Jennifer Lopez celebrated her 50th birthday with approximately 57,000 Israeli fans this past week. “I want to thank you for coming to celebrate with me. Shalom! I learned how to say this — ani ohev otcha! [I love you],” J-Lo lovingly addressed her fans this week during her first concert in the State of Israel.
The enormous crowd in Haryakon Park was ecstatic to have Lopez in Israel, after several failed attempts in the past.
She arrived with fiancé Alex Rodriguez along with Rodriguez’s two children from his first marriage, and Lopez’s twins she had with fellow singer Marc Anthony. They instantly tweeted to share their enthusiasm about their very first trip to Israel. What a delightful relief from all the BDS backlash, the Squad’s political antics, and the ever-growing violent acts of anti-Semitism!
What if Jennifer Lopez came “back home” with her birthday concert visit? What if “Jenny from the block” has Jewish ancestry and possibly has a Jewish bashert fiancé?
She was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents named Guadalupe Rodriguez and David Lopez. Sephardic history shows that both Rodriguez and Lopez are two of the most well-known names for the descendants of forcibly converted Spanish and Portuguese Jews known as Marranos and crypto-Jews.
An article on July 31 in The Jerusalem Post has a tagline claiming “200 million people may be descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese communities forced to convert to Christianity.” That claim is supported by Ashley Perry (Perez), president of Reconectar, a project that focuses on facilitating the reconnection of descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities with the Jewish people.
Recent genetic research released this year found that 25% – or one in four – of Hispanics and Latinos have Jewish DNA. That is a stunning discovery.
Perry, who is also the director-general of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Bnei Anousim, told The Jerusalem Post that he would argue that the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and later Portugal “is the most significant Jewish date in history since the fall of the Second Temple. It was the game-changing moment.”
Let’s start with a little history lesson. The Spanish Inquisition took place between 1480 and 1530. According to Wikipedia, various sources give different estimates of the number of trials and executions in this period. The great majority were against the conversos of Jewish origin or The New Christians.
In January of 1492, the Spanish church and royal family gave the Jews the choice between expulsion and conversion.
Don Isaac Abravanel (Isaac ben Judah Abarbanel, commonly referred to as Abarbanel. He was a Portuguese Jewish statesman, Torah scholar and published commentator, and government finance minister); he also documented 300,000 Jews who fled from Spain. However, the vast majority of conversos simply assimilated into the Catholic dominant culture, a minority continued to practice Judaism in secret, gradually migrated throughout Europe, North Africa, the Ottoman Empire and the New World of the Americas.
In a blog post of the Times of Israel, Perry writes about the Jewish presence in Puerto Rico. It can be traced back to the 15th century and the Second Voyage of Christopher Columbus (who reportedly was Jewish himself). Jews settled on the beautiful island hoping to flee from the horrific religious scrutiny of the Spanish Inquisition. They hoped that there would be safety in great distance, but unfortunately that was not the case as Spain established their colonies in the New World. The crypto-Jews were forced to resettle in the island’s remote areas away from the main city business districts.
According to a National Geographic DNA project conducted in 2014, the average Puerto Rican individual has 65% West Eurasian (Mediterranean, Northern European and/or Middle Eastern) DNA. These findings give credence to the Jewish roots of the PR people.
Of course, Jennifer Lopez and A-Rod need DNA tests to prove any Jewish heritage at all. Yet, wouldn’t it be nice if the multi-talented super-glamorous J-LO and her soon-to-be husband, baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, found out that they were just a nice Jewish couple about to walk under the chupah?
Tobi Rubinstein is a retired fashion and marketing executive of 35 years who currently produces runway and lifestyle events for NYFW, specializing in Israel’s leading artists and designers. She is the founder of The House of Faith N Fashion, fusing culture and Torah. Tobi was a fashion collaboration and guest expert for ABC, Geraldo Rivera, Huffington Post, Lifetime, NBC, Bravo, and Arise. She hosted her own radio and reality TV series. Tobi is a mother, wife, dog owner, and shoe lover.