NEW MEXICO JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
2023 FALL CONFERENCE
– In Person and Virtual –
5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109
The New Mexico Jewish Historical Society is a secular organization that promotes greater knowledge and understanding of New Mexico’s diverse experiences within
a broad cultural context.
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF GREATER ALBUQUERQUE
History, Genealogy, Genetics: Unraveling the
Past and Present
Immigrants at Inspection Station in Galveston, c. 1910
courtesy Rosenberg Library
All Sessions include Q and A
1:15 - 2:15 PM
State Historian Rob Martinez will take us on a trip from Santa Fe to Zacatecas to Sevilla, exploring the rich Jewish past of New Mexico's people through the centuries. Martinez will discuss key issues about our history, the study of genealogy and family history, and the framework DNA provides for better understanding ourselves and each other.
2:20 - 3:20 PM
“Finding Your Own Torah: A Panel Discussion
on Being Black and Jewish”
Presenters: Scott Melton, Justin Terry -Smith, and Jill Anthony
Introduced by: Deborah Boldt
For the purposes of differentiating, this panel will focus on the experiences of three Black Jewish individuals. Each of us has a story, and those stories should not be conflated or be construed to be indicative of what it means to be Black and Jewish. However, each of our experiences will have some overlap and correlations; tendencies and patterns of behavior may be evinced in the explanation of who we are and how we navigate an Ashkenormative Jewish world that sometimes overlooks or devalues us.
The assumption/privilege of whiteness, unfortunately, extends into the American Jewish experience. This phenomenon is peculiar, especially given the history of Ashkenazi Jewry not being recognized as white until relatively recently. And yet, some of the same structures of othering still persist. We hope this panel will enlighten those who would like to know more, and would like to know the Jews they have yet to see.
The panel will consist of each of us giving our assessment of living and working within our own Jewish communities. We will then look at common experiences and see if there are correlations that correspond to life in an Ashkenormative context. The panel will be followed by a very open Q & A.
3:25 – 3:45 PM: Coffee/Beverage Break
3:50 - 4:50 PM
“From Cat’s Elbow to Neutrinos: A Genealogical Thread Tying the Rhineland to Los Alamos (With a Few Detours)”
Presenter: Rabbi Jack Shlachter, Ph.D.
Introduced by: Stu Simon
“THE DNA of the JEWISH PEOPLE”
Presenter: Bennett Greenspan
Introduced by: Michael Keslin
This lecture will trace the Y Chromosome of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic men and compare those to the Muslim population in the middle east and to eastern European populations. This lecture will also compare the Khazarian and Rhineland theories of the origins of Ashkenazi Jews as well.
5:00 - 5:45 p.m. RECEPTION
5:45 p.m. Optional Havdalah Service and Motzi
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Buffet Dinner and Raffle
The Katzenellenbogen family originated in a town of that name in Germany and spread throughout Eastern and Central Europe between the 15th and 20th centuries. Meir ben Isaac Katzenellenbogen, known as the Maharam (acronym of Morenu Ha-Rav Meir – our teacher, the rabbi Meir), was one of the greatest Italian rabbis of his time (c. 1480 – 1565) and headed the yeshiva in Padua. The family name was considered so prestigious that men who married women members often adopted their wives’ last name. Many derivative forms of the name (e.g., Ellenbogen, Elbogen, Bogen, and Katzenelson) also exist, further complicating genealogical studies, but meticulous records have been kept for hundreds of years. In this talk, we’ll learn about the Maharam as well as some of his distinguished descendants who include poet Itzhak Katzenelson, cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubenstein, philosopher Martin Buber, socialist revolutionary Karl Marx, composer Felix Mendelssohn, theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, and physicists Herb Anderson and Fred Reines, both of whom were at Los Alamos during World War II. Reines went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics for work performed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the only such prize awarded to date.
8:15 - 9:30 AM
9:15 - 10:30 AM
10:35 - 11:30 AM
“UNEARTHING SEPHARDIC PASTS in New Mexico”
Panel Session: Sarah Leiter, moderator, Maria Sanchez, Melissa Stevens, and James Ord
Introduced by: Marcia Greenbaum
As genetic testing and genealogical research face a rise in popularity, some New Mexicans are discovering Sephardic (Iberian Jewish) ancestry they did not know they had. This panel will bring together New Mexicans who learned of their Sephardic ancestry in their adult lives to share their family histories. Panelists will discuss how they learned about these histories, the role of genealogical and genetic research, and family traditions they came to realize were Sephardic. As an increasing number of New Mexicans learn that they may have Sephardic ancestry, this panel will provide insight into an important yet understudied piece of the Jewish history of New Mexico.
11:30 – 11:45 AM: Coffee/Beverage Break
“THE IBERIAN ASHKENAZ PROJECT at FamilyTreeDNA.com”
Presenter: Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Introduced by: Linda Goff
11:45 - 12:45 PM
There are European Ashkenazi families with Spanish or Portuguese surnames, an oral history of Sephardic ancestors, an inherited Mediterranean disorder, and/or family traditions/customs. The Iberian Ashkenaz Project at FamilyTreeDNA demonstrates the relationships discovered among the Ashkenazim, conversos who know their Jewish ancestry, and other Hispanics who do not.
12:50 - 1:00 PM
The office of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society is located at the Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque, 5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.