Prayers in Portugal

Prayers in Portugal

Welcoming the New Year with the benefit of sunshine and Rosh Hashanah services in the Algarve

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Unlike the countries that promise Autumnal sun, Portugal almost always delivers. Go there in December and you can still catch the rays that last winter provided. Even Israel struggles to grow oranges in January, but in Portugal they are still on the trees. All of this weather hype is for those who fancy a warm Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur in a tee shirt and shorts.

With pics of your summer hols popping up daily on the phone, the idea of escaping to welcome in the new year grows more appealing – so go for it. Accommodation is available at all prices, but for affordable spent in Jewish surroundings go to Casa De Mondo in Bouliqueme in the Algarve.

As the House of the World, this rustic property in the hillside prides itself on welcoming travellers with a taste for the eclectic as that is how the house and three cottages are decorated – each with its own bathroom and kitchen so you can cater for yourself. Or ask host Armondo Pena who is happy to serve chicken soup on the terrace which is fittingly full of pomegranate trees. A short drive to the beach with its own pool, Rosh Hashannah at House of the World has a nice ring to it.   +447903525941


For a stay that requires more of a spend, consider the Pine Cliffs in the Algarve which is a five star hotel on a cliff-top pine forest. The gardens are huge and full of exotic plants and there is plenty of space as well as a kids club for the little ones to run around. There is also the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy, an 18 hole golf course and lots of swimming pools . By arrangement Pine Cliffs is also able to do kosher catering for group bookings.

For Pine Cliffs 0800 678 5106 or visit

If you are in Portugal’s Algarve for the High Holy Days then you will receive a warm welcome from the Jewish Community who are getting together to host the chags. Intiated by Israeli restaurant owner Ido Itshayek in Albufeira, where the small community of multiple nationalities are holding ROSH HASHANA in its entirety from 7pm on Sunday 29th September with candle lighting ahead of the evening services followed by a Kiddush and three-course meal.

On Monday October 1 Morning services (Shachrit) are at 9:30, then Yizkor and Shofar blowing at 11:30.

More Kiddish and a festive then afternoon services (Mincha & Tashlich ) at 6pm. Tuesday 2nd of October

Morning services (Sachrit). 9:30 Shofar blowing 11:00

Followed by a KIDDUSH and a festive meal!

“It’s going to be wonderful,” says Ido. “Vistors will experience an exciting, friendly, easy-going, spiritual, delicious, joyful and serene time in a stunning mansion in Albufeira.” There is even a kids playground and Ido is so keen for people to come he insists that they can just come for the food. Services which are also taking place on Yom Kippur.

The sefer torah used for the services has a remarkable history as it belonged to Ido’s great grandfather who was chief rabbi of Iraq. “My father Yadin brought it here from Israel and it is kept in a special room in our house,”says Ido who also wants to remind everyone about the break the fast buffet on October 8.

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