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Everyone knows about the lost tribes of Isreal. What few people realize is that there are some people working very hard to find those lost Jews and return them to their people and their homeland after hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years of disconnect. We are blessed in Isreal to have a wonderful organization called Shavei Yisreal that works tirelessly to do just that.

Recently the Shavei Yisrael organization has succeeded in accomplished another is extrememly satisfied with its endeavors. Centuries after the Spanish Inquisition led to the forced conversion of Jews to Catholicism, an ultra-orthodox rabbinical court in Israel just issued a religious ruling that recognizes descendants from the insular island of Majorca as Jews.

The opinion focused narrowly on the Majorcan community of about 20,000 people known as chuetas and did not apply to descendants of Sephardic Jewish converts in mainland Spain or the broader diaspora of thousands of others who scattered to the Ottoman Empire and the Spanish colonies in South and North America.

The island, isolated until a tourist boom that began in the late 1960s, is a sociological preserve for descendants of Jews who formed an insular community of Catholic converts that intermarried through the centuries because of religious persecution and discrimination that barred them from holding certain positions in the Roman Catholic Church through the 20th century. Most carry the names of 15 families with ancestors who were tried and executed during the 17th century for practicing Judaism.

For the full article: New York Times

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