|Directed by:||Shaul Kesslassi||Rating:||TV-PG|
|Release Date:||2011||Running Time:||30 min|
|Language:||Portugese with English subtitles||Genre:||Documentary|
|Category:||History & Remembrance|
For most people, the connection between swinging, sensual Brazil and Judaism is a highly unlikely one. The fact is that Jews played a significant role in Brazilian history from the start, though this is generally not taught at school. In 1497, Jews in Portugal were forced to convert and were henceforth known as New Christians. As the power and pressure of the Inquisition grew in Portugal, the newly discovered land of Brazil became a favorite destination for Jewish converts to Catholicism, far from the Inquisition.
What role did the New Christians play in the Portuguese colonization of Brazil? How did the Dutch invasion and rule of northeast Brazil influence this Crypto-Jewish community? How did it lead to the revival of Jewish culture in South America and the construction of the oldest synagogue in the Americas? What became of this young and vibrant Jewish community after the Dutch were thrown out by the Portuguese, and how did it lead to what is called Marranism?
In a society where the authorities and the Catholic Church prohibited the Jewish faith, a way had to be found to practice it without anyone noticing. With researchers, scholars and members of the Marrano community as guides, this visual journey through exotic Brazil–its sights, sounds and people give the viewer insight into a chapter of history that has been hidden for too long.