Sephardic Anusim Information
What are Sephardic Jews?
Sephardic Jews are from Spain. They get their name from the term Sepharad which
is a Biblical location (Obadiah 1:20). This location is identified as the
Iberian Peninsula which is modern day Spain and Portugal. Sepharad still
means “Spain” in Modern Hebrew. In contrast, Ashkenazic Jews
are from Eastern European countries. Ashkenaz is the Medieval Hebrew
name for the region that later formed the country of “Germany.” Sephardic
Jews spoke Ladino; a language derived mainly from Old Castilian
Spanish, Hebrew, Turkish, and some French and Greek. Ashkenazic Jews spoke Yiddish;
a fusion of elements primarily from medieval German dialects and secondarily
from Hebrew, Aramaic, various Slavic languages, Old French, and Old Italian.
Throughout the centuries of exile both the Ashkenazim and Sephardim developed
distinct cultures, prayer books, and many different customs and traditions.
Kehilat T'nuvah (The Harvest Congregation) set up the
booth to help promote their upcoming guest speaker
Dr. Dell Sanchez who is an expert on Sephardic (Spanish)
Jews. "We found the Cinco de Mayo Festival the
perfect opportunity to reach out to the Hispanic community," said
Senior Pastor, Mark McLellan. The Denver Cinco de Mayo
Festival is touted as one of largest in the nation
with over 400,000 visitors…
Read More and See Photos
When the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492 they found refuge in Morocco,
Italy, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and Israel. Many also fled to the Americas.
Because of the Spanish, Mexican and Latin American Inquisition many of the
Jews in the Americas were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism. Jews who
have been forced to abandon Judaism against their own will are called Anusim.
Anusim (plural of Anús) is the Hebrew word for “forced
ones.” Anusim will do whatever is in their power to continue practicing
Judaism even under a forced condition like the Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition
was a holocaust that lasted 356 years (1478-1834) and ended a century before
the German holocaust began.
- Patronymic & Matronymic Surnames -
Based on a parent's first name, this category of
surnames includes some of the most common Hispanic
surnames. These Hispanic surnames are often formed
by adding an -es, -as, -is, or -os (common to Portuguese
surnames) or an -ez, -az, -is, or -oz (common to
Castilian or Spanish surnames) to the end of the
father's name. (Leon Alvarez - Leon son of Alvaro).
- Occupational Surnames - These
Hispanic last names are based on the person's job
or trade (Roderick Guerrero - Roderick the warrior
- Descriptive Surnames - Based on
a unique quality or physical feature of the individual,
these surnames often developed from nicknames or
pet names (Juan Delgado - John the thin).
- Geographical Surnames - The most
common type of Spanish surname, these Hispanic last
names are derived from the location of the homestead
from which the first bearer and his family lived
(Ricardo de Lugo - Ricardo from the town of Lugo).
Sephardic Anusim are the children of
those who endured the Inquisitions’ treacheries
including forced and coerced conversions from Judaism to Roman Catholicism.
The majority of these descendants are just beginning to discover their true
identity and heritage. They are innately compelled to learn of the faith
of their forefathers in light of a strong and undeniable passion for Erez
Israel, the land of Israel.
Sephardic Anusim have been tagged with labels including:
- “Converso” (convert)
- “Nuevo Creyente”(new believer)
- “Marrano” (swine or pig; an insulting
term used by Spanish anti-Semites.)
- “Crypto-Jew” (hidden Jew)
- “Anusim” (forced one)
In recent years, many Sephardic Anusim have been
reemerging in the Southwestern United States, namely New Mexico and Colorado.
With their reemergence we are witnessing a prophecy unfold right before
our eyes. What’s more,
we have the opportunity to participate in it!
Aliyah Sephardic Center, Inc.
Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture(FASSAC)
International Federation of Messianic Jews (IFMJ)
Sephardim Hope International
Society For Crypto Judaic Studies
in Mexico during the Spanish Colonial Era
Jews of the Southwest
Mexican secret Spanish Jews today
Colorado's (Possibly) Hidden Hispanic Jews
in Mexico, A Stuggle for Survival
Uncovering Roots as Inquisition's 'Hidden' Jews
Genealogy Links - Sephardic Resources
Research Tool for
Sephardic Genealogy / Jewish Genealogy
Jews in the West Coast States
(pdf, 164 KB)
Jerusalem Connection Newsletter – Special Sephardic Edition (pdf,
Quick Explanation of Ladino
Voice of the
Yuval Ron Ensemble
Gerard Edery – Sefarad
Records & Management
National Center for Jewish Film – Sephardic Films
March 10, 2008, Today Show Story:
Man's Passion to be Principal
You Tube Video: