October 8, 2009 Jews of Brazil Subject of Oct. 20 Lecture at the Library of Congress
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Peggy Pearlstein (202) 707-3779
The history of the Jews in Brazil is long and complex. Jewish settlers came to Brazil in 1500, fleeing persecution in Portugal in the wake of the Spanish Inquisition. Under Dutch rule, the Jews of Brazil worked on sugar plantations and were allowed to practice their religion. They established a synagogue in Recife in 1636, the first synagogue in the Americas. Less than two decades later Brazil fell under Portuguese rule, which caused many Jews to leave the country. Some of these refugees fled to New Amsterdam (New York), founding the first Jewish community in America in 1654. When a Portuguese royal decree abolished discrimination against Jews in 1773, Jews began to return to Brazil. By 1920, more than 7,000 Jews lived in Brazil. More than 100,000 Jews—less than .01 percent of the population—live in Brazil today.
Daniel R. Pinto of the Embassy of Brazil will deliver an illustrated lecture on “The Jews of Brazil” at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 20, in the African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) Reading Room, Room 220 of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Sponsored jointly by AMED and the Hispanic Division, the event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
Daniel R. Pinto was born in Rio de Janeiro to Egyptian Jewish refugees. He was educated at the French School in Rio de Janeiro and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro. Pinto worked in the tourist, health care and banking industries before joining the Brazilian Foreign Service in 1999. Since 2006, he has been posted at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C., where he follows intellectual property and trade policy issues.
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