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Sermons

Sermoes que pregaraõ os doctos ingenios do K.K. de Talmud Torah, desta cidade de Amsterdam.

Estampado em Amsterdam: Em caza & a custa de David de Castro Tartaz, 1675.

Isaac Aboab da Fonseca, 1605-1693.

In 1670, Rabbi da Fonseca, longtime head of Amsterdam’s Portuguese Jewish community, informed its leaders that the congregation had outgrown its synagogue. Five years and $2 million dollars later, during the week-long celebrations opening the new Esnoga (“synagogue”)  Aboab and other rabbinical dignitaries delivered the speeches reproduced in Sermoes (“Sermons”).

The community’s members, many forced into exile during the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions of the previous century, had flourished financially and spiritually. They strongly identified with ancient Jewish Jerusalem, to the point where Aboab’s speech compared the Esnoga to the two temples of ancient Israel.

The illustrations shown depict what was then the world’s largest synagogue, which inspired the design of other Sephardi synagogues worldwide. The Esnoga remains open and functioning today.