The state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico, shares a border, the Rio Grande, with Texas. It has been reported over the years that Anusim, secret Jews who escaped from the Spanish Inquisition, traveled to Mexico and settled there.
Earlier this month, a university in Coahuila staged an arts festival that included 15 minutes of Hebrew music and dance. The video, which is posted below, left us somewhat confused. We enjoy digging up back stories for most of our blog posts, but for this one, the back story eludes us. So we're calling on you, our readers, to help solve the mystery. The first reader to send us a plausible back story that checks out will receive a copy of our new e-book, Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places.
So what's the mystery? The dances are Israeli, but the dancers appear to be Mexican. The boys wear kippot and a few wear tzitzit, but their shirts look very much like those worn by Messianic Christian groups in Central and South America who have an affinity for Israeli dancing. Some of the T-shirts feature the Hebrew word tekuma in large type. The word can be translated as reistance, revival, rebirth, or resurrection. A man wrapped in a tallit blows a Yemenite shofar at seemingly random places in the midst of the dancing and singing. And about 5 minutes into the set, they start to dance an Italian tarantella.
We'd like to put all of this together and tell a complete back story for this video. Can you help? We appeal especially to our readers in Texas who are geographically close to Coahuila and may have a better understanding of what's going on. But the contest is open to all. So let's hear from you. Just put your explanation in the comments section below for all to see.
Meanwhile, enjoy the festive singing and dancing!