WELCOME TO VOLUME 7 OF THE JOURNAL OF SPANISH, PORTUGUESE, AND ITALIAN CRYPTO JEWS (JOSPIC-J)
TWO MAJOR NEWS EVENTS (2-14-16):
(1) JOSPIC-J Has Now Become an OFFICIAL ACADEMIC PUBLICATION of Florida International University, Miami, Florida, by Invitation of FIU
(2) JOSPIC-J, Volume 7, the Current Volume, is NOW BEING PUT ONLINE
1. JOSPIC-J Is Now An Official Academic Publication
As a scholarly, refereed journal, we at JOSPIC-J are proud to announce that JOSPIC-J has now become an official publication of the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, under the leadership of Dean John Stack, and with the support of Provost Kenneth Furton and President Mark Rosenberg. FIU has helped financially to publish JOSPIC-J since its founding in 2009, but being raised to the status of an official FIU publication is an honor to JOSPIC-J. FIU, founded in 1965, and now with a student enrollment of approximately 55,000 students, is the youngest university ever to be honored with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter (2001), and now has over 200 bachelor, master, or doctoral programs, and 200,000 alumni. Reflecting booming Miami and southeast Florida, FIU’s student body is 63.1% Hispanic, one of the highest in the United States. Definitely “some” (and probably more) are descendants of crypto Jews. Cuba (accounting for the largest number of Hispanic students at FIU) was known for having many crypto-Jews debarking from Europe, as noted by the famous late Miami historian Seymour Liebman. Hispanic students also come from other parts of U.S. and from all over Latin America, places which had/have large numbers of crypto Jews.
2. JOSPIC-J Will Soon Be Online
We are very proud to announce that soon JOSPIC-J will be available online! Preparations for this have been ongoing for several months between Dr. Abe Lavender, Editor-in-Chief, with assistance from Co-Editor Jonatas Chimen Dias DaSilva-Benayon, with a B.A. in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a 2016 Masters of Fine Arts candidacy at Florida International University, and Dr. John Stack, Dean of the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), with assistance from Pedro Botta, Senior Director for Operations and Strategic Initiatives of SIPA. Plans are for Volume 7, which came out in print a few months ago, to also become available online within the near future as the Online operations are completed. After putting Volume 7 online, plans are to go backwards in order putting previous volumes online. After 7, we will then do Volume 6, then Volume 5, etc.
3. Interactions With the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies
We are also proud to continue our scholarly association and personal interactions with the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS), a national organization of over 250 members. The SCJS includes many descendants of crypto Jews and many non-descendants, of different religious identities, who are strongly supportive of the concept of people being interested in, researching, and in some cases, returning to an identity which was forcefully taken from their ancestors. Especially over the last several decades there has been a strong increase in this “amazing phenomenon” of people of crypto-Jewish ancestry, removed under pressure 500 years ago from their ancestral and religious identity in Spain and/or Portugal, becoming interested in, and in many cases returning to, their ancestral religious roots. The 1970s was particularly important as many Hispanics of secret Jewish origins moved from small villages and towns where their families had lived for several hundred years and felt nervous about the consequences of exposing their secret Jewish ancestry. Individuals Moving to large metropolitan areas felt more freedom to “be themselves” and to go more deeply into their severed past. In addition, Alex Haley’s famous “Roots” program and writings in the 1970s also gave a major boost to people’s interest in genealogy. And, thirdly, the increasing popularity of the Internet and the major attention given to genealogy made it much easier to begin making some genealogical and ancestral connections. The SCJS was founded in August 1990 by Dr. Stanley Hordes, with a doctorate in the history of crypto Jews in Mexico in the 17th century, and Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, with a Doctorate in Hebrew Letters. See the current Volume 7 of JOSPIC-J, pages 8-11, for a 4-page article, on the 25th anniversary of the SCJS, describing and honoring these two scholars’ for founding the Society and continuing to give years of dedicated service to the Society. Dr. Hordes now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Rabbi Stampfer, who recently celebrated his 94th birthday, still lives in Portland, Oregon, where he has lived since 1953. While the Society is mostly non-academic, it has a number of dedicated and experienced historical and genealogical researchers. A significant number of the authors in JOSPIC-J are members of the Society. The Society also has an outstanding magazine-format non-academic journal, HaLapid, under the outstanding editorship of Corinne J. Brown. HaLapid includes very interesting articles, some of which are academic, reports on crypto-Jewish activities, some family reports and genealogies, reports on the annual conferences, book reviews, member interactions, crypto-Judaic concepts, nonacademic articles, many photographs, advertisements, personal items, announcements of future SCJS activities, and other interesting items.
4. Founding of JOSPIC-J, 2009
In 2009, Dr. Abe Lavender and Professor Dolly Sloan co-founded the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews. Dr. Lavender, Editor-in-Chief, and Professor Sloan, Editor, with Florida International University as the hosting institution, and financial support from Dean (now Provost) Kenneth Furton of Florida International University in Miami and Mr. Marty Sosin, Esquire, of the Martin Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation in Santa Monica, California set the stage. Volumes 1 through 4 were helped financially by Florida International University, sales of the journals, and by Mr. Martin Sosin and his Foundation. “Marty” passed away on March 20, 2012, shortly before his 90th birthday. Volumes 5-7 have continued to be helped financially by Florida International University, and sales of the journal. See JOSPIC-J, Volume 4, 2012, pages 5 and 6 for a biography of, and Memorial to, “Marty.” As we said then, “We express our deep appreciation to Marty Sosin, a truly outstanding human being.” Marty greatly helped JOSPIC-J in our crucial “birthing” years and for that we are eternally grateful.
5. Number and Diversity of Topics Covered: Over 1000 Pages of Scholarly Information on Crypto Jews
With the publication of Volume 7 this year, JOSPIC-J now has an impressive single collection of scholarly literature on Crypto Jews in an easily accessible format. With 66 academic articles totaling 1,012 pages of scholarly information on crypto Jews (averaging 15 pages per article), and another 47 pages of 12 scholarly book reviews, JOSPIC-J now makes easily available a sizable collection of specific crypto-Jewish information. Interspersed with this information are 16 maps, 176 photographs, and numerous short commentaries. While many of the photographs are of authors and Editorial Board members, there are also many photographs which help readers to understand topics being discussed. JOSPIC-J has brought together in one collection a number of impressive scholars!
6. Crypto Judaism in Italy Also Given Special Attention
Historically, most attention on the Inquisition and crypto Jews has been given to Spain and Portugal. This is understandable because these two countries had the largest numbers of Jews and crypto Jews who very strongly punished people who wanted to maintain their Jewish identity and practices. BUT, Sicily was also under the control of King Ferdinand (of Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria fame and husband of Queen Isabella), and he spread the Inquisition to Sicily with instructions that it be as strongly enforced there as in Spain and Portugal. However, Catholic Italians did not feel as strongly against Jews as did Spanish and Portuguese Catholics, and they frequently protected their Jewish friends and neighbors at their own risk. There are probably many descendants of crypto-Jews in Sicily today, and among current descendants of the very large number of Sicilian immigrants who came to the United States between c. 1880 and 1921 (when the United States passed severe immigration restrictions basically stopping immigration of Eastern European Jews and Italians into the United States). During the Inquisition times in Italy, the suffering was not as severe as it was in Spain and Portugal, but it still was significant. JOSPIC-J has purposely given more attention than usual to the crypto Jews of Sicily, as well as to the crypto Jews of Italy in general. Rabbi Barbara Aiello, the first Female Rabbi and the first Reform Rabbi in Italy has written an article on Anusim in Sicily and Calabria (Volume 1), and “Hiding in Plain Sight” in Volume 6 about lost traditions among Southern Italy’s crypto Jews. She gives special attention to a historical secret Passover tradition celebrated by Italy’s B’nai Anusim, and presents an impressive collection of ten photographs. Dr. Matthew Warshawsky also wrote about Pacheco de Leon’s travels in Spain, Italy, and Mexico in Volume 1. Dr. Abraham Lavender (Volume 1) wrote about the famous scholar Cecil Roth’s “love affair” with the secret Jews of Italy, the secret Jews of Sicily (Volume 3), and the influence of Abraham Abulafia in Sicily (Volume 3).
7. Large Diversity of Countries and Locations Discussed
In addition to Spain, Portugal, and Italy, a large number of other countries and specific locations are discussed in our articles. These locations are too numerous to mention all, but some are included here to given an idea of the great geographic diversity shown in the 7 volumes of the journal. Apologies to those not specified, but some examples include Madrid, Spain (Dr. David Gitlitz); Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica (Dr. Stanley Hordes); New Mexico and American Southwest (Dr. Seth Kunin); Plasencia, Spain (Dr. Roger Martinez); Puerto Rico and New Mexico (Dr. Seth Kunin); Portugal (Dr. Judith Cohen); Sao Tome (Dr. Robert Garfield); Brazil (Jonatas Chimen Dias DaSilva-Benayon, Dr. Abraham Lavender, and Dr. Nelson Menda); Peru (Dr. Matthew Warshawsky and Dr. Abraham Lavender); Mexico City (Dr. Marie-Theresa Hernandez); Amsterdam, Holland (Dr. Lourdes Dina Rensoli-Laliga); the Lower Rio Grande of Texas (Dr. Carlos Larralde, five articles!); Caribbean (Jonatas Chimen Dias DaSilva-Benayon); Mexico (Dr. James D. Riley); Fermoselle and Zamora, Spain (Genie Milgrom); Florida (Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Dryss Elibrihimi, Dr. Abraham Lavender; American Southwest (Angelina Correa Surage); St. Thomas (Mark R. Barnes); Morocco (Vanessa Paloma Elbaz; Dr. Abraham Lavender; Dryss Elibrihimi); Monterey, Mexico (Dr. Carlos Larralde); Pachuca, Mexico (Dr. David Gitlitz), and others.
8. Sephardim and Muslims, Ashkenazim and Christians: Very Different Historical Experiences
Today, outside of Israel, most Jews live in Christian countries, but it often is overlooked that historically Jews (Sephardim/Mizrahim/Crypto Jews) have lived with Muslims in different locations such as Spain, North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen for hundreds of years (see Volumes 4 and 6). And, while living together with Muslims varied with time, place, and individual ruler, overall Muslims treated Jews much better than Christians treated Jews. The Inquisition and the Holocaust happened under Christian rulers, and the frequent forced exiles of Jews from their home areas (e.g., France, Poland, Russia) were much more likely in Christian European areas than in Muslim areas. Sephardim-Mizrahim were also more likely to share languages (or at least some words), customs, and even sometimes sharing living patterns and areas with Muslims than Ashkenazim were to do with Christians. In fact, in Spain a number of Sephardim had Arabic names; for example, Abu is Arabic for “father of” and both Arabs and Jews had names beginning with Abu, the most famous Jewish one being Abulafia. Another example is Ibn, meaning “son of” (similar to the Hebrew ben which also comes from “son of” as, for example, Ben Gurion). Several famous Sephardic families, mostly the upper class, began their surname with Ibn or Abu. The suggestion is that prominent Jews who were more likely than others to be well educated, hold higher positions, etc., were also more likely to be multicultural, be more open minded, and be closer friends with Muslims on a daily basis. As Mohamed Aburadi (Muslim) and Abraham Lavender (Sephardi) wrote in a short article in Volume 3 about Abraham Abulafia’s (Jewish) influence in Sicily, “It is interesting to note that even Abulafia’s surname indicated the positive Jewish-Arabic interactions which he had experienced.” Abu means “father” in Arabic, and many Arab men added this upon the birth of the first son. Many Spanish Jews, following Arabic customs, also used Abu as part of a surname. Abulafia, “Father of Health” in Arabic, was the name of a “widespread and influential” family of Spanish Jews [this is quoted from the famous Jewish historian Cecil Roth in Encyclopedia Judaica, Volume 1, p. 337. 2007)]. The reference continues with “The first famous Abulafia was Me’ir ben Todros Abulafia (c. 1170-1244), author of the Arabic Peratei Peratim, a novella on most of the Talmud. Ibn, the Arabic term for “son,” also was used by over fifty prominent Spanish Sephardi Jews as part of their surnames” [quoted from Geoffrey Wigoder, editor, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Judaica, 1974]. Another small example of Sephardic-Arabic similarity, but representative of many cultural similarities, is the hamsa, an old and popular amulet used by Arabs and Sephardic Jews in the Middle East and North Africa to guard against the evil eye, envy, or negative energy. As Mohamed Aburadi and Abraham Lavender note in Volume 4 in a short note, “Hamsa is the Arabic word for five, similar to the Hebrew word for five, hamesh. Five refers to the five fingers, and a hamsa generally is shaped like a hand…for Muslims, five can also refer to, e.g., the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunnis, or the Five People of the cloak for Shi’ites. For Jews, five can also refer to the Five Books of the Torah (p. 88). In Volume 4, Aburadi, as a pre-med major and Lavender, as a professor of Sephardim, discussed crypto-Jews (Marranos) and crypto-Muslims (Moriscos) in Spain, pointing out similarities in perspectives, and in Volume 6 they compared Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd), respectively the most famous Jewish and Muslim philosophers and physicians of their time (Maimonides, 1138-1204; Ibn Rushd, 1126-1198). Both were born in Cordoba, Spain, only 12 years apart. During their lives, a fundamentalist Muslim group overpowered the moderate Muslim group which had ruled Spain, and Maimonides and Ibn Rushd suffered. Maimonides and his family had to leave Spain, but they went to another Muslim country, Egypt, where Maimonides became the personal physician to the Sultan (ruler). Showing the great Sephardi-Muslim interactions, Maimonides, the most famous Sephardi (and Jewish) philosopher, author, and physician of his time, wrote all of his books in Arabic except his most famous, The Mishnah Torah which he wrote in Hebrew. And, Ibn Rushd, the most famous Muslim philosopher, author, and physician of his time, wrote books which had much influence on the Jews, and a number of his works were translated into Hebrew because of their popularity and prestige in the Jewish community. When the Jews being exiled by the Catholic Church left Spain, where did they go? Aburadi and Lavender note that while some of the Sephardim who were being expelled in 1492 were welcomed in a very few enlightened European Christian locations such as Amsterdam and Northern Italy, that many of them went to Muslim North Africa, and that the largest single number were invited to and strongly welcomed in the Ottoman Empire, “ inspired and sustained by Islam.” As Mohamed Ghumrawi, a doctoral student in international relations at Florida International University, wrote in an article on Muslim-Sephardi relations in Volume 6, after noting the media’s current portrayal of both Muslims and Jews in a frequently negative light, “an awareness by both Muslims and Jews that they were not born to hate one another, and that there once was a time when Jews and Muslims actually coexisted in a creative and mutually enriching manner, might promote confidence on both sides of the seemingly unbridgeable gulf” (p. 15). Regardless of where one stands on the Muslim-Jewish issues today, it is important for those of us with Muslim or Sephardi/Crypto-Jewish ancestors to remember the strength of many Muslim-Sephardi friendships in various places, to remember that many of our ancestors probably were friends living together in peace, each making a better world for the other. Speaking only of one area (medicine), Aburadi and Lavender emphasize that “Muslims and Jews, working together, in peace, made major contributions to… the world” (Volume 6, p. 28).
FIU Starts Drive to Build Center for Muslim World Studies
Under the dynamic leadership of Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg, FIU is now actively and strongly promoting a fund-raising campaign to build an endowed Center for Muslim World Studies. The initiative is a direct response to a request from the South Florida Muslim community that FIU lead the way in establishing an academic center dedicated to the study of the diversity of Islam and the relations between Islamic societies and the West. The Center will highlight the connections between Islam and Globalization and will concentrate on three strategic themes: Global Muslim Diaspora, Interfaith Dialogue, and Islam and Security. The Center will also sponsor study abroad programs, internships in the U.S. and abroad, special events, community outreach activities and a vibrant lecture series. An early goal will be to offer undergraduate and graduate certificates in Muslim World Studies, allowing FIU students to strengthen their formal degree training with a certificate in Islamic Studies. President Rosenberg, from his own background as he has described it at Holocaust Memorial Days at FIU, is well aware of prejudice and is a strong advocate for fairness and understanding. His mother was imprisoned in Auschwitz, and her parents, her sister, and her sister’s children died in concentration camps. President Rosenberg’s mother was freed by a United States military unit, under the leadership of a Captain Saul Rosenberg. President Rosenberg is the son of Captain Rosenberg and the Jewish woman whom he helped free from the Nazi camp. Understanding the horrors of prejudice and discrimination, President Rosenberg also has an understanding of the need for people to understand each other and live together in peace. Dr. Lavender is proud to have been the first contributor to FIU’s Center for Muslim World Studies, noting that he was doing so in honor of his Sephardic crypto-Jewish ancestors, his respect for Islam, his close friends who are Muslims, and his hope for friendship and peace in the world.
Dr. Abraham D. Lavender, Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Abe Lavender has been a member of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies since 1995, and served two terms (4 years) as President from August 2003 to August 2007. During his presidency, he hosted the first SCJS national conference on the East Coast, in Miami Beach, Florida, August 7-9, 2005. He has spent many years as a researcher and professor in Judaic Studies, emphasizing Sephardim and Crypto Jews. His Ph.D. dissertation, in 1972, was on Generational Changes in Jewish Identity. In his 8 major publications since then, 6 books (self or co-authored, or edited) and 2 monographs, 5 of the 8 publications include discussions of Jews: A Coat of Many Colors: Jewish Subcommunities in the United States (all Jewish, with a chapter on Sephardim); Ethnic Women and Feminist Values (with a chapter on Jewish women); Jewish Farmers of the Catskills: A Century of Survival; Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Blacks, and Others in Miami Beach; and A History of Jewish and Hispanic Interaction in Miami-Dade County, Florida in Latinos and Jews, by the America Jewish Committee, 2002. Of Dr. Lavender’s 60 published academic articles, 37 emphasize Jews, including articles in Contemporary Jewry, Encyclopedia of Sociology (“Judaism”), Ethnicity, HaLapid, Jewish Education, Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, Jewish Social Studies, Jewish Sociology and Jewish Research, Journal for the Study of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry, and Journal of Ethnic Studies. Of 42short encyclopedia articles, 6 are about Jews including, for example, “Christopher Columbus’ DNA and the Controversy Over His Burial Place” and “The Marranos in North America: Relationships With Other Groups.” Of all of his academic articles, which one does Dr. Lavender remember most fondly? Interestingly, his favorite is a 1981 article, from 35 years ago: "Arabic-Islamic and Spanish-Mediterranean Influences on the `Jewish Mind': A Comparison to European-Christian Influences" in The Journal of Ethnic Studies, Winter 1981-1982. The article is basic, and he would write much more today, but cultural comparisons remain a big part of Dr. Lavender’s perspectives. It also shows the early beginnings of his Sephardi-Muslim interests. With 43 book reviews of academic publications, 26 are on Jewish topics: Walter Laqueur’s A History of Zionism in 1976, Marshall Sklare’s The Jewish Community in America in 1977, The Story of the Falashas by Simon Messing in 1984, Magic Carpet: Aleppo in Flatbush by Joseph A.D. Sutton in 1985, Days of Awe by Achy Obejas (a novel about Crypto Jews in Cuba) in 2004, DNA and Tradition: The Genetic Link to the Ancient Hebrews by Yaakov Kleiman in 2005, To The End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of Mexico by Stanley D. Hordes in 2005, Remnants of Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans by Gloria Golden in 2005, The Desert Remembers My Name: On Family and Writing by Kathleen Alcala in 2007, The Sephardic Frontier: The Reconquista and the Jewish Community in Medieval Iberia by Jonathan Ray in 2007, The Ten Lost Tribes: A World History by Ben-Dor Benite in 2007, and many others. Dr. Lavender’s autosomal DNA shows that his heaviest regional ancestry is in Spain, with a high DNA relationship to the crypto Jews (chuetas) of Mallorca. He was born in South Carolina, where his earliest documented American ancestors settled on the Cooper River 25 miles from Charleston in 1686, 330 years ago. This ancestral line got a big start when two first cousins, orphaned Benjamin Simons and Mary Esther DuPre, who came on the same ship with Mary’s parents, married each other and had 14 children in 28 years! Dr. Lavender has B.A. and M.A. degrees (psychology) from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He was president of the Hillel Foundation, Jewish representative to Interfaith Week, elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a member of Phi Epsilon Pi-Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, taught Confirmation Class at the Tree of Life Temple, and through ROTC was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. As a military officer (NATO support), he lived in Izmir, Turkey, participated in Sephardic and Muslim events, and loved Turkey’s people, culture, music, shish kebab, etc. etc. He vividly remembers his 18 months in Turkey as one of the best periods of his life, touring Turkey, and socializing with his closest Turkish friend, David Danon, a Sephardi whose ancestors were welcomed to the Ottoman Empire after being exiled from Spain, and whose grandmother still spoke Ladino. He remembers the other David and the other Abraham, 2 Abrahams and 2 Davids, all Sephardim, who spent time together enjoying Izmir, which had opened its doors to Sephardic exiles! He completed his 4 years as a captain, and 2 weeks later began his doctoral studies at the University of Maryland. While at UM, he was President of the Sociology Graduate Students Organization, an outreach worker for Hillel, and advisor to Phi Epsilon Pi-Zeta Beta Tau. He is now a full professor of sociology at Florida International University where he has taught since 1989. He taught his first sociology courses on World Jewish Communities and American Jewish Communities at the University of Maryland in 1971, taught both during a sojourn at the University of Miami, and taught both at FIU. Now, frequent courses include Race, Ethnicity, and Minority Groups, Social Deviancy, and Sociology of Sexuality. Other special interests are DNA, reincarnation, ancient aliens, and UFOs! He is faculty advisor to FIU’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, and in 2015 received the national Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award from Zeta Beta Tau. He is President of the Men’s Club and on the Board of Directors at Temple Beth Tov, Historian of the Hibiscus Lodge of Freemasonry in Coral Gables, a 32nd Degree Freemason at the Scottish Rite Freemasonry lodge in Miami, past v-p for programs of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Miami, and past board member of the local American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He has served on Miami Beach City Committees for 20 years (Miami Beach Housing Authority, Homeless Community, Safety Committee, and Special assistant to the Mayor). He is founder and president of the Miami Beach Historical Association, president of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of South Florida, and a member of Mensa. An activist beginning in 1960 at USC, Dr. Lavender marched in the Civil Rights Movement opposing racist discrimination, supported the Feminist Movement, opposed the war in Viet Nam, and supported the Refuseniks’ “Let My People Go” Movement when Jews were opposing the Soviet Union’s refusal to let Jews leave the Soviet Union. He notes that this was the only time he was arrested for protesting (“I could run fast when I saw a billy club close to my head”), and that was because this protest (about 200 people) was a “peaceful sit in” in front of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. Charged with blocking traffic (equal to a minor traffic violation!), doctoral student Lavender and many of the protestors went to jail only for about 2 hours. The Soviet Union changed its policy, and allowed Jews to leave, in 1971! Success!
Welcome to Volume 6 of the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews
Published annually by the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, U.S.A., JOSPIC-Jis a non-profit refereed academic journal whose goal is to encourage and publicize scholarly research on the crypto Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and their many descendants. We publish peer-reviewed articles and research reports, book reviews, and other academic literature.
Much appreciation is expressed to Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Provost, and Dr. John F. Stack, Director, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) for their support. Posthumous special appreciation also is expressed to Martin Sosin of the Martin Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation of Santa Monica, California, for his generous support. JOSPIC-J is co-sponsored by the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies, and much appreciation is expressed to the Society for its support and cooperation.
JOSPIC-J brings together, for the first time in a refereed academic journal, research on secret Jews in the three countries whose historic Jewish communities, each long predating the Inquisition, were largely destroyed by the Inquisition. Italy is also included because much of the Jewish community in southern Italy (including especially Sicily) also was largely destroyed by the Inquisition because it was under Spanish control.
We cover a number of geographical locations throughout much of the world where crypto-Jews and their descendants have lived or live today. The Iberian and Italian crypto Jewish diaspora is large and dispersed. JOSPIC-J truly is an international journal. We are pleased to be a part of Florida International University’s international global emphasis.
This year we maintain our goal of covering a number of diverse issues each year, while also giving special attention to a specific theme. This year, we are emphasizing Sephardi-Muslim relations. This is a touchy subject, and some readers might even object to the topic being discussed, but we are an academic journal and we should be able to objectively discuss the topic.
Today, outside of Israel, most Jews live in Christian coun-tries, but it often is overlooked that historically Jews have lived with Muslims more than they have lived with Christians (See Table on page 16). Mohamed Aburadi and I earlier presented this table in our 2012 (Volume 4) article in JOSPIC-J when we compared Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Muslims in Spain as the Muslims were “finally” being expelled from Spain in 1609. Luckily, these Muslim exiles had a close-by place, North Africa and especially Morocco, to welcome them. But in 1492, 117 years earlier, the exiled Jews were begging for a place to go.
And where did the Jews being exiled from Spain in 1492 go? Aburadi and I noted the irony that while some of the Jews who were being expelled in 1492 were welcomed in enlightened European Christian locations such as Amsterdam and Northern Italy, that many of them went to Muslim North Africa, and that, even more ironic, the largest single number of them not only went to, but were invited to and strongly welcomed in, the Ottoman Empire, “an empire inspired and sustained by Islam.”
Professor Tudor Parfitt points out in his Jews, Muslims, and Mass Media (2004) that in Medieval Europe “Moorishness” and “Jewishness” were the essence of “Otherness.” The “Us-Them” construct was essentially a “European-Semite” construct. As he continues, “Identity is as much a question of exclusion as inclusion and it was on the boundaries of these collectivities that a European sense of self was forged.…The history of Western perceptions of Muslims, Jews and Moors is a long and complex one which has emerged from millennia of religious prejudice and military confrontation and the way in which current Western media images and perceptions of Jews and Muslims are used and misused inevitably draws heavily on this history. Traditional European dislike of Jews and Muslims has had lethal consequences…” (p. 1-2).
Looking at the table on page 16, we see that in 1170 with a world Jewish population of 1,500,000, 93.3% (1,400,000) were Sephardim/Mizrahim; only 100,000, 6.7%, were Ashkenazim. As Lawrence Joffe writes, “The dramatic Arab conquest of Palestine, Persia [Iran] and North Africa united most of Jewry under Muslim rule.” Shortly after the Prophet Mohammed died in 632 C.E., Islam spread very rapidly, and “Within decades warriors from the Arabian hinterland controlled the entire Middle East and North Africa, and by 717 C.E. had added northern India and most of Spain to their realm” (An Illustrated History of the Jewish People, 2000, p. 102).
Most Jews lived in these areas, and as Islam grew there was concern over expected treatment because some Jewish tribes had refused to convert to Islam as Mohammed expected. But, most Jews and Arabs welcomed each other “as fellow Semites and followers of a monotheistic faith” (p. 102). Meanwhile, the number of Jews in Europe, in Christian areas, began to increase. Christian teachings led to major anti-Semitism, but eastern Europe, mostly in the areas of Poland and Russia, began a dramatic increase in their birth rate, including Jews (now called Ashkenazim, from the Hebrew word for Germany). By 1500, the Ashkenazi percentage of world Jewry had grown to 33.3%.
As the Ashkenazim were increasing because of a tremendous birth rate, some parts of the world where Sephardim or Mizrahim lived began a slow population percentage decline. This was partly because of changing trade routes that hurt these areas (e.g., deeper ports were not available for bigger ships, so less trade). Another factor was the growth of wealth in western Europe because of the gold, silver, timber, furs, etc. brought there from the Americas, encouraging the subsequent growth of industrialization, and more population, in Western Europe. These were the areas where Ashkenazim tended to live, and so the Ashkenazi percentage of world Jewry increased to 40.0% by 1650, 50.0% by 1700, 60.0% by 1800, 80.0% by 1840, 90.5% by 1900, and 91.8% in 1930. The Sephardim/Mizrahim were now at their lowest percentage, only 8.2%.
The Ashkenazi number and percentage of Jews was unfortunately drastically decreased in World War II because of Ha Shoah, when over one-third of the Jews in the world were killed and nearly all were Ashkenazim (Salonika, Greece, mostly with Spanish-Portuguese Jews from the Inquisition, was the major exception). The birth of modern Israel in 1948, and the high number of Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews who moved to Israel, and soon had relatively high birth rates, began to increase the over-all Sephardi/Mizrahi percentage. The relatively large birth rate increase among Sephardim/Mizrahim in Israel was also ironically accompanied by a decreased birth rate in other parts of the world where Ashkenazim mostly lived, a decrease largely due to a major increase in educational levels, and the rise of the feminist movement, both of which had the effect of encouraging more women (and men) to reduce the number of children they desired so as to increase economic security, educational levels, and more diverse and more fair life choices and equal career opportunities. By 2010, the Sephardim/Mizrahim accounted for 26.1% of the world Jewish population and the Ashkenazim had decreased to “only” 73.9%, where they had been in about 1825.
Because of emphasis on the history of the last few hundred years, we easily forget that there was a time when most Jews were Sephardi/Mizrahi and lived with Muslims. Ashkenazim, on the other hand, whose ancestors left Israel mostly with the destruction of the Temple, and mostly migrated to Italy, up the Italian peninsula into the Germanic areas, and then east into Eastern Europe, had almost no contact with Muslims or Arabs. And, we have discussed how Christians and Muslims, in general, very differently treated the Jews in their areas throughout most of history, until more recent history.
Overall, we see that Sephardim and Ashkenazim have lived in very different worlds, with very different lives, since being exiled from Israel almost 2000 years ago. The Crusades going across Europe, the pogroms in Eastern Europe, frequent and sometimes large expulsions from many European areas, and the final stroke, the Holocaust, all happened to the European Jews under Christianity. The worst Sephardi suffering was under the Inquisition, and this also was in the name of Christianity. There were periodic bad times under individual Muslim rulers, but these overall did not match the terrible Ashkenazi experiences under Christians. Unfortunately, current events in the Middle East affecting Jews and Muslims/Arabs have led some people to think that Muslim-Jewish relations have been, and always will be, negative. But, that is not true. It does not have to be. And Jospic-J wants to encourage both Jews/Sephardim/Crypto Jews and Muslims/Arabs to have a more accurate understanding of their history. The best book on this topic is A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations: From the Origins to the Present Day, edited by Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora, 2013.
The first three articles this year discuss the Jewish/Sephardi-Muslim/Arab situation from a historical perspective. Parvaneh Julian and Mohammed Grumrawi review the overall situation. Mohamed Aburadi and Abraham Lavender discuss the greatest Muslim and the greatest Jewish “philosopher-physicians” of medieval Europe, Averroes and Maimonides, and show their personal, intellectual, and cultural interactions with each other and others. Angelita Correa Surage insightfully discusses the Moorish influences brought to the Southwestern United States by crypto-Muslims (and possibly also by crypto-Jews). This shows the sharing of many cultural values and objects.
Rachel Bortnick and Dolly Sloan then discuss two major aspects of life, language and literature. Bortnick discusses Ladino, the language of Sephardim, carried from Spain into the Sephardi diaspora, especially Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Sloan discusses Crypto Jewish literature, analyzing the diversity of the literature in different locations and formats.
We then look at three geographical areas of the Sephardi Diaspora. Mark Barnes describes the historic Sephardi synagogue in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, exemplifying Sephardic life at the time. Rabbi Barbara Aiello describes the situation today for descendants of crypto Jews in Southern Italy, and the growth of the return movement. Carlos Larralde continues his Regional Studies analysis of the Lower Rio Grande area of Texas. We have a review (in English and Spanish) of Genie Milgrom’s book tracing her female line back 15 generations in Spain. Jonatas DaSilva analyzes the proposed law currently being considered to offer Spanish citizenship to descendants of crypto Jews. Three of us (Milgrom, Lavender, and DaSilva) were interviewed recently by the Associated Press for a forthcoming article on the Spanish Law, and we, all of us descendants of crypto Jews, tried to accurately explain the varied crypto-Jewish perspectives. Detailed discussions continue in Spain as we go to press. Enjoy Volume 6 of JOSPIC-J. Abraham D. Lavender, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, July 8, 2014
Dear Readers, welcome to Volume 5 of the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews. On the cover below, you will note a new feature, a banner emphasizing the main theme this year: the possibility of crypto Jews in Florida, an area that has not been analyzed before. This year is the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's trip to Florida, and the early Hispanic settlements in Florida are being emphasized throughout this year in all sorts of media. Were crypto Jews among the settlers? This is the question we are looking into. Also note that this is a special year for JOSPIC-J, the completion of five years of articles, etc., about crypto Jews. Thanks to the scholarly authors who have contributed their research, we have added very much to the availability of scholarly knowledge about crypto Jews! Thanks go to all of these authors for their contributions over five years. Also note that we have a listing of all articles, notes, etc., published in the first five years. Welcome to Year Five!!.
Welcome to Volume 5 of theJournal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews. Published annually by the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, U.S.A., JOSPIC-Jis a non-profit academic journal whose goal is to encourage and publicize scholarly research about the crypto Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and their many descendants. We publish peer-reviewed articles and research reports, book reviews, and other academic literature.
Much appreciation is expressed to Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. John F. Stack, Director, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and Dr. Rod Neumann, Chair, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, for their support. Posthumous special appreciation also is expressed to Martin Sosin of the Martin Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation of Santa Monica, California, for his generous support. JOSPIC-J is co-sponsored by the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies, and much appreciation is expressed to the Society for its support and cooperation.
JOSPIC-J brings together, for the first time in a refereed academic journal, research on secret Jews in the three countries whose historic Jewish communities, each long predating the Inquisition, were largely destroyed by, the Inquisition. Italy is also included because it also was largely destroyed by the Inquisition because it was under Spanish control.
We cover a number of geographical locations where crypto-Jews and their descendants have lived or live today. The Iberian crypto Jewish diaspora is large and dispersed. JOSPIC-J truly is an international journal. We are pleased to be a part of Florida International University’s international global emphasis.
This year we continue our examination of Crypto-Judaic communities, customs, and individuals. There has been much literature on where the crypto Jews who left Iberia went, but our first article asks the too often neglected other side of the question: where in Iberia did the crypto Jewish exiles come from? David Gitlitz analyzes this question, and gives some very interesting and surprising results. At least for the large number who went to Mexico, we see that a high percentage came from a fairly small area of eastern Portugal, close to the Spanish border. This helps very much with both historical and genealogical research. While we are in Iberia, the crypto-Jewish homeland, we move to the detailed article by Genie Milgrom. She has discovered the intricacies of Sephardic and crypto-Jewish family relationships both within and outside Iberia. She starts with a village on the Spanish side of the Douto River, the Spanish-Portuguese border, whose descendants are spread far and wide. We well know that, largely for identity and/or secrecy reasons, there have been many cousin marriages among crypto Jews. Milgrom documents just how strong this practice was. Using her own history as an example, she has begun with well-known crypto Jewish families for a simple reason, that is where most genealogical data is already known and so it is more pragmatic to begin there and try to expand to other families.
We then leave Iberia and go to the diaspora with Carlos Larralde. He is recognized as the expert on the crypto Jews of the Lower Rio Grande area, largely covering crypto Jews and their descendants in parts of Texas and northern Mexico. This is his third article in JOSPIC-J on the Lower Rio Grande, and it encourages a model for other regional studies research projects. The southwestern United States was a major area of settlement and has been a major area of publication in JOSPIC-J. We also have published articles on a number of other areas in the crypto-Judaic diaspora including Italy, Sao Tome, the Caribbean, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and, at least in some detail, other areas.
This year we give academic attention to a geographical area that so far has received little research attention on crypto Jews, but is now seriously looking for possible crypto Jews: Florida. So, why is this year different from all other years? In 1513, five hundred years ago, Juan Ponce de Leon landed near St. Augustine. So, this is a major year of celebration in Florida, celebrating his landing, and extending to 2015 which is the 450th celebration of the founding of St. Augustine. It is the oldest continuously inhabited [European] city in the United States, followed by Jamestown, Virginia, and Sante Fe, New Mexico.
So, the inevitable question, already raised by individuals, is receiving more belated attention: Were there crypto Jews with Ponce de Leon or later explorers? Most crypto-Judaic scholars probably would say “Yes!” or at least “Very probably.” History suggests that most ships coming from Iberia had at least a few (and probably more) crypto Jews aboard, secretly trying to get out of Spain or Portugal any way they could. Merrill Shapiro, president of the St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society, explains this and much more in detail. We know that many less Iberians settled in Florida than in the Southwest, but the possible connections in Florida might go back farther, and certainly go back before New Amsterdam in 1654.
In Miami Beach, part of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach area that now has most of the Jewish population of Florida, and forms the third largest Jewish community in the United States. Marcia Jo Zerevitz, founding Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Florida, has long been one of the voices asking about crypto Jews in Florida. She forged ahead to found and build up the statewide Museum, located in Miami Beach, conducted historical research herself, asked how crypto Jews fit into this system, and asked if 1654 really is the correct date for the founding of the United States Jewish community?
On this issue, I also note a point I made regarding Cuba in JOSPIC-J, 1, pp. 13-14: Founded in 1515, Havana was a major seaport on the European-Americas route. Many “Hebrews and New Christians” were there; did any move north to St. Augustine when it was under Spanish control to get further away from the authorities? See my article in Volume 1 or Seymour Leibman in “Cuban Jewish Community in Miami,” American Jewish Year-book, 1969, pp. 238-246.
David Levy Yulee has generally been seen as the first prominent Jew in Florida: one of Florida’s first two United States Senators, first Jew elected to the Senate, member of the Confederate Congress, fervent fighter for States Rights and continuation of slavery, in prison for treason. Historians with much more data now have begun to ask about his father, Moses Elias Levy, whom David belittled. Detailing his major contributions, Abraham Lavender and Dryss Elibrahimi argue for Moses who: personally founded the first Jewish communal agricultural settlement in the United States for oppressed European Jews (largely at his own expense), supported abolitionism, exemplified much-needed agricultural expertise, fought for free public education for both boys and girls, for religious freedom, and for ending antisemitism. From a prominent Moroccan Sephardic family, descendant of Jewish exiles from Spain, and resident of St. Thomas where most of the community identified with Marrano or crypto-Jewish tradition, he lived and exemplified a fer-vent sense of equality, fairness, and justice. He spoke five languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and English).
In each issue, we aim to have at least one article on a special topic and one on a special individual. Jonatas DaSilva explains the special attraction that Sephardim and crypto Jews have had for Freemasonry. The famous historian Jacob Marcus wrote that Freemasonry was “one of the few institutions, outside of the synagogue, where the human dignity of the Jew was given recognition and where he could hope to meet people of culture and intelligence on a plane of equality…Masonry was universalist; its code was moral, one Jews could readily accept.” DaSilva explains this “marriage made in heaven,” especially for Sephardim and crypto Jews, in detail.
Baruch Spinoza made a powerful impact on world philosophy and ideology. Parvaneh Julian analyzes this very famous “child of Marranos.” Born in Amsterdam of former “Marrano” parents from Portugal, he spent his first 24 years living in a community of former crypto Jews in Amsterdam, and then was excommunicated by that community. How much did his crypto Jewishness influence his philosophy? Julian examines his Marrano heritage, and raises seven other possible, and intriguing, factors. We are interested in what you think of these eight possibilities. See page 167. Enjoy!! ─ ADL
Welcome to Volume 4 of theJournal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews, also known as JOSPIC-J, a non-profit academic journal published annually by the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, U.S.A. JOSPIC-J’s goal is to encourage and publicize scholarly research about the crypto Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and their many descendants today. We publish peer-reviewed articles and research reports, book reviews, and other academic literature. Much appreciation is expressed to Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. John F. Stack, Director, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and Dr. Rod Neumann, Chair, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, for their support. Special appreciation also is expressed posthumously to Martin Sosin of the Martin Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation of Santa Monica, California, for his and their generous support. JOSPIC-J is co-sponsored by the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies, and much appreciation is expressed to the Society for its support and cooperation. JOSPIC-J brings together, for the first time in a refereed academic journal, research on secret Jews in the three countries whose historic Jewish communities, each predating the Inquisition for centuries, suffered from, and were largely destroyed by, the Inquisition. In addition to Spain and Portugal, Italy is also included because it was under Spanish control. We continue to cover numerous geographical locations where crypto-Jews and their descendants have lived or live today. The crypto Jewish diaspora is large, and JOSPIC-J truly is an international journal. We are pleased to help further Florida International University’s international global emphasis. We continue our goal of having at least one bilingual article in each issue. This year, Milgrom’s article, in Spanish and English, is a fascinating report on her research in the small town of Fermoselle, Spain, across the Douro River from Portugal. She traces her direct maternal line back fifteen generations to Fermoselle, and documents the presence of a pre-Inquisition Jewish community there. Sephardic Jews and Muslims lived together in Iberia for almost 800 years, from the heights of the “Golden Age” to the depths of the Inquisition. Often Jews had more interactions with Muslims than with Christians, but so far this is a neglected part of crypto Judaic studies. Lavender and Aburadi use the culture, economics, and geography to compare Jews and Muslims, showing how both were forced to convert, hide, go into exile, or face death because of the Inquisition. Martinez-Davila presents a detailed and fascinating study of the famous Carvajal family from the Extremadura area of Spain, and shows how this and other crypto Jewish families were involved in the “Hebrew” andConverso networks stretching from Spain and Portugal to Latin America. He shows how crypto Jews were involved in top religious and government positions. Peru, Bolivia, and (to a lesser extent) Argentina receive special attention. Based on years of scholarly historical and genealogical research, Larralde analyzes in detail the presence of crypto Jews in the Lower Rio Grande area. He includes detailed and little-known findings of many individuals, and shows how their strong interest in genealogy helps perpetuate their Jewish identity. Gondak describes findings from her study of Black Jewish women, and their multiple identities, in Salvador and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Based on interviews, participant observation, and informal conversations, her study raises questions, and suggests some answers, about Jewish identity in Brazil. Bejarano-Gutierrez’s essay also focuses on Jewish identity, from a religious perspective. He analyzes several aspects of Judaism, and the relation to Conversos, especially demonstrated by the complexity and disagreement of some key rabbinic responsa. Warshawsky asks why more academic attention is not given to crypto-Judaism, the Sephardic experience, or literature by and about Jews in Latin America, and suggests that Hispanic Studies should include often marginalized groups such as Jews, New Christians, and Moriscos. He describes two courses which he has developed and teaches at the Catholic University where he is a professor. Individual stories are important, and DaSilva writes about the life of the dramatist and lawyer Antônio José da Silva (killed by the Inquisition) in Portugal and Brazil. He shows how the dramatist’s artistic heritage finally has made its way into the history books, modern performing arts, and greater academia. The author of this article is also a painter, and three paintings with crypto Jewish themes are included. What is your interpretation of crypto-Judaic art? See pages 113-114. Journals require much work and we express thanks to all the following for their help: Joanette Brookes, Cristina Finlay, Arelis Lopez, and Michelle Lamarre of Global and Sociocultural Studies, Pedro Botta of SIPA, and Gilda Ruiz, Susana Sanchez, and Reina Beades of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Welcome to Volume 3 of the Journal ofSpanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews…
…a non-profit refereed academic journal published annually by the School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, U.S.A. JOSPIC-J’s goal is to encourage and publicize scholarly research about the crypto Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and their many descendants today. We publish peer-reviewed articles, research reports, book reviews, and other academic literature.
Much appreciation is expressed to Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. John F. Stack, Director, School of International and Public Affairs, Dr. Rod Neumann, Chair, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, and Dr. Zion Zohar, Director, President Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry, for their academic support. A special appreciation also is expressed to Martin Sosin and the Martin Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation of Santa Monica, California, for their generous support. JOSPIC-J is co-sponsored by the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies, and much appreciation is expressed to the Society for its support.
JOSPIC-J brings together, for the first time in a refereed academic journal, research on secret Jews in the three countries whose historic Jewish communities, each predating the Inquisition for centuries, suffered from the Inquisition. In also studying the descendants of these secret Jews, and the effects the Inquisition still has today on these descendants and others, JOSPIC-J is an international journal, covering descendants in many countries today. The crypto Jewish diaspora covers much of the globe, and we are pleased to be a part of Florida International University’s international global emphasis
In Volumes 1 and 2, we put emphasis on introducing readers to crypto-Jewish descendants in a number of locations including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sao Tome, New Mexico and the American Southwest, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Peru.
In this Volume 3 we continue our goal of covering a wide geographical area of the Crypto-Jewish Diaspora. But, having laid that foundation, we now are expanding more coverage to specific individuals of different time periods and locations: Moses Maimonides, and Isaac Orobio de Castro, and briefly, Abraham Abulafia; Madre Sion and the Virgin of Guadalupe, Maria de Zarate, and more recently, Francisco Barrera Sanchez. We also honor Dr. Richard E. Greenleaf’s contributions of the last several decades. Presenting Dr. Greenleaf’s contributions to the study of the Inquisition continues our annual honoring of an early pioneer related to crypto-Judaic studies. Dr. Greenleaf’s contributions are voluminous, and we are pleased to honor him (and list some of his publications).
We also update data which was reported in Volume 1, showing how the changing use of various terms (Marranos, Conversos, Crypto Jews, Secret Jews, Hidden Jews, New Christians, or Anusim) continue to evolve and better define the area of crypto-Judaic studies.
We continue our attention to recent literature, with a review of Richard L. Kagen and Philip D. Morgan’s Atlantic Diaspora: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500-1800. The article on Sicily uses various sources, but gives special attention to the recent major book by Nadia Zeldes, The Former Jews of This Kingdom: Sicilian Converts After the Expulsion, 1492-1516, and the article on the Caribbean gives special attention to Harry A. Ezratty’s 500 years in the Jewish Caribbean: The Spanish-Portuguese Jews in the Caribbean, Josette Capriles Goldish’s Once Jews: Stories of the Caribbean Sephardim, and Edward Kritzler’s Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. Volume 2 gave special attention to Brazil, which probably has the largest number of crypto-Jewish descendants of any country in the world, and this volume gives a very brief update on Brazil.
We also continue our policy begun in Volume 2 of having at least one article in a language other than English. Last year we had an article in Portuguese, and this year we have an article in Spanish. In each case the article has been translated into English. This year we also have our first oral tradition narrative article (Carlos Larralde), illustrating how to produce an admirable combination of oral tradition and documented historical research.
We also express our appreciation to all of those who are helping JOSPIC-J to further its goal: the authors, the Editorial Board, the staff members, the outside referees, the donors, and other specific individuals, especially at Florida International University.
Welcome to an intellectual interchange involving secrecy, complexity, and controversy, a scholarly educational perspective for both academicians and non-academicians.
Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews (JOSPIC-J), a non-profit academic journal published annually by the School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, U.S.A. JOSPIC-J’s goal is to encourage and publicize scholarly research about the crypto Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and their many descendants today. We publish peer-reviewed articles, research reports, book reviews, and other academic literature.
Much appreciation is expressed to Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. John F. Stack, Director, School of International and Public Affairs, Dr. Rod Neumann, Chair, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, and Dr. Zion Zohar, Director, President Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry, for their academic support. A special appreciation also is expressed to Martin Sosin of the Martin Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation of Santa Monica, California, for their generous support. JOSPIC-J is co-sponsored by the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies, and much appreciation is expressed to the Society for its support and cooperation.
JOSPIC-J brings together, for the first time in a refereed academic journal, research on secret Jews in the three countries whose historic Jewish communities, each predating the Inquisition for centuries, suffered from the Inquisition. In also studying the descendants of these secret Jews, and the effects the Inquisition had on folks, JOSPIC-J truly is an international journal, covering descendants in many countries today. In this Volume 2 alone, we have significant attention to Portugal, São Tomé, Puerto Rico, United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru, with comments on and references to a number of other parts of the world. Our nine authors were born and/or live in five different countries. The crypto Jewish diaspora covers much of the globe, and we are pleased to be a part of Florida International University’s international global emphasis.
In Volume 1, we gave special attention to Italy, including Italy in the title as an equal partner with Spain and Portugal, where it should have always been, and helping to correct a weakness for English readers. We also had an article on Italy. We were not the first to include Italy, but we were the first English language major academic journal to fully include Italy in both the title and major coverage.
With Volume 2, we give special attention to Brazil, another part of the crypto Jewish diaspora which has not received the attention it deserves from English language researchers and publications. As the fifth largest nation in the world, an emerging economic power, and with the largest number of descendants of crypto Jews in the world, it is important that Brazil receive more attention. Almost one third of this issue features Brazil, including one article in Portuguese.
We begin with two brief articles, one on the varying definitions of Jewishness, and one on the special problems of conducting research on people who had or have secret identities. The southwestern United States and Puerto Rico are used as examples of research problems. Then we analyze a conceptual issue of concern to crypto Jewish descendants, whether surnames have crypto Jewish meanings.
Next we move to a geographical perspective, first looking at one of the mother countries, Portugal, with an analysis of music in the lives of crypto Jewish women. We then go to São Tomé, recipient of seven hundred Jewish children who had been kidnapped from their parents in Portugal. Next we feature Brazil with three articles. These include an analysis of the scholarly disagreements on the numbers, past identities, and future identities of descendants of crypto Jews in Brazil, an ethnographic report on people currently returning to Judaism in Brazil, and an enumeration and discussion of Jewish influences found in Brazilian daily life today. We then move to Peru and look at the complicated life of Manuel Bautista Pérez as he tried to survive accusations of being a secret Jew.
As in each issue, we then honor an early pioneer of crypto Judaic studies. Last year we honored Cecil Roth. Now, we look at the contributions of Seymour B. Liebman, a prolific author who dedicated two decades to original research on crypto Jews in different locations, especially Mexico. Recognizing the growing interest and increasing number of books in the field of crypto Judaic studies, this year we initiate book reviews. We review four interesting books, about (1) the continuing question of whether Christopher Columbus was from a crypto Jewish family, (2) the crypto Jews of Spain, (3) the crypto Jews of New Mexico, and (4) Sephardic genealogy. In this last book, we see the difficult problem of trying to research ancestors who were trying to hide or change their identities in order to save their lives. Their belief was “Dum Spiro, Spero.” “While I breathe, I hope.”
Welcome to an intellectual interchange with secrecy, complexity, and controversy, a scholarly educational perspective for both academicians and non-academicians.
Welcome to the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews (JOSPIC-J). It is our pleasure to introduce you to Volume 1 of the journal. On this website you will find the Table of Contents, listing the ten articles in Volume 1; the Editorial Page, listing the people whose work has made Volume 1 possible; Manuscript Submissions, explaining how to submit manuscripts for publication consideration; and Subscriptions/Single Issue Sales, giving all the information on how to purchase subscriptions or single issues.
In addition, to give an idea of the major issues in this fascinating and growing field of academic research, we include the entire first article in Volume 1, "The Secret Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy and Their Descendants Today: Major Issues in a Growing Field of Academic Research."
And, as an example of the many issues which are discussed in Volume 1, and will be discussed in succeeding issues of JOSPIC-J, for your information we also include a brief two-page concluding commentary from Volume 1, "Recent Research Articles: From Roth to DNA." This brief commentary discusses three recent published articles about Sephardic and Crypto Jewish DNA, a major growing field of research.
One of these articles documents, for example, that 20% of all contemporary Hispanic males, mostly Christian today, are actually Jewish genetically on the male line. How did these Jewish ancestral/genetic lines stop being Jewish? What are the identities experienced today among the descendants? For many people, the consequences of the Inquisition still live today, as we will see these consequences in this and future issues of JOSPIC-J. Sociology, history, religion, and other areas of study join together to analyze and explain these consequences. Crypto Jews lived in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and today their descendants live in a large number of countries, providing a fascinating international flavor to this area of study.
JOSPIC-J is published by the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), within the College of Arts and Sciences, at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Appreciation is expressed to Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and to Dr. John F. Stack, Director of SIPA, for their support. Appreciation also is expressed to Dr. Richard S. Tardanico, Chair of the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies (Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography), and to Dr. Zion Zohar, Director of the President Navon Program for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry, for their many acts of support.
Much appreciation is also expressed to the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies for their co-sponsorship and support of JOSPIC-J. The Martin Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation of Santa Monica, California, has given generous financial and moral support, for which much appreciation is expressed.