History’s Ultimate Nomads

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Ever since their exodus out of Egypt, Jews have wandered through regions, countries and continents, emerging as history’s ultimate nomads. For centuries, Jewish communities have been prone to appear, disappear and reappear almost anywhere, belonging everywhere and yet nowhere. In a series of television documentaries, the audience journeys through the long and sometimes tragic, yet noble story of the Jews across history.

For 1500 years, Jews on the Iberian Peninsula played a significant role in the flourishing civilizations created by Muslims and Christians alike, becoming the largest and most distinguished Jewish community in Europe. But in 1492, they were expelled. Their legacy is physically and spiritually rooted in landmarks, archeological remains, documents and literature, customs and legends and still, for almost 500 years, their heritage was in the shadows and off limits. For too long, Spain chose to live without an important part of its history. Why where the Jews expelled from Spain and how did they become taboo? What remains of the Jews in the collective memory of the Spaniard and what is being done to change the perspective on the Jews? This visual Journey through Jewish Spain recollects the drama that took place 500 years ago through the eyes of present-day Spain, its sights, sounds and people.

In 1492, more than 100.000 Jewish refugees expelled from Spain, crossed the border to Portugal, near the villages of Castelo de Vide and Marvao, reinforcing the native vibrant Jewish community of Portugal. But in 1496, 4 years after the Jews where expelled from Spain, a political manoeuvre taken by King Manuel of Portugal had a destructive impact on the Jewish community of Portugal. Unlike in Spain, where Jews got to choose between conversion or expulsion, In Portugal the majority of the Jews were Baptised by force. This visual Journey through Jewish Portugal recollects their heritage of, first as Jews and later as New Christians. Some historians claim that in 1497 and before they were forced to convert, Jews made up one fifth of the total Portuguese population. Though the present Jewish community of Portugal is one of the smallest in the world, in many Portuguese veins runs Jewish blood

For most people, the connection between swinging and sensual Brazil and Judaism would be most unlikely. But the fact is that since its discovery, Jews have played a significant role in Brazilian history, though in general this is not being taught at school. In 1497, The Jewish community of Portugal was forced to convert to Christianity and the Jews became known as New Christians. As the power and pressure of the inquisition in Portugal grew, the newly discovered land of Brazil became a favourite destination for Jews converted to Catholicism, far away from the Inquisition. What was the role the New Christians filled in the process of colonization carried out the Portuguese in Brazil..? How did the Dutch invasion and rule of North eastern Brazil led to the revival of the Jewish Culture in South America and the construction of the oldest synagogue of the America’s? What became of this young and vibrant Jewish community after the Dutch where thrown out by the Portuguese and how did it led to the phenomenon called Marranism (In a society in which the authorities and the Catholic Church forbade things a way had to be found to practise the Jewish faith without people noticing it). This visual Journey through exotic Brazil, it sights, sounds and people with the participation of researchers, schollars and members of the Marrano community, gives the audience an insight on a piece of Hisory that has been hidden under the surface for too many years.

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