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Dating customs with bento boxes

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The history of the Jews in Portugal reaches back over two thousand years and is directly related to Sephardi history, a Jewish ethnic division that represents communities that originated in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).Jewish populations have existed in the area even before the country was established, back to the Roman era (province of Lusitania), even though an attested Jewish presence in Portuguese territory, can only be documented since 482 CE.

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Like the Spanish Inquisition, it concentrated its efforts on rooting out converts from other faiths (overwhelmingly Judaism) who did not adhere to the strictures of Catholic orthodoxy; like in Spain, the Portuguese inquisitors mostly targeted the Jewish New Christians, conversos, or marranos.Rapidly in the 8th century, the Christian kingdoms of the north mountainous areas of the Iberian Peninsula (Kingdom of Asturias) started a long military campaign against the Muslim invaders, the Reconquista.The Jews, since many knew the Arabic language, were used by the Christians as both spies and diplomats on this campaign that took centuries.This may be Camões' poetic interpretation of an alleged meeting (reported in Gaspar Correia) between Vasco da Gama and the older Abraham Zacuto at a monastery by Belém beach, just before his fleet's departure, in which Zacuto reportedly gave Gama some final navigational tips and warned him of dangers to avoid.In 1492, Spain expelled its Jewish population as part of the Spanish Inquisition.The Portuguese Inquisition expanded its scope of operations from Portugal to the Portuguese Empire, including Brazil, Cape Verde, and India.

According to Henry Charles Lea between 15 tribunals in Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Évora burned 1,175 persons, another 633 were burned in effigy and 29,590 were penanced.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, Jews were persecuted by the Visigoths and other European Christian kingdoms which controlled the area after that period.

In 711, the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula was seen by many in the Jewish population as a liberation, and marked as the beginning of what many have seen as the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula (the Islamic Al-Andalus), even if the Jews, as well as the Christians (the Mozarabs of the Visigothic rite), under Muslim rule were considered Dhimmi, and had to pay a special tax.

In the 19th century, some affluent families of Sephardi Jewish Portuguese origin, namely from Morocco, returned to Portugal (such as the Ruah and Bensaude).

The first synagogue to be built in Portugal since the 15th century was the Lisbon Synagogue, inaugurated in 1904.

Tens of thousands of Spanish Jews subsequently fled to Portugal, where King John II granted them asylum in return for payment.