For those who one day discover that their ancestors were Jews, it’s shocking. It’s a mind-blowing experience; one just can’t explain the feeling. To have no idea that your family was previously Jewish stops you dead in your tracks. What? You say. When? You say. And more importantly, why did they hide it? For those of you asking, “What’s a Crypto-Jew?” the answer is, one who practices Judaism in secret while professing another religious faith. Even today in America, a country founded on religious freedom, there are those who when finding that their ancestors were Crypto-Jews, prefer to keep it cryptic. Why? You say. Because this world, no matter where you live, has become very strange in regards to religion. One of the definitions of religion is “an awareness or conviction of the existence of a supreme being, arousing reverence, love, gratitude, the will to obey and serve, and the like.” What? You say. And we have to hide that? Not a good idea to hide it. But religion causes a lot of problems. People have been going to war over it for thousands of years. I guess because each religion becomes such a large umbrella, horrible things often take shelter under that umbrella. Maybe with a lot more “live and let live” attitude and kindness to one another, though we are different, will help keep the gremlins out from underneath our umbrellas.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy a how-to for tracing ancient Jewish ancestry available at Amazon, B&N and Ocean-Hose.