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Kadoorie Synagogue

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Kadoorie Synagogue


Basic Information

Location 340 Rua de Guerra Junqueiro, Porto
Phone number +351 911768589
Country Portugal
City Porto

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 41.39031,-8.37783


The Kadoorie Synagogue is the current synagogue of the Jewish Community of Porto. Its construction started in 1929 and was inaugurated in 1938. It is the largest synagogue in the Iberian Peninsula. The synagogue "Kadoorie - Mekor Haim", is located in the city of Porto, Portugal.

History and time period

The history of Kadoorie synagogue is inextricably linked to the history of its founder, Captain Arthur Barros Basto, a Portuguese army officer who converted to Judaism. In the early twenties of the 19th century there were at least 20 Ashkenazi Jews in the city; since they did not have a synagogue they had to go to Lisbon, for all religious matters. After realizing the need for a synagogue, Barros Basto started to plan on building a synagogue but first, on his own initiative, officially registered in the Civil Government the local Jewish community in 1923 and named it Comunidade Israelita do Porto (Israelite Community of Porto).

The present synagogue would only begin to be built years later but the community was organized and rented a house on the Elias Garcia street that started to function as a synagogue. In 1929, Barros Basto raised funds that enabled him to buy the plot of land for the future synagogue, in Guerra Junqueiro Street.

On November 13, 1929 an application for obtaining the necessary licensing to begin work was delivered at Câmara Municipal do Porto (Municipal chamber) and a few weeks later the first stone was laid and the construction began. The work progressed slowly until 1933, due to the high costs and the limited funds of its founder and the community, despite all the support that was provided by the Committee for the Spanish-Portuguese Jews of London.

In that year, Laura Kadoorie, the wife of a Jewish philanthropist of Iraqi origin, Sir Elly Kadoorie died, and her children saw in this unfortunate event the necessity to honor their mother, a descendant of the Portuguese Jews who fled the country from the inquisition. This tribute was reflected in the monetary support of the Kadoorie family to the construction of large parts of the Synagogue of Porto, which was renamed "Synagogue Kadoorie - Mekor Haim." "Kadoorie" in honor of the family that was so important to its conclusion and "Mekor Haim" the name that its founder had given to it.

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