What is a Crypto-Jew?

One of the groups that results after the inquisition were those who existed outwardly as Christians but practiced Judaism in secret.   The other groups were those Jews who held fast to their faith and religious practice and those Jews who totally converted to Christianity and were absorbed by Christian society.

There are many crypto-Jews in southwest United States, in states such as Texas and New Mexico.  Many were raised as Christians, but they keep century-old customs tied their Jewish roots.  For example, they might light two candles every Friday night, they might cover the mirrors in the house after a funeral, or they might have certain practices regarding to salting or eating meat.

Many people find out about their Jewish ancestry later in life, often when a parent or grandparent dies.  Then all of a sudden, they want to learn about this other life.

There are various groups and leader that help people through this process. One is Chavurah Zohar Yisrael of Dallas and the B’nei Anasum, an educational organization that provides lectures and guest speakers.  The Chavurah is a group that hold traditional prayer services and meets in the Rabbi’s home approximately twice a month for Sabbath services, along most of the major Jewish holidays.