Kadoorie - Mekor Haim Synagogue
The Kadoorie - Mekor Haim (Source of Life) Synagogue is the largest synagogue on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest in Europe. Built with donations from Jews from all over the world, it was significantly inaugurated in 1938, a time when in Nazi Germany synagogues were being burned down and the Estado Novo was being implemented in Portugal.
This architectural monument is one of the most extraordinary houses of Jewish worship in the world and is also the headquarters and "beating heart" of the Comunidade Israelita do Porto (Israeli Community of Porto). The community was founded in 1923 by Captain Artur Barros Basto (1887-1961), known for trying to rescue the descendants of Jews forced to convert to Christianity in the 15th century, who kept in secret the practice of precepts of the Jewish religion.
The land was acquired in 1929 and construction began that very year, but work proceeded slowly due to lack of funds. In 1933, the construction work received a major boost following the death of Laura Kadoorie, the wife of the Iraqi-born Jewish philanthropist Sir Elly Kadoorie. Her sons decided to pay tribute to their mother, a descendant of Portuguese Jews fleeing the Inquisition, by donating the means for the construction of a large part of the synagogue, and it was named in her honour with her surname.
The Porto Synagogue is only open for religious ceremonies and community activities of its members. Jewish tourists that want to participate in the ceremonies must send an e-mail to email@example.com, with their identification.