What is a Crypto-Jew?


A Crypto-Jew is someone who is descended from the forced converts to Catholicism of Spain and Portugal 500+ years ago. When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, one-half of them went over the border into Portugal. Five years later the Portuguese King wanted to marry the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. They told him he would have to get rid of his Jews (through expulsion). He issued an expulsion edict that year and gave the Jews 10 months to leave (and a few did) but the remainder were forcibly en mass converted and sprinkled with holy water in the plazas, and were told they were now Catholics.

The Catholics called these people the "marranos" (an insult, it means pig or swine) because they did not believe their conversion to Catholicism was sincere. Indeed, in many cases it was not sincere since it was forced upon them and they had no free will choice in the matter. Many of the Jews descendants hid the Jewish customs and traditions in their home and passed them down to their descendants for many generations. When they went to the new world, the Inquisition (i.e. the reign of terror, torture, and murder at the stake by auto da fé) followed them there. The flames of the Inquisition lasted for approximately 350 years (i.e. 16th, 17th, 18th, and half of 19th centuries).


Where do the Crypto-Jews live today?


They live predominantly in North America (Canada and USA) and all the countries of Central America (ex. Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Panamá, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras etc.), South America (especially Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, etc.), and the Caribbean (especially Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico). They also live in Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, and Indonesia. They are a part of the Aliyah from the West written about by Isaiah 43:5.


Why do they need special assistance?


These Crypto-Jews at this time are not accepted by the Rabbinic authorities unless they go through a Beit Din process confirming their Jewish Identity through "conversion" (to Judaism) or "return" (to the faith and traditions of their Sephardi Jewish ancestors). And the latter process is what many of them want to do (if they have the proper evidences of Jewish ancestry along the mother's female line). But they may have to undergo genealogy research done on their mother's family line (since Judaism comes from the mother), and possibly get documents about their ancestors from the country of origin of where their ancestors were from originally. They might need support to get an mtDNA test done (mother's line DNA) or to live to a Jewish community where they can learn the Jewish traditions that were lost to them and their ancestors due to the generations of persecutions and being secretly Jewish..


What other kinds of assistance do Crypto-Jews need?


They need the same kind of assistance that many Jews need in terms of household moving expenses and living expenses in Israel when they first make Aliyah. But in addition, they may also need living expenses within Israel to just go there to be able to learn at a yeshiva and work with a Beit Din that will grant them the document (conversion or return certificate) that they will need to be approved to make Aliyah by the Israeli government agency in charge of this.


Why should Christians help the Crypto-Jews?


These people are not Christians in their faith and traditions and have lived in great fear and dread of outsiders (to the family) for many generations, because of the history of what had happened to their Jewish ancestors. They represent a "captive" people ... an exile within the exile of the Jewish people. The Jewish people were exiled from their land by the Romans, as most people know. The Jews of Spain and Portugal (and their colonies in the new world) were exiled from the rest of the Jewish world, and had to hide the fact that they were Jews to preserve their lives.


Christians who love their Jewish brothers and sisters as people who love their Creator - and who still follow today the Torah given at Mt Sinai as an eternal covenant - can help to correct an "injustice" that was perpetrated on an innocent people's ancestors 500+ years ago.


These are the people that we believe were written about in the prophecy of Obadiah 1:20 which says "… and the exiles from Jerusalem at Sephard (Spain and Portugal) will inherit the cities of the Negev". But this will not happen without lots of help and support from many people. It will take all of us, arm in arm, working together to help these people. Christians can provide financial support. Rabbinic authorities must be convinced that these people sincerely want to be restored to the faith and traditions of their ancestors from Spain and Portugal by Jewish Law (Halacha).


The word in Portuguese is "saudades" which means longing, and these people are longing to be restored to the Jewish peoplehood and to the land of their inheritance from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).


Israel Taking Major Steps in Connecting Millions

of Crypto-Jews with Jewish Roots


On October 13, 2015, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the first ever official Knesset Caucus for Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Communities. Attended by 300 representatives from all over the world, the caucus gathered senior political, diplomatic, academic, religious and Jewish organizational leaders to discuss how Israel and world Jewry can reconnect with the millions Crypto-Jews, also known as Bnei Anousim, Marranos and Conversos.

Should the initiative prove successful in correcting a historic wrong perpetrated against Iberian Jews, it has the potential to change the face of Judaism forever, strengthening the Jewish people spiritually and demographically.

Ashley Perry (original family name Perez) is descended from Portuguese ancestors who fled to Amsterdam before the Spanish Inquisition. Today, he is president of Reconectar, an organization facilitating a reconnection with the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities.

“This building, the Knesset, and the reestablished State of Israel remind us that the Jewish People are indeed the ‘eternal nation’ and we never let historical circumstances prevent us from achieving the seemingly impossible,” Perry told Breaking Israel News.

He advocates reassessing the Israeli Law of Return and perhaps patterning it after the recent changes in Spanish and Portuguese law, which extends citizenship to people who can prove descent from Jews who were expelled during the Inquisition.

“Many rabbis and communities are turning our brothers away. In order to really undo this historic injustice, they don’t need to return to the Iberian Peninsula. These people need to return to the Jewish people,” Perry explained to Breaking Israel News.

He proposes that those who can prove a Jewish heritage should be able to make aliyah (immigration to Israel) under the Law of Return, a subject that is the focus of controversy within the rabbinic courts.


Read the full story from it's source on the Breaking Israel News website.





The time has come when many more Jews are wanting to move "home" to Israel from the Americas. The Cyrus Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt Christian foundation, directed by Bart and Deborah Kellogg along with other ministry leaders, is helping to make it possible for needy Jewish people in North, Central and South America to return to Israel and make it their home once again.