M achon Miriam is a Spanish, Portuguese and Italian language Conversion and Return Institute in Israel directed by the Rabbanit Renana Birnbaum. A big portion of our students are descendants of Anousim, whose ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity during the time of the Inquisition. They hail from a variety of countries, ranging from Spain and Portugal to Peru, Argentina and Brazil. For many of them, undergoing a formal return to Judaism marks the closing of an historical circle, the righting of the grave injustice that was done to their forefathers on the Iberian Peninsula.
Students at Machon Miriam spend a year intensively studying Jewish texts, learning about Jewish history and experiencing the complete cycle of the Jewish calendar. The process of return can often be difficult, touching on deep and highly personal issues such as history, identity and community. So we do our best to ensure that the environment is one that is both warm and understanding.