Imagine going your whole life practicing religious and cultural traditions, only to find out those practices aren't what they seem. That's what happened to so-called crypto Jews. Crypto Jews are descendants of Jews from the time of the Spanish Inquisition who were forced to hide their faith for fear of persecution. Hundreds of years later, many Spanish speaking Latinos who practiced Catholicism and other religions found out their religious customs and practices were rooted in Judaism. That revelation led many of those Latinos to embrace Judaism after a lifetime spent practicing another religion. Not everyone accepts the theory of crypto Jews in the American Southwest - some have theorized that these could be the descendants of Seventh Day Adventists.
To reconnect with his own Jewish faith after his mother forced him to hide his faith as a child, author Theodore Ross traveled to New Mexico to explore the mystery of the crypto Jews. Ross joins us to discuss the history of crypto Jews and how people in the Southwest have reconnected with their Jewish faith and ancestry.
Theodore Ross, author, Am I a Jew?: Lost Tribes, Lapsed Jews, and One Man's Search for Himself