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Happenings in Portugal

Shabbat Table Encounter

 Nancy and Richard contacted us through their local Chabad rabbi. They are traveling through Portugal and would like to spend Shabbat with Chabad.

Eric was one of our first Shabbat guests when we moved to Lisbon. He is an architect. We have kept somewhat in touch in the past couple of years.

About 10 months ago, Eric contacted us, telling us about a project he is doing. His grandfather and great grandfather escaped Belgium during WWII, due to the kindness of the Portuguese diplomat, Aristides de Sousa Mendes. He issued them visas to Portugal along with many other Jews at the time. In appreciation, Eric got involved with the Sousa Mendes foundation to build a pavilion outside the home commemorating the thousands of people save by this special person. 

When Eric got to Portugal and headed to Cabanas- the residence of Sousa Mendes. His mom, who was coming for the presentation along with the family, contacted us to come for Shabbat while they were in the country. The same week as Nancy and Richard

So, we had a big Shabbat planned. We all met in the synagogue and headed home together; Nancy and Richard, Eric and his family, and all the other guests.

As is the custom in our home when there are a lot of guests at the table, everyone introduces themselves and says why they are here.

It was Nancy and Richards turn and they start saying how before leaving home, they watched a documentary about Sousa Mendes. While watching this documentary, they heard that there will be a presentation at Sousa Mendes' residence, promoting his story and trying to raise funds to rebuild his home. This would take place during their trip, and they really wanted to attend.

Unfortunately, Nancy and Richard were in the Algarve- south of Portugal, on the day of the presentation, while the residence is in Cabanas- the north of Portugal. So they missed the event.

Unknowingly, or it was "Bashert" that they were sitting at the same table as the organizer of the project- Eric. In the end they got all the details about the Sousa Mendes project at the Shabbat table.


Tefilin in Portugal, all's well in Brazil

Friday morning, I receive an email from David. He is here visiting from Brazil. He is here in Lisbon for the next few days and forgot to bring his Tefilin, he wanted to know if we had a pair available.

We agreed to meet in Rossio square in downtown Lisbon, where my daughter Sara and I brought the Tefilin over.

When we met David, he was worried. He had just received word that his grandfather was ill, and was returning to Brazil to see him.

Handing over the Tefilin, I told him to keep it untill the morning he heads home. We both prayed for a recovery.

On Monday, before leaving for home, David returned the Tefilin.

A few days later I received this note: 

Hello rabbi, How are you doing? And little Sarah? I'd like to thank you again, putting the Tefilin those days were very important for me.

My grandfather is fine now, at home, it seems like nothing happend! We are all very happy.


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