The historic AIPAC panel on Hispanic & Latinos
This week at AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel organization in the world, was an unprecedented panel discussion on how to reconnect Latinos and Hispanics and Jews. The panel, moderated by Shavei Israel’s Founder and Chairman, Michael Freund, was called “Reconnecting Hispanics and Latinos with the Jewish World: Can People with Jewish Ancestries be Identified and Engaged?” Panelists included president of Reconectar Ashley Perry, Dr. Ofir Haivry and Ms. Genie Milgrom.
The panel was a great success, shedding important light on the vast numbers of people scattered throughout the world with ancestry in the Iberian peninsula, and was well-received by the attendees.
You can watch the entire panel here:
The panel addressed many important issues that determine life and national, religious and cultural identities of the Hispanic and Latinos being descendants of the Jews forcibly converted to Christianity centuries ago. Among these issues there are a move to use the term Bnei Anousim instead of disparaging “Marranos”; the responsibility of the Jewish people to these communities; an importance of encouraging a positive, view of the State of Israel and strengthening their ties with it. Also, the participants discussed referring to the idea of using DNA as a proof of Judaism and its strong and weak points in one’s search for his/her roots.
Genie Milgrom, one of the speakers, described her personal journey of rediscovering her Jewish roots and how she managed to trace her Jewish ancestry back for 22 generations. Her search took her 15 years and was extremely difficult to get all of the documentation. Here are Genie’s reflections and impressions about the conference:
“I leave AIPAC 2019 with some incredible thoughts and feelings. I was honored to speak with a stellar panel on the re-connection of Spanish Portuguese Jews… An uphill climb that we all share, for the love of our lost history and connection in today’s world…”