Sunday, February 24, 2008


Thanks to Cape Verdean Jewish descendants in Lisbon, we now have a beautiful logo for the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, Inc. It is the creation of Rafael Benoliel. We are finishing the web site (which will hopefully be ready by mid-May) creating a promotional brochure, and finalizing the board of directors and advisory board. These tools are critical for the integrity of the organziation and for the all-important fund raising phase which will help to underwrite interviews with the descendants of Cape Verde's Jews (many of whom are elderly), to restore and preserve the small cemeteries that dot the archipelago, and to promote Jewish heritage tourism in Cape Verde. We have strong endorsement from the government of Cape Verde for this integrated effort.

By the way, if you have not yet read the series of excellent articles about Cape Verde that appeared in the Financial Times in November 2007, I highly commend them. You will glean insights about Cape Verde's growing economy, stable democratic government, development priorities (tourism), and it's special partnership with the European Union. Cape Verde is becoming an enticing tourist destination, especially for Europeans. Interestingly, there is a direct flight from London to the island of Boa Vista! Many UK residents are rediscovering and building second homes on the islands. I say "rediscovering" because in the 19th century, the British helped to construct the port in the island of Sao Vicente. At the time, Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony. Unlike their European rivals Spain and France, Britain and Portugal have always had good, peaceful relations throughout history. Because of their longstanding alliance, the two countries never fought a war. So, it is not surprising that the British are once again back in Cape Verde. This time though, they are dealing with Cape Verde as a sovereign, independent country.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I am delighted to report that the U.S. government last month granted the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, Inc. tax exempt status! This means contributions to the newly created nonprofit organization are deductible under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Now we must undertake the challenging task of fund-raising to execute the Project's major objectives:

  • Restoring, beautifying and preserving the small Jewish cemeteries that dot the archipelago

  • Documenting the stories about the Jewish immigrants and their descendants through archival research and extensive interviews culminating in a book.

  • Promoting Jewish Heritage tourism to Cape Verde.

A website called is under construction. We are in the process of forming a board of directors and outlining an action plan for information dissemination and fundraising. Descendants of the Jews of Cape Verde from the United States to Portugal to Cape Verde are intimately involved in all phases of the project. Meantime, we are accepting donations in any amount and for any aspect of the Project. Contributions may be sent to the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project Inc., 400 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 812, Washington, DC 20001. Feel free to earmark your donation for a specific aspect of the project. We will also be targeting foundations dedicated to preserving Sephardic heritage and culture.