Sotomayor NOT the first Hispanic for US Supreme Court
'New York Times' Challenged by Shelomo Alfassa and Responds
Shelomo Alfassa for the Center for History and New
Media, George Mason University
26, 2009) - The media is making a huge mistake reporting
that Sonia Sotomayor, chosen by President Obama,
will be the first Hispanic to be chosen for the US Supreme
Court. Yet, Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938)
was the first Hispanic Justice in the US Supreme Court.
Cardozo, a Sephardic Jew, served on the Supreme Court
from 1932 until his death. He was born in to a Jewish
family which immigrated from Portugal via the Netherlands
and England to America. He was a long time member of the
'Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue' in New York
City, home to 'Congregation Shearith Israel,' which
was founded in 1654. Cardozo
was a cousin of the poet Emma Lazarus whose poem "...Give
me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning
to breathe free ..." resides on the Statue of
Liberty as a symbol of legal immigration into the United
States of America.
de Mayo de 2009) - En
los medios de informacion se esta cometiendo un grave
error al reportar que Sonia Sotomayor, escogida por el
Presidente Obama, sera la primera hispana elegida para
la corte suprema de los Estados Unidos. En realidad, Benjamin
Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938) fue el primer juez hispano
en la corte suprema de los Estados Unidos. Cardozo, un
judio Sefaradi, sirvio en la corte suprema desde 1932
hasta su muerte. Nacido en el ceno de una familia judia
que emigro de Portugal via Holanda e Inglaterra a la America.
Fue miembro por largo tiempo de la Spanish
and Portuguese Synagogue
en la ciudad de Nueva York, Congregacion Shearith Israel,
fundada en 1654. Cardozo
era primo de la celebre poeta Emma Lazarus, de la cual
su poema "...Dadme a sus canzados, a sus pobres,
a sus masas atestadas que desean respirar libres..."
esta grabado en la Estatua de la Libertad como simbolo
de la inmigracion legal a los Estados Unidos de America.
ON ENLARGE IMAGE ABOVE - SEE THE ERROR BY THE NY TIMES
Alfassa contacted Peter Baker at the New York Times
who responded in part: "...This is certainly an
interesting issue. My colleague, Neil Lewis, has a sidebar
addressing this very point in tomorrow's paper. Thanks
again for the note."
Here is the article they responded
a Hispanic Justice on the Court in the 30s?"
with the NY Times response:
Prof. Mair Jose Benardete, the first Sephardic scholar
in America, authored "Hispanic
Culture and Character of the Sephardic Jews"
in 1952. Throughout his scholarly book, he uses the
word Hispanic to refer to Iberian Jews, Jews
from Spain and Portugal (living in New York). Hispanic
can certainly refer to Jew from Iberia, meaning both
Spanish and Portuguese.
Tens if not hundreds of thousand of Spanish Jews were
sent into Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition. Many
of the Jews in Portugal later escaped, this includes
the Cardozo family who has a tradition
that their ancestors were secretly forced to convert
to Christianity--but did escape religious persecution
in the 17th century. The Cardozo family took refuge
first in Holland and then in London. Later members of
the family emigrated to the New World.
Shelomo Alfassa is author of "A
Window into Old Jerusalem." He is the former
executive director of the 'International Sephardic
Leadership Council' and today is the US Director of
'Justice for Jews from Arab Countries,' which is
based at the 'American Sephardi Federation' in
the 'Center for Jewish History' in New York City.