Project Update
December 2014

Penha de França AFTER restoration
Penha de França BEFORE restoration

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Ponta do Sol AFTER restoration

Ponta do Sol BEFORE restoration
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Descendant Fernanda Levy during interview in Lisbon in March with Carol Castiel

Rafael Benoliel, architect; Angela Sofia Benoliel Coutinho, historian; Pedro Benros, coordinator of Lisbon based descendants

Terrace with menorah in front of Ponta do Sol Cemetery
Dear Friends and Supporters of CVJHP,

We are delighted to report that the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project continued to make steady progress in 2014 toward our twin goals of cemetery restoration and research on the Jewish presence in Cape Verde. Thanks to our partnership with the with World Monuments Fund, CVJHP historian Angela Sofia Benoliel Coutinho delved into archives in Lisbon and Cape Verde to collect important data on the Sephardim who settled in the archipelago in the 19th century. She will continue to conduct research in Cape Verde as well as in Gibraltar and Morocco, the birthplaces of most of the original immigrants.
The information gleaned will eventually culminate in articles and a book on this significant but under-documented chapter in Jewish/African history. The Jews who immigrated to Cape Verde in the 19th century constituted an educated, entrepreneurial group and we are committed to properly understanding their role in the history and development of the archipelago. 



We salute our partners in the Mayor's Office in Ribeira Grande, Santo Antão, who have done a beautiful job of recovering the dilapidated cemeteries of Penha de França and Ponta do Sol this year. In Penha de França, members of the following families are buried: Ohayon (Brigham), Maman, Benros, Auday and Zagury. In Ponta do Sol, we honor members of the Ohayon (Brigham), Pinto, Cohen, Auday and Moryosef families. Please see the "before" and "after" photos of these cemeteries on the left. Of course, there is still much work to do regarding descriptions, signage, plaques and maintenance plans, which we hope to address in the coming year, not only for Santo Antão, but also for the plot in Praia, which we re-dedicated in May 2013, and for the one in Boa Vista.

CVJHP will continue to work with the local and central government authorities and other partners to put the finishing touches on the Jewish burial grounds, including descriptions and signage and most importantly, to develop long-term maintenance plans so that our restoration work can stand the tests of time, climate and tourism.

We made presentations about the Project to the World Monuments Fund in New York City and the Kehila Chadasha of Silver Spring. If you would like us to make a presentation to your synagogue, Jewish community center, church or mosque, please let us know by writing to: Also, for our Portuguese speakers/readers, please check out a fascinating article written by journalist Susana Moreira Marques, whom I met in Lisbon in March, and who felt inspired to write about the Jews of Cape Verde and their descendants in this on-line article: Judeus em Cabo Verde for Rede Angola.

We are honored to announce that Mr. S. Daniel Abraham, Founder and Chairman of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, has made a generous contribution to the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project in 2014. Mr. Abraham has had a lifelong passion for peace. He is also a major sponsor of the Washington-based U.S. Institute of Peace.

Thanks to Mr. Abraham's magnanimity, we will be able to underwrite other critical aspects of the research and documentation phase of the Project to complement the physical restoration of the cemeteries, which was made possible by a gift from H.M. King Mohammed VI of Morocco. CVJHP is grateful to have garnered the backing of such prominent donors as the King of Morocco, Mr. S. Daniel Abraham and the World Monuments Fund. It is a testament to their faith in the integrity of our organization and the importance of our mission: to honor the memory of the Sephardim of Cape Verde by restoring and preserving their burial grounds and documenting their legacy. 

Notwithstanding these contributions, your financial support remains crucial to the fulfillment of our mission. We continue to rely on each and every one of you for your gifts - at any level - to continue our work on cemetery restoration and preservation as well as on research and documentation.  CVJHP has very little overhead. Most of us work as volunteers. Thanks to all who have devoted time and expertise or have made financial and in-kind contributions. We urge you to continue your annual giving and welcome newcomers to our worthy cause.
As you finalize your charitable giving before the tax year deadline on December 31, 2014, please consider adding your name to our distinguished donor list by making a gift to CVJHP. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law, because CVJHP is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.

Make a Donation 
Alternatively, mail a check payable to CVJHP: CVJHP, 400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 812, Washington, DC  20001.


Cape Verde stands as a model of tolerance in a world where religious extremism and sectarianism are on the rise.  By donating to CVJHP, you honor the noblest aspects of all three Abrahamic faiths that the Sephardim of Cape Verde exemplify----Jews from Muslim Morocco contributing to and integrating the multiracial Catholic communities in Cape Verde. By honoring the memory of the Sephardic Jews who contributed immensely to Cape Verde's economic, political and cultural development, you also send a powerful message of hope, tolerance and peaceful co-existence to the world.

With much gratitude and mantenhas,


Carol Castiel
Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, Inc.