Nationality for Shephardic Jews

Common Facts You Should Know About Sephardic Jewry

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Did you know the Decree-Law no. 30 30 A/2015 states that the descendants of Sephardic Jews can obtain Portuguese nationality through the naturalization process? Yes, that’s right. This means if you can prove your heritage, Portugal can be your new home. Here are some interesting facts you should know about Sephardic Jewry: 

1. Sephardic Jews Resided In the Iberian Peninsula

Sephardic Jews resided in the Iberian Peninsula, including Spain and Portugal, during the centuries. The word “Sephardic” comes from the Hebrew term Sefarad, which means Spain. In 1942, King Fernando II signed the Alhambra Decree, which gave the Jews a choice of converting to Christianity or leaving the country. The Jews who chose exile fled to Portugal, but this didn’t last long. In 1496, Jews were forced to convert again, making them flee to other countries.

2. More Than Half of the Jews in Israel Are Sephardim 

When Israel was newly declared as a state, Jews came pouring in from the lands they had lived in for generations, as they were unwelcomed by their former neighbors. During these years, they were highly discriminated against and found it difficult to integrate into society. Fortunately, those old rifts have now dissolved, and the Sephardim are rising in prominence in Israel. 

3. Sephardic Jews Have Unique Cuisine

What many people don’t know is that Jewish food like chicken soup, kishke, potato latkes, and sweet tzimmes is actually Ashkenazi food. This food is like the Gentile foods eaten in the lands where the Ashkenazim come from. These foods are nothing like what Sephardim enjoy. The cuisine reflects a Mediterranean climate as they spent most of their years there. 

4. Sephardic Family Names Are More than a Hundred Years Old

Many Sephardim have been holding their surnames for more than a century. This is why it’s common for Sephardim to have surnames like Toledano and Cardozo, ones that can be easily traced to Spain.

How To Can Sephardi Jews Get Portuguese Nationality?

If you’re a Sephardic Jews, you can gain Portuguese citizenship by simply providing the following documents:

1. A copy of your passport

2. Copy of your birth certificate

3. A Rabbi’s certificate that confirms your Jewish-Sephardic ancestry from your local Jewish community. This certification requires approval from both the regional and traditional Rabbi. 

Once you have all the documents in hand, you can then file a formal application with the Portuguese Jewish Community to confirm your heritage. 

Portugal’s citizenship is a long and complex process. Although you can do this independently, it’s best to seek help from a professional attorney who has the right experience and knowledge. At Cohen & Cohen, we have a team of professionals who have been helping countless Sephardic Jews with their Portuguese Sephardic citizenship applications. From collecting documents to obtaining the Rabbi’s certificate required to prove your Jewish-Sephardic origin, we can help with it all. Get in touch with our team to learn more.

Warning: The Portuguese government is expected to change the laws in the future. The best time to apply for Portuguese nationality due to Sephardic Origin is now!

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