Bringing Together and Educating Descendants of Sephardic Conversos
Crypto-Jewish Education is an educational endeavor spearheaded by Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez and the B’nei Anusim Center for Education. The goal is to provide a wide range of information on Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism for those researching their past or interested in reconnecting with their Jewish background.
Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas where he earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering. He studied at the Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland and received a Master of Arts Degree with Distinction in Judaic Studies.His master’s thesis focused on Jewish Identity in the Second Temple Period.
He completed his doctoral studies at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago in 2015. His doctoral dissertation is titled “Complex Identities: Christian and Jewish Attitudes Towards Conversos” and was accepted in September 2015. He also studied at the American Seminary for Contemporary Judaism and received rabbinic ordination in 2011 from Yeshiva Mesilat Yesharim.
Rabbi Bejarano-Gutierrez served as the assistant editor for HaLapid the quarterly publication for the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies from 2011-2012. He also served as a board member and treasurer for the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies from 2011-2013.
Rabbi Bejarano-Gutierrez has published various articles in HaLapid, The Journal for Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Crypto-Jews, and Puntes-Theological Reflections from a Hispanic-Latino Context published by Southern Methodist University.
He spoke at the Third Annual Crypto-Jewish Symposium in 2010 at Texas A&M, the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies Conference in 2010 in San Antonio, and at Southern Methodist University’s “Crypto-Judaism in the American Southwest: Hidden Religious Roots of Hispanic Peoples” in Dallas in 2010. He is also slated to speak at the upcoming Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies conference in Dallas, Texas in 2014.
He has also taught an introductory course titled “The History of the Middle East Conflict” at Mountain View College in 2011.
He served as the volunteer rabbi of Chavurah Zohar Yisrael, a traditional Jewish community with rotating services, serving South Dallas and North East Dallas Counties with a special focus on helping Hispanics of Crypto-Jewish ancestry. He is also the author of “What is Kosher? An Introduction to the Laws of Kashrut“.