Conference to Focus on Economic Expansion in The New World and Early America

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Conference on Jewish Merchants 1500-1800 to be held in New York City

The first of three annual conferences focusing on a lesser-known role played by merchants, especially Jewish merchants, in the Caribbean and major ports of Colonial America in the establishment of the United States, 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 pioneer experience in America.

The aim of this conference is to highlight current research and foster further study in this long neglected corner of New World and Colonial American history. Represented on the panels will be noted scholars in the field, including Keynote Speaker, Dr. Jonathan Ray of Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Gomez Foundation for Mill House manages and operates one of the oldest, continuously occupied dwellings in North America, the 300-year-old 'Gomez Mill House' in Orange County, New York. On the National Register of Historic Places, the house was named after a Jewish merchant named Luis Moses Gomez. Other pioneers, patriots and significant owners who came after him are also honored at the house.

Gomez was born in Spain, fled with his family to Southwestern France, 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, "This year, as we celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's arrival to New York Harbor, there is not a more fitting time to explore what Jewish and merchant contributions have done to help stimulate the economy of the New World and Colonial America. These are subjects which merit further exploration and study and we at the Gomez House are proud to be a catalyst for that."

The conference is open to those with both academic and non-academic backgrounds, particularly those who share an interest in the economic birth, maturity and modern expansion in the New World and early America. For further information on the conference, 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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Dr. Ruth K. Abrahams

Shelomo Alfassa
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