Conclusion Ethnic Loss and the Future of Crypto-Jewish Culture

Janet Liebman Jacobs

in Hidden Heritage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233461
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936614 | DOI:
Conclusion Ethnic Loss and the Future of Crypto-Jewish Culture

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This chapter concludes this study of crypto-Jewish culture by presenting a discussion on the future transmission of crypto-Jewish ethnicity and heritage among the modern descendant population. In their narratives, modern descendents of crypto-Jews speak with regret of an unknown family history, a forgotten cultural past, or the absence of an ancestral religious tradition. The historical realities of forced conversion, exile, and secrecy together create a consciousness of loss and deprivation reflecting a diaspora worldview that has strengthened the descendants' commitment to preserving Jewish culture and tradition. In internalizing and reclaiming Jewish ancestry, the descendants are creating emotional, social, and spiritual alliances that establish desired links between a history of hidden ethnicity and a present-day association with Jewish culture and tradition. The reclamation of Jewish spirituality and the attending identification with Jewish ethnicity are indicative of a larger cultural trend in which the reinvention of the ethnic and religious self reflects the shifting socioreligious identities of post-Inquisition, postcolonial, and post-Holocaust societies.

Keywords: crypto-Jewish descendents; crypto-Judaism; crypto-Jews; family history; Jewish ancestry; ethnicity

Chapter.  2750 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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