Don’t let São Paulo’s nickname get you down! Behind the booming industrial and commercial heart of Brazil, there is a long and fascinating Jewish history. Located slightly south of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo is home 70,000 of Brazil’s estimated 130,000 practicing Jews.
Legend has it that on Christopher Columbus’ maiden voyage to the Americas, it was a converso (a Jew who converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition), Luis de Torres, who was the first to set foot on the lands of the Americas. Since then, it was the famous converso Fernando de Noronha who organized the colonial harvest of the much sought-after brazilwood for its dye, that he enabled both other conversos and practicing Jews to set themselves up on the coast of Brazil during the course of Portuguese colonization.
The Jewish community you will find today in São Paulo’s is active and thriving. Whether in arts, culture, business or political life, Jews can often be found center-stage. A prominent Torah-shaped Jewish Cultural Center plays host to varying events, courses and exhibitions while promoting the connection between Brazilian Jews and mainstream Brazilian culture. Over 20 active synagogues cater to various strands of the community as well as creating a space for contemplation in the form of the Holocaust Victims memorial.
Join our knowledgeable guides on a tour of São Paulo with Milk and Honey Tours. We would be overjoyed to take you on Jewish heritage tours and help you discover the rich Jewish history in São Paulo, Brazil, and the Americas!