DavidEBernstein at DavidEBernstein at
Mon Sep 5 16:52:56 PDT 2005

My understanding is that the old Sephardic families of the U.S. were very 
much aware of, and proud of, their Sephardic heritage; the Sephardim were the 
first Jews to settle North America, were the elite of American Jewry, and had 
(still have, to some extent) their own synagogues, such as the Spanish and 
Portuguese Synagogue (that's its name) in New York, which, without looking it up, I 
would bet Cardozo's family attended.  The Sephardic Jews (and here we are 
talking Jews actually from Spain and Portugal, not "Sephardic" in the modern 
colloquial sense of those from the Middle East who follow "Sephardic" religiuos 
traditions, as opposed to the rules of the Ashkenazic rabbis) had their own 
language, Ladino, also known as Judeo-Spanish.  This was, for example, the primary 
language of Salonika, Greece, before its Jewish residents were murdered by the 
Germans and their collaborators. If Cardozo's family still spoke Ladino, I 
think he would indisputably count as "Hispanic."  Given the reality, I'd say 
that he is indisputable of Hispanic heritage, but not of Hispanic culture, and 
thus not "Hispanic" for present political purposes.

In a message dated 9/5/2005 7:00:42 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
fred.shapiro at writes:
On Mon, 5 Sep 2005, Paul Finkelman wrote:

> I doubt Cardozo was *very* Spanish at all; in any sense of the term; His 
> family came to the US well before the Revolution.  SInce the Jews were 
> all kicked out of Spain they had little love for Spain and were not very 
> "Spanish."

In general, except for England, France, Germany/Austria,, the United
States and a few other countries in the post-1800 time period, I don't
believe Jews have identified very much with their nation of residence.  
When my children asked me where my ancestors came from, I had to explain
that they technically came from Russia but that they probably did not
consider themselves to be "Russian" and I did not consider myself to be a
"Russian-American."  Albert Einstein's comment about how if his theory of
relativity was proven to be incorrect the French would call him a German 
and the Germans would call him a Jew is probably relevant here.

Fred Shapiro

David E. Bernstein
Visiting Professor
University of Michigan School of Law
George Mason University School of Law
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