Jewish Merchants in the New World: 1500-1800

A Conference Sponsored by the Gomez Foundation for Mill House




Dr. Ruth K. Abrahams,
Executive Director, GFMH

Keynote Address —

Dr. Jonathan Ray,
Samuel Eig Assistant Professor Jewish Studies
Georgetown University

Panel —

Exploration and Expansion:
Forces that Brought Merchant Jews
to the New World

Panel —

The Impact of Jews on Caribbean Trade

Panel —

The Importance of Jewish Merchants
in Early America


Andrée Aelion Brooks.
Author and Trustee, GFMH

About the Conference

The Gomez Mill House was founded in 1714 by the Colonial American Jewish merchant and pioneer, Luis Moses Gomez. This conference was the first of three to explore the theme of Jewish merchants in the New World from the first recorded reference of Jewish presence in the Americas in 1500, to the present. The conference series was inspired by the life and work of Luis Moses Gomez and the upcoming 300th anniversary of the Gomez Mill House, built as a trading post on the 6,500 acre Gomez enterprise in the Hudson Valley.

There is much scholarship on the families and lives of the early American Jewish communities, especially on the great families who lived and contributed to the development of infant America, including such familiar names as Cardozo, Seixas, Lopez, Hendricks, Lehman, Levy, and Nathan, to name but a few. With Gomez family, they and their descendents contributed significantly to the commerce, politics, and fabric of society. From the establishment of trade routes among America, Europe, the Caribbean and South America, to the founding of the New York Stock Exchange, to funding the American Revolution, the great merchant families of early America made their mark and left a legacy that continues to today.

It is hoped that this conference on the period 1500–1800, and the subsequent conferences in 2010 and 2011 exploring the nineteenth century and then the twentieth century to the present will encourage further dialogue on the themes explored and enthusiastic support and participation in the 300th anniversary of the Gomez Mill House.

Ruth K. Abrahams
Executive Director
Gomez Foundation for Mill House


The Gomez Foundation for Mill House wishes to thank the conference participants, the Trustees and Council of the Gomez Foundation for Mill House, and the following for helping to make this conference possible: Evan Kingsley and Susan Malbin of the American Jewish Historical Society; Stanley Urman and the staff of the American Sephardi Federation, Michael Glickman, Michael Stafford, Melissa Minaya, Giovanni Massa, Julie Kaplan and the staff of Center for Jewish History, Jonathan Brent and the staff of YIVO, Shelomo Alfassa, George Dorris, Sachiyo Ito, CJH volunteers (Blanche Hutcherson, Mona Prokopin, Benita Watterworth, Bonnie Rosenstock, and Sylvia Bashkow, and Desery Contreras Gomez Foundation office assistant and conference assistant coordinator.

Design and Printing: Lehmann Printing
Catering: Village Crown

Conference Series:
Jewish Merchants in the New World

OCT 18, 2009
Jewish Merchants in the New World: 1500-1800
This conference was the first of three to explore this theme

OCT 17, 2010
Jewish Merchants in the New World: 1800-1900

OCT 23, 2011
Jewish Merchants in the New World: 1900-Present



Dr. Ruth K. Abrahams
Gomez Foundation
for Mill House

Andrée Aelion Brooks
Gomez Foundation
for Mill House

Randall C. Belinfante
American Sephardi Federation

Ainsley Henriques
Jamaica, NY

Dr. Kenneth Libo
Author, NYC

Edward Kritzler
Author, Jamaica, W.I.

Dr. Jonathan Ray
Samuel Eig
Assistant Professor,
Jewish Studies
Georgetown University,
Washington D.C.

Dr. Jessica V. Roitman
Young Scholar
University of London,
Birkbeck College

Dr. Dale Rosengarten
Curator of the
Jewish Heritage Collection
College of Charleston, SC

Dr. Holly Snyder
Special Collections,
John Hay Library
Brown University, RI

Dr. Barry Steifel
Visiting Professor
College of Charleston, SC

Hilit Surowitz
Young Scholar
Columbia University, NY


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