Several years ago I was taken on a spiritual trip that to this day has revolutionized my life in a manner that needs explanation as does the title of this article Before I translate I must tell you that this phrase is used at the end of a story telling session The phrase means: Color red this story has not ended In Spanish it makes more sense plus it rhymes!!!
I received a phone call from my prima hermana Lillian Lozano Trudel from Modesto California She told me that she was going to send me a CD that showed Dr Del Sanchez during an interview Dr Del Sanchez is a recognized Sephardic Jew who is teaching in a freelance environment in Texas
Lillian and I are children of a brother and sister We have had several conversations about our ancestors Her mom is my Tia Yepa(Adelfa) who is alive and very well mentally She is the collaborator of much of the missing pieces to the stories of our family heritage
The tape was very compelling because Dr Sanchez told the interviewer that he had found evidence that the Sephardic Jew roamed freely along the Texas Borderlands He said he believed that many of the Hispanic population whose ancestors date back to the expulsion of the Jews and during the autos de fe in Mexico City are descendants of theSephardic Jews (Crypto Jews)
In fact according to Dr Sanchez these Jews were the developersof many of the colonies that were established along the Border in Coahuila Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon This region is commonly calledthe northern part of Mexico
The secrecy of the development of the Crypto Jewish practices and rituals was an overwhelming fact as I began to identify with much of what he was saying I began to relive what I had been secretly churning in my mind for many years I listened to the tape about fifteen times
I felt like I was hearing the whispers of my grandmother’s stories as she would quietly utter them to me on many of the summer evenings I spent with her
I began to sit quietly and regularly to put together all the memories I had of both my maternal and paternal grandmothers My grandfathers had died long before I was born They were only figments of casual conversations by my parents I knew some information but the intriguing and picturesque family came from the women in my family
From my paternal ancestors came many of our traditional and cultural practices that included the type of food we ate the rituals that were practiced during pregnancy at a funeral at a wedding and most importantly the food we ate during normal times and during times of festivals
My maternal grandmother was my source for such a short period of time but her legacy has influenced me significantly that to this day I think of the many contributions she left me to develop and most importantly to share it with my family friends and all our community here in Del Rio
I have been gifted with an ability to recall conversations that I heard and that I was engaged in during my early childhood days I remember things we did together that now have a meaning
The information she gave me continues to ring true to my recollections My mother confirmed some of my missing pieces as has Tia Yepa
I remember her stories as if she had told them to me today She would sing stories of her mother and father who came from far off lands; of a language that sounded like Spanish but had strange sounding words; and of the beautiful candle sticks that were special because they were brought out on Friday evenings when we walked down a dark stairwell that led to a room that had no windows and was under the ground
The room smelled musty but the light from the candles gave the walls a heavenly glow The table was square and it had a white beautiful linen tablecloth that had a crochet ruffle that had flowers embroidered every few inches
The flowers were so beautiful! They had six petals Each petal seemed to have its own personality I say this because they were all different I suppose the reason is that the table cloth was hand made
It reminded me of the white cloth that was put on my grandfather when he was in his coffin I saw a picture of it one time when I was older
As I have come to know through my associations and through my daily reading researching and interviewing that all of these experiences were for the purpose of my coming to the realization and the actualization that I may be a descendant of the Sephardic Jews
As my curiosity grew and as my knowledge began to extend its perimeters I took steps to increase my relationship with people who were on the same journey of discovery as I was
I went to the Internet and looked up Sephardic Jew and bingo I found the web site: The Society For Crypto Judaic Studies My life took on an adventure of kaleidoscopic proportions that led me into the realization that what appeared to me to be dreams were actually realities to be unfolded
I read every article and every selection that was written in the Halapid I wrote the Society and went to the meetings This was four years ago I adopted Dr Stanley Hordes and have read every thing I can get my hands on that he has written and also have read many articles that have been written about him I have devoured many great works by other authors too
I have attended conferences in New Mexico Arizona Texas Coahuila Mexico and have learned that this reality is unfolding in various parts of the Country New Mexico is the capital of the resurgence of the contributions of the Sephardic Jew their plight and their contributions
About a year ago I asked myself “What are you going to do with all this wonderful information about your ancestors that is also true about the ancestors of a large majority of the Hispanic Americans that live along the Texas Borderlands?”
It took me a while to realize that I needed to let my friends and relatives know about the possibility that they too could recall their family stories and come to the same conclusion as I We may be descendants of the Spanish Jew (Sephardic)!
How could I do this? How could I motivate the people of Del Rio Texas to seek to learn more about this subject? How could I communicate with Del Rio and teach them about the hundreds of similarities between the Sephardic Jew that was expelled from Spain and who later came to Mexico to escape the Inquisition and us here in Del Rio ? Yes many Americans of Hispanic heritage are linked by genetics and blood to the Sephardic Jew!
I wanted to do this but the Lord knows that I was afraid to be scorned and rejected At the age of 62 was it possible to venture into an unknown arena and expect to be accepted especially with a completely foreign subject?
I was afraid of being ridiculed by my own family friends and my community My secret had been in the closet for decades I juggled several ideas on how I could share all of the articles that I had written as a result of interviews reading historical documents reading and evaluating various books written by noteworthy scholars in the field of the Sephardim
How would the local people take the information about the speculation that Sephardic Jews lived in Del Rio Texas and that the probability was high that many of their descendants are still here?
I finally felt compelled to take the chance I took the leap of courage by contacting one of the Editors of our local newspaper Del Rio News Herald It is a daily newspaper with a special edition on Sundays called Lifestyles The Editor in charge is Norma Flores
I called her and told her that I had written a story about the Sephardic Jews that migrated from Mexico City to the northern part of Mexico during the autos de fe that were held around the mid 1500’s Norma said “Oh I have heard or read something of the sort They were called Safarditas They were Jews! Today there are many Safarditas that live in Monterrey Nuevo Leon Mexico”
I promised to send the article to her I also promised to make the information interesting I also told her that the articles would have English and Spanish words phrases and even sentences
I sent her the first article and waited for her to tell me if the Publisher Joe San Miguel would approve my story He did! I have written and published an article every Sunday for the last sixteen months
The community has given me daily accolades I receive letters from all over the world My weekly column has motivated hundreds of people to engaged in their own individual quest of investigating the saga of the contributions existence etc along the Texas Borderlands of the Sephardic Jew Several have even gone as far as participating in their DNA research
Of significance is the fact that the Mexican Government in Coahuila our neighbor across the Border is also endeavoring to collaborate with historical documents as well as conferences depicting the Sephardic Jewish contributions in the language the food the culture the rituals and many other aspects of daily living
I have been invited by the Genealogical and Historical Society of Coahuila to speak regarding my findings as well as my theory regarding the existing remnants of the Crypto Jew along the Eagle Pass and Del Rio areas
One person can make a difference! I believe that my tenacity to create an environment of curiosity has led many people to enter into a journey toward the discovery of who their ancestors were and how they influenced their family today I believe that through my writings and through the subject matter of my writings I have motivated Americans of Hispanic heritage here in Del Rio and surrounding border towns to feel better about themselves
I have reminded the people that our heritage is a noble one I have helped this community to envision the truth that history did not tell us the whole truth about our ancestors There was much more to the history of the Tejano living along the Border than was ever taught in any classroom in years past and even to this day
No historical evidence was ever been shown or discussed in the schools about the existence of the Sephardic Jews who lived and died here I have talked about the consideration that many of the Spanish Jews along with the Conquistadores were responsible for wonderful contributions that to this day exist
I have written about our ancestors living for well over three hundred years under to rule of a king and queen I have shared the reality of Texas as a region governed by a Spanish Kingdom and its rules and regulations I have included language contributions and governmental vocabulary Their influence is unmistakable!
I have created some new questions to be answered by each person in regards to their ancestors I have exposed the possibility that DNA might answer some of their deeper questions about their heritage
New Mexico and the leadership that is existing there is one of my comfort zones and a source for my investigative endeavors that I also share with my local readership
New Mexicans seem to be more in tune with their history their heritage and most importantly their culture This appears to be embraced enthusiastically by every one In contrast Tejanos the new Texans and the new government had to deal with the ALAMO This event gave birth to subliminal messages with negative connotations that Americans of Hispanic heritage had to endure for decades to follow here in Texas
The wars for Texas Independence left very deep wounds among the native Tejanos whose ancestors had lived and owned the Texas Borderlands for centuries before the Anglo immigrant came to claim the free land they would be given if they helped in fighting for the Independence from Mexico
Many Tejano natives helped and many died during the many battles for Independence but history painted another picture that with time eroded the self esteem of the Americans of Hispanic heritage in Texas and their native fathers were not given the honor they deserved
History has cheated the Americans of Hispanic heritage here in Texas and for decades has sent messages of inferiority and stereotyping that has been detrimental
I believe that I have helped this community its citizens its children and all who have an open mind and an open heart that our ancestors possibly came from some of the chosen people that the Bible talks about as a favored people in His eyes!!
I believe that I have helped to give a new twist to an old fact and in the process helped to motivate people to investigate their family backgrounds document their rituals and customs and finally to view their ancestors with a different attitude
Thank you for giving me the favor of your time the favor of your understanding and most importantly the favor of your love As a note of interest I would like to end this article with a note that may be initially humorous but for decades I experienced much pain:
After all my history classes in school I always felt ashamed that my ancestors and I were responsible for all the deaths at the Alamo !!! What a heavy burden for all children who were born to parents of Hispanic heritage!
Many people in Del Rio know Dr Stanley Hordes because I quote him very often J L Jacobs Richard Santos David MGitlitz Richard E Greenleaf Carlos Montalvo Larralde Seymour Liebman Emma Montoya Cecil Roth Jane S Gerber Vanessa Paloma Sam B Maimon Vito Robles Martin A Cohen David Rafael Antonio Solis Yitzhak Baer and many others have influenced my quest in discovering “las raises de nuestros padres ”
Thank you and I welcome your insight regarding this article
Please write me at: dszertuche@hotmailcom