Reporter Digs Up Converso Past
New York Times writer Doreen Carvajal goes to Spain to understand why her ancestors hid their Jewish roots
Doreen Carvajal was raised Catholic and had no occasion to question her religious or cultural heritage growing up. Even when she became a journalist (she’s currently a European correspondent for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune) and readers, seeing her byline, wrote to tell her that her last name was a common Sephardic Jewish name, she remained incurious. It took moving to Arcos de la Frontera, an ancient town in Andalusia, Spain, for her to finally confront the likelihood that her ancestors were conversos—that is, Spanish Jews who 600 years ago converted to Christianity rather than face death or exile during the Inquisition.
In a new memoir, The Forgetting River, Carvajal describes her search for definitive answers to questions about her identity. That search took her to Costa Rica, university archives and genetic specialists, frontier towns in Spain, and her own cache of forgotten memories and keepsakes. She speaks with Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about what she found out. [Running time: 17:30.]
As the daf yomi cycle of Talmud learning concludes this week, a Jerusalem study group breaks a barrier
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.