Sephardic & Crypto-Jewish Studies Program

Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish Studies Program

Program Overview
The Sephardic and Crypto-Judaic Studies Program (SCJS Program) is a formal, scholarly affiliation of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) and the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS). Established on January 1, 2013, the program aims to foster collaborative scholarly research on Sephardic Jews (Jews of Spanish and Latino-descent) and crypto-Jews (Sephardic Jews that retained their faith in secret) in the greater Southwest United States and the world. The affiliation aims to promote greater interdisciplinary work among the UCCS faculty and student body, the SCJS, the community of southern Colorado, international scholars, and members of the Sephardic community. Additionally, the affiliation seeks to engage Latino students and community members into a vigorous discussion of related issues of culture, religion, and identity. It will be first university-based program in the United States that fosters the integration of university scholars and students, community members, and an international association for the purposes of studying, discussing, and disseminating information on this cultural-religious phenomenon.

Program Contact and Address

Dr. Roger L. Martinez, Director
SCJS Program
UCCS Department of History
Columbine Hall 2048
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
(719) 255-4070 phone
(719) 255-4068 fax or

About UCCS

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) is one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. Although UCCS is a relatively young campus, having been established by the Colorado Legislature in 1965, it is currently one of the fastest growing universities in both the state and nation. The university credits its steady enrollment growth for 13 of the past 18 years to a number of strategic factors including competitive tuition rates, small class sizes, high levels of interaction with faculty members, unique degree programs, new on-campus housing, the addition of several new campus buildings as well as major renovations to existing buildings. More Information.

About SCJS

Since the creation of the SCJS in 1991 by Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, Dr. Stanley Hordes, and playwright Rena Down, the SCJS has established itself as the preeminent association dedicated to fostering research on the historical and contemporary development of Sephardic crypto-Jews. Likewise, it provides a venue for the descendants of crypto-Jews, scholars, and other interested parties to network and discuss pertinent issues. The SCJS is incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization and its official organizational address is 333 Washington Blvd. #336, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292.

·      An annual society conference focused on presenting a venue for crypto-Jews, scholars, and other interested parties to discuss the history and contemporary lives of crypto-Jews. In even-numbered years the conference is held in different cities in the United States and the international sites. In odd-numbered years the conference is held at UCCS.

·      The publication of HaLapid, which offers a broad range of literary pieces, scholarly articles, and personal narratives.

·      Our collaboration with Dr. Abraham D. Lavender and Florida International University in the publication of the academic, peer-reviewed Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto-Jews (JSPICJ) since 2009.

·      The establishment of the Sosin-Stratton-Petit Foundation Program that directly nurtures and funds our visual and performing art initiatives.

·      Our creation of the Randy Baca-Dennis Duran Fund, which supports the conference attendance of individuals exploring their potential Sephardic heritage.

Programmatic Endeavors

During calendar years 2013 through 2015, the SCJS Program seeks to establish a specialized academic curriculum that explores historical and contemporary issues relating to the Sephardic Jewry and crypto-Jews. To this end, the SCJS Program has established several goals:

·      The UCCS Humanities Program and the SCJS Program is co-developing interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate Humanities courses relating to Sephardic and crypto-Judaic studies. Currently, we are developing a sequence of online courses to advance the curriculum.

·      The Director of the SCJS Program is, upon request, participating in team taught, theoretically-oriented courses for Humanities undergraduate and graduate students.  In particular, the Director is focusing on supporting courses co-taught with the Department of Languages and Cultures, the Department of History, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

·      The Director of the SCJS Program is pursuing external and internal grant funding to support student and faculty research and scholarly presentations.

·      The SCJS Program is selecting an annual Research Fellow and an annual Literary Fellow to deliver several on campus lectures each year.

·      The SCJS Program is promoting the inclusion of UCCS faculty and student contributions to HaLapid, the quarterly journal of SCJS, as well as the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews, the peer-reviewed journal of the Florida International University and SCJS.

·      The SCJS Program and the Kraemer Family Library are investigating the creation an archive to serve as the permanent repository of SCJS materials (HaLapid, JSPICJ, meeting and SCJS Board minutes, records, notes, membership records, collections of members' publications and research libraries).