Jew, Spanish-speaking in Colombia

Jew, Spanish-speaking
Photo Source:  pxfuel 
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People Name: Jew, Spanish-speaking
Country: Colombia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 2,100
World Population: 286,400
Primary Language: Spanish
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Jews
Affinity Bloc: Jews
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

There was a time when Spain was home to a thriving Jewish community. Jewish people were contributing to Spain's culture and economy. Some called it a Golden Age for the Jewish community. Most of these Jews spoke Ladino. This is a dialect of Castilian Spanish, with Hebrew and Turkish elements. Then came the Alhambra Decree in 1492, which gave Spain's Jewish population the choice of conversion to Roman Catholicism, expulsion or death. A small number remained in Spain and "converted" to the Catholic religion. Most of them left the country, often settling in Mexico or South American countries like Colombia. Most of the Colombian Jews live in Bogota, the capital city, though some also live in Cali, Barranquilla and Medellin.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Jewish people have nine synagogues in Colombia. There are an even number of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish people in this nation. The Sephardic Jews have their roots in Spain and Portugal. Their heart language, Ladino, is a dialect of Castilian Spanish with some Hebrew and Turkish words mixed in. Their population is diminishing as more of them emigrate to Miami, and other parts of the United States.

What Are Their Beliefs?

For religious Jews, God is the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and the ultimate judge of human affairs. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities vary greatly. Orthodox Jews generally follow the traditional religious beliefs and practices found in the Jewish literature that interprets Scripture regarding ethical, religious, civil, and criminal matters. In Colombia, there are people who are converting to Orthodox Judaism, often people from an Evangelical background.

Reform Jews do not believe that the Jewish Law is divinely revealed. They are not restricted to kosher foods. They neither wear the skullcap (yarmulke) when praying nor use Hebrew in prayer. All religious Jews believe in the coming of a Messianic Age, but only the Orthodox Jews look for a personal Messiah.

Many Jewish people today retain cultural Judaism, but they have rejected the spiritual elements taught in the Old Testament. They might participate in cultural events and even religious ceremonies, but they are either secular or New Age in their spiritual lives. This is a description of most of the Jewish population in Colombia.

What Are Their Needs?

Jewish people have a wonderful understanding of their connection with the Abrahamic Covenant. However, they also have a history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah, the one who has fulfilled that covenant. They tend to view Christianity as the religion of their oppressors rather than the fulfillment of what God promised all of humanity through Abraham centuries ago. This is especially true for those in the Spanish speaking world.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to give the Jewish people in Colombia hearts that will want to please him. May they look to the Lord for guidance and truth, and not be satisfied with cultural traditions.

Pray for Jewish people in Colombia to begin a movement to Jesus Christ, finding ways to exalt him while honoring their culture.

Pray for the Lord to raise up loving, patient ambassadors to go to the Spanish speaking Jews.

Text Source:   Joshua Project