During the seder—the meal celebrating the Jewish holiday of Passover—Jews commemorate the biblical exodus of Jewish slaves from Egypt. At this free event, Cape Verdeans and Jews sit down to explore the values and experiences they hold in common, including their mutual search for independence.
Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony located on an archipelago off the west coast of Senegal, has experienced two waves of Jewish migration. The first group of Jewish immigrants arrived in the 15th and 16th centuries, when Jews emigrated from Spain and Portugal to escape the Inquisition. The second group came in the 19th century, when Jews from Morocco and Gibraltar were attracted by Cape Verde’s strong economy.
Although there is no practicing Jewish community in Cape Verde today, many Cape Verdeans are descended from Jewish immigrants. The country’s first democratically elected president, Carlos Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho Veiga, is the great-grandson of Jews who came to Cape Verde from Gibraltar.
The majority of Cape Verdean Americans live in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The seder in Roxbury gives the Cape Verdean community the chance to explore their Jewish roots and hear more about the Cape Verdean-Jewish connection. At the same time, Jews learn about Cape Verdean culture and customs. The program booklet for the Cape Verdean-Jewish Passover seder is written in English, Hebrew and Cape Verdean creole.
To find out more about the Cape Verdean-Jewish Passover Seder, to make a donation, or to register to attend the free event, visit capeverdeanjewishseder.com.