At an unprecedented meeting in Porto, Portugal , last week, the city’s Jewish and Catholic communities presented to the world a project to combat anti-Semitism and build good mutual relations. – 

The project provides for cooperation through charity projects, the promotion of museums and four films (on relations between Catholics and Jews in the city) whose income in Portugal will be donated to institutions that help people elderly, children and the sick. 

The Episcopal Palace Museum in Porto received a delegation from the local Jewish community last week. 

D. Manuel Linda , Bishop of Porto , said: “This project ends an era of intolerance and provides for a future hand in hand. It is unique in the world, just like Porto is unique. Here in Porto , there is no there will be no anti-Semitism, just as the Jewish community has no anti-Christian thoughts. 

Gabriela Cantergi, member of the Jewish community committee in charge of inter-religious relations, explained that “social and cultural dialogue is necessary to obtain a strong friendship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish communities, particularly in societies where stereotypes negatives persist, such as the misconception that Jews would not suffer from poverty “

This global project has received financial and technical support from Jewish philanthropists and organizations such as the B´nai B´rith International, the Anti-Defamation League and the Vatican.

Pope Francis wrote to the Jewish community in Porto saying that he “prays that the members of the community may always work together with the Church in a spirit of fraternity for the greater good of men and wish great happiness to the community and all his followers “

In particular, the Pope highlighted one of the four films produced by the Jewish community – “The Nun’s Kaddich” – a short film about a true story of inter-religious goodness that took place in Porto in 1982 when two Catholic nuns observed a Jewish ritual, raising the spirituality of the two religions to a high level of universal brotherhood 

The Jewish community of Porto , led by Dias Ben Zion, is made up of over 400 members from over 30 countries. It has the largest synagogue on the Iberian Peninsula and a Jewish museum which was inaugurated in June by the president of the international B´nai B´rith. During his speech, Charles Kaufman said: “This Jewish museum will inaugurate the revival of Jewish life in Portugal and should serve as an example for the rest of Europe , a continent where anti-Semitism is resurfacing” 

The Catholic Diocese of Porto , whose current bishop is D. Manuel Linda , is the largest in Portugal , with around two million faithful. It is located in the Episcopal Palace, the oldest and most remarkable of Porto’s palaces , which due to its high geographical position dominates the landscape of the historic center of the city. The Episcopal Palace Museum, which is located in the palace rooms, is now open for public visits and has received a delegation from the local Jewish community. 

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