Conference On Jewish Merchants 1500-1800 To Be Held In New York City

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Discussions To Focus On The Lesser-Known Aspects Of The Jewish Contributions To The Economic Expansion In The New World And The United States

The first of three annual conferences focusing on a lesser-known aspect of the Jewish contribution to the establishment of the United States, especially the role played by Jewish merchants in the Caribbean and major ports of Colonial America, will be held at the Center for Jewish History in New York City on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

This initial one-day gathering is entitled 'Merchant Jews In The New World: 1500-1800.' It is being organized by The Gomez Foundation for Mill House, an organization focused upon the Jewish pioneer experience in America.

The aim of the conference is to highlight current research and foster further study in this long neglected corner of Jewish history. Represented on the panels will be noted scholars in the field, including Keynote Speaker, Dr. Jonathan Ray, Samuel Eig Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University.

Gomez Foundation for Mill House manages and operates the oldest Jewish dwelling in North America, the 300-year-old Gomez Mill House in Orange County, New York. On the National Register of Historic Places, the house, named after Luis Moses Gomez, remains one of the oldest continuously occupied residences in the United States. Like many of the Jewish merchants of his day, Gomez was born in Spain, fled with his family to Southwestern France during the Inquisition, and came to New York by way of England and the Caribbean. His aim in building his trading post (now the house) was to help open up the Hudson River to increased trade.

Dr. Ruth K. Abrahams, the Executive Director of the Gomez Foundation said, "Jewish contributions to the economy of the New World and Colonial America are subjects which merit further exploration and study and we at the Gomez Mill House are proud to be a catalyst for that."

The conference is open to both the scholarly and lay communities. For further information on the conference, which includes a light buffet lunch and early evening reception, please visit

The Gomez Foundation for Mill House is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 established to support the preservation, conservation and public programs of the Gomez Mill House. Gomez Mill House, the oldest Jewish Dwelling in North America. Located in Marlboro, NY, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit to learn more about programs for adults and children, how to visit the museum, or learn about upcoming scholarly conferences on the subject of Jewish Merchants.


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Ruth K. Abrahams Ph.D.
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