Skip to comments.Majorcan Descendants of Spanish Jews Who Converted Are Recognized as Jews
Posted on 07/10/2011 7:04:06 PM PDT by Palter
Centuries after the Spanish Inquisition led to the forced conversion of Jews to Catholicism, an ultra-orthodox rabbinical court in Israel has issued a religious ruling that recognizes descendants from the insular island of Majorca as Jews.
The opinion focused narrowly on the Majorcan community of about 20,000 people known as chuetas and did not apply to descendants of Sephardic Jewish converts in mainland Spain or the broader diaspora of thousands of others who scattered to the Ottoman Empire and the Spanish colonies in South and North America.
The island, isolated until a tourist boom that began in the late 1960s, is a sociological preserve for descendants of Jews who formed an insular community of Catholic converts that intermarried through the centuries because of religious persecution and discrimination that barred them from holding certain positions in the Roman Catholic Church through the 20th century. Most carry the names of 15 families with ancestors who were tried and executed during the 17th century for practicing Judaism.
The religious court in Israel, led for more than 40 years by Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, sent another rabbi to the island in May to explore its warren of streets where a synagogue once stood and to examine the family trees of some of the chuetas who trace lineage back 500 years.
In a two-paragraph opinion typical of the private rabbinical court that deals with matters of conversions, marriage conflicts and financial disputes Rabbi Karelitz issued a statement that said because of the intermarriage patterns of the chuetas, all those who are related to the former generations are Jews.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Many of those "mobs" were led by ordained Catholic priests, such as Ferrand Martinez, who led a 1391 pogrom that killed 4,000 Jews. Forgive us if we don't distinguish between the "Church" and its ordained priests (who the Church did not excommunicate or even discipline for their slaughter).
And yes, the Inquisition may, technically, have had "ZERO jurisdiction" over non-Catholics. But, in the Inquisition's eye, Jews who accepted baptism on pain of death at the hands of an angry mob were Catholic. Children abducted from their families and then forcibly baptized were Catholic. Elderly women who lacked the ability to flee Spain in 1492 were Catholic. To the Church's or the Inquisition's eye, it didn't matter what the circumstances were of their "conversions."
The "caricature" is largely accurate. No one claims that all Christians persecuted Jews and forced conversos. Most people who are informed recognize that the Popes of the time were, relatively, tolerant towards Jews. Alexander VI, for instance, permitted exiled Spanish Jews to settle in Rome. But this tolerance, of course, had its limits. None of the Popes went to the mat for the Jews, to the point of excommunicating monarchs who persecuted or exiled the People of Israel. Nor did they excommunicate the local priests & bishops were frequently at the front of the mob with a cross in one hand and a torch in the other. And the Inquisition was an official organ of the Church that, without question, mercilessly tortured Jews who'd been forced, often at knife point, to accept baptism.
Anyone who tries to deny or whitewash the suffering of Spanish Jews, from 1300 onward, is on-par with a Holocaust denier.
You sound like a multiculturalist. Everyone and every culture was and is the same. No absolute good or evil.
Jews got a lot of affirmative action. That must be those quotas they had in universities. Numerus clausus.
Netanyahu is referring to conversos........and you are skewing information. The point he was making is that these people, who were still Jew by lineage, and in secret, distanced themselves from fear for their lives and for their families. If they were Christians, they were by force, and intimidation..
There are many Spaniards today who light Shabbos candles on Friday night, and have no idea “why”- other than it is a tradition passed down to them. This is no different than the Jews in Muslim nations who were forced to convert to Islam at the point of a sword. Many of them today still retain Jewish traditions. The Pathans - the Taliban are a very likely example of this.
And, again......., if you are not fluent in Hebrew, Ladino, Arabic, Spanish, and Latin, or descended from those who went through this, then you have nothing to offer on this subject, other than revisionist garbage.
The bottom line is that the Spanish Inquisition forced the Jews from Spain, and other nations to leave, - because they were Jews.
And, they brutally tortured those Jews who could not leave, and refused to convert, as well as those who were forced to convert, but were suspected of being Jews in secret- because they were Jews.
This was done by the Catholic Church and the Crown. It was not done by Hindus. It was not done by Buddhists. And no, it was not by the common citizen- the people, although, if they knew right from wrong, they would have rose to put a stop to it.
It was done by the Catholic Church. And, they did this with incredibly sadistic devices that only souls of absolute evil could ever devise, approve of, and actually use on another human being.
That is a well documented truth you can never skew, revise, or run from. So, just deal with it, and learn from it so it will never happen again- to any group of people.
fascinating bit of history
Actually it wasn’t even as bad as the normal secular courts of the same time. It was a bad thing, no doubt, but lets look at it in the perspective of those times.
I'm sorry that's not completely correct -- Luis de Torres was a Jew by ethnicity, yes, but he had already converted before the journey to the New world.
Also, he was not the first officer afaik -- that was the captain of the Pinta: Martin Alonso Pinzoń
de Torres was an interpreter as Columbus believed that in India he would find the lost tribes (which was somewhat true if he had actually (like Vasco da Gama) landed IN India -- he would have met the Jews of Cochin and the Bene-Israelies from Maharashtra.
And, of course, as noted above, as many as 1/4 of today’s Spaniards have Jewish blood, so yes it is a near certainty that many of Columbus’ crew members were heavily or party of Jewish ancestry
However, he was Christian in his beliefs -- "No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His service." is what he wrote
He was from Genoa as attested by his letter 2 apr 1502 to the Bank of Saint George in Geneoa and in his 1498 deed of primogeniture.
he may have had Jewish ethnicity, but he was Christian and of Genovese origin, not a secret Spanish Jew
Firstly, check which of those sources are from Elizabethan England and remember that England was at war with Spain, so any propaganda was useful
Secondly, lets check the actual facts -- the Spanish Inquisition had no jurisdiction over unconverted Jews/Moslems. This was only for those baptised. --> the Jews who did not convert were harassed yes, but the inquisition was not the one doing that.
Strangely enough, Torquemada's grandmother was supposed to be a conversa as was another ancestress
Thirdly, let's look at the cold hard facts of the death tolls -- at the beginning lets make it clear than any person killed was a tragedy
The total number of those ACCUSED throughout the 300 years of the Inquistion was 150,000 -- and 3,000 put to death. 3,000 is a horrible number, and spread over 300 years that is 10 executed per year
Also 3000 out of 150,000 accused -- a conviction rate of 2%
Well there at least we have a sound basis for historical discussion. Like you said “most people who are informed”....the problem is that many aren’t. I married into a Jewish family. I don’t think a single person knows the basic fact that the Inquisition was an ecclesiastical court with no authority over non-Catholics. Come to think of it, I don’t think a single person on my Catholic side of the family knows it either.
But you are absolutely right..the tolerance had its limits. And if priests and bishops were involved in persecutions, then the boundary between the mob and the Church would have been effectively blurred if not eliminated for the victims of such actions. (Although that article I linked to mentions a case or two where a bishop stopped a rampaging mob.) Also, the abject stupidity of forced Baptisms, contrary to Church law, further made an absolute mess of the whole thing.
It’s complicated. It’s messy. But that’s history. There is no whitewash here. There is an insistence on historical accuracy. But even so, anyone who can’t see the suffering of real people in such a climate has no heart.
The two that come to mind are that of the forced conversion of the Edomites (Idumeans) to Judaism by the Maccabees
the second was the actions of Yusuf Asar Yathar, a Jewish King in Yemen -- which admittedly he stated that he would persecute Christians living in his kingdom because Christian states persecuted his fellow co-religionists in their realms. Like burning their churches and massacring 20,000 odd Najran Christians
Of course, I stress again that this was minor compared to the persecution of Jews over the centuries, but it still happened.
By the way, this doesn't exactly seem to be true, if I read that article's summation of Pope Paul right. He said that people who were forced to convert could not be regarded as Christians.
Whether that was private opinion of his, or whether that was reflected in bulls/legislation of the time I don't know--I'm not a historian of the period. But it does seem at least that there was no automatic assumption that those forcibly baptized were full Christians.
Actually it’s not “my side is always right”, vlad, pontiac and claud pointed out that this happened, but the image of this has been exaggerated. The jurisdiction was clear, and while the executions by the state and the trials were deplorable they must be seen in light of those times and also seen for the numbers they actually were, not the distorted picture portrayed.
Firstly, Tzfat, the Jewish Encyclopedia puts a balanced view — it was bad, it was against converts only and yet they put it in perspective of those times
But no one is trying to deny or even whitewash. The only statement is that this is to be seen for the level it was, not the way it is portrayed
“Netanyahu is referring to conversos”
That’s exactly what I said.
“........and you are skewing information.”
Not one bit.
” The point he was making is that these people, who were still Jew by lineage, and in secret, distanced themselves from fear for their lives and for their families.”
He says something different on page xix. Are you saying he is contradicting himself in his own book?
“If they were Christians, they were by force, and intimidation..”
That is not his assertion on page xix. Also, the inquisition had not existed when they became Christians so that claim early posted early in the thread is clearly bogus.
“And, again......., if you are not fluent in Hebrew, Ladino, Arabic, Spanish, and Latin, or descended from those who went through this, then you have nothing to offer on this subject, other than revisionist garbage.”
I have a great deal to offer on the subject - and you can’t even get BN’s book right. Again, look at page xix.
“The bottom line is that the Spanish Inquisition forced the Jews from Spain, and other nations to leave, - because they were Jews.”
False. The Spanish monarchy forced the Jews to leave. The inquisition had no authority to banish an entire people. The monarchy did.
“And, they brutally tortured those Jews who could not leave, and refused to convert, as well as those who were forced to convert, but were suspected of being Jews in secret- because they were Jews.”
False. No one was tortured for being a Jew. Jews were not subject to the inquistion in Spain unless there had been a major violation of the natural law. Christians, however, were subject to the inquisition.
“This was done by the Catholic Church and the Crown. It was not done by Hindus. It was not done by Buddhists. And no, it was not by the common citizen- the people, although, if they knew right from wrong, they would have rose to put a stop to it.”
Actually the common people in Spain supported the activity of the inquisition according to the sources.
“It was done by the Catholic Church. And, they did this with incredibly sadistic devices that only souls of absolute evil could ever devise, approve of, and actually use on another human being.”
No. You are now just spinning fantasies.
“That is a well documented truth you can never skew, revise, or run from. So, just deal with it, and learn from it so it will never happen again- to any group of people.”
You, of course, present no evidence for your claims and you directly contradict BN - the very book you laid claim to.
Courts had limited resources in those days ~ flint, steel, firewood, rope. Fur Shur nobody had the wherewithal to pay for your keep in a dungeon!