We just one week ago commemorated the Holocaust on Jan 27th, 2022. And I’d like to take this opportunity to “endorse” the work of Yaffah Batya daCosta and her staff of the Israeli non-profit called Ezra L’Anousim. There is a definite connection between what the Nazis did and some of what was done in Spain against the Jews (e.g. forcing Jews to wear a distinctive symbol on their clothing).
The latest project of Ezra L’Anousim is showing an excellent film called “Children of the Inquisition” at the Houston, TX Holocaust Museum. After the film, the organizers will give a presentation on the plight of the Crypto-Jews (Bnei Anousim) who are descendants of the victims of the Inquisitions, and of the forced conversions, in Spain and Portugal and the New World. Most people are not aware that the Inquisition courts were active and killing Sephardic Jews for over 300 years past the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. Or that the civil government of Spain did not officially revoke the Alhambra Decree (edict of expulsion) until 1968, almost 150 years after the last torching at the stake, in Mexico City, in 1820.
In addition, most people are not aware that there is a very strong “return” movement for the Bnei Anousim to make a come back and to re-join (openly and publicly) Am Yisrael through halakhic processes. In most Latin American Jewish communities these “returnees” are not allowed to become members. And because they had to create their own separate communities, they are not allowed to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. We need to work together to stop the injustices and discrimination against the Bnei Anousim and help this Israeli non-profit in bringing them home.
I understand that the project plans, after Feb 13th, are for many more of these kinds of events for other Holocaust Museums in the USA, and globally. In addition, the Ezra L’Anousim project team will be bringing this incredibly powerful film to yeshivot and Jewish communities all over the world, to help increase their education and awareness of the plight of these Bnei Anousim.
I want to commend Yaffa Batya, and her entire all volunteer staff of 35 Managing Directors (all around the world) for all that they are doing in this field of endeavor. It is extremely important to fight anti-Semitism and to deal with its “root causes” as well. Kol HaKavod!
Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie
Senior Rabbi , Jewish Council of the Emirates – Shaarei Mizrah
Rabbi, Association of Gulf Jewish Communities
Chairman, Council of Sephardic Sages