The Santa Fe Jewish Book Council honored Stanley M. Hordes with its lifetime achievement award 2017 on December 3 in an event at Temple Beth Shalom. Hordes was the former New Mexico state historian, and he is an adjunct research professor at the Latin American and Iberian Institute of the University of New Mexico, and holds a Ph.D. from Tulane University.
Hordes’ book, To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico has been a major factor in shaping thought about the descendants of Spanish conversos or crypto-Jews in the American Southwest. Stanley Hordes is one of the founders and prime movers of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society and the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies.
When he assumed the position of New Mexico state historian in 1981, he encountered Catholic and Protestant Hispanic New Mexicans whose families observed customs suggestive of a Jewish background. He documents the experiences of those families in his seminal work. He was the first recipient of the Allan and Leona Hurst Award from the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society for his work on Jewish history in New Mexico.
The survival of Jewish identity was among the most important issues in Jewish communities in the Diaspora. How does Jewish identity endure the challenges of history? The work of Stanley Hordes has led traditional Jews and crypto-Jews to question who is Jewish and what Judaism means in their lives.
The keynote speaker for the event was Prof. David Graizbord, a professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona. He is one of the leading scholars in the United States on Jewish identity and the Western Sephardic Diaspora. He is author of Souls in Dispute: Converso Identities in Iberia and the Jewish Diaspora among other books. He has studied how religious, social, and political identity shaped the lives of Spanish and Portuguese New Christians or Conversos. He has also written about Judeophobia, the Inquisition, marginality and dissidence in Jewish and Ibero-Catholic societies of the seventeenth century, and ethnicity and religion among Sephardim in the Diaspora.
David Caffey of Prime Time says, “To the End of the Earth is a true magnum opus and a fitting conclusion to decades of research.” Ze’ev Glicenstein of the Canadian Jewish News says that it is, “The most extensively researched book on the subject…” And, Thomas M. Cohen of The Americas writes, “Hordes has made an important contribution to our understanding of the religious and ethnic diversity of the Southwest and of the force that the beliefs and practices…continue to exert in the lives of the people of the region.”
Santa Fe poet and novelist, Isabelle Medina Sandoval, says of the influence of Hordes’ work, “I have a deep appreciation for Stan’s academic work, search for truth, and passion for the anusim. His work has shaped my thinking about family, research, writing, and spirituality.” Santa Fe Institute scholar, Paula Sabloff, says, “His work in weaving together Jewish and New Mexican history has enriched our understanding of New Mexico…”
The Santa Fe Jewish Book Council is an organization that promotes the work of Jewish authors and books about Jewish subjects. For more information go to: www.sfjbc.org. The advisory group of the SFJBC for the lifetime achievement award is: Gloria Abella Ballen, Ron D. Hart, Camila Mandler, Nurit Patt, Patricia Gottlieb Shapiro. The event was underwritten by a generous grant from Nurit and Yehuda Patt.