Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Naomi Chronicles & THE DECREE of ALHAMBRA

If Naomi wasn't a hidden Jew fleeing Spain so she could practice her faith in public, her illegal entry into America would make her story very different from the one found within the pages of THE NAOMI CHRONICLES. True, Naomi was ~ Bound by Secrets ~ Trapped by Choice ~ Agreed to an Arranged Marriage ~ And Fell in Love with her Husband whom her Faith Forbid her to Love ~ Then add how living in the shadows, fearing exposure due to the hated Decree that sent her people into hiding, and you'll understand why reading Lola's list left on the kitchen counter, caused Naomi to grieve for the 500 years of hidden Jews ~ like her and her family ~ who were taught to never tell who they were or whom they believed in. 
Lola's list from the DECREE of ALHAMBRA (below)
-  Jews keep their Sabbath from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday night.
-  Jews will do no work during their Sabbath.
-  Jews clean their homes before their Sabbath.
-  Jews wash themselves before their Sabbath.
-  Jews wear clean clothes on their Sabbath.
-  Jews read and study their holy book and pray to their god.
-  Jews light no lights or fires on their Sabbath except for their special Sabbath candles, which they light during a ritual prayer.
-  Jews do not cook on their Sabbath.
-  Jews sweep their homes from the front to the back door.
 -  Jews keep a sacred paper attached to the lintel of their home in a special box made expressly for that purpose.
-  Jews choose their children’s saints’ names from those found in the Old Testament.
-  Jews will not eat certain foods together such as dairy and meat.
-  Jews will only eat animals butchered according to their law. 
Naomi's Reaction After Reading Lola's List
No one would understand why I have this, Naomi told herself. She clutched the papers to her chest, hurried to her office, closed and then locked the door as an added precaution. Taking the key from its hiding place, she opened the safe, rolled up the edict and the list, and placed them within its confines. I hope the removal of this document and list will put a stop to this evil work. Yet, even as she locked the safe, she wondered, why would someone choose to jeopardize all I have pledged to do? The name Lola flashed across her mind, and she realized that she knew more about the teenager than she had ever wanted to. Drained from stress, she entered her bathroom and splashed cool water on her face. A person has to be shaped from birth or maybe even before then to become involved in such things. “I never knew anyone like this until now,” she muttered.
Later, aware her list was missing, Lola remember the priest saying, “If a Catholic were really a Jew, there would be evidence of their rituals. They would always have a good reason for everything they did and everything they owned. Those reasons seemed to support their claims to be Catholic. But we never see those things in homes that are not inhabited by conversos!
Historical Notes -The Decree of Alhambra
The Spanish Inquisition began with the signing of the Decree of Alhambra on March 31, 1492, which was in effect until for five hundred years until the decree was rescinded on March 31, 1992. That decree instituted pureblood laws, which forced the Jews to leave Spain before midnight of the above date, become a Catholic converso (which was the title the church gave them, meaning convert) or Anusim (the forced ones, as they called themselves), or die. 
     Prior to the signing of the decree, the crown moved the Jews into towns expressly set aside for them. This made it easy for the office to monitor the conversion of those Jews who had not married Catholics and subsequently converted or convinced those in high office that they believed in Christ. During that time, fervent priests were preaching against the Jews; many who feared death became Catholic and were assimilated into that faith. Others allowed themselves to be baptized and acted Catholic while practicing their Jewish faith at home. The records show that Jews who did not convert and could not, or would not, leave watched their homes and towns razed and torched before the officials killed them.
     The church appointed the office of inquisitor and his assistants. Their work involved the unification of Spain under the Catholic Church. While the office hunted the hidden Jews, some Jews who followed the Laws of Moses, as they called the Old Testament, sought Jews who had fallen away from Judaism and called them back to that faith. The inquisitor’s office labeled those working to bring Jews back to Judaism Judaizers.
      During the trial of Judaizers, the church sought repentant conversions. If a person was unrepentant, the office stripped him of his rank and worldly possessions, tortured him for information, and killed him. If the person repented, the church occasionally showed mercy and allowed him to serve as a cleric. A penitent forfeited everything he owned, was incommunicado for life, and forced to wear a penitent garment, which reflected his reduced status, making him a target of ridicule. If the church deemed the penitent unsuited for service, he incurred everything listed above, was placed under house arrest, and never allowed out of the sight of someone associated with the office of the inquisitor. Jews who became Catholic during this time were called New Christians as a means of differentiating them from those who had no Jewish blood.
     Since the majority of the population was illiterate and poor, they viewed this as God’s recompense for what they assumed was the Jewish belief in their superiority. It took little encouragement for those working within the office to find many who were willing to falsify their witness to curry favor with those in power. The Inquisition’s purpose was to rid the country of all dissidents, including Moors, Muslims, and gypsies. Records show that some Catholic Spaniards used it to acquire the wealth, property, and power they coveted from other Catholics who practiced Catholicism hundreds of years before the Inquisition began.
     It is sad to realize that the place where Judaism flourished after the Jewish diaspora from Israel became an extremely hostile environment toward them for hundreds of years, and horrifying to note that Hitler’s Third Reich used the pure blood laws that Spain had instituted against the Jewish people when Hitler implemented his final solution.
     When we study the Inquisition and its effects, it is important to mention that the Spanish Inquisition came to the new world. The first governor of New Spain, Luis de Carvajaly de la Cueva, was a converso. The office of the inquisitor brought him to trial and found him guilty of Judaizing. He died during his incarceration. The office arrested the members of his family, and they faced the reprisals mentioned above. The only member of this family to survive the Inquisition was Leonor de Caceres, a distant niece of the governor’s. She recanted her Jewish faith at fourteen, was placed within the house of the inquisitor, and when she reached marriageable age was married to a devout Catholic. 
      Throughout the world, many people are interested in discovering if their heritage is Jewish or, as the Spanish Jews say, Sephardim—a word derived from Sepharad, a root word found in Scripture. In the Southwestern United States, many people of Spanish and Mexican ancestry, as well as Caucasians and some Plains Indians, wonder about the artifacts they have, customs they practice, and stories they heard that suggest a Jewish heritage. Some use the name Sephardic, Ladino, Anusim, Marino, or Converso when they refer to themselves, and that leads many knowledgeable people to believe they are Jewish. Since the Jews lived in Spain for hundreds of years and married Catholic Spaniards, many believe that if you scratch a Spaniard, you will find a Jew. Others, both here and in Spain, have noticed that their last names are the names of Jewish towns razed during the Inquisition. Whether here or in Spain, whether people know they are Jewish or just suspect, the Spanish Jews have learned, over centuries of persecution, to hide who they are as a means of survival.
      On March 31, 1492, five hundred years to the day the Edict of Expulsion was signed, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia, his wife, stood in the main synagogue of Madrid. The king wore a yamulke—a skullcap. Chaim Herzog, the president of Israel, flanked him. What he said reveals the Spanish attitude toward the heinous acts the Jews experienced. “May hate and intolerance never again cause desolation and exile. Let us be capable of building a prosperous and peaceful Spain based on concord and mutual respect. What is important is not an accounting of our errors or successes, but the willingness to think about and analyze the past in terms of our future, and the willingness to work together to pursue a noble goal.1”
      Although the king rescinded the edict, he did not apologize for the expulsion because to do so would be unfaithful to Spanish history, which continues to view the country’s unification under Christian rule as a most noble endeavor. However, history records that as of March 31, 1992, those who are Jewish may now live openly in Spain.
Authors note: Though THE NAOMI CHRONICLES are not historical, the history of the Sephardic Jews continues to impact Naomi, her husband, and all who care about her. Finding historical primary source and corroborating information was extremely difficult and took more than a year to acquire. Since several writing their doctoral dissertations asked for this bibliography, and so you will know that Naomi's history is true, I have added this bibliography. 

Footnote: Paris, Erna, The End of Days, pg 306–306, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995.

Cohen, Dr. Martin A. The Martyr-The Story of a Secret Jew and the Mexican Inquisition in the Sixteenth Century: The Jewish Publication Society, 1973.

Columbus, Christopher: The Book of Prophecies, Edited by Christopher Columbus, Repertorium Columbianum, V. 3 Hardcover.

Gitlit, David M., Secrecy and Deceit, The Religion of the Crypto-Jews Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1996.

Gitlitz, David M. and Linda Kay Davidson, A Drizzle of Honey-The Lives and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews, New York: St. Martins Griffin, 1999.

Lazarus, |FCO|goog_qs-tidbit goog_qs-tidbit-0Emma, The New Colossuss, written in 1883, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty|FCC|.

Liebman Jacobs, Janet, Hidden Heritage-The Legacy of the Crypto-Jews. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Sanchez, Dell F., Aliyah! The Exodus Continues, San Jose: Authors Choice Press, 2001.

Wiesenthal, Simon. Sails of Hope, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1973.

About Author, Paula Rose Michelson
Writing Christian Fiction and Nonfiction from a Messianic Jewish Perspective, Paula Rose Michelson’s work covers Inspirational Fiction & Romance, biblical Self-Help, Political Satire, as well as a short memoir written to encourage those who feel ‘less than’. The wife of a Lutheran Pastor and Chosen People Ministries field missionary – at her core, Paula writes because she desires to faithfully depict Gods love, compassion, and forgiveness while showing her readers The Jewish Messiah of Israel & the world. And having founded LAMB Ministries in 1988, Paula knows that the biblical tools God taught her, which she faithfully passes on to women suffering from trauma and abuse are needed by all, so she includes a few within the pages of each book. For a more extensive bio or to find the authors books click:

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