EDINBURG, Texas – UTRGV Senior Political Science major Jillian Glantz recently took a trip to Washington, D.C. She attended the IGNITE Young Women Run 2019 Conference. Which is aimed at empowering young women to run for office. While there, she made a side trip to the Library of Congress to submit a documentary she made for inclusion in the catalog there.
Her self-produced documentary, “Remember My Soul,” tells the story of Jewish roots in northern Mexico and South Texas. The documentary also details how Jewish settlers in the region lived in secrecy and practiced their religion in private while posing as Catholics.
She said she is interested in the topic in part because her father’s side of the family is Jewish and her mother’s side is Christian. They celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah when she was growing up, she said, and the topic illustrates the importance of knowing one’s roots.
A lot of people in South Texas are descended from these Jewish families, but they don’t know it because it was a secret,” she said. “The contemporary Jewish community in the Valley has always gotten along very well with the Hispanic community. They have always had a very peaceful coexistence.
The documentary can be found in the Israel and Judaica Section Video Collection at the Library of Congress.
Glantz was on an email list for an organization that deals with the Crypto Judaism – the secret adherence to Judaism while publicly claiming to be of another faith – and in one of their emails, she saw that the Library of Congress was working to expand its collection.
In addition to majoring in political science, Glantz is minoring in criminal justice and Mexican American studies. She began her research on Judaism years ago, and when she received a grant from the Texas Jewish Historical Society in April 2017, she began work on the documentary project.
She completed it in fall 2017 as an UTRGV Engaged Scholar recipient.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: “Remember My Soul” premieres Aug. 1 at the San Antonio Film Festival, www.safilm.com.