JGSWS meets on the second Monday of each month, from September through June. Doors open at 6:30 PM unless noted otherwise. Our meeting location, since September 2013, is the LDS Factoria Building, 4200 124th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 (in Factoria, just off I-90 and I-405). Occasional meetings will be held at the JCC on Mercer Island. Admission is free.

NEXT MEETING: Monday, May 5, 2014
at the LDS Factoria Building

Presentation starts promptly at 7:30 PM.
Doors open at 6:30 PM.
Come early to use the Family History Library, free databases, and our extensive JGSWS library!

"Crypto Jews in History and Today" by Arthur Benveniste, Past President of the Society
of Crypto Judaic Studies


Iberia – Southwestern Europe, including modern-day Spain, Portugal, Andorra, regions of SW France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar – had significant Jewish communities from ancient times until the forcible conversion or expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497. Many of the converted Jews continued to practice their ancestral religion in secret and are referred to as Crypto Jews. Their underground rites and practices were passed down through the generations to the present day. Crypto Jews have been discovered in the American Southwest, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Spain, Portugal, and other former Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Many descendants of these Crypto Jews (also known as Conversos, Anusim, or the derogatory term Marranos) are now seeking their Jewish heritage and returning to Judaism. Come learn about the history, discovery, culture and current practices of Crypto Jews. Art Benveniste will recount firsthand experiences, research and images from his many visits to Crypto-Jewish communities throughout the American Southwest, Iberia, and Latin America.



Arthur “Art” Benveniste was born in Los Angeles in 1933 to parents from the Island of Rhodes in Greece, where his ancestors lived for 400 years. He grew up speaking Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language. For years, he has been tracing the roots of Sephardic culture by researching and collecting books on the subject, and visiting Jewish sites in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Mexico, South America and the American Southwest. Art was president of the Society of Crypto Judaic Studies and co-editor of their publication, HaLapid. He remains active in that society and fundraises for the restoration of Jewish sites in Greece, including his mother’s shul, Kal de Shalom on the Island of Rhodes, the oldest functioning synagogue in Greece. Art continues his research, outreach and worldwide travel, meeting Crypto Jews and isolated Catholic communities that believe they are descended from Crypto Jews.

For more information, please e-mail

WiFi will be available—bring your laptops.


Download handouts from past meetings.

June 9: Jordan Auslander of New York will present one of his many popular programs.
June 29: SAVE THE DATE: Lost Town, a documentary about the town of Trochenbrod, will be screened at the Stroum Jewish Community Center. Details will be announced soon.


See the Events page.