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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 17, 2005 / 6 Adar II, 5765

Thousands of Hispanics who follow the Torah escape the shadows in South Florida

By Sandra Hernandez


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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Mariano Moshe Otero grew up struggling to understand both his faiths. "We were brought up in a Christian home but knowing we were Cuban Jews," said Otero, 43, a former Evangelical minister who is now pursuing rabbinical studies in Miami.


"It was very confusing, but now I understand this was part of the experience many Latin Jews have about their faith and their place in the community. It isn't always easy being a Hispanic Jew," said Otero.


According to figures released in the mid-to-late-1990s, the most recent available, more than 9,500 Latin Jews were living in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to Ira Sheskin, director of the Jewish Demography Project at the University of Miami. A new study, set for release later this month, uses figures that are significantly higher, said Sheskin.


"I can tell you the numbers are up, and I suspect this is being driven by the arrival of Latin American Jews," said Sheskin, who declined to provide specific data.


Hispanic Jews remain a minority both within their faith and in Latin America, where they have survived, though at times facing anti-Semitism and ugly reminders of the past. Exactly 13 years ago today in Buenos Aires, home to the largest Jewish community in Latin American, 29 people were killed when the Israeli embassy was bombed. Two years later, 95 people died in a bombing of a Jewish community center.


Hispanic Jews trace their roots to many countries, but the oldest go back to Spain. In 1492, the Spanish crown ordered them to convert to Catholicism. Those who openly refused were expelled. Others fled to Portugal and later to Latin America. Many who converted practiced their faith clandestinely and are sometimes referred to as Crypto Jews. Those suspected of secretly practicing Judaism were later persecuted during the Inquisition, when thousands were killed. Many survivors practiced Christianity publicly, but quietly observed their faith at home, as the Oteros do today. Latin American Jews who arrive in Florida are putting down roots in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Their presence is another quiet reminder of the demographic changes that are taking place at temples and synagogues across the region.


Last month, the United Jewish Community of Broward County began an outreach program to Latin Jews. It is putting together a data base to track Hispanic Jews in the county, according to Anita Lapco, the group's new Latin relations coordinator.


"This outreach effort really reflects the growth in the number of Jews who have come from places like Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina," said Lapco, who moved last year from Caracas to Aventura. "Right now we don't even really know that much about them, just that they are here, so this is the first step in getting a better sense of this community."


Local temples are adapting services that reflect the new face of Judaism.


"We are trying to set up a Passover Seder in Spanish," said Otero, who attends the Hollywood Community Synagogue. "This is about creating a comfortable environment, because you feel differently when you are around people who speak your own language, even though this is America and we must learn to speak English."


Like Otero, the majority of South Florida's Hispanic Jews are Cubans who settled in Miami during the early 1960s.He was among those photographed for "Cuban Jews in South Florida: An Intimate View," an exhibit currently on display at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. The exhibit is expected to travel to UJC in Broward. Photographer Randi Sidman-Moore spent more than four years on the project. The exhibit includes more than 30 images, ranging from the ordinary moment when a Cuban Jewish family gathers for a meal of plantains, beans and rice, to the extraordinary instant when an 8-day-old boy is circumcised at a bris.


The show reflects a growing interest in Hispanic Jewish life and the complicated stories told by some like Otero. Like many Jews from throughout Latin America, they shrouded their faith in secrecy, fearing prejudice. The programs sprouting up in South Florida are helping Hispanic Jews adapt to life here and find a cultural voice.


"Our issues aren't so much language, because, for example, in Venezuela services are in Hebrew. But we will try and help create a sense of community and put many in touch with the social programs available to them, or even just getting in touch with others who are like them," Lapco said.


Indeed, older Hispanic Jews insist newcomers face a far different transition, thanks to a strong religious and social network already in place.


"It is very different now for those who arrive," said Bernardo Benes, who was born in Cuba and helped establish the Cuban Hebrew Congregation after arriving in Miami in 1960. "The local Jewish community didn't really pay much attention when we arrived and we struggled to find our place. Now there are temples and groups who can help them."


Moreover, others said these later arrivals are often familiar with life in Florida.


"Many of those coming over are already familiar with Miami or other parts because they have businesses. In some cases, some have second homes here," said Rafael Kravec, president of the American Friends of Peres Center for Peace, Inc, a Miami-based group.

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© 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services