martes, 2 de octubre de 2018

Call for Papers: Transatlantic Sefarad

Jerusalem, June 25 
Zamora, July 2, 2019

Center Isaac Campantón, in collaboration with the Council of the Sephardic Communities of Jerusalem invites proposals for its 7th international congress, this year under the title of Transatlantic Sefarad.

This is an interdisciplinary event welcoming professors, students, and independent scholars researching in the area of Sephardic Studies in connection with the Western Hemisphere. 
Proposals may include but not limited to the following topics:
  • Periodization of Jewish presence in the Americas; terminologies and definitions
  • First Jewish communities in the Caribbean, South, Central and North America
  • Amsterdam, Recife, New York: Judaism and Freedom of Conscience
  • Life and functioning of Crypto Jewish communities in the Americas
  • Jewish networks between Europe and the Americas: politics, commerce and culture
  • The Inquisition in the Americas
  • Crypto Jewish Resistance: martirs, and relevant personalities
  • Converso families in Spanish American viceroyalties 
  • Traces of Montaigne and Spinoza in the Americas Thought 
  • Jews in the Independence Wars
  • Transatlantic Jews: Paul Lafargue, Camile Pisarro, and others
  • Modern Sephardic Communities: 20th century immigration from North Africa, and Middle East countries
  • Sephardic Journeys: historical narratives 
  • Sephardic writers and artists in or from the Western Hemisphere
  • Sephardic Jews today in the Western Hemisphere
  • Emerging Jewish Communities in the Western Hemisphere
250 words abstracts should include: author, institution or independent scholar affiliation, email, and specify if the presentation will require technological support (computer, projector)

Submit proposals to Deadline: June 1, 2019.



miércoles, 25 de julio de 2018

Jewish Zamora

Dr. Jesús Jambrina is an Associate Professor of Spanish and History at Viterbo University in Wisconsin. Dr. Jambrina has done extensive research into the Jewish history of Zamora. In part 1 of this series we spoke with him about his book, which is an annotated chronology of Jewish-related events that took place there, and also about Isaac ben Jacob Campanton, Rabbi of Zamora in the 14th to 15th centuries.
Dr. Jambrina was responsible for the establishment of the Centro Isaac Campantón in Zamora and also for the organization of six annual international conferences about Jewish history and presence in that region. In this program he is speaking with us about the history of the Jews in Zamora, and the Centro Campantón.

Listen here

martes, 24 de julio de 2018

And the award goes to... the Crypto-Jews

By Marion Fischel, The Jerusalem Post 

Earlier this month in Zamora, Spain, Miami resident Genie Milgrom – genealogist, author and lecturer – received The Medal of the Four Sephardic Synagogues of Jerusalem for her indefatigable labors in the promotion of the Iberian Peninsula’s Jewish legacy. 

Prof. Abraham Haim, president of the Council of Sephardi and Oriental Communities in Jerusalem, presented the award in the framework of the sixth International Sephardi Congress in Zamora, at which Milgrom was keynote speaker. The now-annual July congress was inaugurated in 2013 by Prof. Jesus Jambrina of Viterbo University, WI, who was honored with the medal in 2014. 

The award recognizes the decade-plus Milgrom spent recovering the Jewish roots of her Cuban Catholic family, and her continued efforts to assist the descendants of anusim – Jews who were forced to abandon Judaism against their will – in their search for their roots. 

Milgrom was able to retrace the footsteps of 22 generations in her family, back beyond 1492, to the village of Fermoselle in the hills of Zamora, and later to the cells of the Inquisition in Portugal. She recovered this genealogy using methods she describes in her book, How I Found My 15 Grandmothers, and uncovered the Jewish history not only of her own ancestral village, but also of many others along the Duero River that separates Spain from Portugal, deciphering the connections of the heretofore lost crypto-Jews of the region.

Milgrom is past president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami, as well as the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies. Two of her books, My 15 Grandmothers and Pyre to Fire have won the Latino Author Book Awards. 

She has written numerous articles on the subject and lectures internationally, encouraging and assisting others to retrace their ancestors’ footsteps. 

As director of the Converso Genealogy Project, Milgrom now manages the momentous assignment of digitizing all the Inquisition files around the world, flying to meetings with officials in various countries to convince them of the importance of making their dusty, untouched archives available. 

The project has the seal of approval of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Israel. 

Milgrom told The Jerusalem Post, “I have been working for so many years on recovering an era that was lost to Jewish history, yet I was completely surprised at receiving this very important and meaningful medal of recognition from Israel. I didn’t realize that others were watching and following my work to that extent. It is a true honor.”

viernes, 6 de julio de 2018

Prayers of Bragança

This publication (in Spanish) includes a Prayer Book used by a family in Bragança, Portugal, who practiced the Law of Moses in secret for more than 500 years. 

After 1492, the border between Spain & Portugal became a refuge for many Jewish families fleeing the inquisition in Spain. The topography of the area, specially around the Duero River, allows for easy crossing through hidden paths between both sides of the border. 

When the expulsion and forced conversions were imposed in Portugal in 1497, Crypto Jewish population even grew as many Portuguese families escaped to this, then, remote area in the northeast of the country, also known as Trás-os-Montes (Beyond the Mountains)

Inquisition officially arrived to Portugal in 1536 persecuting marranismo among New Christians  affecting well established secret Jewish communities in cities and towns like Bragança, Vimioso, Carçao, Miranda do Douro, Mogadouro and many others in La Raya, as the border between the two countries in called. 

Prayers of Bragança were transcribed from oral tradition in 1925 by Antonio Fernández's family (see picture) and along other archeological evidences it proves what investigators José Manuel Laureiro and Anun Barriuso have identified as a culture of resistance, meaning finding ways of maintaining the Jewish belief system alive in the context of forced conversions.

Prayers of Bragança (Editorial Verbum, 2018) was presented at Centro Sefarad Israel, Madrid, on June 27 and also at the 6th International Congress in Zamora on July 6.  

Antonio Fernández, whose family originated in Trabazos (Zamora) and later when to Bragança

From leaft to right: Anun Barriuso, José Manuel Laureiro, Antonio Fernández and Inés Nogueiro

jueves, 17 de mayo de 2018

6th International Congress “Jews in the Kingdom of León”, Zamora, Spain, July 5 & 6

Registration HERE, fee includes access to activities & events as well as congress sessions

Pre-congress activities and events

June 27, 19:00h, Centro Sefarad-Israel, calle Mayor 69, Madrid. Panel “Jews in the Kingdom of León”, Panelists: Margalit Matitiahu, Anun Barriuso, José Manuel Laureiro and Marciano Hervás.

Visits to historic Jewish Quarters

All Departures will be from NH Palacio del Duero in Zamora

July 2, 9:00, León
July 3, 9.00, Salamanca
July 4, 17:00, Fermoselle

La Hostería Real

July 3, 8:30 PM. Music of Sepharad, concert by Judith Cohen 


July 5

10:30, La Alhóndiga Palace, Film, Sefarad, caminos y vida: León reencuentro (90 minutos), director Jack Matitiahu. Q&A will follow.

14:00, Lunch

19:00. Keynote address: “Life and Path of a Zamoran Crypto-Jewish family”, Genie Milgrom, author of Pyre to Fire (2018), My 15 grandmothers (2012), and How I found my 15 Grandmothers (2014). Milgrom is also Board Member of the Jewish Genealogical Society in Miami.

20:00. “Spanish Citizenship and the Anusim. Restoring 15 generations family trees”, Abraham García, Institute for Sephardic, Crypto-Jewish and Anusim Studies, Netanya Academic College, Israel

21:00. Coctel

July 6

9:00 Opening Remarks.  

9:15. “Critical Approaches to the medieval Jewish population in León: the community of Castrum Iudeorum”, Mario Lozano Alonso, Historian

10:00. Jaime Einstein (1947-2015) in Memorian. Einstein was a Cuban-Israeli lawyer and writer, author of The Splendor (2008), a fictional biography of Mosé ben Sem Tob de León (1290-1305), and the unpublished novel The Island of Abraham, on the Jewish community of Cuba, Einstein’s country of origin. He was also a passionate scholar on the history of Sepharad (Jewish name for the Iberian Peninsula), particularly of the city of León, where he was an active participant in the efforts to recuperate city’s Jewish legacy.   

10:30. “On Leonés Language”, Alicia Valmaseda Merino, Linguist

11:00. Reading of Judeo Spanish poetry, Margalit Matitiahu, poet. She is the author of several books, among them, Kamino de tormento (2000), Vagabondo eternel (2001), Despertar el selencio (2004); Asiguiendo al esfuenio (2005) o Cantón de solombra (2005). Matitiahu has received numerous awards and recognitions in Israel and Spain for her literary work, including the Award of the Ateneo of Jaén (1996), and Israel Prize for Artistic Creation (1999)

12:00. Tribute to Abraham Haim for his 40 years of Intercultural Exchange between Spain and Israel. Presenters Leandro Rodrígues, Porfessor Emeritus from University of Ginebra, and Agustín Remesal, writer and for several decades RTVes correspondent in Jerusalem, Lisbon and New York.

13:30. Lunch.

16:00. The Judaizers in the scapulars of the Cathedral of Tuy: religious dissent, and social tension in the Miño Border”, Suso Vila, Historian

16:30. Panel on the book Crypto Judaism in La Raya (Northern border between Spain and Portugal). The prayers of Braganza, authors Anun Barriuso y José Manuel Laureiro, researchers at Centro Isaac Campanton, Antonio Fernandes, grandson of Eugenio Carvalho, who transcribed the prayers book from oral tradition to writing in 1925. Inés Nogueiro, researcher at the Instituto de Investigaçao em saúde-Universidad de Oporto.

17:30. “Jewish imaginary in history and narrative from Extremadura: The Blue Flame”, Marciano Hervás, Historian  

18:00. “Saint Christoph y the conversos”, Ramón Álvarez González, Historian

18:30. Closings

21:00. Teatro Principal, Sephardic Music Concert by María Salgado, among the most important singers in the musical tradition of Castile and León, including Judeo Spanish and La Raya repertoire.   

This is a Conference partially sponsored by

Zamora City Council
Council of Sephardic Communities of Jerusalem
Centro Sefarad-Israel, Madrid
Centro Isaac Campantón
Association Friends of Sephardic Cultures
Hotel NH Palacio del Duero
La Hostería Real de Zamora

Contact information

Phone: (34) 609 740 116

domingo, 22 de abril de 2018

Auschwitz, by León Felipe (Tábara, Zamora, 1884 – Mexico City, 1968)

To all Jews in the world,  my friends, my brethren

Those infernal poets,
Dante, Blake, Rimbaud…
keep it quite…
don’t play so loud…
Shup up!
Any inhabitant of Earth today
knows more about Hell
than those three poets together.
I am sure Dante plays his violin very well
Oh, what a virtuoso!...
But he shouldn’t pretend now,
with his wonderful tercets, 
and his perfect hendecasyllables,
to scare that Jewish boy who has been ripped
from his parents;
he is alone.
waiting for his turn
in the crematories of Auschwitz.
Dante… you descended deep into the Inferno
guided by Virgil’s hand 
(Virgil, “Gran Cicerone”),
your Divine Comedy was a funny adventure
of music and tourism.
This is different… something else.
How should I explain it?  
if you don’t have imagination!
You… don’t have any imagination,
remember, in your Inferno
there is not a single boy
and the one you see there…
is alone.
He is alone! With no Cicerone…
waiting for the gates of Hell to open, 
a hell that you, poor Florentine,
could not have even imagined it.
This is different, let me explain. 
Look! This is a place where nobody
can play a violin;
all the violin strings in the world will break here. 
Do you understand that, Infernal Poets?
Virgil, Dante, Blake, Rimbaud…
keep it quite!
Don’t play so loud... Shh!...
Shup up!
I am also a great violinist
and I have played in Hell many times…
But now, here
I break my violin… and remain silent.  
Listen to the poem read in Spanish by León Felipe (click here)
Translation into English: Jesús Jambrina
Touchstone, Art & Literature Magazine, Vol. 82
Viterbo University, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA

León Felipe (Zamora, 1884 – Mexico City, 1968) is considered one of the major poets of the Spanish language in the twentieth century. He was also a playwright, and translator of American writers Walt Whitman and Waldo Frank. He graduated from Pharmacy, which brought him a nomadic life by working in different cities and towns. In 1920 León Felipe published his first poetry book in Madrid, titled The Walker’s Verses and Prayers. Soon after, he traveled to Equatorial Guinea to work at a hospital, and in 1922 he went for the first time to Mexico from where he visited the United States, and Panama. 

In 1936, León Felipe returned to Spain to fight in favor of the Spanish Republic against Francisco Franco’s fascist insurrection. In 1939, after a brief visit to France and Cuba, he returned to Mexico where he lived in exile until his death in 1968. 

León Felipe’s literary style was strongly prophetic with Biblical and Whitmanian influences, meaning a strong humanistic orientation. His writings delve deep into historical thinking as a call for a hopeful and socially just world. Since the arrival of democracy to Spain in 1975, León Felipe’s poetry has been valued as a testimony of the exiles during the Spanish Civil War; many of his poems have been musicalized,  and are greatly appreciated in both sides of the Atlantic as part of the Spanish American literary tradition.

 In 2002, the Zamora City Council in Spain acquired León Felipe’s original manuscripts, including many unpublished works, as the foundation for a future center of studies that will have his name. In 2010 the prestigious Spanish press Visor put in circulation the–so far–most complete collection of his poems. “Auschwitz” is included in the book Oh! This Old and Broken Violin(1965).