Crypto-Judaism - North America - Former Mexican Territories in The Modern-day Southwestern U.S. 17th Century–18th Century

Former Mexican Territories in The Modern-day Southwestern U.S. 17th Century–18th Century

Due to the activities of the Mexican Inquisition in Nuevo León, many crypto-Jewish descendants migrated to other frontier colonies further west to the trade routes passing through the towns of Sierra Madres Occidental and Chihuahua, Hermosillo and Cananea (Canaan) and further north on the trade route to Paso del Norte (Juarez/El Paso) and Santa Fe (both cities in the then colonial Province of New Mexico), Bisbee Arizona and somewhat less in Alta California.

In the former Spanish-held northern New Spain (modern-day Southwestern United States), some Hispanic Roman Catholics have stated a belief that they are descended from crypto-Jews and have started practicing Judaism. They often cite as evidence memories of older relatives practicing Jewish traditions. The crypto-Jews of New Mexico have been documented by several research scholars including Stanley M. Hordes, Janet Liebman Jacobs, Schulamith Halevy, and Seth D. Kunin. Only one researcher, folklorist Judith Neulander, has been skeptical of the authenticity of the Jewish ancestry of Hispanos of the Southwest, she argues that these remembered traditions could be those of Ashkenazi, not Sephardi, Jews and may possibly be constructed memories due to suggestion by proponents. She also argues that the Jewish traditions practiced by older relatives were introduced by groups of Evangelical Protestant Christians who purposely acquired and employed Jewish traditions as part of their religious practices. Neulander's theory has been directly addressed in Kunin's book "Juggling Identities: Identity and Authenticity Among the Crypto-Jews". More recently, Evangelical Protestant Christians have opened missionary groups aimed at cultivating evangelical doctrine in Southwestern American communities where crypto-Judaism had survived.

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