This text was prepared by William Gross:
The beginning of the Jewish community in Amsterdam is rooted in the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions at the end of the 16th century. During this period, many of the large number of Jews whose ancestors had been forcibly converted almost one hundred years earlier and labeled "New Christians" were being hounded and accused of heresies. Some of these chose to leave and found a friendly refuge in the Protestant city of Amsterdam. As more and more of them arrived and sought to return to their Jewish roots, the need arose for fundamental Jewish texts that would be comprehensible to an audience ignorant of Hebrew.
A seminal landmark in the Sephardic Treasury, the "Sermoes" comprise a collection of the sermons delivered at the dedication service of the newly built Spanish-Portuguese synagogue of Amsterdam in 1675. Sermons were preached by Hachamim Isaac Aoab, Selomoh de Olivera, Isaac Saruco, Isaac Nieto, Ilijah Lopes, Isaac Vellozino and Dr. Isaac Orobio de Castro. The Feztivities are described in the "memorbook" of M.H. Ganz as follows: "The opening ceremony was held on the eve of Shabbat Nachamu (the Sabbath following the Fast of the Ninth of Av). The celbrations enlivened by a choir and an orchestra continued for eight days, a long as the reconsecration of the Temple in the days of the Maccabees." The Portuguese text is interspersed with Hebrew. Published with four pages of exquisite engravings concerning the Synagogue by the renknowned Dutch artist Romeyn de Hooghe.