Portugal / Alentejo


Beja is a town in southern Portugal, famous for the battles that have been fought there since the time of Julius Caesar.

It was also known as one of the places where rabbinical institutions were based in the 15th century. The Jewish presence dates back to at least the 12th century. Some very old stelae have been found, from Jewish cemeteries. One of these dates back to the 14th century and was discovered four hundred years later and brought back to Evora in 1868.

Following the expulsion of the Portuguese Jews, Beja became one of the centres of Marranism, with numerous auto-da-fés being carried out against them. The name Beja was adopted by many Jewish families, indicating the town’s importance in Jewish history. Famous figures bearing this name include Rabbi Haïm Beja of Salonika and the scholar Isaac ben Moses Beja.

Sources : Encyclopaedia Judaica

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