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About us

Casa Shalom - Our History and Our Mission

Address

Casa Shalom - Institute for Marrano (Anusim) Studies
14/4 MacDonald Street
Netanya 42262
Israel

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Telephone:

Tel: +972-9-773-9655

Mob: +972-50-749-2516

Fax: Fax:  +972-9-860-7780 (attn. Ms Gloria Mound)

History

In 1978, while on vacation in the Spanish Balearic Islands of Ibiza and Formentera, Gloria and Leslie (obm) Mound discovered that there were Jews living in those backwaters who had been there since the Expulsion from Spain in 1492, protected by the islanders for five hundred years. Sparked by that knowledge, Gloria returned for more research, discovering Marrano (also called b'nei anusim, the Hebrew term for forced converts) customs and documents, including a fourteenth century Megillat Esther, and four buildings that had been secret synagogues, some in use until the Spanish Civil War in 1936. She expanded her research to the larger Balearic Islands of Majorca and Minorca. By now dedicated to the cause of researching these communities, in 1985 Gloria and her husband decided to live in Ibiza for a year before moving from their home in the UK to Israel.

 

That one year turned into three years due to the couple's remarkable findings there.  Gloria's work created considerable academic interest, and after settling in Gan Yavne, Israel in 1988, she founded Casa Shalom with the vital support of Elie Schalit and a three-year grant from the Schalit Foundation. This initial grant funded research in Spain, the USA, Canada, the UK, the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. Gloria was thus able to meet people with hidden Jewish origins and collect data about past and present communities, each of which is a testament to the tenacity of the Jewish faith.

 

In 1994, Casa Shalom officially became the Institute for Marrano (Anusim) Studies, centre for all those interested in the subject. The Institute, which is dependent upon volunteers and donors, has welcomed visitors from all over the world, including many from families of hidden Jewish background who desire to learn more about their heritage. Gloria continued her research activities, and is widely consulted in the field. She has given many worldwide lecture tours, gives papers at international conferences, and contributes articles to Encyclopaedia Judaica and scholarly journals. She was appointed Honorary Research Fellow by the University of Glasgow in 1988, an honor that has been renewed every year since then.

 

Over the course of her travels and research, Gloria amassed a unique library of over 2,500 books, many of which are rare, and over 5,000 documents. In 2011, she donated this collection to the International Institute for Secret Jews (Anusim) Studies at Netanya Academic College, of which Gloria was appointed Senior Adviser, and Casa Shalom moved to Netanya, Israel.

 

Gloria and the Casa Shalom staff are dedicated to our mission: to research these communities of secret Jews, to educate about them, and to help their descendents recover their Jewish pasts and identities. To that end, we give lectures and seminars and publish the Casa Shalom Journal. A current project is an examination of the Bad Arolson archives to determine which of the Spanish nationals who were killed by the Nazis may actually have been Jewish. Most important, however, is our commitment to the b'nei anusim today. We receive requests from people from the world over who believe they are of Jewish descent, asking for our help in researching their backgrounds. We help these people, and where possible, help them qualify for a "return" to the Jewish people. We are working to establish an affordable Spanish and Portuguese language conversion ulpan in Israel for those for whom verifying documentation is not possible, but who ardently wish to return to the religion of their forefathers.

 

All of these activities are funded solely by support from our membership and donors. We welcome your membership and your support.

Casa Shalom - People

Board of Directors 

  • Mrs. Gloria Mound - Executive Director (click here to see CV )
  • Dr. Anthony Joseph - President, Jewish Historical Society of England, 1994-96
  • Prof. Paul Donnelly - Director, Dept. of Hispanics, Glasgow University, UK, until 2011 
  • Prof. Nicholas Round - Emeritus, Research Prof. of Hispanics, Univ. of Sheffield, UK
  • Prof. Seth Ward - Director of Religious Studies, Univ. of Wyoming, USA
  • Prof. George Zucker - Univ. North Iowa, USA 
  • Prof. Henry Green - University of Miami, USA 
  • Dr. Yitzchak Kerem - Hebrew University, Jerusalem/Aristotle University, Salonika
  • Mr. Michael Glatzer - Ben Zvi Institute, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • Mr. Moshe Elkaslasi - Mayor of Gan Yavne, Israel, 1993-2003 
  • Dr. Mordechai Arbell - World Jewish Congress; former Israeli Ambassador to the Caribbean
  • Prof. Marvin Meital - Professor of Portuguese 

Institutional Members of Casa Shalom

  • Bar Ilan University Ramat Gan Israel
  • Beit Hatefutsoth Museum of The Diaspora Tel Aviv
  • Ben Zvi Institute Jerusalem
  • Brandeis University USA
  • European Association of Jewish Studies Oxford
  • George Washington University Washington DC
  • Glasgow University Scotland UK
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
  • Jewish Memorial Council UK
  • Kulanu - Helping Lost Jewish Communities Organization
  • USA Library of Congress USA
  • St. Augustine Historical Society UCLA University California
  • University of N. Iowa USA
  • University of Manchester UK
  • University of Miami Coral Gables USA
  • University of Sheffield UK
  • World Freemasonary Centre UK
  • Yeshiva University N.Y. USA
  • Yakar Institute London UK

Executive Committe

  • Mrs. Gloria Mound, Director
  • Mr. Michael Glatzer, Chairman
  • Dr. Mordechai Arbell
  • Dr. Yitzchak Kerem
  • Mr. Bernard Valier

Control Committee

  • Mr. Micha Van Son
  • Bathsheva Faradan

Editorial Committee

  • Mrs. Gloria Mound, Controlling Editor

 Members & Activities

Casa Shalom- the Institute For Marrano (Anusim) Studies, welcomes members and has an extensive database and library on all facets of the subject of secret Jews. We are a non-profit organization that endeavours to reach out to those of Jewish origin who desire to know more about their heritage. We are happy to receive information on this subject from any part of the world that relates to secret or hitherto unknown Jewish practice, culture or folklore.

We give exceptional lectures on the subject both in Israel and in Europe and America. These talks have in the past five years received International acclaim and appeal to all levels and ages. We also conduct genealogical searches (special low rates for members).

We are urgently in need of support so our work can continue, in the form of donations and also volunteer hours.

We are very dependent upon our membership to continue our support for Anusim. Membership benefits include a free issue of our current Casa Shalom Journal, 25% off all our publications, free bulletin/ publication lists, reductions on genealogy searches, etc. All subscriptions are TAX deductable.

For further information about membership please click the link Membership/Enquiry.

Library and Research Centre Project

In September 2003 we had a Proposal to Build a Library and Research Center at Casa Shalom, Gan Yavneh.  It was officially opened  in January, 2006 by the 5th President of Israel, Mr Yitzhak Navon. Many other dignitaries were present, from Israel and overseas, including Ms Gail Seal, President of JNF-UK; Mr. Simon Winters, JNF-Executive Director; representatives of the Neil Davis Chartibale Fund, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the World Jewish Congress.

Today, the library, mainly in Netanya but partly also in Jerusalem,  houses a unique collection of books, articles and documents related to the history and current status of Marranos around the world. 

You can see the material collected by looking at our extensive list of Paper files.

 
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