Affirmed and Hidden Identities: from the Inquisition to the Shoah

Affirmed and Hidden Identities: from the Inquisition to the Shoah

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00:03
can you see the screen now yes okay well yes i mean the title i i when i i first gave this talk in caracas i mean through zoom certainly a few months ago and when i proposed this uh talk to the sephardi community there um i i prefer to use the notion of the split mine but they said you know the split mine is too abstract for people and we need something that will attract
00:35
their attention we need we need a hook and then they propose actually in spanish this this title which is the same in english affirm and hidden identities from the inquisition to the schwa and i i'm using three illustrations here where you see first you know someone being put to death it could be i i think it's spain that's the first uh you know illustration that you see at the left of
01:06
of your screen uh and it's it's put to that certainly because of you know uh some kind of inquisitorial process trial uh the kind of hat you see was to humiliate them i mean this pointy hat that they use particularly when they were you know uh persecuting jews on all the kind of heretics let's say of crypto jews
01:38
and as you can see here these people is is being tortured and put to death not with the traditional bonfire but with a very spanish instrument called garroteville i don't know how to translate that into english but that was a it's a very it's a typical instrument of death i mean of death penalty from spain and actually they used that until uh recently i mean the garrote bill was used in spain during the franco
02:10
dictatorship you know to put people to death i'm sorry like your team like your team it wasn't the guillotine it's even i think worse than the guillotine i won't i won't give you the detail but the spanish in general they are they were very refined in terms of torture and and this kind of of things i mean actually if you go uh to i think it's cordova or seville you can visit the museum of turks or there and they will
02:44
show you all the instruments that the acquisition inquisition used to torture people and to get confessions and that kind of thing the second one is espinoza uh you know the big philosopher and i'm gonna come back to espinosa in this presentation because i think he embodies he represents the the sumo if you want the highest of the highest of the split mine and i'm going to explain what i mean by that and the third one is a more recent
03:14
case what you see there is the identity car that was used by someone called hans neumann to survive the schwa he was born in prague and then he assumed this false identity john cevesta as you can read there maybe in order to travel to berlin and work for the nazis and survive then
03:47
the show what i'm going to present today it's not really original i will say that uh this is based on the ideas on the research of other historians of other philosophers and it's based on my readings that i call readings about liminal identities marginal identities identities that are not at the center but are always at the
04:19
periphery and unfortunately the first reference is just in spanish i have it here but you can see it also there in this in the stream it's from an argentinian venezuelan psychoanalyst called fernando your man who knows liv is living in israel now and he wrote this book called fantasmas precuzo precursores you can call this uh
04:49
ins in in english is kind of the i don't know i mean the the those those ghosts who preceded something precursors is referred to someone who preceded something who kind of did something preceding a big event and in this case the notion of precursors in spanish is referred to those who fought for the republican and and the idea of independence
05:24
of uh south america from the spanish empire i mean this idea of the precursors we have a big name who was considered a a precursor you know i don't know how maybe eddie can help me with the translation uh but the the idea of a precursor is someone who it's it's in the vanguard who is bringing new ideas and we have a big name for example in venezuela for those who know a little bit about the history
05:56
of venezuela we consider francisco de miranda one of the precursors of the independence of not only venezuela but of the entire south america and the thesis of fernando urman is that these precursors these uh either civilian figures or military figures because miranda combined both he fought in the french revolution
06:26
in france you can if you go to the ark the trion in paris then you will see his name in grave in the in the ark uh because he thought in the in the french revolution he fought in the american revolution yes if you can sorry someone has a mic open lillian if you can mute your mic please okay thank you yeah i'm still getting the getting the
06:59
feedback okay thank you well and then you have miranda being one of the i mean he fought in the in the american revolution also and then he came to venezuela and brought these ideas to venezuela but the thesis of human is that some of these figures the big figures either civilian figures or military figures in the process of independence of south america they were descendants of crypto jews
07:39
and it seems that was the case there is this hypothesis that miranda was one of them and and then he tries to answer why uh these descendants of crypto jews were so inclined to uh you know to fight spain and to fight the monarchy and to fight for the independence and to uh you know to create these new republics in in in south america
08:10
and the thesis of your man is that they suffer a trauma and that's because of that trauma they decided to assume these very let's say revolutionary ideas these ideas again the establishment if you want and i'm going to translate briefly from the book here he asked himself why the conversos why these crypto jews
08:42
had some kind of of unity they had some kind of um let's say they were kind of united by the fact that they were crypto jews but why they were so close the why they tend to identify to each other i mean even if you for example if you think about the the the portuguese jewish community those who were who came from spain first to portugal
09:15
and then they were expelled from portugal and went to different countries england as in the case of espinosa espinoza's family to uh the netherlands and they also went to new york uh and and also to curacao in in the in the caribbean etc they call themselves the nasa in portuguese the nasa mean the nation they tend to identify themselves
09:47
was a kind of a coding a cold language they call themselves the nasa we are part of the nation and and according to and they were some of them were crypto jews who came back to to judaism but then your man asked himself why they were united why they have this and they say they were united not because of the religion but the way were united because of the
10:19
trauma because of that leave experience that they have and based on this notion he explained the role of these crypto jews or descendant of crypto jews in the independence and the foundation of the south american republic the second source is a classical work by the um israeli historian miyao yovel called espinosa another heretics
10:49
and he called espinosa de marano of reason actually this book is not just about spinoffs as you as you are going to see in a moment it's about other heretics who also embodied this notion of the split mind and contributed to modernity not only in philosophy and literature in politics i mean the the thesis of jovel is that we cannot understand modernity modernity
11:21
as you know this idea that tradition should be put away that we should make a clear distinction between the church and the state that we should protect liberties including liberty uh freedom of religion freedom of speech uh what jovel says is that there is no way you can understand the very notion of modernity without understanding the role of the
11:53
crypto jews and the maranos in in different fields in philosophy which is the case of baruch espinoza but also in literature in politics etc and then the third reference that that i use that i read is uh a very interesting book and maybe some of you may remember him of uh of a friend called ariel segal is a
12:25
historian he lives now in peru but he wrote a very interesting book about study he made about the jews of the amazon meaning the these let's say it's it's depending how you define who is a jew which is also a big question but the descendants of moroccan jews mainly from tetuan who settled in the beginning of the of the 20th century
12:57
iniquitos in the peruvian amazonian jungle because of of um the cultural business but how do you say rubber because of the rubber business as they did also as my great as my great-grandfather sam laredo did when he settled when he went to manaus in brazil and then
13:27
uh this is a very interesting study because you see that this question of crypto judaism or liminal identities it's very contemporary it's very attached to uh you know to the current life of people not only in the iniquitos but in many other regions and and communities worldwide as i'm gonna to show you
13:58
in a moment uh the premise of my lecture is that even if we think that remembering is the core of judaism i will say that also forgetting it's very meaningful and that there is always in the history of the jewish people a big tension if you want between
14:31
remembering and forgetting and then you see there freud because i mean certainly freud made a lot of contribution to understand why people forget um and certainly for him people forget because they don't want to remember they don't want to relieve something that traumatized them that was painful uh and then he proposed a system a method in order to deal with that is okay but then you will have to face
15:03
those memories then you will have to talk about them and eventually then you will be able to become the trauma and then the as i said before the option of assimilating to stop being jew is not new i think it has been there since the beginning let's say since abraham but now the issue is a little bit different because we are living times
15:34
of what i call fluid identities what that means i mean fluid identity means that you can be whatever you want that you don't need someone to tell you what you want even though yes i mean we have the alaha and we have all the institutions and the procedures and the and the rabbinical courts and everything but at the end we are living in times where people tend to identify
16:07
first and foremost because they want to identify for whatever reason and then i'm using here the case and i'm gonna come back to this case of those who suddenly you know people who never you know were identified as jews they didn't have a clue about what what else what what was to be sephardic they suddenly because in spain the government decided to pass a law to allow people
16:39
of sephardic origins to get the spanish citizenship then suddenly they decided that yes that they had sephardic origins in order to claim that citizenship or even as i'm going to show you in a moment those who discover the jewish path that their parents tried to bury particularly because of the schwa and and then what what we are seeing is that the options
17:11
of how to forget or how to remember judaism are multiplying again in a world where everything it's it's been redefined okay i think alfredo if you can mute your your mic please and then my question okay if to forget and to remember they are both part of the jewish identity then what that means for the future of the jewish people
17:46
in israel and also outside israel and certainly in times with everything it's very liquid very fluid i mean genders ethnicity aetnas the nation the very idea of nation or even the very idea of the family and then i see a long way and then you know i dated this in 1391 i'm gonna explain you why and then until 2021
18:19
but i could have you know go even back to to to the you know asian history of the jewish people and then i will find examples of the same pattern over and over repeating itself you know 1391 you'll you will see certainly the situation the country the history the context were different but then you will see
18:49
some similarities some patterns repeating over and over for example in 1933 uh etc etc why 1391 why i selected this year as the the beginning of my of my analysis in 1391 the jews from seville in spain suffered a big big program some of them were
19:22
killed during that program some of them left spain to go to algeria not non-morocco most of them settle in algeria then you have maybe that's why i had family my great-grandmother luna trying to remember her last name okay why now i forgot her last name
19:57
she was from iran and then she moved to tatuan from iran maybe that's why she won maybe a descendant of those jews who who left seville in 1391 but something happened some jews after this big program is seville they converted to catholicism and then we can say that this conversion also brought the first wave of
20:30
crypto jews then we can say that 13 it's not exactly that day but in terms of you know a big group of spanish jews converting to catholicism took place for the first time after the seville massacre in 1391 the other day that it's also very important because it's somewhat a consequence of 1391 is 14 because that was the
21:04
creation of the inquisition of the spanish inquisition and and why one of the goals one of the objectives of the spanish inquisition was to look for those who were judaizing judaisantes as we say in spanish those who were practicing even though they converted and they claimed that they were good catholics they were still practicing jewish rituals and then one of the
21:35
things that the inquisition wanted to achieve is to go after them and and certainly also send a message to the other conversos to say okay well you should be careful because if you are not sincere then you can be burned or uncertainly we are going to dispossess you of everything etc all the consequences of being prosecuted by the inquisition the other big moment i will say of of
22:07
it's it's certainly the expulsion of pulse from spain in 1492 and then from portugal five years later in 1497 not exactly the same models operandi because in the case of spain you know i i think you are maybe all of you or most of you are familiar with what happened there is that uh the the catholic you know queen and king fernando isabel
22:39
they decided that you know the jews should be expelled from spain i mean they were in the process of reunifying spain after winning the last big battle in granada against the moors and then uh they okay well i won't go into all the reasons but then they decided to expel i mean actually they gave the option to the jews either you convert and you can stay or you can go and i don't know if you're
23:12
familiar with that but the majority decided to stay and convert and it was a minority just a minority who decided to leave spain and then go to morocco you know north africa the ottoman empire and some of them also went to the americas etc and then in portugal the king did things a little bit different he actually performed a mass conversion
23:44
of the jews you are all converted particularly your children all of them are catholic because you know with a little bit of water a holy water whatever you are all converted some of the jews decided to leave even though they were according to the king and the church converted and some other stay in portugal and and then what we can see here is really a growing
24:17
movement of of crypto jews of maranos both in in in spain and portugal then well certainly you have all the issues related to the crypto jews who were persecuted in spain burn torture garoteville whatever and the influence that this split mind had in in the portuguese and the spanish culture as i'm going to show you in a moment
24:52
but also you have other uh things taking place outside spain and portugal in 60 in 1656 uh a man from from turkey i think he was from his mirna he declared himself that he was the mashiach the the messiah it was shabbat it's v and that certainly caused a big
25:24
uh you know that the fact i mean that was under the influence of another person nathan from gaza who was the prophet let's say playing the role of elijah navi of elias the prophet you know we announced publicly that he was the messiah but not only he announced that he was the messiah he said now all the jews wherever they are we should move to israel we should
25:56
go back to earth israel and that has a big impact in all the jewish communities worldwide not only in the sephardi community in in turkey or in the ottoman empire also in poland in part of russia in ukraine i mean the jews were you know they were we have been waiting you know for them for the machia many years and then after the the
26:29
the catastrophe in spain and portugal after also you know the jews in poland they were very poor they were also persecuted et cetera et cetera you know they were kind of very hopeful they said okay finally we'll be we'll see the redemption but the problem with this i mean you can read certainly what i recommend if you want to understand uh the role of a tight sphere i mean his role as a false
27:01
messiah i recommend the reading of his biography by gershwin solem but the the question with this uh false messiah is that in 1666 the sultan of the ottoman empire arrested him and say okay we are going to stop this madness and you have two options either you convert to islam or will kill you will execute and then he
27:32
converted to islam and the followers of uh a group of followers they also converted based on the idea that you know he was not really converting he was also playing the game of a crypto jew in this case not as a catholic but as a as a muslim and this is also a very important moment to understand these and i'm gonna come back later this notion of the split mine
28:06
in in judaism then there are other you know very important dates and years but then let's move move forward to you know the 20th century the the rise of nazism in germany and all that followed that in terms of the the the wave of anti-semitism and then the schwa between 1933 and and 1945
28:36
certainly that event i mean that certainly it's it's one of the most the most tragic event in the in the history of the jewish people but also had a big impact in terms of the jewish consciousness of the jewish mind first because as we are going to see later on some jews live under the illusion that because they were they assimilated to the
29:09
european cultures they were somewhat protected from uh persecution i mean the idea of you know the emancipation of the jews that started with napoleon in france and then and then from france then in germany and other countries created this illusion if we are assimilated if we become more french and more german and more maybe polish not poland was a little bit different
29:40
but in austria also you know but they were very i mean the the i was uh the other day listening to uh to a lecture by historian he said you know the jews in german and in austria they fought in the in the first world war you know they they enlisted in the in the case of austria in the imperial army because they felt that they had that duty you know to defend
30:10
the austro or hungarian empire or in or the german nation because they felt that they were german or austrian and they had their that obligation and and the question is that then we have the the you know nazism and the schwa and then okay well it doesn't work you assimilated you became german you became austrian you became hungarian but that didn't help you that didn't prevent you
30:40
from being killed and persecuted and then we'll see how this reflects today even in 2021 i'm gonna show you one particular case okay well we agree that judaism is the consciousness of remembering you what you see there is a tattoo with the word zahor and i use this photo particularly because it's a little bit shocking i mean you know that according to the alaha we are not supposed to
31:15
do any kind of cutting on the skin or or or or or tattooing anything in the skin i mean because you know that was a common practice among maybe the egyptians and among other pagan cultures then we were you know that was forbidden by that is forbidden actually by the alaha but then you have this image because i what i would like to highlight here is the fact that
31:45
remembering for us meaning zajor is not just a question of consciousness it's really inscribed in the body for the males as we are going to see in a moment that's very obvious that i think that's clear that is inscribed in the body but also in general i mean the idea of you know remembering because it's something that you embody and not
32:19
only something that you think i mean all the practice of judaism of the al-agha of eating in a certain way of eating certain things of doing certain things things of praying in a certain way is about embodying this remembering even it's not just about thinking about it it's not just you know remembering because you know i have a certain image in my mind because i have a certain
32:50
memory but it's really about remembering with the body and and i think that's why i this photo is so clear in conveying this idea even though it's a little bit shocking because it goes again the prescription of not having the tattoos certainly remembering it's everywhere you know we know keep and remember the shabbat in the prayer
33:23
and then the celebration of passover as a memorial in exodus we have here the big quote i won't read the big quote but certainly remembering our enemies you know you shall remember what amalek did to you etc and certainly the you know this idea of please don't forget i mean if i forget you then it's i've in as as in the daily in the song if i forget you or jerusalem made my
33:55
right hand forget it still made my tongue cling to my palate if i don't remember you etc remembering its key has been there since ever but also forgetting that's my thesis you know and certainly not as a good thing you know forgetting as abandoning us leaving judaism and then we have many places where uh god hashem say
34:27
you know you have forgotten the torah of your god you know in this uh for example quote from the prophet uh hoshiya or the case of of the yellenized jews during the the times of the of the hashmonaem of the maccabees you know and this is a very interesting and that's why i'm gonna come back to this question of the circumcision because espinosa actually refers to that
35:00
you know what what we see here even though the maccabees book are not par as in in the in our case in the in the jewish traditional part of the of the tanakh of the jewish canon but still it's considered a very important document but because it's considered really a historical document uh telling what happened during the times of the ashmonae and the and the hellenized
35:31
um uh conquerors of of earth israel and they adopted the the customs of the greeks the gentile according to this translation the gentile customs and remove the marks of circulation how can you remove that by you know with some skins you know adding what was missing meaning going to this trying to forget by by
36:05
removing this particularly mark that was key to remember who they were and i'm gonna come back but then you have the i think the the the most uh elaborated idea of forgetting about being jew by uh paul a pharisee a jew who according to the christian tradition had this vision in the way to damascus and then in galatians says you know now
36:37
forget about being jew or greek i mean there is no neither jew nor greek neither slave nor free there is no male female there is no distinction to be made because now we have a new savior etc etc meaning that since ever we had this dialectic between forgetting and remembering always always in the jewish history
37:08
the question is that more recently this issue of forgetting created a way to convey certain things that's the thesis of the the philosopher leo strauss um who said in his book persecution at the art of writing is that persecutions give birth to a particular way of conveying idea and mainly about you know conveying
37:42
through writing and certain literary techniques where the truth about crucial issues is presented exclusively between the lines you don't talk about certain things openly you use some kind of code to convey this and whoever is trying to convey these ideas
38:12
between the lines he's addressing these two certain readers to a certain public public who will be able to understand what this person is trying to say and according to straus these readers are intelligent okay they are able to decode to understand what these people are trying to say but particularly he used the word
38:43
trustworthy readers you can trust them why you can trust them because they won't denounce you they will understand the message they will get it but because they are part of the same community of persecuted people they will keep the secret and this will give birth to a particular way of conveying certain things in his book
39:13
strauss he um analyzes basically two big philosophers one is the rambam maimonides and particularly the guide of the perplex the mourinho why because he says first you know certainly maimonides was aware of i mean he himself was a subject of persecution we should remember he was born in spain in cordoba and cordial and then he fled
39:45
with his father i think to faze morocco and then he left morocco and went to egypt etc and then he was briefly inherited israel and came back to foster when he settled himself in egypt in what is now cairo but the thesis of strauss is that my money this he had to convey certain things in a way that won't offend
40:14
the sensibilities of the majority in his case the muslim scholars and religious leaders but also the sensibilities of other jews then and according that's the thesis of strauss you know the guide of a perplex is exactly an exercise of this according way of conveying ideas and the other example is espinoza and we are going to come back
40:45
to this question okay well the expulsion i already talked about that just you know i would like to highlight how this notion of conveying certain things uh somewhat uh then it was clear for the jews or the crypto jews who remain in spain and portugal and particularly i have a picture here of a of a small town in portugal called
41:16
belmont belmonte was mainly you know the inhabitants the people living in belmont actually even now they were crypto jews and for hundreds of years they kept certain practices typical of the crypto jews meaning they were performing jewish rituals but in their own way i don't remember who
41:48
i think a rabbi uh in the around 75 76 went to belmont to to meet these people and see what they were doing and he the rabbi was there during passover during pesach and asked them okay do you perform the center say yes certainly we certainly will perform the seller okay and then we are going to invite you
42:21
to our seller and they invited the rabbi and the rabbi noticed something that they were um closing all the windows and covering everything with drapes everywhere and i said why you are doing that why you are closing all the windows and covering and you know this is part of the celebration as part of the prescription for the seller you should
42:51
cover this is part this is the way our ancestors celebrated pesach then the rabbi kind of tried to find out more about this custom and the reason behind that is that for them was very dangerous particularly in previous centuries to practice openly you know their their way of doing things their jew judith practices
43:22
and then they assume that you know the fact that they were hiding from the outside world when they were celebrating uh passover that was part of the ritual as you can see you know how the meaning of the writ will also change because of this uh split mine i have here three very interesting examples of how
43:53
the split mine manifested itself in in in spain particularly but also outside spain i'm going to start with a piece wrote by a spanish writer and it's clear that fernando de rojas the one who wrote this let's say comedy called la celestina in in 1499 he was descendant of jews
44:24
who converted to catholicism and some people in his family they were persecuted by the inquisition etc etc but what you can see according and that's the analysis of jeremy yovel in his book on espinosa and other heretics is that in the case of the rojas you see how this split mind then to manifest itself and i'm gonna show you i hope you can
44:58
you know this is a translation it's an adaptation certainly in spanish i think there is something that it's it's not easy to to translate but let me find here the quote i would like to share with you to show you how these um this um way of conv conveying things uh uh is is expressed by by uh the rochas let me see if i find the
45:30
quote here sorry for the send too sorry yes you have a dialogue between callisto he's in love with um uh what's her name uh well with a young lady and because la celestina is the one who's trying to do the match is that she do let's say that's the role of la celestine even though
46:01
today the word celestine in spanish doesn't have a good connotation that's the role of the celestina she's the one trying to uh doing the the shiddu the matching between callisto and melibea and then he's having uh a dialogue with uh with uh sim simpronio who is his servant but i would like to show you and i don't see the quote here but then i'm going to
46:33
read it from uh from from yovel because i think this will give you an idea of how the rojas was trying to convey something that was very common among the crypto jews you know the i'm gonna come back to to my presentation just to avoid any confusion you have this dialogue and sempronio says to callisto look sir
47:06
you have been here in the church so long that people are beginning to notice it they call an overly devout man an hypocrite very interesting idea you know the idea that sometimes or most of the time the crypto jews they wanted to show that they were very pious and very attached to the catholic ritual
47:37
but in spain being so pious overly pious was considered a sign of judaizante of practicing in hiding jewish rituals and this is the one of the iron and the other one it's also very interesting because they now they are talking is in the same act they are talking about you know all the suffering of callisto because
48:08
he's the love that he feels for melisa and then you know he cannot fulfill it and you know there is this uh all the obstacles you know to fulfill his love but then you see how this code of the split mind of the crypto jew express and then again uh sempronio the servant says to callisto if you have a passion a melody suffer it at home don't let
48:41
the world feel it don't let strangers guess your trouble since the tambourine in the hands of those who will know how to play it the informers could translate in trouble for you if you have this suffering this passion this melody of the split mind that you have to shut down the curtains in order to light
49:12
a candle in shabbat or in some way practice some form of sadder or in some form try to be jewish in hiding be careful suffer it at home if that's something that you should hide from the strangers you see that's the one way of conveying and we'll see that not only in fernando rojas but in other words
49:43
then the second example that i have here is from the jews not only in spain and portugal but also the jews in in mexico and particularly in in regions of mexico that are now a part of the united states like arizona or new mexico colorado you know that jews again crypto jews they they flee spain during the expansion or after the
50:15
expansion of portugal they go to some european countries to north africa to the ottoman empire but some of them went to the americas actually some of them traveled with columbus that we know one of them actually i wrote in my novel uh about him was a late uh halle v who went traveled with columbus and arrived to espanol etc and also some of them went to mexico but mexico had a
50:46
you know few countries in in latin america had uh inquisit the inquisition um institution one of them was mexico they have a big let's say inquisitorial apparatus in mexico another one was peru and a small one in what is no not what it's today uh colombia in cartagena the india and these jews of these crypto jews in mexico
51:16
they adopted a stare the stair from the megillat pulling from the book of the stair as their patron saint as you you see here one of the representations of stare the sat the the patron saint of the crypto jews from the jews of i think in in one of the states in in in the us it could be new mexico and it's very interesting why a esther
51:50
became the patron saint of these crypto jews if you go to the book of esthera and i hope i'm gonna find the quote now there is something very interesting more first high you know the i don't know we can say the uncle i mean that's also a little bit complicated but i won't go there but more the house has to stare first you shouldn't reveal your true identity to anyone nor to the king i mean when
52:23
she presented herself you know in front of of the king of she never disclosed that she was jewish and actually more the height told her that that's one thing then you see an element certainly of of of crypto judaism i mean you don't reveal your true identity because that will get you in trouble that's the first thing that mordechai
52:52
says to her but then after after that they have a dialogue this is a very interesting uh dialogue between them because now um or the high through the i think one of the unoc enough i don't know how you say that one of the servants of the harem they have a dialogue and let me see if i can find here because it's a very interesting dialogue also
53:31
um in terms of okay you are doing this more the high says to a stair because you have a mission and your mission is to save the jews but you are not disclosing your identity but let me see if i find okay well there is a reference to that but unfortunately i cannot find the exact quotation he says to to us there okay yes i mean you are
54:12
hiding your identity and because of that you will be able eventually to perform your mission which is to save the jews but do not imagine to yourself that you because you are hiding your event identity you will escape in the king's house from among all the jews for if okay here i have the quote and it's this is very interesting i mean we
54:45
are talking about i don't know exactly when the the book of astaire uh you know was was written but you see something that it's very current and particularly if we think about the history of the schwa for if you remain silent at this time meaning if you don't disclose your identity relief and rescue will arise for the jews from elsewhere and you and your father's
55:14
household will perish and who knows whether at a time like this you will attain the kingdom meaning even if you don't disclose your identity don't think that you will be somewhat protected and you are doing this because you are performing this mission and that's why these crypto jews in in new mexico or colorado wherever they adopted a
55:52
stair because they saw in a stair the the paradigm of this crypto jew performing a mission performing a mission in hiding in not revealing her identity but also being very conscious that also she was in trouble even though she didn't reveal her identity and then finally i have another example
56:23
of this manifestation of the split mind in in don quixote by cervantes first i should say you know there have been a lot of debate about the the ancestors of of of miguel de cervantes the spanish authors the historians they don't like the idea that cervantes was the descendant of of crypto jews or jews uh but my brother-in-law i mean
56:54
he did a very fine research and actually he published a paper recently proving with no doubt that miguel de cervantes was the descendant of jews who converted to catholicism that there is no doubt i mean according to all the documents and everything that doesn't mean that he was a jew or a crypto jew cervantes but it's clear that he was a descendant
57:24
of of uh jews who converted in in 13 i don't have exactly the date but around 13 40 something you know from his father's side these people converted to jewish they were crypto jews we don't know but what we know is that when you read carefully the the the novel there are many references to judaism and
57:59
that has been studied for you know by many many people many scholars etc but there is one particular reference that is quite interesting and revealing there is a story in nethering in in the talmud in the treatise of nethering i'm gonna find here uh the reference it's called in aramaic um the story of
58:31
uh okay i'm gonna find the reference sorry about that nedarim it's called um the story of uh because the word is very important kanya de rava and it's a situation where you have two men you know going to see the the rabbinical court because one was claiming that he lent some money to the other one and the other one hasn't repay that money
59:13
to him and the one you know who owes the money to the other one he arrived to the court to the rabbinical court with a cane and then the one of the rabbis asked him okay did you pay i mean dude no the way he phrased the question is do you have the money that you owe to this guy and then and then you will have to
59:45
make a an oath you know with a separate torah and then what this man does he gave the cane to someone else take the torah and then he says you know no by by by the law by the torah i say firmly that i don't have that money with me i don't have that money with me
01:00:16
certainly he didn't have the money because the money was contained in the cane and he every time that he was making the oath he was giving the cane to another person and you have exactly the same story in don quixote when sancho panza became the the governor of an island called barataria and then he faces exactly the same situation
01:00:47
two men arrive to him he is the judge he's the governor of that island and then he has to decide the case and instead of the sever torah he makes this man made you know to make enough and he gave him the a crucifix and okay now and then he does exactly the same he takes the cane and gives the cane to another person and he takes the the the the crucifix and say no no i i don't have that money with me etc and
01:01:19
at the end as in the case in nethering then the rabbi say okay break the cane and the money uh falls down and exactly the same thing sancho panza does in in his uh judgment he says break the cane because the money is inside the cane and then again we can go back to um to leo strauss you know uh
01:01:51
thesis about persecution at the art of writing or the art of conveying of communicating in a certain code and we see in these three cases how this is manifested clearly in the case of la celestina in the case of sanester becoming the patron saint of the crypto jews because she was able to hide her identity and then perform her mission and then in the case of this particular story in the novel don quixote
01:02:22
but certainly this question of the split man or a split mind had very tragic consequences then i'm going to go back briefly to shabbat it's v because certainly it created a big trauma among the people who believe in him i mean uh you know i won't go into the details but the way you know the subatai we understood the notion of of of redemption was very weird because
01:02:54
he was really when he was the most i mean he when he declared that he was the the messiah he he transgressed the allah the jewish law and then but people still believe in him even though he was performing this very weird rituals even going against the jewish law but then he has a a huge consequence when he decided then to convert or he was forced if you want to convert
01:03:26
to islam create a big frustration and a big uh you know people was really uh let's say you know not only traumatized i will say they were um but i'm forgetting my words now in english but then you have a second episode in poland where you have a second false messiah claiming that he was the reincarnation of of rebel taj v
01:03:57
later on uh jacob frank and this is even more troubling as a case in the case of jacob frank because in this case first he was also in the same line of of sv i mean the idea of bringing redemption by average by sin by sinning in in other ways that you can imagine i was and and then there is an element
01:04:31
of of kabbalah of mysticism behind that because in order to redeem the impurities the kelly pot then the the the the the mashiach the messiah should go deep down you know uh and in the in the in the in this uh you know in pure words in order to redeem what it's what it still is you have a certain element of a spirituality of godliness in this caliphate in this
01:05:02
impurities and then by performing all these scenes he was able to read him well it's a very weird thing i'm not an expert in that area but that's mainly the claim of sv and then of course of jacob frank and and the thing with frank is that then he first converted christianity in poland and then not first he converted sorry to islam and then finally he converted to
01:05:34
christianity and then you have a sect you know coming out uh called the franchise that was uh the leader of this of that sec was the daughter of frank but there is something interesting and i'm not an expert again but if you read uh gershwin solem and others in in both cases particularly in the case of sv this frustration let's say caused by sv and frank was somewhat very influential in the birth of
01:06:06
hasidism because they and particularly shabbat hv maybe not as much frank but they had a huge impact in the jewish masses you know we don't we are not talking just about the scholars the rabbis the learned people if you think about you know poland russia ukraine we are you're talking about mostly poor jews who live very hard lives
01:06:39
who were persecuted who were humiliated and you know they were waiting for the messiah because it was their saviors in a very concrete way i mean to improve their lives to you know come out of of this persecution humiliation etc and because of that fervor of that popular fervor then you have a a very important figure uh the balchentov
01:07:10
who were was able to uh channel let's say that fervor and gave birth to the movement of hasidim to a very popular movement of hazidism and and and then that is still very well alive uh today and i think you have always this duality again of forgetting and remembering
01:07:43
you know in the case of of sv or frank certainly at the end either they were forced in the case of frank maybe also he was a little bit unstable i don't know but they and and their followers certainly a minority they decided to forget to could to cut all the ties with at least in appearance at least externally to cut all the ties with judaism but that tension that they
01:08:15
created among jews particularly in europe gave birth to this very important movement of jewish revival that it's called hasidis and then you have espinoza the other case that it's also very interesting as you know espinoza uh was expelled from the spanish
01:08:45
portuguese jewish community of amsterdam was expelled actually he was the subject of what it's called in hebrew agarem when he was very young i think he was 20 years old you know he went to the header he went to the yeshiva he he knew about you know he spoke hebrew uh actually he wrote a gram hebrew hebrew grammar he's what he was very learning tanakh
01:09:20
it seems that also in talmud and some others even say that he knew about kabbalah but that's not clear but when he was 20 he was expelled by the leaders of the community the rabbis but also the the community leaders he at that time he he hasn't published anything anything he hasn't published the the any of his books the
01:09:59
uh for example he wrote a a book about the cart the philosophy criticizing the card he wrote another book uh about the trying to to translate from spanish certainly the the theological political treatise he wrote that many years after his expulsion from the community the ethics is a posthumous uh book that was published
01:10:34
after his death and and certainly uh you know he didn't he didn't uh at least as a part he wasn't a public figure at all he was not recognized at at that time as a big philosopher he became you know recognized by others like lagne as one of the big philosophers of his time but when he was expelled he was not known at all then why the heading why he was
01:11:06
expelled it seemed that he was connected to certain christian groups but kind of liberal christians and these christians you know they were very critical in the way they look at the at the bible and and the way they look at religious institutions and maybe because of that these relations that he had with these christians then
01:11:38
he he was expelled by by the jewish community from the jewish community and then he cut all the links with the jewish community i mean he became he didn't convert to any other religion and he actually became very critical of all religions and in the theological political treatises of the jewish religion i mean his claim
01:12:17
basically is that moses moshe was a political leader that the main objective of the torah of the jewish law was to create a constitution for the jewish people in order to create the conditions of governance of the jewish nation and the jewish state in in in in israel
01:12:50
in earth israel and that there is nothing that we that can be say in terms of divine revelation or prophecy or anything actually he dismissed prophecy as being uh less let's say intellectually less elaborating because it was based on imagination etc well it's basically a criticism of religion and particularly of
01:13:22
the jewish religion but then in the same book where he's criticizing you know the notion that the torah was revealed and the moses received the torah and sinai from god and all these he says something that it's quite interesting he talks about the sign of circumcision and and then you have the quote here the sign of circumcision is so important in
01:13:59
this matter of jewish identity and the preservation of the jewish people that i'm convinced that this one thing will preserve the jewish nation forever indeed in the foundation of the religion hasn't sapped their courage and then it's very interesting i would be perfectly sure
01:14:31
that someday given the opportunity they would set up their state again and god would choose them all over again two things very interesting when he tried to explain what the jews have survived say this is not just a question of being aware of being conscience of the mind of the jews this is a question of the body of the
01:15:08
inscription of that mark in the male jewish body that's the the main thing that he points out this is very interesting and then if you understand a little bit i mean it's it's very hard to read it's not easy espinoza it's it's quite complex and and to read because it's first it's very dry when you read the ethics i mean it's very dry it's a very dry language but if you understand a little bit about
01:15:38
the philosophies of penalties says there is no distinction between mind and body i mean this is the the the first criticism of the cart i mean the idea of koji to argo zoom of the card he said no i mean it's not because of koji too it's not because of the mind that i am it's because i am a mind and a body and they are both the same thing okay that's i won't go into the
01:16:09
philosophical discussion but it's very important that he thinks about the survival of the jewish people in terms of the embodiment of the mark of the circumcision you know that's why when i show you the the quote from the the the the illinois jews during the the time of the ashmonae you know the question of the circumcision was also key but in the opposite way you know they were trying to forget
01:16:40
by getting rid of the circumcision but then espinoza and i don't know if he had in mind the the that story of the hearing nice jews but he said you know what it kept you as a people the circumcision but then in the same paragraph he says something that it's very weird because remember this theological political treaty is about dismissing the idea of god giving the torah to the people are
01:17:13
choosing the people what he says is no this is about moshe being a legislator and creating a constitution for a people that's it but now he says and if they if certainly he's still criticizing the religion because he says if the foundations of the religion meaning for him the superstition hadn't sapped their courage if still they have some courage
01:17:43
giving the opportunity they would set up their state again i mean this is like herself theodore herself writing the jewish state in the 17th century and then there is the this weird religious reference and god would choose them all over again you know one way to read this as jovel does is he was
01:18:14
conveying this to someone who as straus said was able to understand what espinosa was saying certainly he was very careful for example when he uh talked in the book when he wrote about uh the christian religion actually he's very he gives a very positive outlook of the christian religion in general even though he criticized also christianism as being a superstition
01:18:48
he's very careful why certainly because he was aware that he was surrounded by christians and he didn't want to get in trouble and actually he never published any of his book with his name the ethics was published after he passed away with no name and all and the other book this one also but still being the descendant of crypto jews
01:19:18
who came back to judaism after fleeing portugal he was very aware of the dangers of conveying things openly but here he's saying something that is quite strong it's just a paragraph quickly towards the end of the of the treaty but then he's conveying this to someone who will be able to understand what he's trying uh to say and there there have been a lot of debate about this particular
01:19:49
quote from spinoz okay let me then arrive to 2021 and again the pattern the same pattern of trying to forget trying to hide your identity but i call this the useless exercise of forgetting this is about the story of uh of a jew hans neumann who was born in prague and then his parents were deported first to
01:20:34
the name of the of the camp nearby of um nearby prague if you remember ah what's the name of that camp okay well they for their parents first them his mom and then is that they were deported to this camp nearby prague that was used by the nazis to say that they were treating well the jews etc what was the name of that camp okay sorry terrence
01:21:07
thank you and then both of them were deported to athletes as was the case of some other members of his family but hans and his brother lothar they survived the war in the case of hans that it was not clear how he survived the war in the case of the brother lotter okay it's it's a little bit it's a long story because they have a paint
01:21:36
a factory in prague the the nazis took over the paint factory called montana in prague and then lotta was the manager do you know while the nazis controlled the paint factory but lottery was the manager and then at some point the nazis decided to uh you know to deport all the jews from prague lotta went into hiding and then
01:22:08
hans left and went to berlin the question is that these two brothers who survived the war they in in in 1948 they moved to venezuela they first went to austria to vienna then to paris and in paris they met someone who told them you know venezuela it's it's it's looking for migrants european migrants they are offering you know good conditions etc etc i think
01:22:43
it could be a good place i can arrange you a meeting with the venezuelan council in paris they met the council and they moved to venezuela they created a an empire a business empire they recreated the montana pain factory in venezuela after montana became a big corporation and has neumann uh his brother retired very early and moved to switzerland but
01:23:14
then he became the the ceo of the corporation became a very rich man a philanthropist uh he was very close to the culture in venezuela he founded newspapers he created the the first newspaper in english in venezuela their daily journal he created other newspaper et cetera it was very well known in venezuela but
01:23:44
he never identified himself as a jew never actually there is a story that the the ashkenaz community i think they were building a new jewish school in caracas and they approached neumann was already a very rich man you know for a donation for this project and he said to them and this is documented why is you are you asking me a donation i'm not you
01:24:15
why are you approaching me and he completely dismissed them he were a crucifix and then his daughter clarified why but in one one venezuelan woman a jewish sophia ember was a well known eddie ramirez should remember her well-known journalist and also she was the director of one of the biggest museums in caracas she was very close to neumann she said once
01:24:49
hans okay i understand that you don't want to identify as a jew but why the crucifix come on that's not that's not right but he he never identified himself as a jew he married twice in his second marriage from his second marriage he he has a daughter ariana and ariana wrote a book that i have here with me that i read it's very interesting
01:25:21
when times stop a memoir of my father's war and what remains and the interesting thing about this book it's kind of a almost the work of a detective because the question was for ariana who was my father he never identified himself as a jew adriana ariana went to college in the states and while she was in college in the
01:25:52
states a guy a mexican guy approached her say ariana ariana noima yes neumann oh no man then you should be jewish no no no i'm not jewish but certainly neumann is a jewish name the guy was from mexico and he says to her we should be the only two latino jews in this color the first thing that she does she calls uh hans neumann
01:26:24
her father in caracas and she says that it's true that you are jewish that we are jewish and he says don't repeat ever this we are not jewish we are not jewish it was very mad when when she said that to him well the question is that she started making her enquiry he start she start making her research she goes to prague and it seems that in the synagogue in
01:26:56
prague there is a big wall where you have all the names of the jews from prague who were deported and killed by the nazis and then she saw the name of her grandmother the name with the the their birth date and the date that supposedly they were killed they were you know uh killed in in africa
01:27:27
then she sees um i don't forgot the name ella and otto montanta and then when she sees the name of her father there she sees hans knowing man the date the year of birth and an interrogation sign and she goes comes back to carrack and say okay that why you are in this world i don't want
01:28:00
to talk about it i i don't want to tell you anything about it again this idea of forgetting but this is a useless exercise this man he he was very ill he got a couple of drops of strokes he was very ill he he passed away ariana that time was living in london she returns to venezuela for the funeral and everything and then
01:28:33
the lady i think was the the secretary of hans neumann the one the lady who worked with him in his corporation sorry you know your father left a box he told me that you can find this box in the in in that in one closet in their house go and and and check the box he told me that he wanted you to to have that box in that in the box she found this document
01:29:05
which is this as you can see car didn't post an id card with the picture of her father john cevista with the name john cevesta he acquired that car he paid i think for that car he was a chemist and then he went to berlin and worked for the nazis in a paint factory that was used to do the painting for
01:29:36
the nazi planes and the the the bombs all the the let's say the coating of the planes and the bombs and then he was very involved in developing certain kind of coding for as you can see i mean he survived the war he worked i think two years in berlin for that particular it's a very known brand actually it still exists but it was entirely
01:30:09
consecrated to making this coding for the military equipment of the nazis he returned to prague he finds out that unfortunately his parents were you know killed in auschwitz and then he decided to move to venezuela and then he leaves not only this id card that you see there then you see hans with ariana but old
01:30:42
he writes the entire story it's a confession that we do if you want he writes everything in spanish and this is very interesting because they went back when you know uh communism fell in in in czechoslovakia and then you know clara havel became president he was invited to uh to prague to come back to prague and he was honored by the government he was
01:31:16
received by the clavo as you know this you know czech venezuelan who became very successful etc etc and two things one he never spoke with anyone in check he didn't want i mean spock certainly checked perfectly he never spoke she tells that story check with anyone everything was in english through an interpreter quite quite
01:31:48
interesting thing no and the second thing is that he gave a speech he was invited to a banquet because you receive i don't know some kind of decoration something and he said to the checks in front of them i don't consider myself check i'm venezuelan when he gave this speech i mean you are invited to a banquet you are welcome as a check coming back
01:32:19
to your country and he had the good spa of saying these people you know i don't consider myself check on venezuela but interestingly he revealed the entire story to in this in this letter that he wrote for ariana that he left in the books meaning that yes i mean you have again this idea that you can forget who you are that you can put aside all
01:32:54
these experiences that you can assimilate he was actually his family was very assimilated to to the to the to czechoslovakia but at the end he couldn't forget and that's why he left the box and i really it's a it's really a very good book and i really recommend the book but then finally just i i know it has been a little bit long but just what this means today
01:33:26
what this mean this question of forgetting and remembering i think again i'm coming back to this idea we are leaving a time of fluid identities or liquid identities meaning that sometimes you have these very unusual jews like nissin black a rapper an american rapper who didn't have any connection with judaism
01:34:00
at all and then he decided to become a hasidic jew a haredi and move to jerusalem and we have seen i mean there is a trend in the states it's not because they were marrying a jew no no no no you have a trend of black americans and african-americans converting to judaism nothing to do with the black jews who move as a group as a community to israel they are still there there have been
01:34:35
certain controversy no no no this is not sammy davis junior you know having a reform uh conversion no no this is this is a a trend no it's not a trend but you are seeing black jews becoming jews moving through israel being part of very close communities like a haredi community in jerusalem again very fluid identities
01:35:05
then you have also other jews that you can see there sand is a is an israeli historian i don't know if you're familiar with his book the invention of the jewish people a quite controversial book and then the the sequence the the the second book which is the invention of erit israel well sand an israeli historian he renounced publicly and actually wrote the book in
01:35:38
2014 he renowns his jewishness he said i don't want to be a jew anymore he's an anti-zionist he still lives in israel he identifies himself as israeli but he doesn't want to do anything with his judaism then you have these ladies praying where iniquitos
01:36:06
these if you look at them they are very very they look as as the first nations of peru but they identify themselves because somewhat they are the descendants of these moroccan jews who settle in in iniquitos in the peruvian amas in the amazonian jungle in peru and they this is actually a segal confirmed that to me
01:36:39
that this picture is in a prey in a prayer room they don't have a synagogue nikita certainly in a praying room that they have there and they are praying and they are learning to pray in hebrew and let me tell you something some of these descendants of the townie moroccans now they live in israel and some of them are orthodox jews and then you have the question of this
01:37:09
this i don't know how to call it this fad this question of okay let's becomes a party and then you have 6 000 venezuelans who didn't have any zero connection to judaism than being aware that i don't know how and why they had a connection it's a very opportunistic thing but it's more than that because i know and i have
01:37:40
you know connection with people who went through this process that for them was a big discovery they didn't know anything about judaism or anything they didn't know anything about sepharat and they discovered that they learned about that i'm not saying that they will become jews no but it's kind of a discovery process then you have this big question and it's i know that we have a standard answer media who did
01:38:10
who is a jew okay yes we have a standard answer whoever was born of a jewish mother or whoever convert to judaism according to the al-agha the jewish law but the thing is a little bit more complex as as we can see and i think you know media houdi even in israel doesn't have a clear answer thank you very much

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