Exploring Jewish roots in Central Florida

The Orlando Sentinel takes a look at Aliyah Sepharad International, a “group for Hispanics of Jewish ancestry who wish to get back to their religious roots.” According to the newspaper, the ultimate goal of the group is to help these people immigrate to Israel.

Because they were forced to suppress their beliefs, many Hispanic descendants of Sephardic Jews grew up not knowing about their heritage.

This is rapidly changing.

“There is a phenomenon going on in the world right now with what we call ‘returning Jews,’ ” said Nathan Katz, professor of religious studies with Florida International University in Miami. “They make up a significant percentage of synagogues [in South Florida]. It is not just in Central Florida.”

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