UCCS to host Crypto-Jewish conference July 28-30

Tom Hutton, (719) 255-3439, (719) 351-6519, thutton@uccs.edu Corinne Brown, (303) 753-6353

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Historians, scholars and individuals interested in tracing religious roots to ancestors who were exiled from Spain and Portugal to the American Southwest will gather July 28-30 at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs for the 23rd Annual Conference of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies.

Registration is open for the conference, an international academic and cultural association devoted to the history of the descendants of Iberian Jews who were persecuted in Spain and Portugal in the Middle Ages through the 18th century. Many of these Jews were converted to Christianity and fled to the New World, settling in Mexico, the Southwest and various parts of North and South America, hiding their Jewish past. Historians and scholars around the world continue to unearth documentation on the dispersion of these converts who, over centuries, assimilated into Catholic communities until their 20th century emergence and return to Judaism.

The 2013 conference at UCCS and will include presentations by members of the regional Crypto-Jewish community, arts displays, music performances, and scholarly presentations.

Lorenzo Trujillo
Lorenzo Trujillo

Among the highlights of the event is a music and dance presentation by one of Colorado’s treasured folk musicians and music historians, Denver’s Lorenzo Trujillo, along with the Southwest Musicians. Their program, scheduled for 7:45 p.m. July 29 on the University Center Upper Plaza,is open to the public. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.

Trujillo received the 1996 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, acknowledging his work as a folk violinist, guitarist, vocalist, ethnic dancer, folklorist, arts administrator, and culture bearer for approximately four decades. In 2004, he was awarded the Hilos Culturales Distinguished Traditional Folk Artist Premio for his lifetime contributions to the traditional Hispanic traditions of southern Colorado and New Mexico. Trujillo presented thousands of concerts, lecture demonstrations, and published extensively in the area of traditional music and dance of the Southwest United States during the past 40 years and has recorded and performed for television, radio and on numerous recordings. In 2009, he was inducted into the Colorado Chicano Music Hall of Fame.

Invited keynote speakers to the conference are Jane Gerber of the City University of New York Graduate Center and author of “The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience,” and Gretchen Starr-LeBeau of the University of Kentucky, author of “In the Shadow of the Virgin: Inquisitors, Friars, and Conversos in Guadalupe, Spain.” This year’s conference will help launch SCJS’s official affiliation with UCCS, as well as the establishment of an accredited program at in Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish Studies.

Complete meals and beverage services are included with the $195 registration fee. Partial registration is available for those who cannot attend all days of the conference. For information about registration, contact Roger Martinez, assistant professor, UCCS Department of History, (719) 255-4070 or visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/376502 or http://www.cryptojews.com.

Prior to the opening of the conference, a SCJS-sponsored genealogy workshop is scheduled from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. July 28

About SCJS

The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies was founded in 1991 and fosters the research of the historical and contemporary development of Crypto-Jews of Iberian origin. It provides a venue for the descendants of Crypto-Jews, scholars, and other interested parties to network and discuss pertinent issues.

About UCCS

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The University offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 9,800 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.