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

By Henry J. Tobias

During this first historical past of the Jews in New Mexico--from the colonial interval to the current day--the writer consistently ties the Jewish event to the evolution of the societies during which they lived and labored. The e-book starts off with one of many least identified yet such a lot attention-grabbing points 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 frequent: 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 element, fairly at the position of Jews in smaller groups similar to Roswell and Las Cruces in addition to their social existence and non secular perform in a frontier sector. The dialogue of the 20th century concentration really at the dynamics of Jewish improvement, and the ways that that strategy differed in New Mexico.

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49 The newly emerging evidence varies widely as to type. Some of it rests in legal documents. One Hispanic genealogical researcher of her own family, who considers herself Jewish and belongs to an Albuquerque congregation, has traced her lineage Page 19 back to survivors of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt through civil documentationmuster rolls, deed transfers, and the like. 51 Another type of evidence is speculativecircumstances which seek explanation. An early Protestant missionary in the late 1880s, in speaking to Hispano youngsters over a number of years, realized that the only Bible stories he ever heard from them were from the Old Testament.

That, a modern scholar tells us, was extinction. "The Mexican Jew of today is not the descendant of colonial times," Seymour Liebman asserts. "17 The primary obstacle in researching and comprehending the crypto-Jews lies in the cloak of secrecy that surrounded them. The reason for maintaining secrecy lay in the ban that prohibited Jews from emigrating to New Spain. "19 The general agreement about the presence of persons practicing Judaism in New Spain refers to Spanish or Portuguese converts to Christianity who engaged in secret or, at least, discreet adherence to Jewish practices.

In time, however, the clerical-military cast of this demography softened. More settlers came in, and the soldiers themselves became settlers. The initial period of settlement of New Mexico by a Hispanic population took place from Oñate's expedition of 1598 to 1680. One hundred twenty-nine soldiers and a possible total population of six to seven hundred arrived as the original force. 11 They suffered for a time from mutinies, battle casualties, and desertion. By 1680 there may have been as many as 2,900.

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