History of SCJS

Organization History:

Since the creation of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies in 1991 by Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, Dr. Stanley Hordes, and playwright Rena Down, the SCJS has established itself as the preeminent association dedicated to fostering research on the historical and contemporary development of Sephardic crypto-Jews. Likewise, it provides a venue for the descendants of crypto-Jews, scholars, and other interested parties to network and discuss pertinent issues. The SCJS is incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization and its official organizational address is 333 Washington Blvd. #336, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292.

Among the primary successes of the SCJS’s 20+ continuous years of service are:

  • An annual society conference focused on presenting a venue for crypto-Jews, scholars, and other interested parties to discuss the history and contemporary lives of crypto-Jews.
  • Publication of HaLapid, the journal of SCJS, which offers a broad range of literary pieces, scholarly articles, and personal narratives.
  • Collaboration with Dr. Abraham D. Lavender and Florida International University in the creation of the academic, peer-reviewed Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto-Jews (JSPICJ) in 2009.
  • Establishment of the Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation Program that directly nurtures and funds the visual and performing art initiatives of the Society.
  • Establishment of the Randy Baca-Dennis Duran Fund, funding the attendance at SCJS Conferences of individuals exploring potential Sephardic heritage, to support their research.

As SCJS enters its third decade of vibrant, collaborative, and academic initiatives, it now has established a long-term university affiliation with the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs (UCCS). This affiliation, known as the Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish Studies Program, aims to foster collaborative scholarly research on Sephardic Jews (Jews of Spanish and Latino-descent) and crypto-Jews (Sephardic Jews that retained their faith in secret) in the greater Southwest United States and the world. The affiliation aims to promote greater interdisciplinary work among the UCCS faculty and student body, the SCJS, the community of southern Colorado, international scholars, and members of the Sephardic community. Additionally, the affiliation seeks to engage Latino students and community members into a vigorous discussion of related issues of culture, religion, and identity. It is the first university-based program in the United States that fosters the integration of university scholars and students, community members, and an international association for the purposes of studying, discussing, and disseminating information on this cultural-religious phenomenon.

Conference History:

SCJS meets formally once a year to discuss the crypto-Jewish history, culture and research.  The 2014 conference will be held in Dallas, Texas, from July 20-22, 2014.

The locations and dates of past conferences are as follows:

Taos, NM, 1991, Fort Burgwin Complex
Buena Park, CA, 1992, Buena Park Hotel
San Antonio, TX, 1993, Holiday Inn
Belmonte/Guarda, Portugal, 1994
Tucson, AZ, 1995, Best Western (formerly Aztec Inn)
Albuquerque, NM, 1996, Hyatt Regency
Denver, CO, 1997, Cherry Creek Inn
El Paso, TX, 1998, Camino Real Hotel
Los Angeles, CA, 1999, Furama Hotel
Albuquerque, NM, 2000, Best Western Rio Grande
Pueblo, CO, 2001, Holiday Inn
San Diego, CA, 2002, Marriott Mission Valley Hotel
San Antonio, TX, 2003, Hyatt Regency Hotel
Portland, OR, 2004, Monarch Hotel and Conference Center
Miami Beach, FL, 2005, Hotel Marseilles
El Paso, TX, 2006, Holiday Inn – Sunland Park
Albuquerque, NM, 2007, Doubletree Hotel
Phoenix, AZ, 2008, Embassy Suites Phoenix-Biltmore
Denver, CO, 2009, Sheraton Denver West Hotel
San Antonio, TX, 2010, Hilton Palacio del Rio
San Diego, CA, 2011, Crowne Plaza Hotel
Albuquerque, NM, 2012, Hotel Albuquerque
Colorado Springs, CO, 2013, University of Colorado