Sir Walter Scott wrote a book called Ivanhoe. Rebecca and Isaac are Jewish characters who in the end, leave England to start a new life in Granada (Spain) where they hope to live in peace and find safety under Moslem law. That sounds strange, because today the western world has developed a fear of the Muslim world. However, it’s true that Jews were treated much better in Spain under Muslim rule than under Christian rule. During the time Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe” takes place, the Jews were the moneylenders who charged interest (Christians were forbidden to partake in this occupation) and made grand loans to royals. Then in return, the royals grew to hate the Jews because they owed them so much money. The Jews were treated horribly, including tortured. This set up a distrust between the Anglos and the Jews and violence came about between the two. In an encyclopedia entry, about the book “Ivanhoe”, it is written, “The Jewish people were the most wretched, for they were at the mercy of both Saxon and Norman.”
Throughout history we find much contempt between different ethnic groups. Through ignorance and a lack of understanding history, that contempt continued through generations. This is why many of us have Jewish ancestry and it is hidden. Like Rebecca and Isaac in the story “Ivanhoe,” our Jewish ancestors wanted to find peace and safety. Unfortunately, they believed hiding their Jewish ancestry was the way to accomplish this.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy – A How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy II – Uncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors and Secret Genealogy III – From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here:
Secret Genealogy II: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-II-Christian-Ancestors/dp/1484053222
Secret Genealogy III: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X