Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v

Contents

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pp. vii-vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book would not have been possible without the generosity and participation of the crypto-Jewish descendants who so willingly gave of their time and of themselves over many years of study and research. Because of the difficulties and challenges posed by the process of recovering ethnic origins, I am particularly grateful to the participants who ...

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Introduction. Crypto-Jewish Descent: An Ethnographic Study in Historical Perspective

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pp. 1-19

The year 1992 marked the five-hundred-year anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. With the commemoration of this critical juncture in European Jewish life, the memory of the Inquisition and its abuses became the subject of scholarly publications, conferences, symposia, and reports in the popular press.1 Through the acknowledgment ...

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1. Secrecy, Antisemitism, and the Dangers of Jewishness

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pp. 21-41

One of the most intriguing aspects of modern crypto-Judaism is the survival of a culture of secrecy that is evident in the patterns of silence and disclosure that characterize twentieth-century families with crypto- Jewish ancestors. The social and political value of secrecy as a response ...

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2. Women and the Persistence of Culture: Ritual, Custom, and the Recovery of Sephardic Ancestry

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pp. 42-66

The persistence of a culture of secrecy poses certain dilemmas for descendants whose religious upbringing bears little resemblance to a Jewish past and whose traces of a Jewish heritage have all but disappeared. In the absence of a surviving cultural community and/or substantial evidence of Jewish religious practice, descendants are faced with the challenge ...

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3. The Self-in-Relation and the Transformation of Religious Consciousness

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pp. 67-82

As evidenced by the narratives of the descendants, reclaiming Jewish ancestry involves the disclosure of family secrets and the remembrance of family custom and ritualized behaviors. Together these experiences contribute to the transformation of both the spiritual and ethnic self as each of these aspects of identity are reconstructed through the lens of ...

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4. Syncretism and Faith Blending in Modern Crypto-Judaism

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pp. 83-99

The previous chapter established a theoretical model for understanding how religious belief systems are constructed in a culture where multiple ethnic identities inform the development and adoption of a spiritual worldview. As described in the self-in-relation analysis, one response to the discovery of crypto-Jewish heritage is the formation of a syncretic ...

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5. Conversion and the Rekindling of the Jewish Soul

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pp. 100-125

For a little more than half the descendants who participated in this study, the discovery and exploration of their Jewish ancestry resulted in conversion and the adoption of a Jewish religious worldview. These descendants identify both spiritually and culturally with modern Judaism and with the religious heritage of their Sephardic ancestors. While ...

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6. Jewish Ancestry and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity

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pp. 125-148

Through the recovery of Sephardic ancestry, crypto-Jewish descendants embrace not only an ancestral spiritual tradition but also a cultural past steeped in the unique and complex history of the Jewish people. The integration of Jewish ethnicity thus involves an identification with shared history, values, and spirituality that together form the emerging ...

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Conclusion. Ethnic Loss and the Future of Crypto-Jewish Culture

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pp. 149-154

Throughout this study of hidden ancestry and the recovery of Sephardic roots, accounts of loss and deprivation characterize descendant narratives as the respondents speak with regret of an unknown family history, a forgotten cultural past, or the absence of an ancestral religious tradition. Their expressions of loss highlight the effects of cultural destruction ...

Notes

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pp. 155-175

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 177-185

Index

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pp. 187-197