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Lecture and lunch 01/June/2014
Casa Shalom and the Institute for Secret Jews (Anusim) Studies at Netanya Academic College are pleased to invite you a "lecture and lunch" featuring our special guest, Professor Seth Ward, chairman of the Religious Studies Department of the University of Wyoming, USA.
Professor Ward is on the advisory board of Casa Shalom, and a vice president of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies.
Prof. Ward's lecture:

Leadership, Engagement and Identity and the Construction of a Contemporary
Crypto-Jewish identity in North America

Date: Sunday, June 1
Place: Netanya Academic College (signs will be posted on campus)
Time: Lecture at 12:00 pm, followed by a sandwich lunch with Prof. Ward
Cost: NIS 35 (including lunch)

Reservations and information: Adina Moryosef (09) 860-7837 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

We hope to see you here for the lecture and lunch. Please make your reservation by SUNDAY, MAY 25.

Lecture summary: The phenomenon of individuals of Spanish heritage discovering links to Jewish heritage is world-wide, but the North American community is unique in many ways. This talk examines various aspects of the expression of identity, interaction with leadership, and the way the “Crypto-Jewish Community” engages with what can be called the “Jewish mainstream” in the US. Three factors in this dialog will be discussed: the motif of reclaiming a lost heritage, and the striking parallels with discourse regarding Islamic identity among some African-Americans (and some Latinos); changes in the articulation of religious and cultural identity in the U.S. in general, and specifically among Spanish-heritage communities; and decentralized and individualistic US situation, which invites a wide variety of leadership, including academic, community, and self-identifying Rabbis. These and other factors create a robust, multifaceted marketplace of ideas and identities, but also engender tensions when leaders, practices or beliefs do not line up with Jewish communal expectations, and as a result Crypto-Jews are continually surprised by the limits of mainstream Jewish acceptance, and certainly by Israeli realities, which are quite different from those in the US. The US Crypto-Jewish phenomenon has multiple active academic or affinity associations; mainstream rabbis, congregations and Hillels with strong commitments to Bnei-Anusim; and a large number of independent individuals, self-identifying Rabbis and others. On the whole, as in other regions, it has a unique profile of engagement with the Jewish mainstream, and study of the Crypto Jewish phenomenon as it exists in the second decade of the 21st century needs to take more interest in the emergence of unique constructions of leadership, engagement and identity in various distinct communities.
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