Crypto Jewish Practices in New Spain

It’s difficult to provide a complete list of Crypto-Jewish observances that Judaizing Conversos in the New World maintained, but the following list represents common practices.

  • Fast Days: Yom Kippur- El dia grande (The Great Day)
  • Women bathed, wore clean clothes, placed clean bed and table linens in preparation for the Sabbath.
  • Sabbath candles were lit.
  • Saturday morning services were held in people’s homes.

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  • No work was performed on the Sabbath.
  • Meals were prepared to avoid cooking on the Sabbath.
  • Circumcision was widespread. 80% of those arrested by the Inquisition were circumcised.
  • Efforts were made to avoid last rites when someone died.
  • Bodies of the deceased were prepared for burial according to Jewish practices and dressed in a shroud.

Posted by Rabbi Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education. For a more complete review of Iberian Jewish history and the Crypto- Jewish Experience see The Rise of the Inquisition and Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism

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