"IT ALL ENDS WITH ME
" Letter from the Azores (from FORWARD January 9, 1998)
"I am the last Jew in all of the Azores," Jorge Delmar says... He is a stocky man in his early 50's who runs an import- export business in Ponta Delgada, the capital city of Sao Miguel, the largest of the nine islands that comprises the Portuguese archipelago. "Thirty years ago, there were 16 Jewish families on this island," he adds. "We were a community. We had services in the old synagogue and made all the festivities in my grandfather's house. But all the others have died or converted or moved away. I am the only one left."
Mr Delmar's wife and children are Catholic. He says his wife sometimes asks him, "Why do you say you are a Jew? What happened to the Jews?" He tells her, "As my mother is a Jew, I am always a Jew. That's all."
The truth, though, is more complex. Mr Delmar's connection to the Azores began in 1818, when the Bensaude family of Morocco came to this volcanic outcropping, mythologized in lore as the remnants of the lost continent of Atlantis. The family made their fortune trading crops with England for manufactured goods, and trading bills of exchange while transporting emigrants to Brazil. In the process, they changed the nature of the Azorean economy, says professor of economic history at the University of the Azores, Fátima Sequeria Dias."
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