Annual Conference To Focus On The Role of Jewish Women in New Mexico History
by Stanley Hordes
he Fourteenth Annual Conference of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society will be held at the Sheraton Old Town Hotel in Albuquerque, November 9-11, 2001. The theme of this year's Conference will be "Women in New Mexico Jewish History."
Scholars from Colorado and New Mexico will examine the role that women have played in the development of New Mexico society over the course of the past four hundred years. The speakers will treat not only the Jewish pioneer women who came to New Mexico along the Santa Fe Trail in the mid-1800s, but also the contributions of crypto-Jewish women, both in the colonial period and in the twentieth century.
The Conference will begin on Friday evening, November 9, with dinner and a presentation by Eulogiam Carrasco, an Albuquerque educator, who traces her roots back many generations in the community. Ms. Carrasco will share her personal
  observations on the family's Sephardic Jewish heritage.
The Saturday morning program will feature presentations by scholars from the University of Colorado and the University of New Mexico on various aspects of crypto-Jewish society. Dr. Robert Ferry, of the Department of History of the University of Colorado will set the context by offering a fascinating paper examining the role played by Blanca Méndez de Rivera and her daughters within the converso community in Mexico during the persecutions of the mid- seventeenth century. He will be followed by historian Dr. Stanley Hordes, of the University of New Mexico's Latin American and Iberian Institute, who will examine the life of Doña Teresa de Aguilera y Roche, the wife of seventeenth-century New Mexico Governor Bernardo López de Mendizábal, both of whom were arrested in Santa Fe for secretly practicing Judaism. Next, Dr. Janet Jacobs, of the University of Colorado will share the research she has recently published regarding women in late twentieth- century New Mexico who assert a crypto-Jewish heritage.
   On Saturday afternoon, the Conference participants will be offered an optional tour of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque and the recently-established Albuquerque Holocaust Museum. Following dinner, a selection of Ladino and 19th-century Jewish music will be presented. The latter originates from Congregation Montefiore in Las Vegas, the first synagogue established in New Mexico in 1883. This music was found in the archives of the NMJHS, in a collection donated by the Nahm family, of Las Vegas.
On Sunday morning, Albuquerque author and journalist Sharon Niederman will offer a presentation focusing on the lives of Jewish women in nineteenth and early-twentieth century New Mexico, based on diaries, letters and other original accounts of their lives. This will be

followed by a lecture by folklorist Melanie LaBorwit, Director of the Las Vegas City Museum, who will relate the life of Rachel Lowenstein, who came across the Santa Fe Trail in the mid-nineteenth century and settled in Mora.
The Conference will conclude Sunday afternoon with a lox and bagel lunch.
For further information on the Conference, please contact the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society at (877) 665-3974 (toll-free voicemail), on the Society's website:, or see the form on page 2. Conference participants are urged to make their own hotel reservations directly by contacting the Sheraton Old Town Hotel at (505) 843-6300.


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