Pinya is a chueta, the name in Mallorca for about 20,000 people whose Jewish ancestors converted to Christianity centuries ago during the Spanish Inquisition.
At the world’s only summer camp for descendants of forcibly converted Jews, Oseias Teixeira had numerous first-time experiences.
Yosef ben Levy Ha-Ivri was a Spanish Jew who converted to Catholicism in 1492, just before Ferdinand and Isabella’s decree banishing Jews from the country went into effect. Shortly thereafter—now using the name Luis de Torres—he joined Christopher Columbus on his voyage across the Atlantic; legend has it that Columbus thought de Torres’s knowledge of Hebrew, Arabic, and other languages might be helpful in communicating with the natives.
Cuba has been a refuge for the Jews since 1492, when conversos sought a safe haven from the Spanish Inquisition. Today, a tiny but united community of one thousand remains after more than five hundred years of history and five distinct waves of Crypto-Jewish and Jewish immigration.