About the Author
Elisheva Irma Diaz, BAJS, MTS, DD (aka Dr. Irma Elizabeth Diaz) was born into a Hispanic Catholic family with Crypto-Sephardic roots and attended Catholic private school as a child. As a 1st generation Hispanic whose maternal and paternal origins began in Southern Europe, Elisheva was brought up within her rich Mexican culture. As a young adult, she entered the political world serving in a grassroots Congressional Campaign, which after a victory opened many doors in Washington, DC. The height of her national experience was during the Reagan and Bush Senior White House years where she worked with transition teams and public liaison offices. Later her love for God launched her into a large full-time ministry where she built a team of forty Pastors and leaders and a consistent global following.
Through her travels as an author, public speaker and producer of her own 14 year international television program she continues to touch many lives. Her experiences in National Government opened doors in South America where she visited and was hosted annually by Brazilian Government leaders for fourteen years to address members of parliament including those of the United Nations. In the recent years she was honored by the Legislative Body there for the Social (Tikkun Olam) contributions for the country of Brazil throughout the years - 1997 – 2010. She has received commendations from Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti for her work in Jewish Education. (2013), by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for Building Community – (2013), as well as a certificate of appreciation from the California State Senate for work in preserving Ladino Legacy. ( 2013)
As a Bat Anusim, she was always interested in Israel and diligently studied the Torah, Jewish sacred writings and ancient literature while she served as a leader of her own Christian Ministry. Elisheva discovered more about her family’s roots during the time of the Spanish Inquisition and began to fully embrace her identity as a Sephardic Jew in the late nineties. She formally returned to her Jewish heritage through Judaism in 2009. It is her experience living in both worlds that has caused her to arrive at what cannot be denied; Both find themselves broken and God chooses to dwell in them both.
She holds a master’s in theology and Doctorate of Divinity from Covenant Life Theological Seminary in Gainesville, Georgia. She furthered her education with Rabbinic studies where she graduated in 2013 from Gratz College (a private, coeducational Jewish college in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania). She was Awarded the L. Bernard Rabinowitz Memorial Award for unique leadership commitment and service to Jewish Institutions both religious and secular in May 2013. She is currently the Vice President and co-founder of The Coalition for Sephardic Hispanic and Ladino legacy based in Los Angeles and the President and founder of AYEKAH an organization focusing on restoring the religious divide between Judaism and Christianity. (For more information)
About the Book
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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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.
Vanessa Paloma Elbaz Founder and Director, KHOYA: Jewish Morocco Sound Archive, Casablanca, Morocco, Hadassah Brandeis Institute, Research Associate, Women's Studies Research Center
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