Jewish, Spanish-speaking in Chile

Jewish, Spanish-speaking
Photo Source:  pxfuel 
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People Name: Jewish, Spanish-speaking
Country: Chile
10/40 Window: No
Population: 16,000
World Population: 287,500
Primary Language: Spanish
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Jewish
Affinity Bloc: Jewish
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 Chile. Most of these Chilean Jews live in the capital city of Santiago.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Like their ancestors, the Jewish people in Chile speak either Ashkenazi or Sephardic, though they use Spanish as their trade language. The former has their roots in Central and Eastern Europe, while the latter has their roots in Spain and Portugal. Sephardic Jews originally spoke Ladino, a dialect of Castilian Spanish, blended with Hebrew and Turkish words. The various Jewish communities come together as family, especially when they share the same synagogues.

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. Chilean Jews are turning towards the Orthodox version of 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.

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 Chile 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 Chile 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 in Chile.

Text Source:   Joshua Project