Related Blog Posts on Hispanic Heritage

Roots in Cuba: A Journey of Identity

Sumiko Zayon
Before Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1959, Cuba was home to over 15,000 Jews. However, by the time I was born in 1988, that number had dwindled to approximately 1,500. For most Jews, Cuba had become a transit point on their way to the United States. Nevertheless, a few families, like mine, chose to remain. When he rose to power, Castro imposed restrictions on religious practices. Although these policies were not specifically aimed at Jews, we were still negatively impacted. My mother and Aunt Lulu would whisper "Ma’oz Tzur," share stories of the Hanukkah gifts from Abuelo Abraham, and tell us about the delicious apple walnut charoset their Bobbe used to make. My sister recently reminded me that we used to ask Mami: "If that charoset is so delicious, why don’t we make it?"

Crypto-Foods: A Warm Embrace and the Triumph of Survival

Crystal Hill
During the Spanish Inquisition, there were plenty of ways that one could be identified as a Jew. One way people would identify their neighbors as Jews was observing whether they would eat non-kosher food that was popular with the Christian population such as pork, sausage, or fish without scales.

Funny, You Don’t Look...

Miguel L. Salazar
"What are you?" was a question I was often asked in New York City. At first, I did not understand. Having grown up in San Antonio, Texas during the Jim Crow era, there was no doubt in my mind. During Jim Crow, Americans were defined by their skin color. I was not Black, but neither was I white. Therefore, I reasoned, I must be Mexican.