Article excerpt


In framing the debate among scholars with regard to the nature and extent of crypto-Judaism in the U.S. Southwest, Associated Press writer Matt Crenson highlighted the work of one skeptical academic whose conclusions supported his apparently preconceived notions while ignoring the work of such scholars as anthropologists Seth Kunin of the University of Durham (England), Schulamith Halevy of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, sociologist Tomas Atencio of the University of New Mexico and social psychologist Janet Jacobs of the University of Colorado all of whom have performed careful field work in New Mexico, have published extensively on the topic and have developed conclusions in support of the presence of crypto-Jewish culture in the region. Mr. Crenson was informed as to the availability of these experts and apparently chose not to consult them ("'Crypto-Jews' call New Mexico home," Culture, Wednesday).

With reference to Mr. Crenson's treatment of DNA analysis, in which he cited the results of a study indicating that people in New Mexico genetically looked like those in Iberia, with no stronger presence of Jewish descendants here than in Spain and Portugal, I had related to Mr. Crenson that I thought this finding in no way contradicted my earlier findings indicating the historical presence of descendants of crypto-Jews among the early Spanish settlers. …