Rabbi Eliezer Shai Di Martino was born in Rome, Italy, into a Napolitan family. At age 20, he decided to go to Israel to study at the Shehebar Sephardic Center, where he received his smicha in 2006. He also became a hazan and shochet. Then the real challenge began. Rabbi Di Martino left Israel with his young wife, a Mexican Jew, for Porto, Portugal, later settling in Lisbon.
“When I came to Lisbon, the synagogue was empty. In the past five years, I managed to bring some peace to the community in general,” said Rabbi Di Martino.
Except for a short time in Colombia, Rabbi Di Martino has been serving the Jews in Portugal since 2006. As community rabbi, he is their hazan, and shochet. There is a Jewish doctor who performs milahs and Rabbi DiMartino says the brachot.
Rabbi Di Martino says his biggest challenge is that most of the country’s Jews are intermarried. In addition, of the 300 Jews who live in Lisbon, most live far from the synagogue. He has sponsored many activities on holidays to bring people to the synagogue. He also holds bar mitzvah, Judaism and Hebrew in order to provide the local community with a basic Jewish education.