Secret Jews: Growing Number of Latin Americans Turning to Judaism
Judith Fein - Fox News Latino
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September 8, 2013

Rabbi Avrohom Zeidman has grabbed the attention of thousands of YouTube users after dressing up in his mother’s clothes in a video encouraging people to give to charity. (JGiftTV)

They came to Mexico City from places as far flung as Colombia and Brazil. Some traveled from Guadalajara.

Among their numbers were an ex-Catholic priest and a former Christian educator. What they had in common was this: after going online and learning about Jacques Cukierkorn, a Brazilian-born rabbi who lives in Kansas City, they had either converted already or were ready to convert to Judaism.

And they traveled to Mexico City to meet the rabbi themselves for a conference that included lectures, prayer services, mingling with Jews from the United States and Mexico, and the rituals and ceremony involved in formal conversion.

The phenomenon of Latin Americans converting to Judaism has exploded over the past few years ... Some of those who convert are descendants of Jewish ancestors who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal.

Known as Conversos, Crypto Jews, Anusim, Marranos, or secret Jews, they became Catholic in public but continued their forbidden Jewish practices in private. Others have no family histories, but they said they felt a pull to Judaism when they discovered, as adults, that Jesus was Jewish.

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