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AfriGeneas World Research Forum

Some US Hispanics trace Jewish past

Some US Hispanics trace their Jewish past
They discover roots in the Sephardic Jews of Spain through DNA testing.

By Amy Green | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the December 29, 2008 edition

Sanford, Fla. - Wendy Martinez Canelones grew up Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist. But she always felt drawn to Judaism. She once had a vivid dream of herself embracing a blue volume of the Torah. She tears up recalling the dream.

Eventually, she found out why. While studying her family history, she found that she is a descendant of Jews who were killed during the Spanish Inquisition.

"It's been in my heart so many years that for me, it was not a surprise," says Ms. Canelones, who converted to Judaism and now worships at Beth Israel Messianic Synagogue, a congregation for Hispanic Jews in suburban Orlando.

So-called hidden or crypto-Jews, whose family histories have been shrouded in secrecy for centuries, can trace their ancestry back to the Sephardic Jews of Spain. Many of them are here in the former Spanish colonies of Florida, as well as the US Southwest, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
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Wendy Martinez Canelones discovered she was a descendent of Jews killed during the Spanish Inquisition. Here, she and her husband, Henry, reenact a dream she had before discovering her heritage.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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