Although we ran an item about crypto-Jews (also known as conversos) in New Mexico several months ago, we recently came across a fascinating one-hour documentary on the subject: A Long Journey: The Hidden Jews of the Southwest.
Crypto-Jews are descendants of Jews living in Spain and Portugal from the 15th to 17th centuries, who under threat of torture and death were forced to convert to Catholicism by the Spanish Inquisition. Thousands were burned at the stake and some fled to the New World to escape the horror.
Many of those who did convert continued to practice Judaism surreptitiously — the so-called crypto-Jews. Even after their conversion, they were often persecuted by the Catholic Church. A Long Journey: The Hidden Jews of the Southwest aired on PBS and is available on the Internet. We’ve linked it below and highly recommend watching it.
Note: To see our earlier posting about the crypto-Jews of New Mexico, click here.
Quote: “Today in New Mexico vestiges of this crypto-Jewish heritage can still be found among the Hispano community. Some families retain only suggestive practices, disconnected from any consciousness of a Jewish past, such as the lighting of candles on Friday night, observance of the Sabbath on Saturday, refraining from eating pork products, and male infant circumcision. (The practice of male infant circumcision can be traced back to the period prior to the 1930s and 1940s when doctors were advising that this procedure be done for hygienic purposes.) In other cases, knowledge of a Jewish past has been passed down through the generations to the present time.”
Sources: Wikipedia, New Mexico Jewish Historical Society
Learn more about crypto-Judaism on Wikipedia.►
Read “Crypto-Jews” from the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society. ►
Watch “A Long Journey: The Hidden Jews of the Southwest” [56:49]. ►
Image of New Mexico Jewish Community Flag: zebratigerfish.blogspot.com
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