New Mexico

New Mexico’s Conversos and Crypto-Jews

Learn the history and experience the unique culture of conversos and Crypto-Jews — Spain’s Jewish citizens who were forced to leave their country for not converting to Christianity.
Rating (5)
Program No. 11007RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

In 1492, the Alhambra Decree forced Spain’s Jewish citizens to make an unthinkable decision: convert to Christianity or leave the country. Over the next 500 years, the saga of the conversos and Crypto-Jews — who practiced their faith in secrecy — brought them to the New World and finally to New Mexico, where their traditions melded with those of the peoples of the Southwest. In this land of canyons and desert, trace the struggle of New Mexico’s conversos and Crypto-Jews, and consider how their traditions have managed to survive against the odds.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking a few blocks over uneven terrain; standing up to one hour, some stairs. Elevation of 5,300 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Meet New Mexico conversos for personal insight.
  • Visit Acoma Pueblo and learn about its fascinating history.
  • Enjoy field trips to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

General Notes

For a more active version of this program, please see "New Mexico’s Conversos and Crypto-Jews in Santa Fe" (#22854). It includes similar and complementary educational content, but is based in Santa Fe.
Featured Expert
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Maria Apodaca
Maria Apodaca’s family has been in New Mexico since 1598 when Juan Oñate brought the first colonist to the Kingdom of New Mexico. Maria comes from the B'nai Anusim, the people who were forced to convert to the catholic religion in the 14th century. Maria is active as a member of congregation Nahalat Shalom and has served for three years on the Va'ad, the board. She is the event coordinator for the Festvial Djudeo-Espanyol festival, and is a co-leader of the monthly Sephardic dinner.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Maria Apodaca
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Min Kantrowitz
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Christopher Gibson
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