PM – Forward - Sephardic Voices - Excerpt from Casa de Naomi - Janice Mireles-Ulibarri

Janice’s Voice – There was a stirring in my heart to follow my mothers’ influence and learn about the Jewish people. I remember my fourth grade class in Parochial School where Sister Demetrius instilled within us the fact that the Jews did not kill Christ but it was our sin’s that put him on the cross. Between my schooling and mom’s love for the Jewish heritage there was birthed within me a tenderness towards the Jewish people. As I reached what some would call middle age this stirring towards the Jewish people and their heritage intensified until I needed to know more. For years, I told people that I was Basque. However, I never went to the town whose name I bore. Then I met a woman whose son is a missionary in Spain. I asked him if he could take me to Ulibarri and he agreed. In 2008, I made the trip to Spain and we traveled throughout the Navarra region until I finally stepped onto the soil that had been home to my family centuries before! Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was a strong Jewish presence in that region! Could my mother have been trying to tell me something all those years ago? I will never know for sure. However, my journey of the heart allowed me to look at my heritage and history with new eyes. This was a pivotal turning point for me. When I returned home, I told my children, “We have a Jewish heritage.” They rolled their eyes. Months later, my son called and said, “I was waiting for the metro and was approached by a scholarly man who looked at my badge which identifies me by my last name.” He read ‘Mireles’ and asked me if I knew about my name and my heritage. I was able to give him the information my mother had shared with us. I was stunned when he gave me additional information, which proved to me that what my mother had said was correct! I called my mom and I told my brothers and sisters that what she had said was true.” Janice Mireles-Ulibarri has been involved in Messianic Worship since 1994 and served as a volunteer in the Israeli arm in 1999.
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