‘Crypto-Jews’ In The Southwest Find Faith In A Shrouded Legacy : NPR

Really interesting article that I shared with my Jewish father-in-law, Sheldon (many of you have met Sheldon at various events). Not only that, but some people are rediscovering and nurturing the faith that their family members kept hidden or unexplained for so long.

There were the grandfathers who refused to eat pork and wore hats. The sheep and cattle ranchers who slit the throats of their animals, drained the blood, removed the sciatic nerve and salted the meat. These kinds of stories aren’t uncommon in the American Southwest.

At a bedside altar facing the room’s East wall, Sonya Loya’s maternal grandmother, a staunch Catholic, would pray three times daily with a shawl over her head. Living in Alpine, Texas, a small town isolated in the high desert, she taught her family to routinely check their hens’ eggs for spots of blood. Her last request before she died was that she be buried with her feet facing the East.

"There’s something about it, deep within our souls," Loya says.

It wasn’t until Loya was an adult that she learned of a possible Jewish legacy in the region — a narrative that the media would magnify and scholars would dispute. She matched her family surnames with names of medieval Sephardic Jews on an online database. Suddenly, her grandmother’s unquestioned traditions dramatically changed in meaning. Had she been a Jew all along?

via 'Crypto-Jews' In The Southwest Find Faith In A Shrouded Legacy : Code Switch : NPR.

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