A History of the Jews in New Mexico by Henry J. Tobias

By Henry J. Tobias

During this first background of the Jews in New Mexico--from the colonial interval to the current day--the writer regularly ties the Jewish event to the evolution of the societies during which they lived and labored. The booklet starts with one of many least recognized yet so much interesting features of latest Mexico Jewry--the crypto-Jews who got here north to flee the Mexican Inquisition. within the 19th and 20th centuries, the tale is extra typical: German retailers settling in Las Vegas and Santa Fe after which coming to Albuquerque after the railroad arrived. to those debts the writer provides substantial nuance and aspect, really at the position of Jews in smaller groups similar to Roswell and Las Cruces in addition to their social lifestyles and spiritual perform in a frontier area. The dialogue of the 20 th century concentration fairly at the dynamics of Jewish improvement, and the ways that that strategy differed in New Mexico.

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Taking his cue from this analysis, Fierman devoted himself to investigating Jews in the Southwest after 1850, that is, when New Mexico became part of the United States. 1 In 1976, Fay F. Blake, a lay researcher in Albuquerque, investigated a different set of circumstances. Intrigued by evidence of Hispanic Jewry in New Mexico, she informed Jacob R. " 2 The problems encountered by Blake to learn about themwere formidable. Beyond the obstacles posed by secrecy and thedifficulty of establishing documentation, lay the issues of relevant interest and accessibility.

53 Other data point to a crypto-Jewish presence but do not necessarily claim linkage with the seventeenth century. 54 The theme of extinction in both places becomes less certain. Even practicing Hispanic Catholics show awareness of a Jewish past. 55 In all likelihood, far more persons of such background exist than those who claim to be Jews. Paul J. Citrin, rabbi of Temple Albert in Albuquerque, adds evidence of recent vintage. 57 Systematic analyses of their backgrounds, apparently, do not exist.

34 Writing of Carvajal's colonization, Oakah Jones noted that his arrest and condemnation seemed to destine Nuevo Leon for abandonment. His successor repopulated towns and granted encomiendas to deserving livestock raisers. 35 Whether one accepts or rejects the authenticity of the Judaizers as Jews, the erosive course of their evolution seems clear. Those who escaped the reach of the Mexican Inquisition apparently did not escape the filtration process of assimilation. They could not avoid the effects of their secret existence in isolation, the continued dilution of an already slim knowledge of their faith, and the pressures of living in an environment so culturally alien to their beliefs.

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