Nog twee artikelen over Joden die 'thuiskomen' in Israël - min of meer.
It took a long time - 500 years - but at least some of the Marranos, victims of the Inquisition forced to convert to Catholicism, are returning to Judaism and renewing their connection with the Jewish people. This movement is all the more remarkable because the rabbinical establishment has done little or nothing to encourage this movement. The Marranos must have lifted a collective eye-brow when they heard the Pope lecturing Muslims about compulsion in religion. It would be quite interesting to see a debate between a Marrano who had returned to Judaism, and a Jews for Jesus fanatic.
Delegation of 16 Europeans, whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during inquisition over 500 years ago, seek to renew their ties with Jewish people, state
Published: 08.27.08, 06:56 / Israel Jewish Scene
A delegation of 16 Bnai Anousim from Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France arrived in Israel over the weekend. Bnai Anousim (referred to as "Marranos" by historians) is the name for Mediterranean European Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism on pain of death during the Spanish Inquisition.
In the late 14th and 15th century, at the time of mass expulsions of Jews from Spain and Portugal, the Bnai Anousim remained behind, where they continued to preserve their Jewish identity and to practice the Jewish faith covertly.
As a result, this unique phenomenon is still evident even today, even though the Inquisition invested enormous efforts over the centuries to eradicate it.
The trip is being arranged by the Shavei Israel organization, a non-profit organization with the aim of strengthening ties between the State of Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world.
The organization is currently active in nine countries and provides assistance to a variety of different communities such as the Bnei Menashe of India, the Bnai Anousim in Spain, Portugal and South America, the Subbotnik Jews of Russia, the Jewish community of Kaifeng in China, descendants of Jews living in Poland, and others.
In the framework of their visit to Israel, the Bnai Anousim participants will travel across the country and visit places such as Jerusalem, Rachel's Tomb, Safed, Tiberias, Haifa, Beit Shearim, Kibbutz Lavi, and more. In addition, they will take part in special classes on Jewish history, culture and religion being held for them in Spanish and Portuguese as well as learn some Hebrew.
According to Shavei Israel founder and Chairman Michael Freund, large numbers of Bnai Anousim around the world have started to openly embrace their Jewish heritage in recent years and many are seeking to renew their connection with Israel and the Jewish people after centuries of preserving their identity in secret.
"This visit to Israel by a delegation of Bnai Anousim is part of the process of forging a renewed relationship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. I believe that we have an historic and moral obligation to reach out to the Bnai Anousim and to assist them as much as we can," Freund said.
New phenomenon sweeps Portugal: Descendants of Marranos rediscover their Jewish roots and the Jewish faith. One Porto community undergoes mass conversion
Yosef Pero Philip is professor psychiatry at the University of Porto. Arieh Ben Avraham is a renowned film director. Yosef Eduardo Albas is a soccer player in Portugal's Second Division. All three men have recently converted to Judaism, observe the mitzvoth, and are distinctly proud of their Jewish heritage.
These three men are also representative of a noticeable recent trend among descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Marranos, that is Sephardic Jews forced to adopt the identity of Christians, who are now rediscovering their Jewish faith and reclaiming their ancient heritage en masse.
Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum of the "Shavei Israel" Foundation, which oversees the conversion process among these Marrano descendants, said that over the years individual Marranos have converted to Judaism , but now, thanks to the foundation's efforts, entire communities of Marrano offspring are converting to Judaism and reclaiming their ancient heritage.
"If you asked people in Israel, they would probably tell you that Marranos are merely a blurb on the annals of history, but here we see definitive proof that people still view themselves as Marranos and children of Marranos, and that this is a very real, spiritual phenomenon," said Rabbi Birnbaum.
Indeed, many Portuguese are now becoming reacquainted with their Jewish lineage. Aaron Ram, Israel's Ambassador to Portugal, told Ynet that "when people find out that I'm the Israeli ambassador, many end up telling me that they are Jewish, or rather that they are of Jewish descent. Many of these Marranos are not Jewish anymore, nor do they intend to convert, but they nevertheless mention their heritage with great pride. I would say that 10% of all Portuguese are offspring of Marranos of Jewish descent."
What led to this spiritual reawakening among these former Jews? The waning power of the church in both Spain and Portugal is a definite factor leading to this trend, as is the quest for belonging and identity so prevalent around the world today.
The Marano descendants in question tend to come from a high socio-economic background, and are typically well integrated into the Christian society that they live in. They claim that their return to their Jewish heritage does not invoke scorn or hatred in their peers, and that they are typically applauded for their resolve and bravery.