My experience today was an example of how being a journalism student forces you to meet people and go places you never would otherwise.
I went to listen to Dolores Sloan speak about the Crypto Jews in the American Southwest, as I talked about in my last post. She goes by Dolly. It was a very interesting, and also confusing topic, but I now have a better understanding of Crypto Judaism.
Basically, Jews living in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition were forced to either convert to Christianity or leave Spain for good. Hundreds of thousands of Jews converted, but still secretly practiced Judaism.
The topic sheds light on the topic of genealogy, and how people today who identify as Christian could actually be Jewish and have no idea.
There was a woman at the lecture today that experienced this. Edna looks Hispanic. She has dark skin, hair and eyes. She found out only 20 years ago that she was Jewish, and actually felt it in her heart enough to walk out of a Church sermon. I’ll go into her story experience more in my actual story, which will be up on borderbeat.net at the end of the week!
I had the privilege of meeting of meeting with Dolly one on one yesterday. I wanted to get a feel for who she was and a more detailed explanation of the Crypto Jews. Eileen, the director of the Jewish History Museum put me in contact with her. Dolly arrived in Tucson on Friday, having traveled from Los Angeles. She was staying at the Bed and Breakfast next door to the museum, which is where I conducted the interview.
Dolly was great, and extremely knowledgeable. The stories she presented from her travels were incredible and eye-opening. She presented a slideshow as she spoke, which I’m hoping she’ll send me to include in in the text story.
After I’ve completed my story on Dolly and the Crypto Jews, I will start working on my special project, which will be focused on the actual Jewish History museum. My ideas aren’t concrete, but I’ve come up with four tentative sections for the project, which will include text and multimedia.
-A section about Eileen: Yes, she’s the director of the JHM, but she also has a very interesting background as she is a Jew by choice.
-The History of the JHM and Jews in Tucson
-How Nogales Came to be: Was first established as Isaacson by 2 Jewish men
-The story of how the U of A was started by 3 Jewish men