According to history, the Sephardic Jews were forced to leave Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition.
Anusim, plural for anus, means "forced ones" in Hebrew. In Jewish Law, this is the legal term applied to a Jew who was forced to abandon Judaism against his or her will, but does whatever is in his or her power to continue practicing Judaism under the forced condition. It derives from the Talmudic term abera be’ ones [Talmud, Aboda Zara 54a], meaning "a forced transgression." The Hebrew verb concerned originally referred to any case where a Jew has been forced into any act against his or her will.
The term anus is used in contradistinction to meshumad, which means a person who has voluntarily transgressed Jewish Law.
Crypto-Judaism is the secret adherence to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith; people who practice crypto-Judaism are referred to as "crypto-Jews". The term crypto-Jew is also used to describe descendants of Jews who still (generally secretly) maintain some Jewish traditions, often while adhering to other faiths, most commonly Catholicism.
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.
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 all over the world. With their reemergence we are witnessing a prophecy unfold right before our eyes. What’s more, we have the opportunity to participate in it!
Tags: abandone, aboda, Anusim, ashkenazic jews, ashkenazim, castilian spanish, crypto jews, customs and traditions, distinct cultures, eastern european countries, german dialects, hebrew name, hebrew verb, jewish traditions, Marrano Jews / crypto-Jews / Anusim, medieval hebrew, Melech HaMashiach, modern hebrew, prayer books, sepharad, sephardic jews, slavic languages, spanish inquisition
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