About the Author
International Author, Public Speaker, Lecturer
Irma Elizabeth Diaz (also known as Author, Elisheva Irma Diaz), is a born and raised Angeleno. She is an International Author, Public Speaker and lecturer whose holistic and inspirational communication skills has helped to nurture many through spiritual, mental and emotional health struggles . For the past 22 years she has been called upon to address Educators, Clergy, Physicians, Law enforcement, Business and Government leaders. Her work has taken her throughout South America, Europe, Israel and as far into Asia as India. From 1997 through 2011 the government of Brazil hosted her annually where she was given a strong voice through media outlets and scheduled speaking engagements for parliament and members of the United Nations. She worked with her team in the slums of Brazil helping families and orphanages in their quest to rescue infants and children from the streets enabling the mental and spiritual help that was needed to stabilize the lives of many families. She currently works with bereaved families offering grief counseling and group therapy for Emanate Health; whose affiliates are their Hospice and Home Care facility, Queen of the Valley Hospital, Inter-Community Hospital and Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in the San Gabriel Valley, California. She manages the Bereavement Department implementing the State of California regulations and develops and supervises a plan of care for approximately 500 families annually including post bereavement mental health risk assessments.
In addition to her work in Bereavement, Dr Diaz was asked to participate in an annual Conference sponsored by CHAPCA (The California Hospice and Palliative Care Association). Her research and participation included the underserved Hispanic Population in Hospice and Palliative Care, the obstacles that present themselves and the health care providers failure to provide opportunities for learning and instruction about health, quality of life and dealing with death.
In January 2020 she joined Congresswoman Grace Napolitano’s (CA32nd Congressional District) staff as her Health and Mental Health Liaison. She manages the Mental health Consortium for the Congresswoman . The Mental Health Consortium is comprised of Behavioral Health Leaders that work in every area of our communities. First responders, Educators, Law Enforcement, Business leaders and Clergy all come together to network, learn from one another and give their input regarding legislation. Grass root organizations that are directly working with low income and vulnerable communities which are adversely affected by stigma, trauma, poverty, and the recent pandemic (COVID 19) give their insight on what is needed to be effective as Mental health leaders. She is a member of the Latinx Mental health Steering Committee whose mission is to advocate for culturally and linguistically competent mental health services, policy and research for the Latinx community in Los Angeles County.
Her latest book releases include The Impossible Possibility (offering guidance through grief and bereavement), Archway Publishing from Simon & Schuster (2019) and Coexisting in a Religious World of Divide -A Journey of Faith in Christianity and Judaism, Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, (2019)
As a Sephardic (Hispanic) Jew who has studied in the Holy land, she has facilitated study groups to Israel since the early nineties and provides historical and cultural lectures. She was ordained a minister in 1986 and as of 2012 holds a rabbinic ordination. In keeping with her book on Coexisting in a Religious World of Divide she has been able to create a space for different faiths to come together to learn in unity.
Her education includes a Master’s in theology and Doctor of Divinity from Covenant Life Theological Seminary in Gainesville, Georgia. She furthered her education with her focal point on Rabbinic Studies where she graduated in 2012 from The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute (JSLI) in New York and with honors in 2013 from Gratz College (a private, coeducational Jewish college in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania). She received her Bachelor of Arts in jewish Studies (BAJS) and was Awarded by the Faculty at Gratz College; the L. Bernard Rabinowitz Memorial Award for her unique leadership commitment and service to Jewish Institutions both religious and secular (May 2013).
Scroll down for information on her personal journey back to her Sephardic heritage..
Author and Journalist
Books: 2000 to Present: (starting with the most recent)
- The Impossible Possibility (believing is seeing) Archway Publishing from Simon & Schuster (2019)
- Coexisting in a Religious World of Divide –WestBow Press ,a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, (2019)
- Wrestling for my Jewish Identity, Friesen Press, (2017)
- El Aliento de Dios - Caribe/Betania Editores/Thomas Nelson (Spanish, 2005)
- El Sopro de Deus - Proclama Editora (Portuguese) (2005) – Published in Brazil & available in South America
- The Prophetic Power of the Hour- Christian Living Books, Inc (2001)
- The Breath of God – Destiny Image Publishers (2000)
- The USC Mexican American Scholarship foundation, 1980
- KMEX/34, Directing and producing Special philanthropic Events, such as Celebrity Banquets, National Telethons for "Navidad en el Barrio". 1984.
- Small Business Association, White House Briefing, 1988
- Haggard School of Theology Women's Council, Azusa Pacific University, 1990
- The Commission on Improving Life through Service, Gubernatorial Appointment, Sacramento, CA, 1990
- Founder of AYEKAH Jewish Foundation , Los Angeles, 2011
- Member of UJUC, Union of Jewish Universalist, New York, 2014
- Co Founder and Vice President of the Coalition for Sephardic Hispanic Ladino Legacy, Los Angeles, 2016
The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies was founded in 1991 as a multi-disciplinary academic and secular association that fosters research, networking of people and ideas, and the exchange of information, among scholars and descendants of conversos, regarding the historical and contemporary developments involving crypto-Jews of Iberian origins and other hidden Jewish communities around the world.
Her Personal Story
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Wrestling For My Jewish Identity
An Eclipse With Reality
by Elisheva Irma Diaz
What could possibly prompt a world-acclaimed respected Christian, pastor, author, and public speaker to embrace Judaism? And not just embrace it, but become a rabbi? Wrestling For My Jewish Identity: An Eclipse with Reality is the true story of Elisheva Irma Diaz’s journey to reclaim her Jewish heritage and the faith for which she believes she was born. It explores how a Crypto-Jew found her way out of Exile and reclaimed her blood legacy despite experiencing disappointment and ridicule from those who knew her as a Christian leader and prejudice from many in the Jewish community she joined.
Moreover, beyond being a personal account, Wrestling For My Jewish Identity also provides support for the Anusim, those with a Crypto-Jewish background – and practicing Jews – who are grappling with the following questions: “Who am I? Who have I become? Where am I? Where am I headed? Who am I supposed to be?” In the midst of a Sephardic revolutionary movement of Jews throughout the diaspora, and especially in Latin and South America, who are awakening to their heritage, Elisheva’s message persists: we must not ignore the calling of the blood that runs through our veins, our spiritual DNA, and as Jews, we must accept that “a Jew is a Jew” regardless of where they have landed in Exile.
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Black & White
6.0 x 9.0 inches
978-1-5255-1475-3 eBook (epub, mobi, pdf)
Crypto Jew, Anusim, Following Your Faith, Jewish Heritage, Hispanic Jew, Former Christian, Rabbi
Elisheva (Irma) Diaz is in my view one of the most dynamic Jewish leaders in the United States today. Her personal story is compelling, and the intensity of her faith is inspiring.
Dr. Joe M. Davis Ph.D., Harvard University in the field of medieval Jewish history and literature. His area of academic specialization is the cultural and intellectual history of Ashkenazic Jews in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Gratz College Scholars Program, Jewish Studies
Elisheva (Irma) Diaz's book Wrestling For My Jewish Identity: An Eclipse with Reality is a testimony to the integrity, honesty and fearlessness of her journey as a descendant of B'nai Anusim. Through emunah (faith) and bitachon (trust) in G-d, Elisheva reaches through history to the core of her essence.
Dr. Vanessa Paloma Elbaz, Founder and Director, KHOYA: Jewish Morocco Sound Archive, Casablanca, Morocco, Hadassah Brandeis Institute, Research Associate, Women's Studies Research Center. Faculty of Music Research Associate, Peterhouse University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Elisheva (Irma) Diaz is an inspiration. I am always so impressed with her love for our traditions, her knowledge, her style and her commitment to her Jewish heritage. To sum it up, Elisheva is uniquely accomplished and a gift to humanity by G-d Himself. What a gem!
Rabbi Richard E. Perlman Member, Vice President: Vaad HaRabbonim of America, "American Board of Rabbis"
Elisheva Irma Diaz’s story, reads like a Hollywood script filled with drama, success, betrayal and the triumph of the spirit over all. A truly inspiring true story.
Ayala Or-El, Editor/Journalist at Yediot America, contributor to the Jewish Journal and Tribe Magazine