Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hispanics converting to Judaism

If you were wondering why your Hispanic Help suddenly showed up in four inch heels demanding that you sign a cleaning contract in her lawyer's office; and refused to work on shabbath:

NY Times :

....It is difficult to know precisely how many Hispanics are converting or adopting Jewish religious practices, but accounts of such embraces of Judaism are growing more common in parts of the Southwest. In Clear Lake, a suburb south of Houston, Rabbi Stuart Federow has overseen half a dozen conversions of Hispanics in recent years. In El Paso, Rabbi Stephen Leon said he had converted almost 40 Hispanic families since moving to Texas from New Jersey 19 years ago.
These conversions are the latest chapter in the story of the crypto-Jews, or hidden Jews, of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, who are thought to be descended from the Sephardic Jews who began fleeing Spain more than 500 years ago. The story is being bolstered by recent historical research and advances in DNA testing that are said to reveal a prominent role played by crypto-Jews and their descendants in Spain's colonization of the Southwest.

For more than two decades, anecdotal evidence collected by researchers in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas suggested that some nominally Catholic families of Iberian descent had stealthily maintained Jewish customs throughout the centuries, including lighting candles on Friday evening, avoiding pork and having the Star of David inscribed on gravestones.

The whispers of hidden rituals coming from thoroughly Catholic communities were at times met with skepticism. One explanation for these seemingly Jewish customs was that evangelical Protestant sects active in the Southwest about a century ago had used Jewish imagery and Hebrew writing in their proselytizing, and that these symbols had become ingrained in isolated Hispanic communities...

Father Sanchez has also introduced some Jewish customs at St. Edwins Church in Albuquerque, where he serves; he blew the shofar, or ram's horn, this month during the Yom Kippur holiday. At another parish where he used to work in rural northeastern New Mexico, in the village of Villanueva, he would hold an annual Passover supper....

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 9:34 PM


Blogger Tanisha said...

It is true about the hispanic community here in Texas. I am a black american converting to Judaism but I know of at least 10 hispanics converting to Judaism after finding out there were descendants of the crypto-jews.

1:10 PM  

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