BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Media Advisory) — The Jewish Cultural Society at Florida Atlantic University will host Genie Milgrom, a genealogist and international lecturer, for a program titled “From the Spanish Inquisition to the Present: A Search for Jewish Roots,” on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 3 p.m. at the Wimberly Library, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.
Born in Cuba into a Roman Catholic family of Spanish ancestry, Milgrom’s fascinating journey to discover her roots has turned up 22 generations of grandmothers in an unbroken maternal lineage that dates back to the early 1500s. She also has proven that her family was Converso Jews before the Spanish Inquisition. Although the search for her paternal lineage is in the early stages, she has found two generations of great grandparents with Crypto Jewish lineages.
“This means that there is no lineage that is not Jewish,” said Milgrom. “What changed my life fundamentally was understanding that I was in a unique situation to help others struggling to find who they were and this mission of reaching out and in some cases just holding the boat steady for those following my path.”
After finding her ancestral roots, Milgrom began studying the Inquisition processes to determine migration patterns and occupations and reviewing Last Wills and Testaments and charitable foundations that were begun in the 1600s. “Slowly, I am trying to piece together that day of Jewish history that was lost to our people,” she said.
The Miami resident has authored two books, “My 15 Grandmothers,” which was published in 2012, and “How I found My 15 Grandmothers: A Step by Step Guide,” which was published in 2014, and she writes for academic journals and magazines.
Milgrom is also president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami; president of Colorado State University’s Society for Crypto Judaic Studies; and president of Tarbut-Sefarad Fermoselle in Barcelona, where she helps to disseminate information on villages that housed Crypto Jews.
The Jewish Cultural Society (JCS) organized in 2008 to advance Jewish cultural traditions and education at FAU and its libraries through philanthropic endeavors. The organization is the lead sponsor of FAU Libraries’ annual Kultur Festival, a celebration of Jewish music and arts that runs next year from Saturday, Feb. 28 through Saturday, March 7, 2015 on the Boca Raton campus.
“The JCS is thrilled to kick off our season by bringing this important and little-known chapter of history to the community,” said Evelyn Solomon, JCS’ president. “Genie Milgrom’s story serves as a wonderful springboard for others seeking their ancestral roots and for those interested in history.”
Admission to the lecture is free for FAU students with an Owl Card; $15 for the general public; $12 for JCS members; and $20 for JCS member couples. To purchase tickets, visit fauf.fau.edu/jcs-events or call Jackie Simpson at 561-297-3921.