The heading of this article is the title of Angelita Valdes’ biography written by her husband, Dr. Robert Dublin. Dr. Dublin was the physician who treated and nursed the young Filipina dancer and TV starlet back to life when she became ill with tuberculosis meningitis – a life threatening disease. Angelita Valdes’ biography is an astonishing story of an amazing woman’s life.
In 1964 Angelita Valdes’ career took her to New York City – she had been chosen to represent the Philippines at the New York Worlds Fair. That journey was the beginning of a life-long love affair with Judaism for Angelita. Her illness was the next step: the doctor who treated her, and eventually became her husband, was a Jew committed to Zionism and Israel. This was the contact that opened the magic world of Torah and Judaism for this young Filipina from a prominent Roman Catholic family in Manila.
Angelita Valdes fell in love. Her study of Judaism, the Jewish past, the history of the Jewish people, its language and its Land was a labor of love. She felt a sense of belonging: this was her history, her language, her people!
After her Orthodox conversion, she gathered enough courage to inform her devout Roman Catholic parents in Manila, not knowing what their reaction would be. To her relief, her parents applauded her decision. Angelita’s father wrote her a congratulatory letter expressing his hope that she will be “a better Jew than she was a Christian.”
Angelita became the mother of three sons and naturally they were brought up in the Torah spirit.
The Valdes parents were so supportive of Angelita’s new identity that they koshered their home and provided new meat and dairy dishes for when their daughter and her observant Jewish family would visit. On one occasion, Dr. Valdes in his concern for Angelita’s Shabbat observance sent his chauffeur to the airport on a Friday afternoon to pick them up so they would arrive in his home way before the start of Shabbat.
An amazing incident served to explain Angelina’s emotional attachment to Judaism. Through a coincidental circumstance she discovered she had Jewish ancestry. Both her maternal and paternal forebears were Marranos, secret Jews, who had emigrated from Spain to the Philippines. Angelita’s delight knew no bounds. She felt that her “return” to Judaism was “a justice” for her Marrano ancestors!
The Dublins made aliyah, and now they live in the Abu Tor neighborhood of Jerusalem. One of their grown sons followed their lead, and also moved to Israel with his growing family.
“I don’t know anyone who is more of a Zionist than she is,” Angelita Dublin’s husband asserts. Her love of Israel, the feeling she has for every Jewish boy that gets hurt, her feeling towards Judaism and Jews anywhere are tremendous…” He declares in awe.
Now Angelita Valdes Dublin will start harboring a new Jewish emotion – a Jewish grandmother’s pride in her grandson who is about to serve in the army, the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces, the first Jewish army in two thousand years.