Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: A Mystery in Mexico


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!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)    
 

7 comments:

  1. NU AL????They're just trying to "blow our minds!!" It's sort of like what a Kosher-Mexican Caterer's entertainment would be....and can't you just image the food? OY VEY......Oh.....the "Tarantello" is in honor of MOISHE FIORELLO the owner............just sayin......lol.....lol.....M.A. ps. I'm not from TEXAS......NJ..(same thing!!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Typical Sephardi Ladino music and dance style with Israeli and a bit of Greek influence.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've never seen an audience so bored and not with the music, which didn't surprise me at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very accurate observation.

      Delete
    2. Haha, I agree!! They were too busy checking their cell phones to enjoy themselves.

      Delete
  4. Loved it, and would love to know the background.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Don't know anything about the group, but I think I can explain why they included a tarantella. There was a dance commonly called "tarantella" which was widely done at Israeli folk dance sessions at least as recently as the late 1970s and early 1980s which used that tune.

    Back in the relatively early days of Israeli Dancing Elektra Records produced a series of dance music albums featuring the Oranim Zabar Folk Dance Orchestra with the Israeli singer Geula Gill. One of those albums was called The Whole World Dances. I believe it included a version of the tarantella heard in this performance.

    ReplyDelete