AM - Forward-Sephardic Voices - Excerpt from Casa de Naomi - Corrine Ehrick

For the past several years, I have been working on the novels, which comprise the Casa Series. I found the Sephardic Jews reticent to speak or write about their experience during the Inquisition. They fear revealing themselves because of the things their antecedents experienced during that time. This generational effect has created an insulated situation. After much research and countless discussions with Spanish Jews as well as dialogues with those who teach history and literature, I discovered that only a few knew of and understood these people’s lives, religious practices, and personal histories. This disconnect occurred due to the ongoing pressure within Sephardic families to remain hidden within a culture that has been hostile to their existence. This started with the signing of the Decree of Alhambra, which began the Spanish and later, the Mexican Inquisitions. This decree was in effect until March 31, 1992. Because of this, it is only now that a few brave people are willing to step forward and share their stories.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to one of the three Sephardic believers in Messiah (Christ) that I interviewed (the others will follow). Each has allowed me to share with you how they moved from where they were to owning their Jewish heritage. They hope that as you read their words you will believe that people are still dealing with feelings of generational fear, which make it imperative that they keep their progeny in the dark about their religious heritage. I also hope you will realize that others who fear reprisals might speak about the horror of the Inquisition so that the information will cause their children and grandchildren to be cautious when speaking about their faith or heritage with anyone outside their family.

Corrine’s Voice - I was born in 1929 and raised in downtown Los Angeles. My religious training was in the Catholic Church as all in our family had done for years. In 1984, my son David told me that we are Jewish. I paid no attention to him although I had prayed in 1970 to receive Christ as my personal Savior. I had left the Catholic Church and was attending an Evangelical Church at that time and beginning in 1974, I found myself more and more drawn to Jewish things. When my Grandmother died, my mother showed me her Baptismal Certificate. I noticed that her Godmother’s last name was Gold. I asked my mother about that as Gold is a very unusual last name for a Spanish person to have and Godparents are usually a family member. She told me that her cousin had told her when she was a child that they were Jews but not to tell anyone. It was then that I remembered my grandfather singing in a strange language out by the chicken coops and my mother saying, “He sings like a Cantor!” The realization that we were not what we seemed to be created within me a hunger to know more. Since then I have invested my time and energy to learn all I can about my Jewish Roots. That investigation has made me aware of the charges the Inquisitor made against my family, revealed the possibility that they may have come over with Columbus and the knowledge that they settled in what is now the southwestern United States. Today through much work on behalf of my family, I have acquired the documents to prove what I am saying. Were it not for the Decree of Alhambra and the Spanish Inquisition we would still be in Spain but due to that decree and its effects upon my family and the Jews still hiding, I am willing to state that what man meant for evil God used for good! For in Messiah Yeshua, I have found my Jewish Messiah and have been able to own who I am as both a Jew and a believer in my Kinsman Redeemer. At 74, Corrine Ehrick began to worship as a Sephardic Messianic Believer.
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