ISAS web-site

ISAS is the Inst. for Sefardi and Anousim Studies at Netanya Academic College, that I am associated with as a Board Member and it has a wonderful new web-site.  I urge you to visit http://sefardi-anousim.org.il which has been organized by Adina Moryosef, Administrative Coordinator of ISAS.  I would like to describe some aspects of its contents:

The Statement of Aims of the Institute:

The Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies (ISAS) at Netanya Academic College in Israel was created in response to the incredible phenomenon of the descendants of the forced converts (Anousim) in medieval Spain and Portugal awakening to their Jewish heritage.  The ISAS promotes research on the historical and contemporary development of the crypto-Jews of Iberian origin, as well as other groups such as the Mashadis of Iran. We offer seminars, courses, and conferences to educate the public about this phenomenon and its contemporary ramifications in Israel and around the world. We also offer assistance to those seeking confirmation of their Jewish ancestry through genealogical research.  Please browse our website to learn about our research library, our genealogy unit, and all of our activities. We encourage you to sign up for our mailing list so you can receive more information about us and upcoming ISAS events.

International Conference “Reconnecting 2016” in Miami, Florida:

On May 22-24, 2016 the ISAS will host a two-day international conference, “Reconnecting 2016: Reinvigorating Shared Jewish-Latino Roots and Heritage” in Sunny Isles (Miami), Florida, USA.  This high profile conference is dedicated to both enhancing Jewish-Latino relations as well as raising awareness regarding the historically forced converts (Anousim) from the Iberian Peninsula and their descendants. It will feature leading scholars and public figures,

The Genealogical Research Unit:

The Genealogical Research Unit of ISAS is headed by Dr. Yael Cohen, an experienced genealogical researcher.  The process of returning to Judaism is different for every individual, with each case presenting its own challenges. The Genealogical Research Unit of the ISAS can help you navigate the vast territory of genealogical resources necessary to investigate your family history.  We request a nominal fee of $75 to create a basic genealogical report that surveys all of the resources at our disposal. To request a report, please follow the application procedure.

The Columbus Collection:

The late Elie Schalit, shipping magnate, philanthropist, and a founder of the fledging State of Israel’s arms industry, had a life-long fascination with Christopher Columbus (Colon), both as a navigator and possibly of Jewish descent. Mr. Schalit invested much effort and money to commission museum-quality replicas of Columbus’s books, diaries, and navigational tools created by Jews and Conversos. The exhibit premiered in 1992 in Madrid on the 500th anniversary of the Expulsion from Spain. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia presided over the opening gala.   Elie and Ana Schalit donated the entire Columbus Exhibit to Netanya Academic College in 2012, intending it to be a cornerstone of the future Sefardi and Anousim museum to be established at Netanya Academic College.

The ISAS Library

The ISAS has a unique collection of over 2,500 books, journals, and archives. The collection is named in honor of Gloria Mound, founder of Casa Shalom, and the late Leslie Mound. Gloria Mound donated the Casa Shalom library to Netanya Academic College in 2011, and it was relocated to the college from Gan Yavneh thanks to the financial assistance of Ana and the late Elie Schalit and the Davis Family Charitable Foundation (UK).  The library is open for visits.

 We welcome any interest and support in this important but neglected area of Jewish history and study.  Please contact Salomon Buzaglo, Manager of ISAS, at salomonb@netanya.ac.il, for any feedback or information.  You can also visit the Facebook page of ISAS.
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