Basically I always felt different than the Ashkenazi kids at my Jewish day school. One of my best friends at school was Sephardic. I looked in the mirror and always felt different too before I knew about what any of this was. Just being a kid, I remember thinking, “why don’t I look like them?” and never felt like i fit in with them (not that you have to look a certain way to be sephardic vs. ashkenazi, but you know)
Flash forward years, and i’m in my 20s. People constantly speak to me in Spanish on the street and think I’m some sort of Latino or from their hometown in Cuba or Puerto Rico all the time. I wondered if it had any connection to conversos.
I then heard from my dad that my bubbe’s family used to be Spanish Jews, but they were forced to become Ashkenazi or somehow ended up in Eastern Europe after the Inquisition and blended with Ashkenazi people, and that there might have been some sort of family manuscript that traces this. I was surprised, but also, it made sense.
Not really that signficiant in terms of religion but I even got tested on a DNA site, and it indicates some Sephardic ancestry.
Since then, I’ve done a tone of research on Sephardic culture and even considered becoming part of a Sephardic temple where I live. I’ve been listening to ladino music nonstop and even got my catholic boyfriend into it. I joke with him that his Spanish ancestors must have been Jewish because his family names are common names that Jews had. I just feel more Sephardic, and it “makes sense” to me that this is the case. The thing is, all my family lived in Southwestern Ukraine, near Romania and Poland, so they’d be more Ashkenazi than not. I lost touch with y Ashkenazi “identity” because of a number of personal factors related to my direct environment that I won’t get into, but I feel almost like a new Jewish identity right now. But is it mine?
I know it’s really up to me, but what do you think? Am I being an imposter sephardic Jew? This is a completely serious question haha