Earlier this year, while I was diarising our summer cruise dates, I realised that we would land in Lisbon the morning before Rosh Hashanah. I knew we had a Progressive/Reform kehillah there – Ohel Jakov – as I had had the pleasure of meeting some of the community members four years earlier; and so I contacted their passionate leader and champion – Adriana de Souza – and arranged for us to join them for dinner and a service on Erev Rosh Hashanah, in their proudly sacred space– a five room apartment (up three flights of stairs, in an old building, hidden away in a suburb of Lisbon), which they had recently reorganised, repainted and refreshed. They had a “synagogue”, library, meeting/dining room, office and kitchen with a small balcony.
In May 2017, Russian-born Rabbi Alona Lisitsa presented ten conversion candidates from Spain and Portugal to the European Beit Din in London. The fi rst female Reform Rabbi in Israel to be appointed to a religious council, Rabbi Lisitsa’s comprehensive conversion course, which includes on-site meetings and counsel, has been attracting individuals interested in Judaism since its launch in May 2014. […]