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By Henry J. Tobias

During this first heritage of the Jews in New Mexico--from the colonial interval to the current day--the writer consistently ties the Jewish adventure to the evolution of the societies during which they lived and labored. The publication starts off with one of many least identified yet such a lot interesting points of recent Mexico Jewry--the crypto-Jews who got here north to flee the Mexican Inquisition. within the 19th and 20th centuries, the tale is extra regular: German retailers settling in Las Vegas and Santa Fe after which coming to Albuquerque after the railroad arrived. to those money owed the writer provides substantial nuance and element, relatively at the position of Jews in smaller groups resembling Roswell and Las Cruces in addition to their social lifestyles and spiritual perform in a frontier zone. The dialogue of the 20 th century concentration really at the dynamics of Jewish improvement, and the ways that that procedure differed in New Mexico.

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7 The geographic position of New Mexico in colonial New Spain emerges from Bolton's words. It was a remote area far from other colonial centers. Moreover, once hopes of wealth envisaged in the myth of "Seven Cities of Cibola" dissolved, France Scholes's description of New Mexico as "an isolated, poverty-ridden frontier province" appears accurate enough. 8 The Spanish crown and its viceroy were disappointed in Oñate's results and considered abandoning the enterprise. "10 Page 10 That condition certainly affected the character of New Mexico in important ways.

But persons who do not participate in formal institutions cannot be summarily excluded from the ranks of Jews. Anyone born to Jewish parents and converts to Judaism will be considered Jewish. If identifiable, the nonparticipant Jew will be included in any qualitative measurement unless that person specifically refused to identify himself as a Jew for any reason. Even with the most specific of definitions, however, there will be ambiguity. In this study, I have relied on the safest criteria noted for certainty and have included secondary criteria as possible identifiers.

Historians of the American Jews have suggested that German Jews, as one of the paths of their dispersion, followed or accompanied the movement of German immigrants. "In general," Eric Hirshler noted, "the German Jew joined and was part of the great stream of German immigration. . " 29 Germans settled in Missouri, and particularly in St. Louis in large numbers. 30 By the 1840s, letters from newcomers to the homeland spoke of Germans owning one-third of St. 31 The relationship of Missouri to the Santa Fe Trail provided its own context for movement to New Mexico.

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