The skeleton was unearthed near Recife, a city in northern Brazil where, in 1636, Portuguese Jews constructed the first synagogue of the New World.
Marcos Albuquerque, who was overseeing the dig, stated that he had no doubt the skeleton was Jewish, stating that the body was buried in a Jewish manner.
Kahal Zur Synagogue in Brazil (Photo: Reuters)
“In Christian tradition, it is customary to bury the dead with their hands crossed over their chest, but this man was buried with hands laid alongside his body before rigor mortis set in,” said Albuquerque. “Furthermore, the body was buried in simple shroud without jewelry or any other private belonging and without casket.”
According to JTA, Rio de Janeiro’s O Globo reported that the skeleton was discovered during the construction of a tunnel in Recife’s central neighborhood, 1.5 miles east of the Kahal Zur Synagogue, which was built by Jews who had fled the Spanish Inquisition.
To properly date the body, pieces would have to be removed so that they may undergo carbon dating, “But out of respect to the religious issue, we left the body where it was found,” added Albuquerque.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life