Exploring the Sephardic Legacy

Guest writer

Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue’s Adult Education Committee presents “Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue: My Heritage” with Rick Kool.  Rick’s talk takes place on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2:00 pm at Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2J3.  Admission is by donation.  Contact ruth.schreier@gmail.comwith any questions.

In 1675, the largest synagogue in the world opened in Amsterdam. This building, the crown of the Amsterdam Sephardim, stands as a monument to the success that this community, formed of religious refugees including families that spent three or more generations as crypto-Christians in the Iberian countries, was able to attain in the tolerant Dutch republic. The presenter will talk about the Sephardim of Amsterdam as well as his own family which, on both his maternal (Waas/Vaz) and his paternal (Henriques Pimentel) sides, made the journey in the late 16th/early 17th century from Spain and Portugal to the Netherlands. 

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Richard Kool is a member of Congregation Emanu-El’s Board of Directors since 2001, and has served as secretary, vice-president, member at large, and cemetery director. 

Rick immigrated from Boston to British Columbia in the early 1970s, came to Vancouver Island to work at what was known then as the BC Provincial Museum in 1978, and has lived in James Bay ever since. He is now a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. 

Talk at Emanu-El Synagogue, Victoria

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