¡Feliz Hanukkah! In case you didn’t know, Jewish Latinos exist and they exist in pretty large numbers. NPR’s Latino USA NPR recently released a podcast that paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to grow up in the Jewish Latino community.
You’ve already met a few Latinos with Jewish roots. Like William Levy.
Credit: @willevy / Instagram
“Levy is because that’s my mom’s last name. And my grandfather, he was Jewish,” the Cuban heartthrob told ET. “So that’s where it comes from. It’s a Jewish last name. I have some Jewish in my family.”
Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez has made several references to her Jewish roots.
Credit: @hereisgina / Instagram
“I have Jewish ancestors. My sister converted to Judaism,” Gina told The Hollywood Reporter. “I have Christians and Catholics and Buddhists in my family. I have multiracial, multiethnic relationships.”
And Don Francisco has never made any secret to the fact he is a practicing Jew.
Credit: @faithnomore4ever / Instagram
“Among Spanish speakers in the United States he is an icon,” Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latin American and Latino culture at Amherst College told The Times of Israel. “In my view, he couldn’t really come to that type of persona were he not Jewish.”
How to Navigate the World When You’re Jewish and Latino
The podcast examines Jewish Latino identity with 5 different stories told by the people who are living them. You’ll learn now Judaism made its way across the ocean to Latin America and eventually to the Latino-American community in the US. You can hear the tale of how one family fled Nazi persecution in Europe by going to Brazil and eventually settling in Colombia. Then, the explosion of crime in Colombia during the ’80s drove the same family to the United States of America. Latino USA also explores the Judeo-Spanish language known as “Ladino” which blends of Spanish and Yiddish, creating a language that functions as a form of communication for Jewish Latinos.
Listen to the full podcast:
Credit: ¡Ay Vey! / Latino USA NPR