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The following is an incomplete list of practices that may be indicative of Jewish origin:

Told one is Jewish explicitly by parents, grandparents, or other relatives.

 Having Jewish family names: Duran, Lopez, etc.
Coming from predominantly anusim villages in Neuvo Reyno de Leon, Santa Fe, San Elisario, etc.
Married los muestros.
Speaking Ladino.

 Secret synagogues; secret prayer groups.
Saying: "Hashem (Tetragrammaton) es mi dio"
"El Sabado see el dia la gloria"
Avoiding church.
Churches without icons.

Lighting candles on Friday night.
Clean house and clothes for Shabbat.
Not allowed to do anything Friday night (not even wash hair).
El Dia Puro (Yom Kippur).
Celebrating a spring holiday.
Fasts: 3 days of Taanit Esther; every Monday and Thursday.
Venerating Jewish saints, with celebrations: Santa Esterika, Santo Moises, etc.
Eight candles for Christmas.

 Circumcision; consecration on eighth day (avoiding circumcision because that would bind child to the laws of Moses).
Biblical first names, like Esther.
Women taught Tanakh and ruled on questions.
Married under "huppah."
Rending of garments; burial within one day; covering mirrors; spigots in cemetaries.
Seven days, then one year, of mourning.
Tombstones bearing Hebrew names and Jewish symbols.

Posessing talit and tefillin, mezuzot, Tanakh, siddurim, other Jewish objects.
Sweeping the floor away from the door.
Possessing kabbalistic knowledge and practices.

Ritual slaughter (special knives, tested on hair or nails); covering blood; removing sinew.
Purging, soaking, salting meat.
Avoiding pork (called "unclean" "marrano") and shellfish.
Avoiding blood; throwing out eggs with bloodspots.
Avoiding red meat in general.
Waiting between meat and milk.
Ate only food prepared by mother of maternal grandmother.


To place a rooster's head over the door of the room where the birth will occur.
After the birth the mother must not uncover herself or change clothes for 30 days.
To throw a silver coin in the baby's first bath water.
To say a prayer eight days after birth in which the baby's name is included.


To fast on the wedding day (both bride and groom, as well as two male friends of the groom and two female friends of the bride.
To bind the bride and groom's hands with a white cloth while a prayer is said.
To follow the wedding ceremony with a light meal consisting of a glass of wine, salt, bitter herbs, honey, an apple, and unleavened bread.
At the wedding ceremony bride and groom eat and drink out of the same plate and glass.


To have ritual meals to which a beggar is invited and serve the food the deceased liked best.
To throw away all water in the home of the deceased.
To go to the deceased's room for eight days and say: "May God give you a good night. You were once like us, we will be like you."
Not to shave for 30 days after the death of a relative.
Not to eat meat for one week after a death in the family, then fast on the third and eighth day and once every three months for one year.
To make the deceased's bed with fresh linen and to burn a light by it for one year.
To keep the deceased's room lit for one week.
To place flour and food around the deceased's bed.
To keep the deceased's place at the table, fill his or her plate and give the food to a beggar.
To purify, (desintreflar, from treph) the house after a death (presumably after a priest had entered it for the last rites).
Female relatives cover their heads with a scarf and hide their faces with a shawl.
Say the following prayer:

May God save you now that you passed away You were alive as we were, We will be like you. To heaven where you now are, Pray to the Lord for us, In this valley of tears, We will pray to the Lord for you.

To wash the body with water brought from the fountain in a new container and to dress it in white clothes.
To pass a gold or silver coin over the mouth of the deceased, and then give the coin to a beggar.
To pass a coin and piece of bread over the eyes of the deceased.
To clip the deceased's nails (or at least a couple of them) as well as a few hairs and wrap everything in a piece of paper or cloth.
To place a piece of bread on the deceased's bed and say: "Take it, leave the deceased's soul alone while it crosses the Jordan River."
To give alms at every corner before the funeral procession reaches the cemetery.
To give a beggar a complete suit of clothes and a meal at least during the Sabbath for one year.
To have several lights lit on Yom Kippur eve in memory of the deceased.


A boy should fast for 24 hours before initiation at age seven.
To kiss any piece of bread that falls on the floor.

Professor Dias has given the LusaWeb Comunidade Project permission to featured the above article. He also solicits your input on the subject matter covered in this article.

 a. Are the practices and rituals included in this list followed in the area of the world where you were born and/or raised?


By Professor Eduardo Mayone Dias

Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese U. C. L. A. Los Angeles, California 90024