The ambassadors of Spain and Portugal were taken on a tour of London’s historic Bevis Marks Synagogue in an event arranged by Board of Deputies Senior Vice President David Mendoza-Wolfson.
The ambassadors, José Pascual Marco and Nuno Brito, were joined by political staff from both embassies on the tour which was led by Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community. Rabbi Dweck gave an engaging talk on the history of the synagogue, which was set up by Spanish and Portuguese Jews. He also spoke about the S&P community in London, the use of Portuguese and Ladino in services and showed the visitors the original benches which are still in place.
After the event, David Mendoza-Wolfson said: “It was a privilege to be able to explore a key part of the heritage of the community in this country with representatives of two countries which have been so important in Jewish history. I am grateful to the ambassadors for attending and to Rabbi Dweck, the S&P Sephardi Community and the Officers at Bevis Marks for making the visit possible. We will continue to strengthen our ties with the embassies and to celebrate our community’s unique heritage.”
Portuguese Ambassador Nuno Brito said: “It was a great joy and an honour for me to visit the Bevis Marks Synagogue and meet with Rabbi Joseph Dweck, as well as members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the history of the Jewish community in London and recall the historical ties between Portugal and the Sephardic community, at the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom. A beautiful and inspiring place.”
Spanish Ambassador José Pascual Marco tweeted: “We visited the great synagogue of London to learn more about the Jewish and Sephardic community in the UK. Many thanks to the the Board of Deputies for this moving visit to such an impressive synagogue, which reminds us of a historical connection between the Jewish community and Spain.”
Photo: Left to right: Rabbi Joseph Dweck, HE José Pascual Marco Ambassador of Spain, HE Nuno Brito Ambassador of Portugal, BoD Vice-President David Mendoza-Wolfson
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