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Movement to Return to Judaism on Foot Among Marranos in Portugal

March 9, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

That there is a great movement on foot among the Marranos, the descendants of those Jews converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition, for a return to Judaism, was the report brought from Portugal by Mr. Lucien Wolf.

Mr. Wolf made a special trip to Portugal to investigate the situation of the Marranos. He reported to the Anglo-Jewish Board of Deputies yesterday that the Marranos belong to the higher middle classes and that their racial characteristics are well preserved.

In commenting on the characteristics of the Marranos, Mr. Wolf explained the reason for their not having taken steps before to return to Judaism, despite the fact that the Inquisition had ceased. When the persecutions stopped, the Marranos were spiritually exhausted and the emigration from Portugal of the wealthier and the more nationally inspired individuals led to apathy among the Marrano masses, he said. Another reason was that secrecy became an integral part of Marrano Judaism.

The weakness of the situation lay in the fact that the Jewish traditions were handed down by the women. In the Marrano communities the women performed the synagogal ceremonies, holding the positions of rabbis and cantors. As a result of this, much superstition has grown around the religious observance.

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