It is an insular community with its own religious, social and cultural institutions, mostly in Guadalajara and Mexico City.However, since the 1880s, there have been efforts to identify descendants of colonial era Conversos both in Mexico and the Southwestern United States, generally to return them to Judaism. These were members of Jewish families which had been forcibly converted to Christianity in order to avoid expulsion from Spain after the Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors .They came from Europe and later from the crumbling Ottoman Empire and what is now Syria continuing into the first half of the 20th century.Today, most Jews in Mexico are descendants of this immigration and still divided by diasporic origin, principally Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim and Ladino-speaking Sephardim.These Jews settled both in Mexico City and various other areas in the country, including rural areas often as traveling salesmen.About half of Mexico’s Jewish population can be linked to this wave of immigration.In 1579 Carvajal was granted land in what is now northeastern Mexico, just north of what was then considered New Spain.
In the 1880s, a significant wave of Jewish immigration began as the Mexican government invited a number of Jewish bankers to operate in the country and the assassination of Czar Alexander II in Russia pushed Jews to leave the country.
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Evidence from individual cases prosecuted by the Mexican Inquisition indicates that most crypto-Jews in Mexico were born or Portugal themselves or their children, primarily from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon or Castelobranco.
There were a few very wealthy Portuguese merchants, who were leaders of the community, but the largest number were shopkeepers and craftsmen.