A Sephardic Voice – by Paula Rose Michelson

If you have read chapter one of Casa de Naomi, which is posted at http://www.PaulaWordsmith.com, you know that my heroine has a secret. Before you get into the body of this post, please remember that everyone has secrets – some keep us safe, others keep us hidden. Now with complete candor knowing that no one is looking over your shoulder or able to hear your thoughts, ask yourself:

• Do I, a friend, or some one in my family have a secret?
• Is that secret one that holds me or that person back?
• What would happen if I, or they shared that secret?
• What would happen if I, or they remained silent?


For the past several years, I have been working on the novels that comprise The House of Blessing Casa Saga. I found most Sephardic Jews reticent to speak or write about their families experience during the Inquisition because until twenty years ago, the Decree of Expulsion was still in effect. They feared revealing themselves for they were taught that to do so in a country of only one faith—that of the Catholic Church could place them in peril.

After much research and discussions with a few Spanish Jews, as well as dialogues with those who teach history and literature, I discovered that only a few knew of and understood these people’s lives, religious practices, and personal histories. This disconnection occurred due to the ongoing pressure within Sephardic families to remain hidden within a culture that has been hostile to their existence. This started with the signing of the Decree of Alhambra, which began the Spanish and, later, the Mexican Inquisitions. This decree was in effect until March 31, 1992. Because of this, it is only now that a few brave people are willing to step forward and share their stories.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Corrine's Voice~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was born in 1929 and raised in downtown Los Angeles. My religious training was in the Catholic Church, as all in our family had done for years. In 1984, my son David, who had research our history told me that we are Jewish. I paid no attention to him.

In 1974, I found myself drawn to Jewish things. When my grandmother died, my mother showed me her baptismal certificate. I noticed that her godmother’s last name was Gold. I asked my mother about that, as Gold is a very unusual last name for a Spanish person to have because godparents are usually family members. She told me that her cousin had told her when she was a child that they were Jews but not to tell anyone. It was then I remembered my grandfather singing in a strange language out by the chicken coops, and my mother saying, “He sings like a cantor!”

The realization that we were not what we seemed to be created within me a hunger to know more. Since then I have invested my time and energy to learn all I can about my Jewish roots. That investigation has made me aware of the charges the Inquisitor made against my family, revealed the possibility that they may have come over with Columbus, and the knowledge that they settled in what is now the southwestern United States.

Today, through much work on behalf of my family, I have acquired the documents to prove what I am saying. Were it not for the Decree of Alhambra and the Spanish Inquisition, we would still be in Spain, but due to that decree and its effects upon my family and the Jews still hiding, I am willing to state that what man meant for evil, God used for good! For in Messiah Yeshua, I have found my Jewish Messiah and have been able to own who I am as both a Jew and a believer in my Kinsman Redeemer.

At seventy-four, Corrine Ehrick began to worship as a Sephardic Messianic believer.

1 Response to "A Sephardic Voice – by Paula Rose Michelson"

  1. Anonymous Says:
    November 7, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Hello Paula!

    After spending the past 2 months researching and uncovering me and my families Sephardic roots-- thanks to you--as I read these testimonies a kindred spirit sparks in my heart. Thank you for expelling the healing oils of courage out from your soul and onto mine!You're a "mend setter"...


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