Sephardim

The story goes like this. Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem and devastates the tiny nation of Israel. The people flee. Many from the house of King David land in Iberia. They establish for themselves a life and begin to blend with the others who found their way to this historic peninsula. The Arabs, Berbers, Phoenicians, Visigoths. And then the Jews. Sometimes the Jews were picked on. You are certainly familiar with the term Anti-Semitism. It was nothing new.

A couple hundred years later the Romans came and took over, bringing more Jews to settle in the newly conquered territory. Again the people of Israel were scattered.

Nearly two thousand years go by and Aragon and Castile provinces merge through the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabelle and the nation of Spain is born. The throne separated religions to try to keep peace. Cities were quartered. Over a decade went by and the throne decided more was needed to bring unity. Enter the Inquisition. There is some folklore attached to this. And in the end, in Granada a decree was written. All Jews had to convert or leave.

Many fled. Many stayed and were executed. And many become Conversos or converts. My ancestors were amongst them and were a powerful clan spread out across Spain and more than forty crests were created for their individual family lines. Many were Counts and Lords, honorable and wealthy. And they endured life under the throne.

But it is written that among the Conversos many secretly practiced Judaism. Throughout the Spanish colonies many were caught and executed. For those who converted, there was ill and unfair treatment in society as they were looked upon as dirty. Some were physically tortured. In the end a great number ended up fleeing. These were mostly spread between Portugal and Mexico.

And that is where my clan went, Mexico. And today I sit having brought the line full circle writing you from Granada, the very place where Ferdinand and Isabelle stated no Jew would every step foot again…

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