Upcoming Events


The New Mexico Jewish Historic Society will hold its annual conference, “The Jews of Albuquerque: Building Businesses and a Community,” will take place Sat.-Sun. Nov.15-16 at the Greater Albuquerque Jewish Community Center, 5720 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Albuquerque. Beginning at 1 pm November 15, the conference will feature discussions of merchant families who emigrated to Albuquerque and environs 1930-1950.

Keynote speaker, Yiddish scholar and historian Harvey Buchalter investigates “Why Albuquerque?” examining the migration of urban American and European Jews who put down roots in the desert southwest. Subsequently, a panel of descendants of these original merchant families will discuss their family businesses and reminisce about growing up in Albuquerque. Another panel of descendants will focus on Jewish Indian arts merchants of the era. Cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and entertainment will follow.

Sunday’s program will include brunch, a film of Jewish merchant settlement in the West, wrap-up discussion and a Downtown walking tour led by author Sharon Niederman. The tour will end at the New Mexico Holocaust and Intolerance Museum, 616 Central Ave. SW with Dr. Noel Harvey Pugach’s presentation on Holocaust survivors rescued by New Mexicans.

To register, please contact 505-348-4471. Pre-registrations are accepted through November 7. Member, $105; Non-member, $145 (includes membership)

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Mission Statement

The New Mexico Jewish Historical Society is a non-profit organization.

The New Mexico Jewish Historical Society is a secular organization that welcomes all interested people, regardless of religious affiliation. Its mission is to promote greater understanding and knowledge of New Mexico's Jewish history within a broad cultural context.

New Mexico Jewish Historical Society

New Mexico has long welcomed Jewish residents, from the German-born adventurers and merchants in the 1800s when New Mexico was still a U.S. Territory to the doctors, scientists, professors, lawyers, accountants, and artists of more recent times. Although only a small percentage of the overall population of New Mexico, Jewish residents have played an important role in its history.

Jewish history in New Mexico started centuries ago when it was still a territory of Spain. A number of colonists who settled in New Mexico in the 17th and 18th centuries were descendants of forced converts fleeing the Inquisition. Formerly Spanish and Portuguese Jews, they had converted to Catholicism under duress, but privately they clung to Jewish practices in secret. Some of their Hispanic descendants today are investigating their families’ crypto-Jewish roots.

The New Mexico Jewish Historical Society was formed in 1985 to tell the stories of the many Jewish groups that came and stayed and helped make New Mexico a remarkable place. The Society sponsors ongoing research, presents lectures, holds conferences, shows films, gives genealogy workshops, maintains archives, sells booklets about the history of pioneer Jewish families, and publishes a quarterly newsletter, Legacy.


Judeo descanso located on New Mexico highway 64, west of Taos.
A descanso is a roadside memorial to mark the place where a loved one died in an accident. Photo by Sharon Niederman.