The Return Home. The Anusim.
With the help of the Jewish community and the desire of the Anusim to return to Judaism our prayers to Hashem is that He would strengthen us on our journey and bring us close to the Torah and to Judaism. May Hashem give our Rabbi’s the wisdom and the courage to return our people home.
AFTER 30 YEARS OF A RABBI’S DEVOTION TO AN INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, HIS STORY IS PUBLISHED IN AN INSPIRING BOOK OF MARVELOUS STORIES AND UNIQUE JOURNEYS WHICH WILL HAVE AN IMPACT AND A MESSAGE FOR READERS OF ALL FAITHS. RABBI STEPHEN LEON HAS BEEN THE TEACHER, MENTOR, CONSULTANT AND ADVISER TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHOSE ANCESTORS WERE THE VICTIMS OF TORTURE, EXECUTION, AND EXPULSION DURING THE HORRIFIC TIME OF THE SPANISH INQUISITION 500 YEARS AGO AND WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A DESIRE TO LEARN, TO EXPLORE AND EVEN TO RETURN TO THEIR HERITAGE. READ THE EMOTIONAL AND POIGNANT STORIES OF INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES RAISED AS CATHOLICS AND CURIOUS ABOUT THEIR JEWISH ROOTS. RABBI LEON’S MESSAGE ABOUT THE MEANING OF THE THIRD COMMANDMENT CAN AFFECT THE CLERGY AND LAY PEOPLE OF ALL RELIGIONS AND ATHEISTS AS WELL.
NAME OF THE BOOK: “THE THIRD COMMANDMENT AND THE RETURN OF THE ANUSIM, A RABBI’S MEMOIR OF AN INCREDIBLE PEOPLE”.
AUTHOR: RABBI STEPHEN LEON, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF THE ANUSIM CENTER OF EL PASO, AND RABBI OF CONGREGATION B’NAI ZION, EL PASO, TEXAS FOR OVER 30 YEARS
PUBLISHER: GAON BOOKS . SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION INCLUDING BOOK SIGNINGS CONTACT: RABBI STEPHEN LEON, 915-526-3693; firstname.lastname@example.org THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE ON amazon.com
Mayim Hayim Bet HaShoavah Sephardic Community
Each morning of Sukkot, the priests went to the pool of Siloah (Silwan) near Jerusalem to fill a golden flask. Shofar blasts greeted their arrival at the Temple’s Water Gate. They then ascended and poured the water so that it flowed over the altar simultaneously with wine from another bowl. When the priest was about to pour the water, the people shouted “Raise your hand!” because of an incident that occurred in a previous year: The high priest Alexander Jannaeus (103‑76 B.C.E.) showed contempt for the rite by spilling the water at his feet, a transgression for which worshippers threw their citrons at him.
The pelted priest had demonstrated his alliance with the Sadducees, who literally followed Torah and only what was specifically in Torah. (Explained as an oral instruction given to Moses at Sinai, this water rite was not mentioned in The Five Books.) The deliriously happy celebration connected with the water drawing developed when the Pharisees (who believed in the Oral Tradition and interpretation of Torah and gave us the rabbinic Judaism we know today) triumphed over them in the first century.
Based on Isaiah’s promise “With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation” (12:3), rejoicing began at the end of the first day and took place every night except Shabbat. Talmud recorded that “one who had never witnessed the Rejoicing at the Place of the Water Drawing had never seen true joy in his life.” (Although the celebration was for the libation that would be made the next morning it was named for the preparation for the ritual‑-the water drawing-‑which the rabbis said showed that getting ready was sometimes of greater merit than the mitzvah itself because of its positive effect on the person doing it.)
The Talmud describes the festivities in detail, from the lighting of immense candelabrum set in the Temple courtyard (each holding gallons of oil and fit with wicks made from priests’ worn‑out vestments), which generated such intense light that they illuminated every courtyard in the city. A Levite orchestra of flutes, trumpets, harps, and cymbals accompanied torchlight processions, and men who had earned the capacity for real spiritual joy through their purity, character, and scholarship danced ecstatically to the hand‑clapping, foot-stomping, and hymn‑singing crowds.
Lay Leader Archie Hunnicutt grandson of Luz Ramirez Diaz a Cohen from Nuevo Leon Mexico the son of Inocencio Diaz. My mother Lorina Diaz is the matriarch that kept our family history alive and handed down to me to keep and pass on.
My uncle Joe Diaz 85 tested positive as a Cohen match and tells his story about our hidden Jewish practices.
My story of return 17 years in the making.
I would like to submit this letter as a written record of my testimony concerning my return to Judaism. In 2001 September 11, 2001, I Gavriel ben David had a bat kol that instructed me to live as a Jew.
My ardent background consisted of first being raised in a Baptist church by my great-grandmother on my father’s side by Pennsylvania Upchurch and I later became an Altar Boy at the age of seven years of age at St. Martin’s Catholic Church where I served as an altar boy for 11 years. While in the military I had changed my faith to non-denominational and contemplated myself no longer a Catholic. In 1988 I was baptized at Buchanan Baptist Church and attended there for several months. Because of a doctrinal discrepancy, I immediately left and started going to a non-denominational church from 1988 to 2001, Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo Texas.
On September 11, 2001, an incredible change happened in my life, I was called to live as a Jew. I knew nothing of Judaism or what it meant to be Jewish, but I begin my pursuit to as- certain what it meant to be Jewish. One of the things I knew was Jews did not eat pork, and so, I immediately stopped eating and removed all foods from my diet that was declared unclean and was prohibited by the Bible. I also knew that Jews did not celebrate Christmas and in 2001, I stop celebrating Christmas.At that time in my life, things were very difficult within my family because of my wife, Christian herself, did not agree with my termination of Christmas.
This was a very difficult time for me in my life when I felt very alone and alienated from the world. In my prayers, I asked God, if I were crazy and was I doing what he wanted me to do. The very first Shabbat I celebrated was Parsha Miektz. The story of Joseph recognizing his brothers overwhelmed my heart, and I could not consummate reading the story because of the tears that flowed from eyes. I asked my wife to keep Shabbat with me that day, and it was then that my wife’s heart was touched and she began to see that I was very sincere and determined to do what God had asked me to do.
It was not long after this that while my daughter was in the hospital and the question still on my mind about me imagining all these things happening in my life and questioning my own sanity that I discovered a book while out getting a gift for my daughter. Mixed among books on music again God spoke to me and there was a book called my Journey to Jewish Orthodoxy by David Klinghoffer “The Lord Will Gather Me In” as I began to read the book my heart was touched and I had received my answer; I was doing what God wanted me to do.
It was in March of 2002 that I began preparing for Passover when my mother asked me about what I was doing. I informed her that I was preparing for Passover, and this was how Jews prepared by cleaning all the drawers in the kitchen and behind the furniture and re- moving the leaven from the house. My mother, with a strange look on her face, told me that every year about this time her mother had all the children remove everything out of the house and clean it. She said jokingly, “I thought she was punishing us.” I pondered what my mother had said about my grandmother and her doing the same thing that I was now doing.
Several weeks had passed since that incident with my mother, and we invited her to celebrate Shabbat with us. My mother joined us for Shabbat and my wife prepared herself to light the candles by covering her head with a scarf and began to light the candles. Lisa and I then called our three children to kneel before us so that we could bless them as we welcomed the Shabbat, and it was then that my mother began to cry. Lisa and I were confused and did not know why my mother was crying. I asked my mother, “What is wrong”? And her words change my life forever. My mother said to me,“Thank you, Junior, and I asked her,“thank me for what”? And my mother answered, “for letting me know whom I am” she said,“ I knew we weren’t Catholic, we did not do Catholic things.” My mother told me that every Friday night her mother would close the curtains and light candles and bless the kids, and she never knew why her mother did those things.
Since September 11, 2001, I have been trying to find proof of my Jewishness and at this time I have no legitimate proof outside my DNA and the testimony of my uncle’s and aunt and my mother Lorina Diaz concerning these traditions of lighting candles on Friday night and, also, the lighting of the Hanukkah candles. I do have relatives that have said we are Jewish through oral tradition. Also, I have a fourth cousin that is a Cohen with a family genealogy and history. I am writing this letter as a record of the Jewish people and to my own family of the journey that I have been on for these 15 years of my life. On January 12, 2017, I received the results of my uncle Yosef Diaz’s DNA test and I discovered that he was a Cohen match by the Jewish DNA group FamilyTree.com. This would make my grandfather Luz Diaz a Cohen and confirm the oral tradition of my family and our history.
I am convinced in my heart and my soul bears witness that I am connected to a land called Israel and to the Jewish people. My grandfather was Luz Ramirez Diaz and this is my uncle’s DNA.
Gavriel Ben David.