Skip to comments.Hispanics Uncovering Roots as Inquisition's 'Hidden' Jews
Posted on 10/29/2005 6:07:22 AM PDT by Pharmboy
HOUSTON, Oct. 28 - When she was growing up in a small town in southern Colorado, an area where her ancestors settled centuries ago when it was on the fringes of the northern frontier of New Spain, Bernadette Gonzalez always thought some of the stories about her family were unusual, if not bizarre.
Her grandmother, for instance, refused to travel on Saturday and would use a specific porcelain basin to drain blood out of meat before she cooked it. In one tale that particularly puzzled Ms. Gonzalez, 52, her grandfather called for a Jewish doctor to circumcise him while he was on his death bed in a hospital in Trinidad, Colo.
Only after Ms. Gonzalez moved to Houston to work as a lawyer and began discussing these tales with a Jewish colleague, she said, did "the pieces of the puzzle" start falling into place.
Ms. Gonzalez started researching her family history and concluded that her ancestors were Marranos, or Sephardic Jews, who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and in Mexico more than four centuries ago. Though raised in the Roman Catholic faith, Ms. Gonzalez felt a need to reconnect to her Jewish roots, so she converted to Judaism three years ago.
"I feel like I came home," said Ms. Gonzalez, who now often uses the first name Batya. "The fingerprints of my past were all around me, but I didn't know what they meant."
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I'll order a gefelta fish taco please with a side of refried coogle.
This is unexpected.
There are a lot of Jews in American history.
There are a lot of Jews in prominent and heroic roles in world history as well.
"Ms. Gonzalez started researching her family history and concluded that her ancestors were Marranos, or Sephardic Jews, who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and in Mexico more than four centuries ago. Though raised in the Roman Catholic faith - - - - "
Like Patty Hurst, they joined their persecutors.
Hidden Crypto jews of NM, very interesting.
Last week the NYT was running articles about enlightened Mexican women becoming Muslims. I smell a liberal...
From your link:
Which was the same year they finally chased the last of the mooselimbs out of Spain.
"the Spanish Inquisition"
No, that was Isabella and Ferdinand.
"forced more than 200,000 Jews to chose between expulsion or forced conversion to Catholicism."
There ain't no such thing as "forced conversion." They were offered the choice between voluntary conversion and leaving.
"Many became crypto-Jews, insincere converts, appearing to be devout Catholics but secretly maintaining Jewish rituals in their homes and passing down their true faith to their children."
And it was *these* people that the Inquisition sought to uncover. No person who could say, "Yes, I'm a Jew. Everbody knows it, and I've never pretended to be anything else," was ever touched by the Inquisition.
Your definition of "voluntary" and mine are quite different. Ain't nuthin' voluntary about "convert or leave."
If any of you have the opportunity to visit Santa Fe, please tour the Palace of Governors Museum on the Plaza. It has one whole room dedicated to the Jews who settled NM and their roots up to today, how they assimilated into the native and catholic culture but still retained their roots. It is all there.
Slightly belated welcome to FR. Are you another NM Freeper?
I've been there a few times (prolly the last time in the early '90s) but never have seen that. Will look for it next time I'm there--thanks.
As you go in the front lobby, where they take your money, it is~~or was~~the large area to the left (West).
"Your definition of "voluntary" and mine are quite different. Ain't nuthin' voluntary about "convert or leave."
How about the word, "or."
Try it this way: "All you Jews get out and take your skills and technology with you. Oh, by the way, if you feel you can convert to Catholicism, you can leave."
It was the expulsion, ordered by Ferdinand and Isabella that was involuntary. Voluntary conversion was a way to escape it.
I have a childhood friend who lived in Albuquerque for about 15 years (the family has since moved) and would therefore visit The Land of Enchantment. Quite a country out there...especially enjoyed the trip to Acoma, even though the Indians were miserable to us touristas.
Shouldn't post when I'm this tired.
"All you Jews get out and take your skills and technology with you. Oh, by the way, if you feel you can convert to Catholicism, you can leave." should have been, "All you Jews get out and take your skills and technology with you. Oh, by the way, if you feel you can convert to Catholicism, you can STAY."
"Convert or die." Was it also volunary for those converts?
No problem--I knew what you meant.
But it does beat the islamic 'Convert and be our slave forever or have your head lopped off'.
"Yes..."get out OR convert." That is a coerced conversion, unlike someone waking up one day to find Christ. It's not voluntary when put in those terms no matter how you slice it."
There was conceivably material advantage in converting, but they were perfectly free to take their stuff and move. Most of them did. The conversion business was an out intended for people who felt they could genuinely convert.
"Convert or die." Was it also volunary for those converts?"
I've seen those allegations made, but never convincingly. In the Catholic Church, a forced conversion doesn't even count.
No question about that...my only issue was the word "voluntary."
No...I never meant the "convert or die" comment to apply to Christians, and I should have been clear about that--sorry. That is what Islam has often done to Jews from its very outset.
From the Spanish version of the small Larousse encyclopedia:
Limpieza de sangre (HIST.), cualidad de descender exclusivamente de cristianos viejos, sin tener ningun antecesor judio, musulman ni penitenciado por la Inquisicion.
"Purity of blood" (hist.): quality of being descended exclusively from Old Christians, without having any ancestor (who was) Jewish, Muslim, or made to do penance by the Inquisition.
(The Inquisition sometimes imposed penitencia or public punishment on individuals found guilty.)
"That is what Islam has often done to Jews from its very outset."
That's pretty much the story of the first few hundred years.
I think it may have been Mark Twain who said that if people woke up some morning to discover that they were all the same race, color, and creed, they'd have something else to be prejudiced about before noon.
Is that anything like Roman Emperor Constantine waking up one morning and saying.. to all Romans.. "by the way you all must become 'christians' ".. (leaving was not offered)..
Sounds about as "voluntary" as our annual "ides of April" tribute.
"Stars on Thars..."
(Courtesy of 'Dr. Seuss'...)
"And it was *these* people that the Inquisition sought to uncover."
You're DEFENDING the inquisition here because it only sought to root out people who were pretendeding to be Catholic so they wouldn't be expelled from the country their family had lived in for quite a few generations? Eh?
"No person who could say, "Yes, I'm a Jew. Everbody knows it, and I've never pretended to be anything else," was ever touched by the Inquisition."
That's right, because people who said that were expelled.
"Oh, by the way, if you feel you can convert to Catholicism, you can STAY."
Interestingly, if they later decided your conversion was insincere, then they could imprison and possibly torture you, and/or take most of your valuable posessions and expell you.
The Christians had just finished expelling the Muslims from Spain, in a long and bloody conflict. They were concerned that the Jews who had lived under Islam might become a Fifth Column for the Muslims against the Christians
"You're DEFENDING the inquisition here because it only sought to root out people who were pretendeding to be Catholic so they wouldn't be expelled from the country their family had lived in for quite a few generations? Eh?"
So far, all I have defended is historical accuracy.
It's an interesting phenomenon: once a thing is demonized, you can be as extreme as you like in criticizing it, but if the historical reality is that it wasn't as bad as the most extreme accusations, people will accuse you of "defending" the thing.
The historian and author James Michener referred to the conventional wisdom regarding the Spanish Inquisition as "the black legend." And, indeed, it seems most people think it was far worse than ever it was.
People assume that millions were tortured and killed by the inquisition, when the real number is a few thousand over three hundred years. People assume that it was arbitrary and careless about standards of proof, reckless about accusations, merciless, and unwilling to fairly consider exculpatory evidence. The historical record (prior to PC rewriting) doesn't support that.
Further, the decision to expel the Jews was taken by F&I, not by the Inquisition.
I thought once Saved, always Saved. Is it possible to NOT be a Christian once you are Saved? I don't see a problem being a practicing Jew, but you can't just drop Christianity.
"Interestingly, if they later decided your conversion was insincere, then they could imprison and possibly torture you, and/or take most of your valuable posessions and expell you."
Check out the link in my last note.
It wasn't a matter of deciding that your conversion was insincere, it was a matter of proving in a court that you continued to practice Judaism while pretending to be a Catholic.
If that were proven, you could not only be imprisoned or tortured, you could be burned at the stake. However, if you confessed at the last minute, they would garotte you before the fires were lit, to spare you the flames.
Okay, we don't burn people at the stake any more. Back then, far worse deaths were common.
"I thought once Saved, always Saved."
A lot of people disagree.
A lot of people disagree.
Oh, no. Here we go again ...
"2nd Century: Romans settle the Iberian peninsula and find some Jewish families already there, some claiming to be descendants of King David who arrived after the destruction of the first Temple or during the time of Solomon and Nebuchadnezzar. Synagogues are built in the Empire's major cities. Castile is used for pastureland, as it will be used by the Visigoths and Muslims until the Christian conquest ends the wars and agriculture can be practiced safely."
The evidence is much stronger that he was Jewish:
1. He lived at home until he was 33.
2. He went into his father's business
3. His mother thought he was G-d.
4. He thought his mother was a virgin.
The descendents of the hidden Jews of Spain are the people of Spain today. Most of the population of Spain have Jewish ancestors. Those who were expelled settled in the Americas. Many don't know that this was who their ancestors were. More and more people of this generation are tracing their backgrounds and realizing who they are. For example, they tell of their grandmothers who drew the window shades on Friday night, so people outside could not see in, and then lit two candles. Hispanic families that do no eat pork as a matter of family tradition; families that don't mix meat and dairy; star of David amulets passed down through the generations; learning that certain Spanish surnames are known to historians to have originally been the surnames of converso families.
It is amazing that unique Jewish traditions have been kept in these families under wraps, knowlingly, and in many cases unknowlingly, for over 500 years! That's a lot of generations. Truly a testament to these families and the spiritual strength of Jewish religion and tradition.
"It's an interesting phenomenon: once a thing is demonized, you can be as extreme as you like in criticizing it, but if the historical reality is that it wasn't as bad as the most extreme accusations, people will accuse you of "defending" the thing. "
Pope John Paul II demonized the sins committed during the Inquisition and apologized for them:
"This appeal has prompted a thorough and fruitful reflection, which led to the publication several days ago of a document of the International Theological Commission, entitled: "Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past". I thank everyone who helped to prepare this text. It is very useful for correctly understanding and carrying out the authentic request for pardon, based on the objective responsibility which Christians share as members of the Mystical Body, and which spurs today's faithful to recognize, along with their own sins, the sins of yesterday's Christians, in the light of careful historical and theological discernment.
Indeed, "because of the bond which unites us to one another in the Mystical Body, all of us, though not personally responsible and without encroaching on the judgement of God who alone knows every heart, bear the burden of the errors and faults of those who have gone before us" (Incarnationis mysterium, n. 11). The recognition of past wrongs serves to reawaken our consciences to the compromises of the present, opening the way to conversion for everyone.
4. Let us forgive and ask forgiveness! While we praise God who, in his merciful love, has produced in the Church a wonderful harvest of holiness, missionary zeal, total dedication to Christ and neighbour, we cannot fail to recognize the infidelities to the Gospel committed by some of our brethren, especially during the second millennium. Let us ask pardon for the divisions which have occurred among Christians, for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitudes sometimes taken towards the followers of other religions. "
From "Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past:
"5.3. The Use of Force in the Service of Truth
To the counter-witness of the division between Christians should be added that of the various occasions in the past millennium when doubtful means were employed in the pursuit of good ends, such as the proclamation of the Gospel or the defense of the unity of the faith. Another sad chapter of history to which the sons and daughters of the Church must return with a spirit of repentance is that of the acquiescence given, especially in certain centuries, to intolerance and even the use of force in the service of truth.(78) This refers to forms of evangelization that employed improper means to announce the revealed truth or did not include an evangelical discernment suited to the cultural values of peoples or did not respect the consciences of the persons to whom the faith was presented, as well as all forms of force used in the repression and correction of errors.
Analogous attention should be paid to all the failures, for which the sons and daughters of the Church may have been responsible, to denounce injustice and violence in the great variety of historical situations: Then there is the lack of discernment by many Christians in situations where basic human rights were violated. The request for forgiveness applies to whatever should have been done or was passed over in silence because of weakness or bad judgement, to what was done or said hesitantly or inappropriately.(79)
As always, establishing the historical truth by means of historical-critical research is decisive. Once the facts have been established, it will be necessary to evaluate their spiritual and moral value, as well as their objective significance. Only thus will it be possible to avoid every form of mythical memory and reach a fair critical memory capable - in the light of faith - of producing fruits of conversion and renewal. From these painful moments of the past a lesson can be drawn for the future, leading all Christians to adhere fully to the sublime principle stated by the Council: The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it wins over the mind with both gentleness and power.(80)"
The Confederate Sec.of State was Jewish, I believe.
Not quite. The conversos were forced to "convert" to Catholicism on penalty of death by torture. Those who were able to maintain their Judaism had to do so secretly. I don't think you can blame people for pretending to play along when the alternative is the killing of yourself and your family.