Temple Beth-El (TBE) is pleased to welcome acclaimed author and genealogist Genie Milgrom to talk about her experience documenting her Jewish roots. Milgrom will speak at Temple Beth-El on Sunday, November 17 at 7: 00pm. Refreshments will be served.
Despite being raised in a Cuban family and educated a Roman Catholic, Genie was drawn to Judaism as an adult, and she became intrigued with tracing her own family history. In an unparalleled work of genealogy, she was able to document her family back 22 generations with unbroken matrilineal descent, to her true Jewish roots in 1409 pre-Inquisition Spain.
The efforts researching her family transformed her life, and now she shares a step-by-step guide that has led many others back in time to find their Crypto Jewish Roots.
In 1492, the Spanish Inquisition gave 500,000 Jews of Spain the terrible choice of leaving their homeland or renouncing their faith and being baptized as Catholic conversos. Roughly half chose to stay, and many became crypto-Jews - hidden Jews - who kept a remnant of their identity alive by observing Jewish rituals in secret.
Over time, most crypto-Jews assimilated, but the memory of their hidden past persists in family stories and practices. This is especially true here in New Mexico, where crypto-Jewish exiles were among the early colonial settlers. On learning this history, many descendants are prompted to look into their own Spanish past.
Genie Milgrom had a similar experience. Her family came to Florida from Havana when she was 5, and there she was raised and educated as a Roman Catholic all the way through college. But she was drawn to Judaism as an adult, and she became intrigued with tracing her own family history.
Her book My 15 Grandmothers tells the story of discovering her true Jewish roots in pre-Inquisition Spain. She has served as President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami as well as President of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies. In her many talks and lectures around the globe she has helped countless people connect with their roots.