Sunday, September 7, 2008

Anusim - self image as superior Jews?

Anusim's comment to "Descendants of Marranos (Anusim) II - should they ...":
I just tuned into your blog - you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Anusim are not simply contemporary Hispanics clamoring for a link to effervescent Orthodox Judaism. They are also people who have hidden their roots for any of a myriad of reasons including oppression in the U.S., Mexico or other country which, heaven forbid, had a bad attitude towards Jews.

To revel in all the reasons that people who may very well be genuine Anusim should be spurned, turned away and ridiculed, while refusing to admit that you yourselves lack the very evidence you claim is necessary to prove you are a Jew.

My maternal ancestors were Sephardim of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. They escaped the Spanish Inquisition in 1492, only to be exterminated at Jasenovac at the hands of Catholic Ustashe, or forcefully converted to Serbian Orthodoxy and executed by SS in 1942.

My great-grandmother (Sephardic Jew from Croatia) was forcefully converted, under torture and threat of death, to Serbian Orthodox Christianity during the Balkan Wars of 1912/1913. Upon release her father arranged for her to be married to a man who represented himself as Jewish in Butte, MT, in 1913.

In case you were unaware, Jews were emancipated in Habsburg lands in 1878 easily 10 years after negroes were emancipated in America. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather were born before emancipation.

My great-grandmother never accepted Christianity nor participated in the Christian community in Montana. Since there was no Sephardic Community in Butte, she didn't participate in that community either. Was she Christian? no... Was she practicing Jew? yes...behind closed doors and curtains. Did she pass on the rhythms of Jewish living? yes...

She hid her Jewish origins, as did the entire family, after my great-grandfather died in 1925. It may come as a surprise to you to know that there was little affection for Jews in a town where Gaelic-speaking Catholics, and their clergy, reigned. My mother did not know that her grandmother was Jewish - nor was she aware that so many family members were killed at Auschwitz, Dachau, and Jasenovac.

We only recently discovered Austria-Hungary Empire birth records which prove Jewish maternal descent origins. According to the presiding Rabbi at a local Sephardic Synagogue, along with a Posek from a Syrian Rabbi in Jerusalem, I am a contemporary 'Anus' and have undergone Halachic Return as spelled out by Rav Soloveitchik and HaRav Eliahu.

I would argue that Messianists and superstitious Jewry are rotting the foundation out from under Maimonidean Orthodox Judaism.

True Anusim represent a small, small group. Most who have Jewish ancestry, yet presently Christian, prefer to remain as they are since they find little appeal in Judaism after all of these centuries...and all of these sorts of blogs.

Jewry guided by superstition is far more dangerous than a small handful of people, standing outside the tent asking to come in, who actually claim to be descendants of Spanish Jews or contemporary Anusim.

If this blog is to be believed, Orthodoxy is taking on a xenophobic persona that should give you pause. I am aghast that this blog may actually reflect the current state of Orthodox Judaism where you live. I can only say 'Baruch Hashem' that you live where you do...which is many thousands of miles away from me.


  1. I am rather taken aback by Anusim's negative comments and would like to respond. Unfortunately, other than making snide comments, Anusim has not provided anything of substance to discuss.

  2. Anusim's comments are accepted, especially in the month of Elul. When people knock at our door and not only say exactly what our mother Ruth said, but go further than Ruth because they also have Jewish blood, and a shared (tragic) history, then we should find ways to bring them closer with compassion and understanding.

    If there are to be discussions about community X and whether they are Jewish or not, there is nothing wrong with people like Anusim reminding us to be more sensitive. In his position, his emotive critique is understood.


    "I would argue that Messianists and superstitious Jewry are rotting the foundation out from under Maimonidean Orthodox Judaism."

    Is this a diatribe at some of the bloggers Archie Bunker remarks regarding anusim? or or at anybody who is not strictly a Maimodean rationalist?

    I am very confused by the interjection?

  4. The phenomenom of former conversos stating their dissatisfaction within authentic Judaism, as it is actually lived and practiced, is not a new one, Uriel Da Costa and Baruch Spinoza being two particularly famous cases.

  5. You have proven via civil documents your maternal Jewish ancestry. Therefore you are Jewish and do not require any conversion or ceremony of return.

    You are not the first person nor will you be the last to discover that you are Jewish despite a non Jewish upbringing, and to return to the practice of the faith of your ancestors.

    Anusim, while they claim Jewish ancestry, have no way to PROVE maternal Jewish descent since they have been separated from the Jewish community for more than 500 years, roughly 20 generations.

    You have a Jewish great grandmother and therefore have no difficulty proving that you are Jewish via civil records.

    It never ceases to amaze me that when a person goes away from Judaism that within four generations, either all is lost or some of their descendants will return fully to the practice of Torah Judaism. In your case, the merit of your ancestors is visited upon four generations in that you should have the desire to return to the faith of your ancestors.

    Kol Hakavod to you and every possible beracha, the best of everything in your life.

  6. Orthodox Judaism is probably the least xenophobic of any religion. Orthodox Jews have resided in most of the countries of the world and have eagerly participated in commercial and national life without losing sight of who they are.

    Any human in the entire world can become Jewish merely be really wanting to, and become completely equal to all other Jews.

    Part of the nature of being "Orthodox" is to accept that the religion is true, and comes directly from G-d.

    It's not xenophobic to strictly follow the laws of who is a Jew, who is not a Jew, and how a Jew is made via is simply following the rules. If the rules seem unfair, blame the Author, not the messenger!


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