Genie Milgrom - in search of her Crypto-Jewish ancestors
December 18, 2020
As part of their monthly guest speakers via zoom "Physically Apart - Emotionally Together," Chabads of North and Greater Orlando invite you to hear the fascinating story of Genie Milgrom on Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Genie will share her journey back in time as she crossed the globe in search of her Crypto-Jewish ancestors.
Genie Milgrom was born in Havana, Cuba, into a Roman Catholic Family of Spanish Ancestry.
According to Jewish law, one's Jewishness is determined by their maternal line, no matter how long they are living as gentiles. Amazingly, Genie was able to find 15 grandmothers in an unbroken maternal lineage going back to the early 1500 and that her family had been Converso Jews from before the Spanish Inquisition. She managed to compile all the birth, marriage, death and Inquisition documents for her family proving to the Beis Din (Rabbinical Court) that her family was always Jewish.
As she continued the research, she was able to go back 22 generations to Pre- Inquisition Portugal and identify 30 or so relatives that were judged or burned in the Inquisition. Some from the Tribunal in Lisbon, others in Coimbra in Portugal. Many were brought before the Inquisitors for simple infractions such as wearing a clean shirt on Shabbat or cleaning their homes on Friday.
Her Jewish lineage was traced back to a small village named Fermoselle in the province of Zamora, Spain. They lived as Crypto Jews until the late 1600s and then as Roman Catholics until today. Many Jewish customs were kept in the family as Spanish traditions. Genie is the only one of her family so far that has returned to the religion of the ancestors.
Milgrom has spoken at the Knesset in Israel and lectures around the world bringing awareness to the topic of the Jews returning from the Inquisition.
Her books, "My 15 Grandmothers," "How I found My 15 Grandmothers," and her latest book, "Pyre to Fire," have won the 2015 and 2018 Latino Author Book Awards and she was awarded the State of Florida Genealogy award for her outstanding achievements.
"The Jewish people have lost so many numbers not only to physical murder but to assimilation and forced conversions over the centuries. It is really heartwarming to have a family member find their way back home," said Chanshy Majesky. "The prophets have promised that before Moshiach comes, all lost Jews will find their way back to their roots, perhaps Genie's story is part of a fulfilment of that prophecy," added Fraidy Dubov.
The entire community is invited to join for this fascinating lecture. Tickets can be purchased for $10.
Zoom ID and password will be provided upon registration.
Reservations and more information can be found on www.JewishNorthOrlando.com/Zoom, 407-636-5994 or ChabadOrlando.org/Zoom, 407-644-2500.