Expelled Jews welcomed
Parliament unanimously passed a law on Friday offering citizenship to descendants of Jews persecuted and ordered expelled in the 15th century. The legislation sought to repair the effects of a decree issued in 1497 that ordered all Jews out of the country unless they converted to Christianity. A deputy in the ruling coalition, Jose Ribeiro e Castro, called the law’s passage a “historic day.” “We want to once again welcome all those who never should have had to leave,” he said. The expulsion order for the country’s Jews — followed by a 1506 massacre of 2,000 converted Jews in Lisbon, then a Portuguese Inquisition as fearsome for those deemed non-Christian as the Spanish one — was long seen as a black mark in the European country’s history. In 1989, then-president Mario Soares asked forgiveness for the persecutions their forebears suffered.
Teacher assigns Nazi report
A high-school English teacher in Albany, New York, could face disciplinary action for giving a writing assignment that asked students to make a persuasive argument blaming Jews for the problems of Nazi Germany, Albany school district officials said on Friday. School spokesman Ron Lesko said administrators were discussing what official action the 10th-grade teacher at Albany High School could face for the assignment given to students on Monday. The assignment, first reported onFriday by the Albany Times Union, asked students to research Nazi propaganda, then assume their teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty. The assignment told students they “must argue that Jews are evil.” A third of the students refused to complete the assignment. The teacher’s assignment told students they “must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich.”