For thousands of years Jews have been Persecuted. KILLED. forced to convert or hide their jewish identity because of these many peoples jewish identity has been lost or forgotten .and as a result many years later their descendants have been shocked to discover only when they were adults that they were jews or they hid the fact that they were jews .
Hello I am Noa and I am going to talk to you about Jewish people you didn’t know were Jewish and the reasons why they hide their Jewish Identity.
Did you know one of the world’s most famous magicians was Jewish? That’s right Harry Houdini. Houdini was born in 1874 to Rabbi Mayer Sámuel Weisz And Cecília Steiner, who named him Eric Weisz. Judaism was very important to him, in fact, he bought his tefillin and extra mezuzahs when he was traveling to perform. He also kept a copy of the bible that his father gave to him in his coat when he did his magic tricks. In 1894, after he began practicing as a magician, Eric Weisz changed his name to Harry Houdini because antisemitism was a big problem and he was worried that his jewish name would affect his success. He made this decision after he performed in Germany and experienced many people yelling antisemitic names at him. The time has come to disappear into the next paragraph…
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It is a ship captained by Christopher Columbus and yes he was Jewish! Christopher Columbus was a navigator who explored the Americas for the king and queen of spain.
Christopher Columbus lived During the Spanish inquisition where Jews were forced to convert or they would be killed. It was During this time that Columbus, fearful for his life, decided to ‘convert’. (as you say the word uses air quotes).
Evidence suggests that he remained a Jew at heart because he Put Bet Hey at the top of his letters (something we still do today) meaning bézrat hashem
Another source suggested that Columbus donated money in his will to Jewish causes. One example he left a large sum to an unidentified man living in the Lisbon Jewish Quarter.
He Saved many other Jews by bringing them from Spain to America. Keeping America in your thoughts moves us straight to another Famous American…
My final popular entertainment personality I will speak about is the king
In 1935 a ROCKstar was born…
White suits, slick black hair, microphone in hand… and who am I describing…. Why, Elvis of course!
Elvis did not observe Shabbat but he was a jew according to religious law. Although his mother was Jewish Elvis’s family attended the Assembly of God Church and gospel music became a tradition in Elvis’s family.Elvis’s mother Gladys Presley was buried in the Forest Hills Cemetery in Memphis, carved into her tombstone is a cross and a Star of David. Like Houdini Elvis was worried that being open about his Judaism would affect his success in the entertainment business. Usually while Elvis performed he wore a gold plated chai pendant, chai is the hebrew word for life. Gee that guy was chai maintenance.
Even though Jewish people I have talked about in my speech have contributed to the world in many ways, there are even more Jews who could be on that list. Many people from the past kept their Judaism a secret and even today we do not know that they are Jewish. We should be proud of them and the journey they have been on to get to where they are today, but today there is no reason to hide their….our Jewishness. We live in a time when we can be proud Jews and contribute to the world around us as so many have before.