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No, you never expect the descendants of Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition - and those who were forced to convert - to turn up in far-away places like Italy. But they do; in fact, more than 500 years after the fact, they turn up everywhere - even (especially?) in New Mexico. And many of them are eager to reclaim their heritage. The Jewish Chronicle
reports about rediscovered Jews in Italy:
Back in the 1950s, when Barbara Aiello was growing up in the Hill District, Dormont and Beachview, and attending Catholic school, no one could have guessed what the future would hold for the dark-haired girl from a large Italian clan, the first in her family to be born in the United States.
Now, in her 60s, she is a self-described “pioneer,” the first woman rabbi to serve as a spiritual leader in Italy, as well as that country’s first non-Orthodox rabbi.
Aiello comes from a family of anousim (Italians whose ancestors were forced into conversion from Judaism), and has made it her mission to help other Italians re-connect with long lost Jewish roots.
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