name your roots

My 15 Grandmothers

I was born in Havana Cuba into an upper class Roman Catholic family of Spanish origins. When I was five years old, my family left the Island and moved to Miami, leaving behind not only the Communist Revolution but also their businesses and homes. We were just one of thousands of families that came to Miami in that year. It was 1960. I was immediately placed in the finest Catholic schools, in an area, which had not yet seen a major Cuban influx. My parents wanted the family to assimilate as s...

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The Oral History of Guadalupe Ramos

 Reprinted from "Remnants of Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans" with permission of Gloria Golden, the book's author When I went to Rabbi Leon, I told him that there is no way I can prove I'm Jewish, no physical proof. The first thing that I ever saw that was Jewish was a Seder for Passover. This was in a Protestant Church. I grew up Catholic. They had a special speaker who did the Seder. He explained the Seder, meaning of everything, and said he worked with elderly in Florida. I t...

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A Majorcan reconnects with his Jewish roots

As a child he was puzzled that his family had separate plates for some foods and used chicken fat instead of pork fat when cooking meals. When, as an adult years later, he set out to find out why, the 60-year-old chef embarked on the long path to converting to Judaism.  For the full story  Would you like to share your own story ?         

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Never too late to explore Jewish roots

  In a moving interview by Shavei Israel, Jose Manuel Camarero  tells the story of his art. Although his parents never spoke about their Jewish roots, this Spanish artist continues to explore, learn and bring to life his Jewish heritage.    Click here to read full story    Would you like to share your own story ? 

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A Young Honduran reveals his Jewish roots and changes his life

"While I was studying architecture at the University of Honduras, a teacher in one of my history classes told me that my last name was possibly of Sephardic origin", recalls Libny Ventura Lara, currently a PhD history student  at the University of Haifa in Israel and author of the books " The Crypto-Jews in Honduras (UNAH, 2008) and "The Lineage of the Laras of Honduras" (IHAH, 2009).  The teacher who planted the first seeds of suspicion about possible Sephardic ancestry was the tr...

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I Am Ready to Return: Reconnecting with Sephardic Ancestry

In a recollection by Cynthia Bejarano Saunders, she relates how the recovery of her hidden Sephardic heritage began from the origins of her mother's name and the survival of remnant Jewish practices. Her mother had been practicing Sephardic traditions rooted in crypto-Jewish history all her life, without knowing the origin of these rituals. In her words, "Sephardic practices include the making of pan de semita (Semitic bread), capirotada during Passover and empanamitas during The Fast of Es...

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The story of a Crypto-Jewish descendant embracing Judaism 500 years after the Spanish Inquisition

This story has all the components of a best-selling novel. Strangely enough the first clue that set the chain of events in motion came from an officer of the Church. "My name is Jacqueline Accioly Lima Ferreira. I was born in Brazil, Recife – Pernambuco. The first hint that I ever had that I was related to the Jewish people was when a friend of mine, a Catholic priest, told me that based on my surnames, I was a descendant of the Marranos. Needless to say, I was stunned about this pos...

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