The Secret Society: Descendants of Crypto-Jews in the San Antonio Area
The University of Texas at Austin Undergraduate Research Journal, Vol.6 (2007)
The purpose of this article is to uncover a secret Jewish past woven into the culture of San Antonio, Texas. In 1492 Spain issued the Edict of Expulsion which gave Jews three options: convert to Catholicism, leave Spain, or die. Although many of the Jews chose to convert to Catholicism, they did not give up their Jewish traditions, and, in turn, they were scorned and looked down upon by the Old Catholics. To escape persecution many of these New Catholics (also known as crypto-Jews, conversos, or anusim) escaped to the New World and settled in the Texas region. The Jewish traditions were continuously passed down through the generations and, even today, there are San Antonians who identify themselves as Catholic Hispanic but practice mutated Jewish customs. These Jewish traditions have been successfully incorporated into the local Hispanic culture and have proceeded to form another layer of the Hispanic and the Jewish identity. The following paper will prove the crypto-Jewish existence and influence in San Antonio by analyzing historical evidence, cultural evidence, and physical evidence.