Thursday, February 09, 2006

Returning Jews

I have a friend who recently converted from Christianity who is a Catalan.

Here is some material on him and his thinking:

I can read, write and speak Spanish with proficiency. Spanish was the only language permitted at school. My mother and then my father (of blessed memory) taught me to read and write my mother language, Catalan, which was prohibited. Then, Mrs. Anna-Maria Sala, a neighbor in our town of Cadaques, near Gerona, taught me French.

I learned Latin at high school and then with my wife, and Italian, Portuguese, Occitan (called mostly Provencal), Esperanto, some German, some Greek, and, recently (in Israel) my poor English by myself. I'm studying Hebrew (and, of course, Torah). My business activity is related with communication (and, by the way, with lack of communication, too).

- - - -

Spanish nationalism is essentially anti-Jewish, anti-capitalist, anti-American, anti-liberal, and, especially, anti-Catalan, because Catalonia is related with Israel and Judaism in several ways, and also she is related with the discovery of the Americas (probably, Columbus was Catalan , like Joan [John] Cabot, and "America" is a Catalan name [from Aimeric Despuig, supplanted by a faked Amerigo Vespuccio]. Also the American flag seems originated in the Catalan Royal flag, present in the Continent maps drawn during the sixteenth century and know in Philadelphia in 1776.

Spanish powers know everything about these kind of issues, like the Inquisition is the only source permitting me to know about my family, by now, for instance. Castile theft the discovery and prohibited to Catalan people to travel to America until the second half of the XVIII century (of course there are some exceptions, like my far-far relative Juniper , a Majorcan ben-Anussim, a friar who is considered a founder of California -- the family in Majorca managed in order to obtain a good relationship with the Church... it's a sad story)

The bnei-Anussim in Catalonia, a third of the population in certain areas, mixed with the rest of Catalan people and this explains the existence of a huge set of unconscious Jewish-Catalan customs, traditions and practices, like the offering of the bread and the salt (for instance: by the Mayor in the city of Barcelona, for whom it is a must), the cleaning and changing of bedsheets and tablecloths on Friday morning (this is called, in Majorca and Northern Catalonia, " fer dissabte" ["to make Saturday"]), the idea that every woman must teach to read her children at the age of three (like in my beloved mother's, Mrs. , case), the young men gatherings during the Sant Miquel's feast (in the last week of September) in order to build... huts (and stay there for a couple of days, if possible). I don't mention the lightning of candles because millions of Europeans do remember their grand-mother doing it. I don't mention to cover the slaughtered chickens and dukes' blood because it was a general custom I saw during my childhood (it was considered a custom of "peasant" and "ignorant" people).

Of course, we Catalan people perform these Jewish traditions in an absolutely unconscious way. We are Christian, Catholic people, and my wife, and I were Roman Catholic till the day ( ) we converted to Judaism. There are at least twenty-six generations between the last person who supposedly was a Jew in my family and me.

A Jew needs Consciousness and Community: without them there is no Am Yisrael. In fact, we, as Catalans, are only wretched souls. The Pope doesn't bless us ever in Catalan (and there are ten million of Catalan-speaking people, and Andorra, directly related to the Vatican, has Catalan as her only official language). [We] are witnesses that in order to perform a good conversion to Judaism a person needs a good relationship with HaShem and His Torah: the rest are unimportant details. Europeans need the same kind of process, if they wish to convert, that can be performed in America. It is a good reason to choose the conversion's ulpan related to the Rabbinical Council of America to convert, as we did.

We are, therefore, speaking about details. Harsh details related to Spanish and European policies. Spain needs Catalonia today in order to be financed. Catalonians do think like Jews: we love to work. If a development is anti-Catalan, of course that means it would be anti-human and racist. I sustain it would be anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli, too. Of course, it is difficult to see for a person unrelated with this kind of European suicidal developments.

You are unaware of our sufferings. All of this explains our difficulties to explain ourselves in the world. Every thought is thwarted by strange bugs. I will put an example over it to you: Pau Casals, more known as Pablo Casals, was a very good musician, composer and conductor. He performed the remembered gatherings in Marlboro, Vermont. He hold his last concert in Yemin Moshe, Jerusalem, two weeks before his passing. He composed the United Nations Anthem , with words of the poet W. H. Auden. In his speech before the General Assembly of the UN, he spoke about two main subjects: Catalonia and Peace -- in this exact order: first Catalonia ("the most important nation in the world"), and then Peace. Watching the film of that event, everybody can understand what Catalonia is, and my efforts would be less unbearable.


Xevi said...

Great text. I'm not jewish but I'm catalan...

Jake said...

Wow this is fascinating stuff. Do you know if there has been any articles written about the Catalan-Jewish connection? If so, please please tell me at I'd love to know!