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Sadie Day Pasha
Works at Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Attended Syracuse University
Lives in DC Metro
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Sadie Day Pasha

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A most historic and wonderful gathering of Jews and others on Friday, May 9, 2014 looking on as Sadie Day Pasha, a Cohen descendant, and Guest Lecturer "lights a candle before sunset" in memory of her Mother and Ancestors of Georgetown, at the place of worship named Temple Beth Elohim (built 1904), after the old "Portuguese" burial ground also in Georgetown, called Beth Elohim Cemetery, established in 1772 with the help of (A Portuguese Jew) Abraham Cohen (1739-1800), "twenty eight years before he was laid to rest there".
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Sadie Day Pasha

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He was the Principal, and the Dean was Yusef Shah when I attended High School, in Harlem at the University of Islam, 1970.  Our class was 12 students, all females in the 11th and 12th grade.
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Our mother’s secret practice of lighting candles and reading the Old Testament Bible, keeping Kosher,  and our family Passover traditions and other rituals of Jews, began unbeknown to me in Portugal in the year 1497.  Portugal's King Joao II (John II), attempting to win the hand of King Ferdinand of Spain's daughter Donna Isabella, and please Ferdinand’s wife Queen Isabella wanted Jews and Moors (Muslims) that refused to accept Christianity expelled from Portugal, as had been achieved in Spain a few years before.  The first Grand Inquisitor during Portugal's first Inquisition was Cardinal Henry, chosen by the Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition into Heretical Wickedness, and lead by Pope Leo X in Rome.     "King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, by the grace of God, King and Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Sicily, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, the Balearic Islands, Seville, Sardinia, Cordoba, Corsica, Murcia, Jaen, of the Algarve, Algeciras, Gibraltar, and of the Canary Islands, count and countess of Barcelona and lords of Biscay and Molina, dukes of Athens and Neopatria, counts of Rousillon and Cerdana, marquises of Oristan and of Gociano, to the prince Lord Juan, our very dear and muched love son, and to the residential quarters of the Jews of the said city of Burgos and of all the aforesaid cities, towns, and villages of its bishopric and of the other cities, towns, and villages of our aforementioned kingdoms and lordships, and to all Jews and to all individual Jews of those places.  We, with the counsel and advice of prelates, great noblemen of our kingdoms, and other persons of learning and wisdom of our Council, having taken deliberation about this matter, resolve to order the said Jews and Jewesses of our kingdoms to depart and never to return or come back to them or to any of them. And concerning this we command this our charter to be given, by which we order all Jews and Jewesses of whatever age they may be, who live, reside, and exist in our said kingdoms and lordships, as much those who are natives as those who are not, who by whatever manner or whatever cause have come to live and reside therein, that by the end of the month of July next of the present year, they depart from all of these our said realms and lordships, along with their sons and daughters, menservants and maidservants, Jewish familiars, those who are great as well as the lesser folk, of whatever age they may be, and they shall not dare to return to those places, nor to reside in them, nor to live in any part of them, neither temporarily on the way to somewhere else nor in any other manner, under pain that if they do not perform and comply with this command and should be found in our said kingdom and lordships and should in any manner live in them, they incur the penalty of death and the confiscation of all their possessions by our Chamber of Finance, incurring these penalties by the act itself, without further trial, sentence, or declaration.  And we command and forbid that any person or persons of the said kingdoms, of whatever estate, condition, or dignity that they may be, shall dare to receive, protect, defend, nor hold publicly or secretly any Jew or Jewess beyond the date of the end of July and from henceforth forever, in their lands, houses, or in other parts of any of our said kingdoms and lordships, under pain of losing all their possessions, vassals, fortified places, and other inheritances."  Sadie Day Pasha, Professional Genealogist and Low Country Family Historian, Second daughter of Fannie Green Day, and Author of the unpublished Manuscript, "Cohen of Georgetown County, SC 1760-1960: A Family History of Low Country Secret Jews and Descendants in America", excerpts from Pg. 18, Chapter 1, A Portuguese (Secret) Jew.
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Same to you and your Family!!!
 
Happy Holidays!!!
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Sadie Day Pasha

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Sadie Day Pasha
Professional Genealogist and Family Historian
NARA Researcher for Hire, Washington, DC
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Portuguese Jews first to arrive in America, worshiped in homes and formed congregations.
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Professional Genealogist and Lowcountry Family Historian
Introduction
                 
                 
                 

COHEN OF GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA 1760-1960© 

A Family History of Portuguese Jews, secret ritual traditions, and old stories passed down to modern-era Descendants in America in a non-fictional unpublished manuscript based on our mother Fannie Green, her life as a Secret Jew, and ritual traditions she practiced and taught seven children, and family stories told “over and over again” in “Geechee” southern dialect linguists trace to West African oral traditions resembling the trade language of “Kissi” people of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. 

Her stories always took place in Georgetown, South Carolina and were recited “by rote” leaning forward with right fingers balancing her chin, before beginning the repetitive story of her birth, as she sat at the kitchen table in East Harlem, New York.

“Grandmother Adele came and got me, as a baby. I was born in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.  My mother (Virginia Smith Green) and my twin sister Virgie died in childbirth (in 1927).  Mother was born in Georgetown, South Carolina (in 1898) and so was my father Louis Green.  Grandmother Adele Pyatt-Smith changed my name from Fannie Green to Edna Smith.  I was raised by her, and my grandfather Richard Smith (born 1875) in Georgetown, South Carolina, at the age of seventeen (circa 1944) I, and came north to Freeport,  New York to live with Aunt Sadie, mother’s sister, and her husband Uncle (James) "Grant".            

Our mother’s story was written down from recollections of old family stories, and ritual traditions practiced at home in secret.  Fannie Green (our mother) was the great-great granddaughter of Percilla Cohen, great-granddaughter of Grace Cohen Smith, granddaughter of her son Richard Smith, and the only child of Virginia Smith and Louis Green.  Her family story centers on Portuguese Jews (Secret Jews), and their “complicated” family relationships with enslaved “Geechee” people and Free Persons of Color (FPC) in Georgetown, South Carolina who share the surname (last name) Cohen; including Rosa Cohen Roberson (Robinson), the great-grandmother of the first lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Robinson Obama, and grandmother of Capers Funny (e), a cousin, born in Georgetown, South Carolina, and raised in Chicago, who became a Rabbi.

Mother's storytelling encompasses several low country historical events in the colonial and reconstruction eras, and tales of lesser-known Portuguese Jews (hidden Jews) in the low country.  The narrative takes readers on a journey of five hundred years of family history; from the first (Portuguese Jews) Cohen family to arrive in Charleston, to modern-day African American descendants born and raised in East Harlem.  The manuscript begins in the year 1497 during the Inquisition in Portugal, and continues on to tell the story of a Portuguese Jew named Moses Cohen, a Merchant (storekeeper) from London, England and his arrival into the port of Charleston, South Carolina with ten-year-old son Abraham Cohen circa 1750. 

He was among a small group of Portuguese Jews who prayed at home, later Moses Cohen “with zeal” led the religious group in worship in a “building made of wood” in Charleston, the group was called, Kahol Kodesh Beth Elohim (Holy Congregation of God). 

Abraham Cohen, the first son of Moses Cohen moved to Georgetown, South Carolina in his early twenties, a couple of years before his father’s death to become a Planter.  He acquired a farm, cattle, Blacksmith shop in town, twenty-one slaves, and had worked as an Auctioneer selling ‘Geechee” slaves and property off loaded from ships to the highest bidder.  He also served in the militia at the “Siege of Charleston” during the American Revolutionary War of 1776.  Towards the end of his life, Abraham Cohen welcomed George Washington, the first President of the United States and fellow Mason to Georgetown, South Carolina as Washington “toured the south” in 1791, while living on Prince Street less than a mile away with his companion (concubine) and our mother's ancestor, “Free Peggy” McWharter, a Free Person of Color.

Our mother repeatedly said she was from the Cohen, Smith and Pyatt families of Georgetown, and generations of (Portuguese) Jews (from Northern Africa), and “Geechee” people from Africa and Cherokees of South Carolina.  Her compelling story is an effortless embrace of these three different cultures, traditions, and religions, though mother lived as a secret (Portuguese) Jew all her life.  It is a family story of mother's people, that took over thirty years to research, and four years to compile, write, and edit, and reluctantly share with the public hidden generational religious traditions, and tell the less known story of Secret Jews.

The story of our mother Fannie Green reveals a hidden "portion" of Jews that fled Portugal during the Inquisition, but continued to worship in secret in the southern coastal town of Georgetown, South Carolina and persists five centuries later in the ethnically mixed community of East Harlem, New York.  This long awaited Cohen of Georgetown, South Carolina narrative covering three hundred years was written for daughters and granddaughters, because not much has been written on family relationships of Portuguese Jews, Free Persons of Color, or enslaved “Geechee” people of West Africa on low country plantations, or modern-day Cohen descendants, who faithfully continue to practice ritual traditions many generations later, and still light candles before dark on Friday, and prepare for the most important time of Passover, though meaning had long ago been lost of the old religious ritual traditions of Portuguese Jews (Crypto-Jews, Marranos), forced to become “Secret Jews”, after the Inquisition.   Author's Copyright 2010 

Contact:   

Sadie Day Pasha, Professional Genealogist

Independent Researcher for Hire

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC

(240) 560-6139

sadie_pasha@mail.com


  









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Guild of One-Name Study (GOONS), USA Region 5, London, UK, Independent Researcher of "Cohen One Name Study"of Cohen surname among African descendants of Portuguese Jews who settled in lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina during the colonial, reconstruction eras and after the turn of the century.
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  • Syracuse University
    School of Information Studies
  • Syracuse University
    School of Public Communications
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Genealogy Class Instructor and Author of the true story of African Americans with the surname Cohen living in coastal Georgetown, South Carolina during the American Revolution, Civil War and Reconsruction eras, based on our mother Fannie Green born in 1927, family stories she recited by rote at the kitchen table, and passed down centuries old religious ritual traditions of (Secret Jews) Portuguese Jews to modern era descendants living in East Harlem..
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    Instructor - Genealogy, present
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