Ladino Translations of Crypto-Jews in Italy

Pirke Avot Haggadah and Bible: The cryptoJewish community in Italy published a number of Ladino translations of traditional Jewish texts the earliest of which is the Ferrara Libro de Oracyones de todo el año (the prayer book for the entire year) printed by Yom Tov Atias in 1552 A year later the same print shop in Ferrara published the complete Old …

Crypto-Jews in Portugal A Clandestine Existence

It is conceivable that during the worst periods of persecution by the Inquisition many of the Portuguese Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism in 1497 who could not leave the country certainly the poorest families without any means to buy their freedom abroad may have sought refuge in mountainous areas on the northeastern strip of Portugal bordering Spain as far away …

Journeys Through Space and Time

It’s difficult to say when my interest in cryptoJews began For as far back as I can remember I was intrigued by stories of secret Jews lighting candles in their cellars In my memory the stories of these rituals take place in the mountains of Peru isolated towns in Spain or in longforgotten places shrouded in mystery After I became …

My Family History

Pedro Gonzalez de Paredes was born in Amusco Valencia sometime around 1560 His family was from Paredes (de Nava) which is not far from Amusco In Paredes there was a thriving Sephardic community which at one time had a rabbi from Germany (This is reported by Yitzak Baer) The Gonzalez family was a member of this community Sometime around 1581 …

Gomez Peiera

Next year it will be the fifth Centenary of Gomez Pereira’s birth This physician and philosopher was born in Spain in 1500 studied at Salamanca University and practiced in his home town of Medina del Campo He was Physician to the Spanish Royal Court Pereira wrote two books: Antoniana Margarita (1554) a philosophical work in which the scientific method is …

A Drizzle of Honey

David Gitlitz’s new book with coauthor and wife Linda Kay Davidson is A Drizzle of Honey: the Lives and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews Suggested price is $2995 discounted to $2695 Published by St Martin’s Press When he was at the Summer 1997 Denver conference of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies Gitlitz said he was just getting rolling and …

How a South Texas Mexican American Came to the Conclusion That She Is Jewish

Like Judaism itself my story has several sides historical cultural and spiritual that blend together to become a complex entity I grew up in a small South Texas town within a small group of Baptist families of Mexican – American decent We were a minority within a minority so it always felt natural to be different from others I had …

Card Playing to Hide Jewish Identity

In his presentation to the 1999 SCJS Conference in Los Angeles Seth Ward told of a woman from Northern New Mexico whom he had interviewed She was describing the Crypto Jewish practices of her family and told about playing cards every September with her Grandmother Playing cards was an annual ritual of the family that was somehow related to the …

The Poetry of Leonor De Carvajal and The CryptoJewish Tradition In New Spain

This is based on two articles The prime source was: “La poesá­a de Leonor de Carvajal y la tradición de los cryptojudá­os en Nueva Esapaña” by Michelle M Hamilton (University of California Berkeley) which appeared in Sefarad Año 60 Fasc 1 Madrid 2000 Additional information was obtained from an article by Moshé Shaul in Aki Yerushalayim Both Ms Hamilton and …

Ferrara: Spiritual Haven for Conversos in the Early Renaissance

During the sixteenth century reigns of Alfonso and Ercole of the House of Este the Duchy of Ferrara became known as a spiritual haven and a safe place for Sephardic Jews and conversos Those who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism could return to the faith of their ancestors and all could practice Judaism again openly Although the dukes were …