Another Sephardic Voice – by Paula Rose Michelson

This week I have posted my interview with Betty who, at age twenty, saw and heard things while traveling with her parents, but did not understand or question anything until later in her life.

Before you read her interview, I want to mention that it is thought, and I believe, that there are no secrets in family’s just things we have not shared with each other. However, we somehow seem to know or sense many things though they remain unspoken. This is easy to understand because each of us wants to be accepted and it is a normal fear that our secrets, those hidden things that make us different, are unacceptable or even worse shameful.

Those in recovery call this bundle of guilt, ‘The Invisible Elephant in the Living Room.’ Everyone is aware of and has to walk around this problem or pretend it does not exist. Once we do that for one person it becomes easier to do it for the next person, and so it continues perpetuating the myth that our family is perfect. 'Perfect' is a very hard place to live in and a harder place to keep that way when reality threatens to intrude. I hope that being aware of this trap will help each of us realize that everyone, whether they admit it or not, has fallen victim to 'Perfect' or as it is most often labeled 'The Elephant Syndrome.’ And I hope that finding out about this common madly will make you chuckle as I did when I realized that this experience and the feelings of shame it arouses is part of the human condition.

Before you read Betty’s brief testimony, ask yourself:

• Why am I hiding all that I am or know?
• Do the members of my family know what I know?
• If they do, what would happen to them and me if I revealed the ‘Elephant?’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Betty’s Voice~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was in my early twenties, my parents took me on a trip to visit relatives in Saltillo, Mexico, where my grandfather Miguel Narro was born and raised. They were rich and very Catholic. They had disowned my grandfather when he accepted Yeshua as his Savior and became a Protestant pastor. Many years later, my great-aunt Rosario (Rosary) confided to my mother that there had been two rabbis in the Narro family. After that, my mother wore a Star of David that she had bought. She told my son John David that we were Jewish. My grandfather refused to eat pork, but we never knew why. No one ever talked about our Jewish heritage. However, now I know that some believed we were Jewish and other family members denied it. My father, David Alcala, most likely had Jewish ancestry also since Alcala is a Sephardic Jewish name. My great-grandfather Ambrosio Alcala was born in Alcala de Henares, a city in Spain that had an imposing Jewish presence and two synagogues.

Elizabeth Alcala-Narro Bennett is a Sephardic Jew whose children bring the gospel to those in Spain. She worships at a Messianic congregation.

John 8:31-32 is a very important verse to me because it says, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The meaning is clear, truth, no hiding- but admitting the truth sets us free. Free to receive forgiveness, healing, absolution or most importantly for my heroine Naomi, the ability to own who she is in the full light of day. If your journey mirrors hers, continue to sojourn with us for each of us has had to learn to trust, release, release, and trust.

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