He lives primarily in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn but spends some time including about half of the Jewish holidays in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where his father lived. He is widely sought after for his blessings and advice. He is known for lacking involvement in bodily pleasures (due to his lack of sleep and eating no more than a meal a day) and for his humble nature. He is also known for his constant battle against practices he does not approve of for Orthodox Jews, such as possessing a television or a computer with internet service, and even the growing of their hair (except for boys under three and unmarried girls as in Hasidic tradition).
Following his father he is a habituated composer of Hasidic songs. He always (except on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays) carries with him a small tape recorder to record any new tune that would come to his mind. He has already composed thousands of songs. Most are forgotten after they are recorded, but still many of them are sung at his tishen, and a handful of them have become classics in the Hasidic community.
Rabbi Portugal has close ties with most Hasidic Rebbes. He heads the Chesed L'Avraham charity organization in Israel founded by his father, and is actively involved - traveling worldwide - in fundraising for it.
Since his wife's death in 2005 he changed some of his practices, including traveling less and wearing his payot hanging down rather than tied around his ears.
Portugal has five sons and three daughters. His oldest son Rabbi Yeshaya Yaakov Portugal lives in Montreal, Canada and has many followers of his own right. His youngest child Rabbi Shmuel Mordechai Portugal and his oldest grandchild Sheina Rachel (Stern), being uncle and niece, married each other in 1990 (an acceptable type of marriage according to Judaism).
Rabbi Abba Hiah Tauber, a very influential Hasidic Rabbi from Monsey, New York is a Skulener Hasid.