Frida y Diego en la Casa AzulNadie sabrá jamás cómo quiero a Diego. No quiero que nada lo hiera, que nada lo moleste y le quite energía que él necesita para vivir, vivir como a él le dé la gana, Pintar, ver amar, comer, dormir, sentirse solo, sentirse acompañado; pero nunca quisiera que estuviera triste. Si yo tuviera salud quisiera dársela toda, si yo tuviera juventud toda la podría tomar, No soy solamente la madre, soy el embrión. el germen, la primera célula que- en potencia- lo engendró. Soy él desde las más primitivas y más antiguas células, que con el tiempo se volvieron él. Cada momento él es mi niño, mi niño nacido, cada ratito, diario, de mí misma.
Frida Kahlo’s love for Diego Rivera was as unconditional as her love for art. Their relationship — filled with loss, sickness and infidelities — was equal parts passionate and confusing.
In a rare video posted by a Frida Kahlo fan page on Facebook, we see Frida and Diego spend time together, caressing and kissing each other in Frida’s Casa Azul. The video was shot by photographer Nikolas Murray, and in the home clip a narrator recites an excerpt from Frida’s diary, in which she explains her unconditional love for Diego:
“Nobody will ever know how much I love Diego. I don’t want anything to hurt him, nothing to bother him and rob him of the energy he needs for living — for living as he likes, for painting, seeing, loving, eating, sleeping, being by himself, being with someone. But I’d never want him to be sad. If I had good health, I’d give him all of it. If I had youth, he could take it all…”
Although Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in most Latin American countries, we all know by now that Latino culture is not a monolith. In fact, Latinidad comes in all shapes and forms, and it’s a total misconception that all Latinos are Catholics. Latinos follow a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to Judaism. And while most people don’t think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish peoples living throughout Latinidad.
Although the Jewish population in Latin America is relatively small (only an estimated 300,000), Jewish Latinos keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. The largest Jewish community resides in Argentina, which is considered to be the “center of the Jewish population in Latin America”. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of famous and influential Jewish Latinos who have made their unique mark on the world. Take a look below!
1. Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo was both proud and vocal of her Jewish ancestry at a time when Anti-Semitism was at its height in Mexico. According to Kahlo, her father, Guillermo Kahlo, was a Hungarian-Jew who immigrated to Mexico. In fact, many of Frida’s work have been displayed at Jewish art exhibits.
2. Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky’s father is El Salvadoran–born to Jewish-German immigrants who fled Germany during WWII to escape persecution from the Nazi regime.
3. Daniel Bucatinsky
Beloved “Scandal” actor Daniel Bucatinsky was born in New York City to Argentine-Jewish parents. Bucatinsky has been candid about how his “roots” are in Argentina and how he speaks Spanish fluently. You can even catch him speaking Spanish to his fans on Twitter.
4. Sammy Davis Jr.
One of the most talented and charismatic performers of the infamous “Rat Pack”, Sammy Davis Jr. was a Latino born to an Afro-Cuban mother. Citing a strong connection to the Jewish faith due to its people’s history of oppression, Davis Jr. converted to Judaism in 1961 and remained devout until his death.
5. William Levy
Cuban actor and all-around heartthrob William Levy was born in Cojimar to a single mother, Barbara Levy of Jewish descent. At the reported urging of his friends, he converted to Catholicism in 2009
6. Diego Rivera
Celebrated artist and husband to the venerable Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter Diego Rivera was descended from a Portuguese-Jewish family. Of his roots, Rivera said: “My Jewishness is the dominant element in my life. From this has come my sympathy with the downtrodden masses which motivates all my work”.
7. David Blaine
Born to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Russian-Jewish descent, famed magician and illusionist David Blaine is of both Jewish and Latino heritage.
8. Geraldo Rivera
Journalist and television personality Geraldo Rivera was born to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Russian-Jewish descent. He was raised “mostly Jewish” and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Rivera affectionately describes himself as “Jew-Rican”.
9. Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars was born in Hawaii to a father of mixed Puerto Rican and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, while his mother is Filipino. Mars has referred to his ethnicity as existing in a “gray zone” of neither black nor white. Of his ethnicity, Mars has said: “I hope people of color can look at me, and they know that everything they’re going through, I went through. I promise you.”
10. Sara Paxton
Sara Paxton was born to Lucia Menchaca Zuckerman and Steve Paxton in Los Angeles. Paxton’s mother was originally from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, where she was raised in a Jewish family. Paxton’s father has since converted to Judaism.
11. Cecilia Roth
Acclaimed Argentine actress and “muse” of Pedro Almodóvar, Cecilia Roth was born to parents Abrasha Rotenberg and Dina Gutkin in Buenos Aires. Like many European Jews in the 1930s, Roth’s father fled Europe to escape the rising tide of anti-Antisemitism.
12. Eduardo Saverin
Facebook co-founder, tech entrepreneur and multi-billionaire Eduardo Luiz Saverin was born in São Paulo, Brazil to a wealthy Jewish family. In 1993, the Saverin family immigrated to Miami. Interestingly enough, he was portrayed by the British actor Andrew Garfield in the acclaimed movie “The Social Network”.
13. Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Known for her role as the spoiled daughter Meadow on “The Sopranos”, Jamie-Lynn Sigler was born to a Cuban mother and a Jewish father. Sigler’s mother converted to Judaism upon marrying Sigler’s father. Sigler has revealed that being raised Jewish, she both attended Hebrew school and had a bat mitzvah.
14. Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico to a Jewish mother and a (lapsed) Catholic father. At the time, his parents were acting as missionaries for the cult “Children of God”. Phoenix’s father currently lives in Costa Rica. Of his Latino roots, Phoenix says, “I do like Spanish culture…I like to practice my Spanish when I am working with any actor who speaks Spanish or with members of the crew”.
15. Don Francisco
Cultural stalwart and host of Univision’s “Sábado Gigante”, Don Francisco was born in Chile to German-Jewish immigrants who fled their home country to escape the Nazi regime.
16. Gabe Saporta
Cobra Starship lead singer Gabe Saporta was born in Uruguay to a Jewish family. Like many of the entries on this list, Saporta’s grandparents fled Europe during the WWII era to escape anti-antisemitism. His Instagram bio currently reads “I was a terror since the hebrew school era” and he frequently interacts with fans on the account in Spanish.
17. Joanna Hausmann
Joanna Hausmann is Venezuelan-American comedian, Youtuber, and TV personality. Hausmann is the daughter of Venezuelan intellectual and Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann and CNN en Español host, Ana Julia Jatar. Hausmann has a series of videos called “Joanna Rants” on Flama where she covers a variety of issues affecting Latindad–from differences in accents to cultural stereotyping.
18. Kayla Maisonet
Known for playing the sporty sister in Disney Channel’s “Stuck in the Middle”, Kayla Masionet is a biracial actress of Puerto Rican and Russian-Jewish descent. On dealing with criticism in the industry, Maisonet has revealed that she chooses to embrace what makes her different as opposed to “conform[ing] to what people say I should do”.
As the current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic continues to surge, families and friends continue to live divided lives. Hope has come in the form of new vaccines and their distribution across the globe, however, the tragedies continue.
Now, a San Diego family, whose patriarchs weren’t able to receive vaccines, is suffering deeply.
Juan and Blanca Rodriguez passed away from COVID this past week within hours of saying their last goodbyes on Zoom.
The middle school sweethearts met in the seventh grade spent decades together as a married couple until passing away at the age of sixty-seven. Juan and Blanca met in the seventh grade, were married five years later, and went onto have four children and six grandchildren.
“He saw my mom in homeroom in seventh grade, and he said from the moment he saw her, he knew he was going to marry her,” the couple’s daughter Cynthia Rodriguez explained in an interview to NBC12.
This past January, Juan and Blanca were retired and living with one of their children when everyone in the family contracted COVID-19.
Their illnesses came as a surprise to the family particularly because they had been extremely cautious.
“We quarantined. We didn’t go out. We didn’t even go to stores. We would order food delivery,” the couple’s other daughter Blanca Velazquez explained.
While the family eventually recovered, on Feb. 1 Juan and Blanca were rushed to the hospital. The couple was sent to two separate facilities and communicated with their family through Zoom.
Over the weekend, after Juan’s condition continued to worsen his family said virtual goodbyes.
“My mom was on the Zoom call, and she told my dad that she was happy that she was able to share her life with him, and she thanked him for being the love of her life,” explained Velazquez.
Juana and Blanca’s son Juan Rodriguez Jr. revealed on a GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral expenses that not long after Blanca’s call with Juan, the family received a call from Blanca “saying she was not doing well and they had to put her on a ventilator as well. The Dr. called a few hours later and said she didn’t respond to the ventilator and there was nothing else they could do for her.”
Blanca passed away three hours after her call with her family on Feb. 8 at 12:30 a.m. Later, Juan died at 4:18 a.m.
“Losing one parent is bad enough, but losing them both on the same day has been both devastating and heartbreaking. We have peace in knowing that since they were always together in life, they could not be apart in death as well,” Juan Jr. wrote. “He couldn’t live without her, so, he just let go. It’s like an epic love story, that they went together in the same day. They were the best parents,” Velazquez told NBC12.
As of Thursday afternoon, the family’s GoFundMe raised $16,897 toward its $25,000 goal.