A website created by
Sara Molho   ©  1996-2008

Please check at the end of each individual article/chapter who holds the specific copyright and under what conditions - if at all - one can copy the text.


Chapters can be read in any order. Before the research chapters, you might want to read

some narrative ones, such as Benvinda…, Ratule, The Personal Aspect, etc.


Description of the Hebrew-Site Contents

with links when English available


Prefaces  by Sara Molho, 2005


About the Marranos of Belmonte



Translated and adapted to English by author, 2007



מבוא: אודות אנוסי-בלמונטה / שרה מולכו, 2005

A map of Portugal:
Location of Belmonte





A Personal Outlook




מבוא: מבט אישי / שרה מולכו, 2005

Shlomo Molho’s


Articles & narrative-chapters by diverse authors

Elias Lipiner  [1997]


The Jews of Portugal:
An Overview




(Originally published in English by Magnes Press (Jerusalem) - translated from Portuguese by Menahem Pariente)



יהודי-פורטוגל: סקירה / אליאס ליפינר (1997) פרק מתוך הספר: שני גולים-פורטוגליים בקשטיליה. תרגום ועיבוד לאתר: שרה מולכו (2006)

Dr. Lipiner’s visit to Belmonte,

Sara Molho  [2001]

Masks for Yom Kippur and Passover

A Sociological View of
Belmonte Marranos Today

Based on lecture delivered in 12th World Congress of Jewish Studies in 1997, Jerusalem




מסכות לכפורים מסכות לפסח/ שרה מולכו, 2001

Hebrew manuscript of 1297 synagogue cornice

Sara Molho [2006]


Thoughts on the historical-chapter:
The Presence of the Jews in Belmonte

Antonieta Garcia (1993) The Jews of Belmonte – the Paths of Memory

(Translated to English by Jeffrey Green, 2007)


הרהורים על הפרק-ההסטורי המקדים בספרה יהודי-בלמונטה: נתיבי-הזכרון של אנטונייטה גארסיה (1993) / שרה מולכו (2006)

A Belmonte-lane in
ancient Jewish-quarter,


David A. Canelo [1996]


 goes on in Belmonte
in the 80’s and 90’s


(Translated to Hebrew and adapted
 from:O Resgate dos Marranos Portugueses)


עוד לא נותקה שלשלת היהדות-בסתר בבלמונטה / דוד קאנלו (1996) תרגום: שרה מולכו

Pedro A. Cabral’s sculpture in a central square of Belmonte, 1995

Sara Molho [2001-2005]


“Matron Rabbis” or Rabbis?

On feminization of
Religious-Leadership for 500 years:
the Marrano-Matrons

Translated and adapted to English by author, 2008


"רבניות" או רבנים? / שרה מולכו (2001-2005)

A crypto-Jewish woman praying at home. 1994

Is her shawl a reminder of a Talit-shawl ?

Inacio Steinhardt [1997]


Benvinda - In Memoriam of
a Deceased Marrano-Matron



בנווינדה היתה אשה יפה / אינסיו שטיינהרדט (1997)

A Crypto-Jewish woman secretly preparing the sacred “torcidas”
 = candle-wicks,

Sara Molho [1997]


Interviews with Three Young Male-Leaders who led in the 80’s-90’s the return to mainstream-Judaism by normative [=orthodox] conversion.

(Soon to be Translated)


שלושה דיוקנאות מקרב מנהיגי בני-האנוסים בבלמונטה / שרה מולכו (1997)

Interior of the new-synagogue
inaugurated in 1996

Sara Molho [1997]



Description of an ex-Marrano-Family
[& its Cat!]
learning to conduct
non-Marrano [=normative-Jewish]



"רָתוּלֶה" / שרה מולכו (1997)

the family-cat,
“hero” of this chapter, 1997

Sara Molho [2005]


A sequel to the above chapter:
Criticism on erroneous newspaper-articles on Belmonte.



בעקבות "רתולה" דוגמה לכתיבה עתונאית בלתי-מדוייקת /  שרה מולכו(2005)



Map of Belmonte comments on mistakenly mentioned sites

Sara Molho [2000]


Good-Boy - Belmonte

Description of Jewish education
of baby-Yossele

(fictitious name)
from birth till age of 5



ילד טוב בלמונטה / שרה מולכו (2000)

Baby Yossele (fictitious name), his young uncle & a mini book of Psalms,

Findings & Personal Impressions

by Sara Molho  [2001]

Feathers, angels, scales    sacred matters

Sociological research (1994-2000) on Marrano descendants in Belmonte,
 along with the personal impressions (1994-2007) of the researcher

chapters 1-6

נוצות, מלאכים, סולמות – דברים שבקדושה / שרה מולכו (2001)

פרקים 6-1



Chapter by chapter:

A Succah being constructed by an ex-Marrano family in their own yard, 1996

1.            Rainbows -
my plunging into the subject of
Marranism in Belmonte




A Belmontese

rainbow, 1994

2.            Angels  -  prayers by my Marrano Black-Aproned Sisters  to God,  his angels, prominent prophets & forefathers of Israel.


(translated to English by Mark E. Shapiro, 2007)




Crypto-Jewish covert ritual practices,  1994

3.            “Ave de Pena” – Could it be a substitute for pre-Kippur’s ancient ritual of “Tarnegol-Kapparot” [=Cock-of-Penitence]?




A women in typical Marrano attire

4.            Similarities between Yom Kippur and Passover Marrano rituals and their probable cause






ההקבלה בין כיפור לפסח

A laudered Talit (Jewish prayer shawl) just before Yom Kippur 1994 - a forgotten object for 500 yrs.

5.            Different kinds of Scales & Ladders: Guttman-Scale and the Performing Rites in Multiple-Religions


Translated by author



סולמות כאלה ואחרים-סולם-גוטמן וכפל-הפולחנים

A step-ladder in interior of the synagogue used in the construction of a communal-Succah on its balcony



6.             Guttman-Scale analysis[*]:  Seven Theoretical-profiles presented by actual Belmontese Marrano-descendants - my brethren.
See bellow: Table V


Translated by author


שבעה דיוקנאות מבני-האנוסים והקשרם התאורטי



[*]Guttman-Scale is a known technique in social-sciences often used in order to quantify qualitative data; it is applicable to data collected by quasi-anthropological methods too.

Table V.         Belmontese Marrano-Descendants corresponding to Guttman scale-types performing rites and practices in one or more (*) of 3 religions – Judaism/ Marranism/ Christianity.

Trichotomy:   [does perform (+) / partly performs (=) / does not perform (-)]


Individuals practicing religious rituals:






Estimated  Frequency


Fictitious name






very rare


Fictitious name






very rare


Fictitious name








Fictitious name 1






quite frequent


Fictitious name 2






quite frequent


Fictitious name






rather frequent


Fictitious name








Fictitious name of same person








fluctuating between g & h






very rare

(*)  Orange colour represents exercising rites & practices of
more than one religion (double or triple): see profiles  d. to g.

Please note that all names used in this chapter are fictitious



General Bibliography


Timeline – History of the Jews in Portugal

(translated from Hebrew by Mark E. Shapiro, 2007)

Email us:  contact@mybelmonte.com




Diverse stages in preparing the “sacred wicks “  [1994-1995]
from the preface:  About the Marranos of Belmonte


Most photos, especially those of secret Marrano rituals, were taken by Sara Molho.







A website created by
Sara Molho   ©  1996-2008

Please check at the end of each individual article/chapter who holds the specific copyright and under what conditions - if at all - one can copy the text.