Sunday, October 30, 2005

Hispanic Jews

From the New York 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.


Blogger Thomas said...

It sounds like there is a deeper story in that Hispanics are exploring other religions besides Roman Catholicism.

My amateurish theory is that while most Hispanics were raised to follow the Catholic church they were never told WHY. Now that they are presented with more options, they are weighing choices. If the RCC wants to retain its vast membership it can't remind but must START explaining the tenets of its faith to people who never really thought of them in the first place.

10/31/2005 4:16 AM  

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