American Jewish Committee (AJC) this week joined the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project (CVJHP), in partnership with the Ministry of Communities and the National Library of Cabo Verde, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the restoration of the Jewish cemetery of Praia.

Wayne Sussman, Director of the AJC Africa Institute, and Dr. Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache, Director of AJC Paris, took part in the ceremony, during which commemorative plaques were unveiled in the Jewish section of the Várzea cemetery in Praia, Cabo Verde’s capital.

Separately, in the course of the AJC visit to Cabo Verde, Sussman and Sebban met with the country’s Prime Minister, José Ulisses de Pina Correia e Silva.

Since its founding in 2006, the AJC Africa Institute has established lasting ties with civil society and governments in Africa, as well as with African Diasporas in the United States, on the basis of shared values and mutual understanding. Beyond supporting Jewish communities across Africa, the Institute has pioneered advocacy for Israel’s reengagement with Africa, linking American and Israeli development specialists with their African counterparts to empower them with international expertise and capital.

“As we participated in this week’s celebration of Cabo Verdean Jewish history, it was important for AJC to express our deepest appreciation to those who have stood by the Jewish people and Israel’s friends, especially in these difficult times,” said Sussman and Sebban. “The government of Cabo Verde publicly condemned the October 7 massacre right away, without ambiguity, and expressed strong support for Israel.”

Minister of Cabo Verdean Communities Jorge Santos, President of the Municipality of Praia M. Francisco Carvalho, CVJHP President Carol Castiel, and the Chief Rabbi of Lisbon, M. Ruben Suiza, all offered remarks at the cemetery commemoration. Several other dignitaries attended the ceremony, including U.S. Ambassador Jeff Daigle, Israeli Ambassador Ben Bourgel, and Chargé d’Affaires of Morocco Hassan Zarafa.

“The growing recognition of the Jewish heritage of Cabo Verde, an island nation uniquely characterized by and proud of its cultural diversity, and the strength of the Cabo Verdean diaspora all over the world, especially in America, smopeak to the promising future of the relations between Cabo Verde and the United States, Israel, and the Jewish people, which will go from strength to strength,” observed Sussman and Sebban.

In 2017, the government of Cabo Verde included the country’s Jewish history as part of the national cultural heritage of Cabo Verde.

The Jewish square of Praia, dating from the 19th century, was restored in May 2013 by the Municipal Chamber of Praia and CVJHP, thanks to generous funding from HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The new commemorative plaques unveiled this week include reproductions of the original epitaphs in Portuguese and Hebrew on each tomb, new signage recalling the history of the migration of these Moroccan Jews, and one in honor of HM King Mohammed VI for his generosity. These permanent signs will inform local and international visitors. The restoration and signage of the cemetery will perpetually honor the memory of the deceased and ensure that their legacy is never forgotten.

Following the ceremony at the cemetery, the National Library hosted a conference on the presence and heritage of Moroccan Jews of Cabo Verde in the 19th century, which featured Castiel, Rabbi Suiza, Dr. Raquel Levy-Toledano – who recently discovered her relationship with the family of Abraão Levy, descendant of Moroccan Jews born in Cabo Verde – and El Mehdi Boudra, President of the Mimouna Association of Morocco, a close partner of AJC.

The Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project is a non-profit association established in the United States with the aim of honoring the memory and documenting the contributions of many Jewish families from Morocco and Gibraltar who emigrated to Cabo Verde in the middle of the 19th century.


AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit



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