Monday, 17 February 2014

Presenting more of Paula Michelson

Day two of Presenting Paula Michelson features her second book in the Case De Naomi series:

"The most engaging book I've read in years!" Thora N. Anderson's five star Amazon review.

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book 2

Historical Notes

(Source Material for Historical Notes From: Wiesenthal, Simon. Sails of Hope, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1973)

Since research proves that the ships on all of Columbus’s voyages were filled with Spanish Jews baptized into the Catholic faith during the Inquisition, I have begun these historical notes by looking at the admiral’s life.

Earliest comments by Christopher Columbus lead us to believe that he went to sea at the age of fourteen as a cabin boy. However, since a cabin boy received no education in languages or science, one wonders how Columbus acquired this knowledge. While in Portugal, he worked as a cartographer and calligrapher. These professions were seldom held by anyone other than Jews who were Judaized and subsequently returned to the Laws of Moses as Spanish Jews called the Torah. The mystery of this noteworthy man surrounds his marriage to a Portuguese noble woman, who was far above his station in society. His writings mention that Castilian was his mother tongue. Yet some said if dissatisfied with his crews work, he reviled the men in Italian. Others claim that he spoke Castilian with a Portuguese accent.

At eighteen, Columbus said that he was the son of a weaver. However, a lower-middle class tradesman could not have afforded the studies that gave Columbus the ability to learn Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Genoese, Italian, and Hebrew. Furthermore, unless sponsored by a wealth patron or studying for the priesthood, someone of his rank would have no knowledge of the trades he pursued.

Around the age of twenty-five, Columbus turned up in Lisbon. He said he was a cartographer, which implied that he had an extensive knowledge of nautical matters. When asked how he got there, he said that he shipwrecked on the coast of Portugal. Because he drew maps and dealt in printed books, some Spanish scholars believe that he must have been born on the island of Majorca, for that was the center of cartography and cosmography. Here again we see Columbus involved in a science practiced almost exclusively by Jews.

Marginal notes in his books attest to the fact that Columbus was well acquainted with the Jewish Scriptures. He cited the Prophets and referenced information that few intellectual Jews knew. In Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum written by Pope Pius II, the admiral’s marginal note sight the year 1481, and then added the Jewish date of 5241.

That Columbus belabored his religion making his behavior like that of the Converso Jews who became Catholic to marry or ensure their survival during the Inquisition is a fact. Publicly these baptized Jews who the church labeled New Christians displayed their loyalty to the Christian faith at every possible opportunity. We find proof that religious elements played a great part in Columbus’s thoughts, actions, and his writings. For example, he insisted that he sail west to reach the Indies because of his faith in biblical texts. He cited two examples from the book of Isaiah: “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them” (60:9) and “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth” (65:17). These scriptures let us glimpse the Admiral’s thoughts. His writings show that he believed his voyages confirmed these prophecies.

He was known to quote from the book of Ezra, and he demonstrated a sound knowledge of the Old Testament. Although many cultivated men of that time might have done these things, when one considers the presence in the Admiral’s library of the Jewish War, the account of the downfall of the ancient Jewish state by Josephus Flavius, or De nativitatibus by the Jewish scholar Abraham ibn Ezra, one might wonder. Columbus’s library reveals that he studied a book about the Messiah by a man the rabbis labeled a Jewish renegade, the former Rabbi Samuel ibn Abbas of Morocco, and copied several chapters perhaps as a means of memorizing information.

While the crown debated the voyage that Columbus finally took, he set his eyes on the office of Viceroy, the title of Grand Admiral of the Ocean Sea, and a share of treasures that all assumed they would find. With the fall of Granada, Columbus intensified his efforts at court. Because the monarchy knew that the country could not afford the expedition, negotiations stalled. Four men of Jewish descent—Juan Cabrero, Luis de Santangel, Gabriel Sanchez, and Alfonso de la Caballeria—offered to fund the venture. Since the crown knew Santangel, the king accepted the offer hoping to further Spanish rule. With the promise of an enhanced Spanish presence now possible, Ferdinand and Isabella handed Santangel a special charter called a Limpieza de Sangre, meaning Pure Blood. This charter afforded him, his family, and his descendants from ever facing the tribunal of the Inquisition.

During this period fervent priests were fomenting riots, and the Inquisition was razing and burning Jewish towns. Most would believe that when faced with these issues, the Jews and people of Jewish descent would think of survival instead of offering to aid Columbus, since they viewed him as a foreigner who had come to them asking for funds to find the Indies. Experts and those in the court who had heard of his plans pronounced them risky and unsound. Yet those very Jews and Christianized descendants of Jews, who were known to be astute, agreed to back the man whom the king’s scientific advisory council rejected. For it had become apparent to all that they might need to flee Spain, and Columbus’s voyage offered them an escape route. Though it was not in their character to give an enormous loan without security, Salvador de Madariaga argued that Columbus was a “Converso”—a Jew baptized into the Catholic faith. The Jews believed what Salvador de Madariaga said. He also received support from his coreligionists in high places because they felt the threat of the Inquisition as if they were still practicing Judaism themselves. The only way for Jews to escape the Decree of Alhambra was to buy their way out of Spain or be baptized into the Catholic faith. By this time, ghettoed and barely able to earn a living, the Jews had used information.

“Hurry, Rosa, there is no time! We should have boarded the ship. If we do not get there before twilight’s dawn, Columbus will sail without—” Her mother screamed as the mob tore her daughters hand away from hers. “Mi hija,” she moaned while boots bashed her. Rosa looked back, saw her mamá wave her on, and hurried away.
A second later, someone grabbed her bundle and pushed her toward a pillar of fire. “Le enseñaremos, Judio…We will teach you, Jew!” she heard someone shout.
She saw her families’ precious Torah thrown into the fire. She heard the sound of people running away. Hoping to rescue what she held most dear, she reached into the flames. Her fingers bent around something that felt like the scroll. She told herself the fire’s heat scalding her skin was nothing compared to living without the law of Adonai. She heard a church bell chime. Columbus was sailing away. She knew many would believe rescuing the scroll absurd. That did not matter to her, for to live without Torah was a shame she knew she could not bear, not for her generation or for the others that were yet unborn.

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