Some Wonderful Family Traits
This is not - repeat NOT - written out of the known and perverse Family habit of being as nasty as possible to close relatives.

First of all, you are not at all close to the undersigned, - nor is he to you so every-one is safe. Any secrets he might hold are from 60 years ago and belong to uncles and cousins now in the Netherworld.

Secondly, - one has tried to remain objective throughout and where not, - has openly admitted it.
For example, the use of the noun "arrogance " right at the opening of these pages cannot surely be in dispute ? One might even say with a definite degree of hubris that if you don't grasp that, then you're not one of us.

And frankly, in this unhappy world where each must fight perpetually for hearth and home and even for his daily bread, - where our Family like so many others has regularly been shifted from continent to continent, - what is wrong with a well-developed self-defence mechanism?

One could argue that being servile and Yes-Men would have served us better, but then we would no longer be us. Even though
a part of the Family became conversos in the 1390's early 1400's, (going under the Pomar, de Luna and Bertram surnames for example, all of whom are currently lost from sight), - what did that subservience do to make us more modest ? Nothing really. After all, we retained the name and the faith and the family arrogance and are still here.

But balance in all things, - and the Tiberian Joseph Ben Ardut who became a converso under the name of Pomar (Fumar) and returned to the fold, - showed that his way was preferable -
if you followed it through.

So no more apologia.

We've already mentioned two character traits then : arrogance and being nasty to close relatives. The second is not special to us of course, but was certainly much in evidence in the previous century, - 20th century London that is. So we should be aware of its dangers and the damage it causes and try to prevent it in the future, - at all costs. The author, like many others, was not allowed to know and thus never knew most of his cousins because of it.
What a Nonsense that was !

A third trait is a strong sense of survival, - and I don't suppose anyone will argue about that either. Why our grandfathers or great-grandfathers left Salonika when they did and thus saved a whole Family from nigh-absolute destruction, is no cause for Joy for the tragedy of the Holocaust remains a gloom hovering over all of us, - but it
is cause to give daily Thanks before whomsoever you might pray. Think about it.

And indeed, those of us who are familiar with the "triumphs and disasters " of the Family in the UK at least, will know that those who had truly severe troubles always bounced back, usually stronger than ever, retaining their humour throughout.

This leads one back to a different aspect of the conversos. The point being that this aspect, like others from our past, always seemed to be forbidden, - something of a Secret Garden, - for by dictat of our grandparents and parents, any mention of it was simply forbidden and the subject became a non-fact. That's arrogance of course, - thinking you can turn a fact into a non-fact.

If they were themselves ignorant of the detail because their own grandparents had hidden the facts from
them, if it was embarrassment, - whatever, - the truth is that the Family has always displayed this ostrich-like characteristic.

It can be seen concerning the conversos, the Holocaust, economic disasters, in virtually ignoring Salonika once it was left behind, the secret investment in Spanish real estate in the 1960's and keeping to themselves what they may have learnt of their own Spanish history at that time, - looking
only to the financial future in Pounds Sterling. That's fine, - but it was not everything. One has no right to wipe out the past. Whether our ancestors may have been we are most definitely not intellectual weaklings. We can take it.

So this family secrecy is a trait we would do well to correct.
Get rid of that Ostrich, Brothers !! But as mentioned here, by 2020, only a few family members have come forward with detail and comment and are contributing their own knowledge of the Family's doings. My thanks to them - on your behalf too !

A few others, on the other hand, have openly rejected any connection, based on the still totally irrational fear of being openly associated with the Family as a whole, their own past and even their closest relatives, - something described by one contributor as their "WWII
Trauma " which just refuses to go away.

On another point one might ask - Will we ever settle down again as one complete Family ? I would say - "Definitely not ", - for if any one of you living in the USA for example were to ask himself this, he simply would not be capable of imagining life anywhere else and would remind us that anyhow, every 400 years or so we wander off and disperse again. But never mind that now.

A definite tendency to play second fiddle might be said to run through such little history as we have been able to put together to date. The Tiberian was the Secretary and factotum of super-rich Don Joseph Nasi but not himself super-rich. The Rabbis always held important but usually not the very top posts.

In order to get a top job, Rabbi Ephraim Ben Abraham Ardut had to be exiled to the provinces, (in terms of those days), so as to become Chief Rabbi at Smyrna, and like all the others, however famous they may have been, none of them seems ever to have become Chief Rabbi of Salonika itself. Those in Spain and those who settled in Eretz-Israel in the middle and later middle-ages always worked and prospered in the shadow of men greater than they.

This tendency towards being No. 2 used to worry me once but it is suggested that we all remain unworried. Hilary Clinton is not Bill, and Robert always took second place to Jack Kennedy, but they all managed. Baron Hirsch was not Baron Rothschild, - but he still has his place in Jewish and Zionist history. Frank Lampard is not Pele and any world champion today will always rank second to Cassius Clay. One would suggest that we can live with this trait quite happily.

This indicates a pragmatic approach, perhaps the most important of all in this world of ours. Although I see no multi-millionaires, few seem to be poor, money-spinning professions are broadly held, marriages made, houses built and bought and plenty of children brought to join us - what more can one ask ?

The really encouraging part is the interest that younger Family members are now displaying in the very fact of there
being a Benardout Family out there. However much one lives in hope, no-one seriously expects a hundred Family members to be pro-active and this site and any others opened will probably remain on the slow simmer, - but that is already a great deal.

There are of course plenty of positive character traits, - not forgotten. The Family ability for fun, humour, cheerfulness and simply
joy is still there judging by Facebook and this in itself would make all our ancestors chuckle in their after-life. Those that one remembers were always energetically cheerful, positive in everything ever done, more often than not on the naughty side of the line, always fighters, - and all that is definitely A Good Thing.

They were never politically correct and I breathe in hope that we retain this trait for evermore.

One has no idea at present but would like to hope that all of us are producing
at least a 3-kid family and not just one of those 2.4 ones. Sorry if that offends anyone, but when we go, Brother, we should leave behind much more than a single replacement soul. Even with economic straits and family planning together one can manage 3 kids per couple these days.

The Family love for voluntary work for the benefit of the Community at large has been learnt of from Facebook, - and that is indeed very positive and how it should be. A separate chapter should be added detailing all the associations throughout the World in which we are active in this way or that, and this could easily be created if detail were to be provided.

Such a chapter would give the family picture a
colourful aspect, a bright and positive face to the World.

Feel free - I will always relate to what you say