by J. Cooper

For 500 years
They hid
In the mountains of Belmonte
Along narrow streets
Among pretty flowers,
olive trees, and apple orchards

For 500 years
They hid -
Their religion
Forbidden by law

For 500 years
They prayed to their God
With tears in their eyes
Prayed to be allowed to pray

For 500 years
They lit the Sabbath candles
And drank the sacramental wine
In the cellars of their homes
Mothers passed on rituals
to daughters and grand-daughters

For 500 years they hid their belief
For 500 years they kept their faith

A knock on the door brought fear
A stranger could not be trusted

Forbidden by law
For 500 years
The flame was not extinguished

Today they walk with heads held high
To their house of worship

Magen David firmly planted in the garden
Menorah standing proudly in the garden
Outside Sinagoga Bet Eliyahu

Their voices sing the liturgy
Their voices sing
Sephardi melodies

For 500 years they hid
Behind closed doors
                                                                             Belmonte esnoga