Jew, Spanish-speaking in Ecuador

Jew, Spanish-speaking
Photo Source:  pxfuel 
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Jew, Spanish-speaking
Country: Ecuador
10/40 Window: No
Population: 600
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 Ecuador. The Jewish community in Ecuador is mainly in Quito, the capital city.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In South America, Jewish executives have been extremely successful. However, the more successful the Jewish executive in South America becomes, the greater tendency he may have to be assimilated into the Christian European society. Prosperity sometimes brings on waves of anti-Semitic incidents that have led to Jewish people leaving South America.

In Ecuador, the small Jewish community is prosperous and well-educated. They are business-savvy, and pragmatic. In recent years the Jewish community in Ecuador has believed that the more conservative forms of Judaism are "working" so they are heading that direction. Orthodox Judaism brings revitalization of their community; liberal forms lead to intermarriage and eventually to dissolving into the mainstream culture.

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 Ecuador, the Jewish community is experiencing a new interest in their traditional religion, especially the Orthodox Judaism. They are turning to more conservative versions of Judaism. Part of this is to have prayer times in people's homes rather than in the synagogue. That helps families to become more committed to Judaism.

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.

Some Ecuadorian Jewish people 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.

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 Ecuador 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 Ecuador 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