos (elders), while individual community members are known as yehidim.
In addition to the three main synagogues there is a chapel at Ramsgate associated with the burial place of Sir Moses Montefiore. There also exists a synagogue in Holland Park, described as "Spanish and Portuguese" but mainly for Greek and Turkish Jews and with a mixed ritual: this is connected to the main community by a Deed of Association. The two Manchester Sephardic synagogues are under the superintendence of the London community and use a predominantly Spanish and Portuguese ritual, but are largely Syrian in population, with some Turkish, Iraqi and North African Jews. The London community formerly had oversight over some Baghdadi synagogues in the Far East, such as the Ohel Leah Synagogue in Hong Kong and Ohel Rachel in Shanghai. Newer Sephardic synagogues in London, mostly for Baghdadi and Persian Jews, preserve their own ritual and do not come under the Spanish and Portuguese umbrella.
Like the Amsterdam community, the London Spanish and Portuguese community early set up a Medrash do Heshaim (=Ets Haim). This however is not so much a functioning religious college as a committee of dignitaries responsible for community publications such as prayer books. In 1862 there was founded the "Judith Lady Montefiore College" in Ramsgate, for the training of rabbis. This moved to London in the 1960s: students at the College simultaneously followed courses at Jews' College. It closed in the 1980s, but has since been revived as a part-time training programme run from Lauderdale Road.
From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century a majority of conversos leaving Portugal went to Brazil. However, this figure includes people who migrated for purely economic reasons and had no interest in reverting to Judaism; and the Inquisition was active in Brazil as well as in Portugal.
Dutch Sephardim were interested in colonisation, and formed communities in both Curaçao and Paramaribo, Suriname, which still exist. Between 1630 and 1654 a Dutch colony also existed in the north-east of Brazil, including Recife. This attracted both conversos from Portuguese Brazil and Jewish emigrants from Holland, who formed a community in Recife called Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue. On the reconquest of the Recife area by Portugal, these Jews left Brazil, some for new or existing communities in the Caribbean such as Curaçao and others to form a new community in New Amsterdam (New York): see Congregation Shearith Israel. Synagogues have since been formed at Newport, Rhode Island and Philadelphia as well as in the southern states.
Despite their ultimate Dutch origin, in the nineteenth century the communities in the United States were very much part of the London family. The nineteenth and early twentieth century editions of the prayer book published in London and Philadelphia contained the same basic text, and were designed for use equally on both sides of the Atlantic: for example they all contained a prayer for the Royal family, followed by an alternative for use in republican states. The New York community continued to use these editions until the De Sola Pool version was published. On the other hand, in the first half of the twentieth century the New York community employed a series of hazzanim from Holland, so that musically speaking their tradition remains close to that of Amsterdam.
The Spanish and Portuguese synagogues of the United States conserve varying degrees of Sephardic tradition, but the majority of their membership is now ethnically Ashkenazi. Unlike in England, newer Sephardic communities, such as the Syrian Jews of Brooklyn and the Greek and Turkish Jews of Seattle, do not come under the Spanish and Portuguese umbrella, though the latter group did use the de Sola Pool prayer books until the publication of Siddur Zehut Yosef in 2002.
Most Spanish and Portuguese synagogues are, like those of the Italian Jews and the Romaniotes, characterised by a bipolar layout, with the tebáh (bimah) near the opposite wall to the Hechál (Ark). The Hekhál has its parochet (curtain) inside its doors, rather than outside. The sefarim (Torah scrolls) are usually wrapped in a very wide mantle, quite different from the cylindrical mantles used by most Ashkenazi Jews. Tikim — wooden or metal cylinders around the sefarim — are usually not used, though it is reported that these were in use in the Portuguese Jewish community in Hamburg.
The most important synagogues, or esnogas, as they are usually called amongst Spanish and Portuguese Jews, are the Amsterdam Esnoga and those in London and New York. Amsterdam is still the historical centre of the Amsterdam minhag, as used in the Netherlands and former Dutch possessions such as Surinam. Also important is the Bevis Marks Synagogue in London, the historical centre of the London minhag. The Snoa (1732) of the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel congregation in Curaçao is considered one of the most important synagogues in the Jewish history of the Americas.
Portuguese ceased to be a spoken language in Holland after the Napoleonic period, when Jewish schools were only allowed to teach in Dutch and Hebrew.
In England the use of Spanish and Portuguese continued until the mid-eighteenth century: it is notable that the 1740 translation of the prayers was in Spanish, while the 1771 translation by A. Alexander was in (not very good) English. Today there is no tradition of using Spanish, except for the hymn Bendigamos, the translation of the Biblical passages in the prayer-book for Tishngáh be-Ab and in certain traditional greetings.
The sibilants , , and are all transcribed as s in earlier sources. This, along with the traditional spellings Sabá (Shabbat), Menasseh (Menashe), Ros(as)anáh (Rosh Hashana), Sedacáh (tzedaka), massoth (matzot), is evidence of a traditional pronunciation which did not distinguish between the various sibilants — a trait which is shared with some coastal dialects of Moroccan Hebrew. Since the 1800s, the pronunciations [ʃ] (for and [ts] for have become common — probably by influence from Oriental Sephardic immigrants, from Ashkenazi Hebrew and, in our times, Israeli Hebrew.
The (Tav rafé) is pronounced like t in all traditions of Spanish and Portuguese Jews today, although the consistent transliteration as th in 17th century sources may suggest an earlier differentiation of and . (Final is occasionally heard as d.)
In Dutch-speaking areas, but not elsewhere, (gimel) is often pronounced [χ] like Dutch "g". More careful speakers use this sound for gimel rafé (gimel without dagesh), while pronouncing gimel with dagesh as [g].
The accentuation of Hebrew adheres strictly to the rules of Biblical Hebrew, including the secondary stress on syllables with a long vowel before a Shevá. Also, the shevá na‘ in the beginning of a word is normally pronounced as a short eh (Shemang, berít, berakháh). Shevá na‘ is also normally pronounced after a long vowel with secondary stress (ngomedím, barekhú). However it is not pronounced after a prefixed u- (and) or ha- (the), unless the intervening consonant is doubled or the prefix has meteg: ubne, not u-bene; lamnatseahh, not la-menatseahh.
Vocal shevá, segol (short e) and tsere (long e) are all pronounced like the 'e' in "bed": there is no distinction except in length. In some communities, e.g. Amsterdam, vocal shevá is pronounced [a] when marked with ga'ya (a straight line next to the vowel symbol, equivalent to meteg), and as [i] when followed by the letter yod: thus va-nashubah and bi-yom (but be-Yisrael).
The differentiation between kamatz gadol and kamatz katan is made according to purely phonetic rules without regard to etymology, which occasionally leads to spelling pronunciations at variance with the rules laid down in the grammar books. For example, כָל (all), when unhyphenated, is pronounced "kal" rather than "kol" (in "kal ngatsmotai" and "Kal Nidre"), and צָהֳרַיִם (noon) is pronounced "tsahorayim" rather than "tsohorayim". This feature is shared by other Sephardic groups, but is not found in Israeli Hebrew. It is also found in the transliteration of proper names in the Authorised Version, such as "Naomi", "Aholah" and "Aholibah".
Although all Sephardic liturgies are similar, each group has its own distinct liturgy. Many of these differences are a product of the syncretization of the Spanish liturgy and the liturgies of the local communities where Spanish exiles settled. Other differences are the result of earlier regional variations in liturgy from pre-expulsion Spain. Moses Gaster (died 1939, Hakham of the S&P Jews of Great Britain) has shown that the order of prayers used by Spanish and Portuguese Jews has its origin in the Castilian liturgy of Pre-Expulsion Spain.
As compared with other Sephardic groups, the minhag of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews is characterised by a relatively low number of cabbalistic additions. The Friday night service thus traditionally starts with Psalm 29, “Mizmor leDavid: Habu LaA.”. In the printed siddurim of the mid-17th century, “Lekhah Dodi” and the Mishnaic passage Bammeh madlikin are also not yet included, but these are included in all newer siddurim of the tradition except for the early West London and Mickve Israel (Savannah) Reform prayerbooks, both of which have Spanish and Portuguese roots.
Of other, less conspicuous, elements, a number of archaic forms can be mentioned — including some similarities with the Italian and Western Ashkenazi traditions. Such elements include the shorter form of the Birkat hammazon which can be found in the older Amsterdam and Hamburg/Scandinavian traditions. The Livorno (Leghorn) tradition, however, includes many of the cabbalistic additions found in most other Sephardi traditions. The current London minhag is generally close to the Amsterdam minhag, but follows the Livorno tradition in some details — most notably in the Birkat hammazon.
Already in 1603, the sources tell us that harpsichords were used in the Spanish and Portuguese synagogues in Hamburg. Particularly in the Amsterdam community, but to some degree also in Hamburg and elsewhere, there was a flourishing of classical music in the synagogues in the 1700s. An important Jewish composer was Abraham de Casseres; music was also commissioned from non-Jewish composers such as Christian Joseph Lidarti. There was formerly a custom in Amsterdam, inspired by a hint in the Zohar, of holding an instrumental concert on Friday afternoon prior to the coming in of the Sabbath, as a means of getting the congregants in the right mood for the Friday night service.
Another important centre for Spanish and Portuguese Jewish music was Livorno, where a rich cantorial tradition developed, incorporating both traditional Sephardic music from around the Mediterranean and composed art music: this was in turn disseminated to other centres.
There are early precedents for the use of instrumental music in the synagogue originating in 17th century Italy as well as the Spanish and Portuguese communities of Hamburg and Amsterdam and in the Ashkenazic community of Prague. As in most other communities (until the rise of the Reform movement in the 19th century) the use of instrumental music was not permitted on Shabbat or festivals.
As a general rule, Spanish and Portuguese communities do not use pipe organs or other musical instruments during services. In some Spanish and Portuguese communities, notably in France (Bordeaux, Bayonne), USA (Savannah, Charleston, Richmond) and the Caribbean (Curaçao), pipe organs came into use during the course of the 19th century, in parallel with developments in Reform Judaism. In Curaçao, where the traditional congregation had an organ set up in the late 1800s, the use of the organ on Shabbat was eventually also accepted, as long as the organ player was not Jewish. In the more traditional congregations, such as London and New York, a free-standing organ or electric piano is used at weddings or benot mitzvah (although never on Shabbat or Yom Tob), in the same way as in some English Ashkenazi synagogues.
The recitative style of the central parts of the service, such as the Amidah, the Psalms and the cantillation of the Torah is loosely related to that of other Sephardi and Mizraḥi communities, though there is no formal maqam system as found in other traditions. The closest resemblance is to the rituals of Gibraltar and Northern Morocco, as Spanish and Portuguese communities traditionally recruited their ḥazzanim from these countries. There is a remoter affinity with the Babylonian and North African traditions: these are more conservative than the Syrian and Judaeo-Spanish traditions, which have been more heavily influenced by popular Mediterranean and Arabic music.
In other parts of the service, and in particular on special occasions such as the festivals, Shabbat Bereshit and the anniversary of the founding of the synagogue, the traditional tunes are often replaced by metrical and harmonized compositions in the Western European style. This is not the case on Rosh Hashanah and Kippúr (Yom Kippur), when the whole service has a far more archaic character.
A characteristic feature of Oriental Sephardic music is the transposition of popular hymn tunes (themselves sometimes derived from secular songs) to important prayers such as Nishmat and Kaddish. This occurs only to a limited extent in the Spanish and Portuguese ritual, and can be traced to the book of hymns Imre no'am (1628), published in Amsterdam by Joseph Gallego, a hazzan originating in Salonica. Certain well-known tunes, such as El nora aliláh and Ahhot ketannáh, are shared with Sephardi communities world-wide with small variations.
Spanish and Portuguese traditional cantillation has several unique elements. Torah cantillation is divided into two musical styles. The first is the standard used for all regular readings. A separate manner of cantillation is used on special occasions. This is normally referred to as High Tangamim or High Na'um. It is used for special portions of the Torah reading. These are: Chapter 1 of Bereshit (on Simchat Torah); the Shirat ha-Yam; the Ten Commandments; the Song of Moses; the concluding sentences of each of the five books; and several other smaller portions. The term High Tangamim refers to the elaborate musical rendition of the cantillation notes - yet it is borrowed from the use of a second Masoretic notation for the Ten Commandments common among most Jewish rituals.
The rendition of the Haftarah (prophetic portion) also has two (or three) styles. The standard, used for most haftarot, is nearly identical with that of the Spanish-Moroccan nusach. A distinctly more somber melody is used for the three haftarot preceding the ninth of Ab (the "three weeks".) On the morning of the Ninth of Ab a third melody is used for the Haftarah - although this melody is borrowed from the melody for the Book of Ruth.
There is a special melody used for the Book of Esther which is chant-like and which is not reliant on the Masoretic notes. The melody for the Shir haShirim (Song of Songs) is similar but not identical to the Moroccan tradition. The books of Ruth and Lamentations have unique melodies as well. Finally, on the Ninth of Ab, the prose parts of the book of Job are read to the melody for Shir haShirim.
Unlike in Oriental Sephardic traditions, there is no cantillation mode for the books of Psalms, Proverbs and the poetic parts of Job. The chant for the Psalms in the Friday night service has some resemblance to the cantillation mode of the Oriental traditions, but is not dependent on the cantillation marks.
|City||Synagogue or Community||Website||Comments|
|Amsterdam||Congregation Talmud Torah, Visserplein (1639)||http://www.esnoga.com||synagogue opened 1675|
|Antwerp||Portuguese synagogue, Hovenierstraat (1898)||synagogue opened 1913; membership and ritual now mainly North African|
|The Hague||closed after Second World War|
|Paris||Temple Buffault (1877)||http://www.buffault.net/Temple_BUFFAULT.html||membership mainly Algerian|
|Carpentras||formerly used the Provençal rite, since assimilated to the Bordeaux Portuguese minhag|
|London||Bevis Marks Synagogue (synagogue opened 1701)||http://www.sandp.org/||community Sahar Asamaim dates from 1656, owns all three synagogues|
|Lauderdale Road synagogue (1896)||replaced Bryanston Street branch synagogue (1866-1896)|
|Wembley Synagogue (1977)||http://www.wsps.org.uk/||community formed in 1962; membership mainly Egyptian|
|Manchester||Withington Congregation of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, West Didsbury||the congregation also has a synagogue in Lansdowne Road (formerly a separate congregation)|
|Salford||Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue||formerly at Cheetham Hill (the old building is now the Manchester Jewish Museum)|
|Leeds||Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Leeds (est. 1924; dissolved in late 1940s )|
|Ponta Delgada, Azores||Sinagoga Porta do Céu (Shaar ha-Shamain)|
|Belmonte||see Belmonte Jews|
|Livorno||Comunità ebraica di Livorno (1593)||http://www.comunitaebraica.org/main_eng.htm||original synagogue built 1603; present synagogue opened 1962|
|Venice||Scola Spagnola (1550)|
|Rome||Tempio Spagnolo, Via Catalana|
|Gibraltar||Sha'ar Hashamayim (1724)||synagogue opened 1812|
|Jerusalem||Congregation Sha’arei Ratzon (1981)||http://www.esek.com/sr/||located in the Istanbuli Synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City and following the London minhag|
|Montreal||Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal (1768)||http://www.spanishportuguese-mtl.org/||current synagogue opened 1947|
|New York City||Congregation Shearith Israel (1654)||http://www.shearith-israel.org/||first synagogue built 1730; current building dates from 1897|
|Newport, Rhode Island||Touro Synagogue "Congregation Jeshuat Israel" (1658)||http://www.tourosynagogue.org||synagogue opened 1763|
|Philadelphia||Mikveh Israel (1745)||http://www.mikvehisrael.org/||present synagogue opened 1829|
|Houston, Texas||Qahal Qadosh Ess Hayim (2005)||http://www.esshayim.org/|
|Miami, Florida||Comunidad Nidhé Israel, judios hispano-portugueses de Florida (2007)||http://www.qqsnidheisrael.org|
|Richmond, Virginia||Beth Shalome (1789-1898)||http://www.bethahabah.org/index.htm||since merged into Beth Ahabah, which is now Reform|
|Charleston, South Carolina||Congregation Beth Elohim (1750)||http://www.kkbe.org/||now Reform|
|Savannah, Georgia||Congregation Mickve Israel (1733)||http://www.mickveisrael.org/||now Reform|
|New Orleans||Nefutzot Yehudah||http://www.tourosynagogue.com/||since merged into Touro Synagogue (New Orleans) (1828), now Reform|
|Willemstad, Curaçao||Mikve Israel-Emanuel (1730)||http://www.snoa.com||now Reconstructionist|
|Jamaica||Neveh Shalom (1704)||http://www.ucija.org||merged into the United Congregation of Israelites (1921)|
|St. Thomas, Virgin Islands||Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim, Charlotte Amalie (1796)||http://www.onepaper.com/synagogue/||now Reform|
|Barbados||Nidhe Israel Synagogue, Bridgetown (1651)||now Conservative|
|Paramaribo||Sedek Ve Shalom Synagogue (1735)|
|Neve Shalom (1716 to 1735)||sold to Ashkenazim in 1735|
|Jodensavanne||Congregation Bereche ve Shalom (1639 to 1832)|
|Recife||Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue (1637 to 1654)||recently restored as museum and community centre|