When Gabriela Böhm set out to create her documentary, "The Longing: The Forgotten Jews of South America," several years ago, she hoped to profile an as-yet-undiscovered secret community of Crypto Jews -- descendants of Jews forced to flee the Spanish Inquisition who continued practicing rituals covertly.
Elaine Romero experienced "a cool fusion of art and life" when she wrote the play "Secret Things."
The play tells the story of Delia, a Latino journalist, who goes to New Mexico to investigate the origins of an anonymous package she received postmarked from there containing articles about Crypto-Jews (that is, descendants of the "Marrano" Jews of the Spanish Inquisition, who openly practiced Catholicism but conducted Jewish rituals in secret to escape persecution). In New Mexico, Delia finds herself mysteriously drawn to the world of Crypto-Jews, and reluctantly comes to terms with her own Crypto-Jewish roots.
When Romero, also a Latino, was writing the play, the same thing happened.
Gloria Hernandez Trujillo, 51, grew up in what she thought was a traditional Catholic home in Monterey Park. Her mother sent the children to mass and catechism classes at Our Lady of Solitude church in East Los Angeles. Trujillo made her first communion at the age of 8, wearing the requisite white frilly dress. At 12, she was confirmed, like many of the Latino children in her Eastside neighborhood.