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