Amazing but true: The first European settlers in what is now the USA weren’t English Puritans or French fur trappers but Sephardic Jews. Before the Mayflower sailed to America, Jews had fled the Spanish Inquisition and settled in what is now Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Although they were eventually absorbed into the mainstream culture, they built a real Jewish life here.
Who were these first pioneers? What happened that forced them to flee? What did they encounter in this far land? These questions fascinate me, and as I read what little we know about them and imagine their lives, a story emerges: