Shofar, so good
Somewhere in the Caribbean. Faithful readers may recall how Wonder Wife and I sailed last December from Spain to North Africa to Portugal in search of the true nationality of Christopher Columbus. Unfortunately, we still aren’t sure if the discoverer of the New World was Italian or Spanish or Portuguese or, and this is a long shot, Norwegian.
Shofar International, a Jewish think tank that uses the Shofar (ram’s horn) as its logo, claims Christopher Columbus was Jewish. His religion is of no importance to us; however, we do know that Jews and “Marranos,” Spanish Jews forcibly converted to Christianity, lived in great peril and often tried to muddy the waters regarding their origins. This could be why the origins of Columbus are so unclear.
After the Columbus family moved from Genoa to Spain, they were called: Colon. According to Shofar International, Colon was a common name among Sephardic Jews and Columbus’s mother, Susanne (Shoshana?) Fonterossa , was Jewish.
But both “Christopher” and “Christobal” contain the word “Christ.” Perhaps, this first name was used in both Genoa and Spain to make Chris more acceptable to Catholics. This is just a guess on our part.
Shofar International points out that Columbus’ or Colon’s cartographer and astronomer, Abraham Zacuto, was Jewish and wrote only in Hebrew. Moreover, in his own writings in Spanish and Portuguese, Columbus or Colon often used Hebrew abbreviations.
Whatever his religion, it may be incorrect to call him Italian. Italy had yet to exist when Christopher Columbus was born in the city-state of Genoa. He spent most of his life in Spain and Portugal. His final resting place is in the Cathedral of Seville. This indicates that Spain claims him as a Spanish Roman Catholic.
Today, Christopher Columbus, as an Italian, is blamed for the atrocities visited upon the natives of this hemisphere when, in fact, it was the English, the French the Spanish and the Portuguese who did them wrong – not the Italians. Thus, the current anti-Columbus Day furor is misdirected because the Italians made no effort to subjugate the peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Maybe this hatred of Columbus needs to be refocused and the holiday renamed: Hate White European Settlers Day. But what if it turns out that Columbus really was Jewish? Can we then call his detractors anti-Semites? That might be one way to put an end to these misdirected Columbus Day protests.
As this column is being published, we are somewhere out in the Caribbean hoping to learn more about the places where Columbus landed in the New World. Anyway, that’s our story and we are sticking to it. Allegations that we are actually taking a vacation in the balmy Caribbean before we plunge back into the freezing cold of the Colorado high country are greatly exaggerated.
Actually, just like Columbus who didn’t know where he was going and didn’t know where he was when he got there, where we are going is a mystery as well. We leave the Port of Miami and return 11 days later. All we know is that we will be attending daily, on-board seminars for mystery-suspense writers.
We are taking along with us an about-to-be published novel called: The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn. On board, we will offer The Grand Conspiracy up for critique by authors who presumably know what they are doing. All wonder Wife and I have to do is just take good notes. Eventually, The Grand Conspiracy will be available to the public. When that happens, watch this space for information on how to obtain a copy.
Next week, you can expect a full report on what we learned about the mysterious Caribbean adventures of the mysterious man they call: Christopher Columbus or Christobal Colon or was it Kristofors Columbusen?
But, at this point, we do know one thing: When it came to his religion and his nationality, old Chris was not one to toot his own Shofar.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.