“The Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean” is an international conference to be held at Kingston’s Pegasus Hotel January 12-14 2010 exploring the history, culture, and identity of Caribbean Jewry. “The Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean” is co-chaired by Jane S. Gerber (Professor of Jewish History, The Graduate Center, CUNY) and Ainsley Henriques (Director, the United Congregation of Israelites, Kingston).
Tuesday, January 12
Jane S. Gerber, Ainsley Henriques, Swithin Wilmot
Sephardic Trade Networks in the Colonial Caribbean
Chair: Jane S. Gerber
Miriam Bodian, University of Texas, “The Formation of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Diaspora.”
Jonathan I. Israel, Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, “Amsterdam, Curacao and the Rise of Sephardic Trade System in the Caribbean (1600–1670).”
Gérard Nahon, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, “Amsterdam and the Jewish Nation of the Caribbean during the Seventeenth Century.”
Holly Snyder, Brown University, “What Jewish Merchants Contributed to Jamaican Commerce, 1670-1831.”
Material and Visual Culture of Caribbean Jewry
Chair: Judah Cohen
Rachel Frankel, Architect, “Remnant Stones: The Significance of New World Portuguese Jewish Diaspora Cemeteries.”
Naomi Feuchtwanger-Sarig, University of Michigan, “The Crown of our Heads has Fallen: Mourning Customs of the Portuguese Jews.”
Jackie Ranston, Independent Scholar, Jamaica, “Biography as History: The Art of Isaac Mendes Belisario (1794–1849)-Story Painter.”
Wednesday, January 13
Caribbean Jewish Identity and Heritage: From Conversos to Modern Jews
Chair: Miriam Bodian
Mordechai Arbell, The Ben Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, “The Gradual Disappearance of the Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Communities of the Caribbean.”
Ronnie Perelis, Yeshiva University, “Daniel Israel Lopez Laguna’s Espejo Fiel de Vidas (London 1720) and the Ghost of Marrano Autobiography.”
Hilit Surowitz, University of Florida, “Portuguese Jews of the Caribbean and the Question of Early Modern Secularization.”
Judah Cohen, Indiana University, “Inscribing Ourselves with History: Exploring Heritage in Today's Caribbean Jewish Diaspora.”
Jamaican Jewish Heritage Tour of the Duke Street Synagogue with author and local historian Ed Kritzler
Blacks and Jews in the English Caribbean
Chair: Eli Faber
James Robertson, University of the West Indies, Mona, “The ‘Confession made by Cyrus’ reconsidered: Maroons and Jews during the First Maroon War.”
Stan Mirvis, The Graduate Center, CUNY, “Sexuality and Sentiment: Concubinage between Jewish Males and their Female Slaves in late Eighteenth-Century Jamaica.”
Swithin Wilmot, University of the West Indies, Mona, “Jewish Retailers and Black Voters in Post Slavery Jamaica: Electoral Politics in the Parish of St. Dorothy, 1849–1860.”
Thursday, January 14
Reassessing the Geographic and Ethnic Definitions of Caribbean Jewry
Chair: Jane S. Gerber
Eli Faber, John Jay College, CUNY, “The Jews of Colonial America: How Broad were the Parameters?”
Matt Goldish, Ohio State University, "Franks Among Franks: Adventures of a Jamaican Ashkenazi in the 1690s."
Dale Rosengarten and Barry Steifel, The College of Charleston, “Charles Towne, South Carolina: Northernmost Outpost of the Gulf-Caribbean Plantation Region.”
Joanna Newman, The University of Southampton; The British Library, “Refugees from Nazism in the Caribbean during World War Two.”
Jamaican Jewish Heritage Tour of the Hunt’s Bay Cemetery with author and local historian Ed Kritzler
The Art of Sephardic Genealogy Workshop
John de Mercado, Independent Scholar, “A Sephardic Odyssey: Four Centuries of the de Mercado Family in the West Indies.”
Panel Discussion: Ainsley Henriques, John de Mercado, David Kleiman
Ainsley Henriques and Jane S. Gerber
“The Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean” is sponsored by:
The United Congregation of Israelites, Kingston Jamaica
The Institute for Sephardic Studies of the Graduate Center, City University of New York
The University of the West Indies
The American Sephardi Federation
The International Survey of Jewish Monuments
The Jamaica Tourist Board
The Commonwealth Jewish Council
Laurence and Ronnie Levine
Dr. John deMercado
Friday, January 15
Visit to Hillel Academy
The Hillel Academy is Jamaica’s leading preparatory and secondary school founded and managed by Congregation Sha’are Shalom. Enrollment exceeds 800 students on a modern campus.
Visit to Jamaica’s National Gallery or Art
Jamaica’s National Gallery of Art is home to collections of indigenous folk art, the works of English artist in Jamaica as well as the works of Jamaican artists culminating with an exhibition of the paintings of the Jewish Jamaican artist, Isaac Mendes Belisario (1795–1849). The tour conclude with a drive through downtown Kingston past the site of the earliest Jewish synagogue and other sites of Jewish interest.
Lunch at Strawberry Hill
Strawberry Hill is a world famous hotel and restaurant nestled in Jamaica’s beautiful Blue Mountains. The drive back to your hotel will take you through the English speaking Caribbean’s oldest university, the University of the West Indies, Mona. UWI is located on the site where Jewish refugees from the Holocaust were housed during WWII.
Shabbat Service will be held in Sha’are Shalom’s historic sand floor sanctuary.
Kiddush and Dinner with Kingston’s Jewish Community
Enjoy dinner and lively discussion in Sha’are Shalom’s Heritage Centre Exhibition Hall.
Saturday, January 16
Lunch at Devon House following Shabbat Services
Devon House is the former home of George Stiebel (b. 1820s), Jamaica’s first black millionaire and son of a German Jewish immigrant. It is now a museum with restaurants and shopping.
Visit to Port Royal
Port Royal is the seventeenth-century city made infamous by the pirates until it’s partial destruction by an earthquake in 1692. Port Royal is also home to the first Jewish Merchants in Jamaica.
Dinner in Port Royal’s Old City
Cocktails and Concert
Join us for farewell cocktails followed by a concert in Kingston
Meals, tours and concert are included in Registration. The cost will be $ 150.00 ea.