The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies’ annual conference is set for June 30 – July 2, 2019 at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Greenwood Village, Denver, Colorado. Academics, historians, geneticists, writers, and converso descendants will share research and narratives during two days of panels.
The event begins with a genealogy workshop on Sunday, June 30, featuring renowned speakers Genie Milgrom and Schelly Talalay Dardashti. Entertainment includes an informal concert during the opening reception by Lorenzo Trujillo and the Southwest Musicians; an award-winning play about persecution, love and truth, and a CD-debut of Sephardic, Ladino and Mizrahi music by The Lost Tribe.
Keynote speaker, noted journalist Jeff Wheelwright, will discuss his work on the BRCA gene and Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Inaugural recipient of the Stanley M Hordes Distinguished Scholar Lecture is Dr. David Gitlitz, noted emeritus scholar, author and historian.
The remarkable story of Jewish heritage secretly passed down through the centuries in Spanish Catholic countries is a verified part of Mexican and New Mexican ancestry. Church, military records and DNA studies suggest that one in five of all Spanish colonialists in New Spain were of Jewish descent. Today, their descendants number in the millions; Colorado/New Mexico estimates are 500,000. Persons referred to as “crypto” or “hidden Jews” are those who maintained a secret adherence to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith, a term especially applicable to Spanish Jews in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries who outwardly professed Catholicism to survive persecution during and following the Spanish Inquisition in the Old World and the New.
Many narratives about the survival of “crypto-Jewish” family practices and traditions in the greater Southwest and Borderlands have prompted families from New Mexico and Colorado to seek their roots in these areas. Some refer to themselves as Sephardim, Sefardita, Sephardic , or anusim, a Hebrew word meaning “children of the forced ones,” and also, returnees.
For more information or to register, go to cryptojews.com. Single day or full registration is available. Membership in the Society is not required. The conference is open to all.
With thanks in part to the Mizel Museum, the Museo de Las Americas, Theatre Or and Temple Aaron.