Hostos Community College To Host Multidisciplinary Conference on the Jewish Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Jewish Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Multidisciplinary Conference will be held at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

Sponsored by the Latin American Writers Institute (LAWI) in the Office of Academic Affairs at Hostos, this conference will bring together writers, artists, and scholars from the U.S. and Latin America to address such issues as history, language, exile, tradition, religion, and what it means to be Jewish, Latin American, and Latin American-Jewish.

“The conference’s objectives are to celebrate the history and culture of the Jewish Diaspora in Latin America, and to bring together the Jewish Latin American community and its American counterpart in New York City,” said Peruvian writer and Distinguished CUNY Professor Isaac Goldemberg, director of the Latin American Writers Institute.

“Our goal is also to expand Jewish and American perspectives in order to reach a deeper understanding of the complexities of Jewish Latin American identities and to foster communication and connections among the diverse religious and cultural communities of both the U.S. and Latin America,” said Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Hostos Community College Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The conference is dedicated to three prominent writers: Jorge Isaacs, a Colombian of Jewish descent who wrote Maria, one of the most notable contemporary novels in Spanish; Alberto Gerchunoff, a Russian Jew who emigrated to Argentina, where his published works include The Jewish Gauchos of the Pampas (subsequently made into a film); and Clarice Lispector, a Jew born in the Ukraine who settled in Brazil and gained international acclaim for her novels, such as Perto do Coracao Selvagem, translated into English as Near to the Wild Heart, and A Hora da Estrela, translated as The Hour of The Star.

The conference will feature panel presentations, bilingual poetry and fiction readings, performances, roundtable discussions, art exhibits and video screenings, including Jewish Refugees in Sosua, Dominican Republic, a chapter of Hostos Community College study abroad documentary Dominican Identity and Migrations to Hispaniola. Readings and discussions will underscore the prominent role Jewish Latin Americans play in the cultural life of the United States.

Other highlights will include a virtual exhibit entitled “The Arts of Latin American Jews: An Exploration by Website” and a showing of works by the Peruvian-Jewish artist Liza Schnaiderman. “Sephardic Music: A Judeo-Spanish Recital” will be presented in room C390 from 10:15 am to 11:00 a.m.

In connection with the conference, a special issue of LAWI’s journal, Hostos Review, will be devoted entirely to contemporary Jewish Latin American culture. To obtain a copy of this issue or to subscribe to the journal, write to

Dr. Dolores M. Fernandez, President of Hostos, believes the college is an ideal venue for a conference of this nature: “Hostos was established to meet the educational needs of a diverse community, and we welcome every opportunity to celebrate the differences that enrich our society. Therefore, it is a very great privilege for this institution to host an event honoring the invaluable contributions of the Jewish Diaspora to nations of the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as to the United States.”

Most of the activities will be held in the College’s Art Gallery and the “C” Building. Hostos Community College is located on the Grand Concourse at East 149th Street in the Bronx and can be reached by the #2, #4, and #5 subway lines and the BX1 and BX19 bus lines.

For more information about the conference, please visit

Nestor Montilla,
Director of Public Relations

Office of Institutional Development
Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College
of The City University of New York
120 East 149th Street, Rm. 214 E
Bronx, NY 10451
Tel. 718.518.4355
Fax #: 718.518.4240
Email: nmontilla@HOSTOS.CUNY.EDU