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I Saw the News Today, Oh Boy

Report on Hispanic crypto-Jews has inexplicable weirdness

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Maybe I don’t watch the local news enough, so the segment below just reminds me of this brilliant British parody.

Maybe it’s that much of this Albuquerque affiliate’s report on the crypto-Jewish Hispanics of northern New Mexico seems, er, inspired by a Harper’s article of more than a year ago.

Maybe it’s the shockingly morbid turn it takes when we learn that a genetic mutation more common among Sephardic Jews has helped decimate the women of one family, many of whom either sustained mastectomies and hysterectomies or succumbed to breast or ovarian cancer; maybe it’s that it then almost hints at extremely dark humor, noting that a 100-year-old man in the same family has the same mutation.

Maybe it’s the sight of a menorah in prominent place on the altar of a Catholic church.

Maybe it’s that I found this clip in the first place from the not-really-Jewish basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire’s Twitter: “Check this video out,” he writes, “DNA unlocks Hispanic-Jewish history – 1 of the 12 tribes of Israel. Learn about it !! Shalom.”

Look just, do me a favor: Watch this, and tell me what you think.

Earlier: Harper’s Writer Finds U.S. Crypto-Jews

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Also see “Mistaken Identity? The Case of New Mexico’s Hidden Jews” in the December 2000 issue of The Atlantic.

The BRCA genes are not connected with Sephardic Jews — but with Ashkenazic Jews. Simply saying “Jewish genes” is a little eugenic sounding to me. Ick. Sloppy reporting, too.

Presented in the local news format, the whole “Jewish genes” discussion certainly seems a little less complex! I also got a kick out of the “Rosie Trujillo: Has Genetic Mutation” caption…kinda wondered if the next cut would show her tearing some poor Gentile limb from limb, thereby infecting them with said mutation.

I really enjoyed the Harper’s article when I read it, but it did get me thinking about how confused (maybe conflicted is the better word for it?) messianic Jews are.

The Atlantic article was well and extensively researched. It speculates that these people might be descendants of Seventh Day Adventists.

A Texas Mexican Jew says:

Some Hispanics and Jews in the southwest have known and been writing about crypto-Jews for a long time before the Atlantic or Harper’s article appeared. However, not everyone has the same access to all media, so while you might think this is old news, it may be new information for some. I agree that it was a bit much for me to see the Jewish symbols mixed in with Christian ones. However, who am I to judge this man’s spiritual searching? Or that the woman chooses to attend a messianic congregation…
Finally, I do agree that the medical discussion could have been executed better, but what do you expect for a local news story?

Tex-Mex…..I believe the Atlantic article was inspired by the fact that there was quite a bit written on the subject, but a scarcity of facts.

Also nobody was implying that it’s old news.

I don’t like this video for many reasons, but I am pretty confident that the rock the man goes to pray at is not covered in Hebrew letters. Check out 0:40 to 0:44. I have no idea what is written on that rock.

C.Zarur says:

Honestly as Scholar in the areas of Sephardic Jews and Crypto-Jews, I found this an absurd that only makes even harder for those that really have Crypto Jewish ancestry. The issue of the cancer belongs to Ashknenazi Jews, not to the Sephardic Jews, besides is a good argument for those called “messianic Jews”
Sadly those scholars still feeding this fake ideas.

Only Ashkenazic Jews carry BRCA cancer mutation? The latest research on Sephardim seems to disagree.

‘Pure Sephardim’ liable to carry mutation for cancer

Until about a decade ago, it was thought that Ashkenazi women were at higher risk of contracting breast and ovarian cancer (and a small number of Ashkenazi men got breast and prostate cancer) due to a BRCA gene mutation.

Then mutations for Jews originating from Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan were discovered as well, proving that Sephardim can be at risk as well.

Now Hadassah genetic researchers have discovered two “founder” gene mutations that can cause breast and ovarian cancer in Jewish women whose families were expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497, wandered into Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey and Yugoslavia, and today live in Israel and abroad.


The families that were tested are descendants of Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before the end of the 15th century. Such usually Ladino-speaking people are often called “Samech-Tet” for Sephardim Tehorim, or “pure Sephardim,” who originated in Spain more than half a millennium ago.

Because of a widely held assumption that Ashkenazi women are those with the genetic tendency for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations, many doctors used to assume that patients of Sephardic background are not at risk. Then the Sephardi mutations from Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan were revealed. The newest research, Sagi reports, shows that these are not the only Sephardim to have a higher risk.


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I Saw the News Today, Oh Boy

Report on Hispanic crypto-Jews has inexplicable weirdness

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