Harvested, and slightly re-written, from an internet e-mail my friend Michel circulated:
The media is incorrect about President Obama selecting the "first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice".
The first Hispanic U. S. Supreme Court Justice was Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, a Sephardic Jew of Spanish ancestry. He served was one of the Supremes from 1932 - 1938.
His father, Judge Albert Cardozo, was Vice President and Trustee of New York City's Congregation Shearith Israel, a well-known Spanish-Portuguese synagogue. Cardozo became a Bar Mitzvah there.
Shearith Israel is the oldest congregation in the Western Hemisphere, having been founded in Recife, Brazil ca. 1630 and moved to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1654. Its present location is at 70th St. and Central Park West.
Most American Jews, are of Ashkenazi origins, and many neither know of, nor understand, the culture and history of our Sephardic cousins.
Jews were a major component of the populations of Spain and Portugal for 800 years (circa. 700 - 1500 CE). Ladino, based on pre-1500 Spanish, is still spoken by 200,000 Jewish descendants around the world, mainly in Mediterranean regions.
45 of the 50 most common Hispanic family names are of Jewish origin. All Hispanic given names ending in "el" are Hebrew phrases with reference to G-d. Like Gabriel, Emanuel, or Rafael.
A recent analysis of the DNA of a statistical sample of men of Spain found that 20% have the Jewish genetic haplography, viz. they descend from Jews. The only way this is possible is that there was already massive assimilation of the Jews of Spain in the centuries leading up to the Inquisition.
Today, there are organized groups of B'nei Anusim --- descendants of Jewish victims of Inquisitions in Spain, Portugal and Latin America who were forced to convert, or who hid and abandoned their Judaism out of fear of persecution --- who seek acceptance as Jewish returnees.
It is estimated that a significant fraction of the Hispanics of the Southwestern USA and Northern Mexico are of Jewish ancestry and don't know it.