Killed, expelled and harassed by the Inquisition, Crypto-Jews secretly maintained their Jewish customs while pretending to be Catholic. Some families ended up losing their traditions and religion entirely during centuries of persecution. But in the past few decades, academic interest in these lost Jews and personal search for heritage have converged to spark a trend of returnees.
For years, that interest concentrated in the southwest United States, where some Hispanics could trace their family back to Jews who had fled the Mexican Inquisition, an extension of the Spanish Inquisition. As a result, the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies is based in Colorado.
The conference includes several well-known speakers, including Schelly Talalay Dardashti, founder of Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog, Bennett Greenspan, founder of Family Tree DNA, and Genie Milgrom, author of My 15 Grandmothers and How I Found My 15 Grandmothers.
The three-day event, at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Miami Airport and Conference Center, will focus on the Caribbean, but Genie Milgrom expects that Miami’s obvious ties to Central and South America will spark the curiosity of those Latin Americans who are tracing their heritage.
You can read more at http://www.miamiherald.com/living/article27165400.html and at the conference web site at http://www.cryptojews.com/events.php. The conference program is available at: http://scjs.us/confschedule.php.