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7th & 14th of February 2021 
7pm Melbourne, Australia Time -  10am Israel  Time


Return of the    Bnei Anousim

Conference Organised by:
   Shiloh Miriam
                  A Jewish Descendant of the Anousim of Portugal.
I dedicate this symposium to my grandmother Maria [Miriam] who introduced me to many Jewish Traditions and set me on the path to return.

“And this exiled host of the children of Israel who are [with] the Canaanites as far as Zarephath (France) and the exile of Jerusalem

which is in Sepharad (Portugal-Spain) shall inherit the cities of the southland (Negev).”

Obadiah -1:20




Sephardic Bnei Anousim Hebrew: בני אנוסים ספרדיים‎. "Children of the coerced converted” is a modern term used to define the contemporary Crypto-Jews descendants of an estimated quarter of a million 15th-century Sephardi Jews who were coerced or forced to convert to Catholicism during the 14th and 15th century in Spain and Portugal. The vast majority of conversos remained in Spain and Portugal, and their descendants in both these countries number in the millions.

In non-rabbinic literature, the more widely known Sephardic Anousim are also referred to as:

  • "Conversos",

  • "New Christians"

  • "Crypto-Jews",

  • "Marranos", a pejorative term that means pigs, which refers to those which practiced Judaism in secret and as a result, were targeted by the Portuguese & Spanish Inquisition. This term should never be used to call Bnei Anousim.

This Symposium was designed and created to shed light on this very important and often underexposed journey of "Returnees to Judaism" - Bnei Anousim of Portugal & Spain. The biggest Israeli demographer estimated as high as 200 million descendants of the Jews of the Inquisition. This tsunami of people imposes serious thinking and questions on how to help return these Children of the Inquisition.

This symposium intends to promote awareness and allow the space for the audience to question and promote the discussion with those who for more than twenty years are working in the field of Bnei Anousim.

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Michael Freund
Our Moderator

Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. Freund moved to Israel in 1995. He was appointed shortly thereafter by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to serve as his Deputy Communications Director at the age of 28. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post. Mr. Freund is responsible for the Return of the Lost Tribes into Israel.

Ashley Perry

Ashley Perry (Perez) is President of Reconectar and Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Communities. He was adviser to Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs from April 2009 to January 2015.

rabbi eliahu bimbaum
Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum

Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, was born in Uruguay and made aliya in 1972. He studied in Har Zion Yeshiva and received his rabbinical ordination in 1982. He holds a Masters degree in Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is writing his Ph.D. in Jewish Philosophy at the Bar-Ilan University and is on the staff of the Rappoport Center at the University.
Between 1985 and 1990 he worked in the World Zionist Organization in various capacities: lecturer to youth in Central America on Zionism and Judaism, Latin America Adviser and Manager of Spanish Publications in the Department of Culture and Religious Education.
He was the Chief Rabbi of Uruguay between 1992-1997. Since 1998 he has served as Director of the Straus-Amiel Institute, Ohr Torah Stone (for training rabbis and spiritual leaders for work in Diaspora communities), a Rabbinical Judge (Dayan) on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Conversion Court and was sent by the Israel Chief Rabbi to special missions in India, Peru and other countries. Rabbi Birnbaum also served as the Rabbi of Shavei Yisrael during 15 years, an association which deals with the descendants of the Jewish Nation around the world (from the ten tribes in India to the Anousim in Spain). He was the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Turin, Italy and teaching Halachah in the High Institute of Torah at the Bar Ilan University.
Rabbi Birnbaum served as an officer in the IDF Tank Brigade during his military service, and was actively involved in the Sultan Yaakov battle in the Lebanon war.
Rabbi Birnbaum is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on Judaism faith, practice and philosophy. He also gives lectures on various topics in subjects related to Judaism, the nation of Israel and the lost tribes in Jewish communities around the world.
Rabbi Birnbaum lives in Efrat with his wife Renana.

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman

Rabbi Ulman is the senior member of the Sydney Beth Din. Rabbi Ulman is the rabbinic authority of the Australian Jewish Fertility Network (AJFN),  he is responsible for Kosher IVF in a number of cities across the globe including, Chicago, NY, Caracas, Panama, and others.  He is a reference point for family purity organ tissue donation, as well as running an international institute for Dayanut. He also is an authority in concerns to DNA to assist in determining Jewish Status. His knowledge and expertise is viewed highly in the Chabad communities around the world.

Genie Milgrom

·  Genealogist and Global Speaker on DNA

·  Pioneered  a method to trace Jewish Lineages to the1400s

·  Past President of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies at Colorado State University

·  Past President of the Society of Jewish Genealogy of Greater Miami

·  President of Tarbut Sefarad Fermoselle in Barcelona

·  Author of My 15 Grandmothers, How I found my 15 Grandmothers, Pyre to Fire and The Recipes of my 15 Grandmothers all available on Amazon in English and Spanish

·  Some of the books have been translated to Hebrew, Yiddish and Farsi

·  Speaker at the Knesset (Parliament in Israel)

·  Speaker at the Press Box at the EU Parliament in Brussels

· Spoken Internationally in Spain, Portugal, Guatemala, Ecuador, Uruguay, Denmark, Argentina and many more countries

.   Spoken frequently at Chabad Houses around the world

·   Winner of the 2015 and 2018 and 2020 Latino Author Book Award

·   Winner of the Literary Titan Silver award for the book, Pyre to Fire and 2019  for the Best seller Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers,Winner of the 2020 Latino Author Award for the Recipes of the 15 Grandmothers

·   Recipient of a Genealogy Award from the State of Florida as well as from the International Association of Jewish Genealogists for her extensive work

·   Recipient of the High honor of the Medal of the Four Sephardi Synagogues from Jerusalem

Prof.W. George Mendes

Prof. Winston G. Mendes Davidson, MBBS DTM&H, JP, CD 

Head, School of Public Health & Health Technology, Professor Davidson, a renowned Jamaican scientist, and is one of the world's most advanced medical intellectuals and innovators of the twenty-first century.

He is the author of 57 papers and publications.

Prof. Winston George Mendes recently was part of a Film cast about the Descendants of Crypto-Jews of Portugal & Spain where he explains his journey from finding that he is a descendant of the Crypto-Jews of Portugal & Spain. He was recognised as a Jew after finding his ancestors records in a Synagogue, in his journey from not believing in G-D to finally reconcile with his Jewish identity led him embrace a Jewish orthodox style of life..
Joe Lovett

Joseph Lovett is an award-winning filmmaker, whose films have informed, engaged, and inspired people into action. After working at ABC News 20/20 for ten years as director/producer, Joe founded the company in 1989.


Over the years, Joe has been honored with numerous awards from advocacy organizations, including the AIDS Leadership Award, the Christopher Award, and the Kitty Carlisle Hart Award.

Joe was the Director of Children of Inquisition Film.

Beverly Sacho

Developing an avid interest in history in Jewish history at a young age, Bev has been both a student and a teacher of Jewish history informally for the last 25 years.

She has an interest in Medieval Jewish history with focus on the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula. When Bev is not studying history she is a busy optometrist running a practice together with her husband as well as being a mum of 4 children. Her undergraduate studies are in Psychology and Optometry,with postgraduate studies in eye disease and medication as well as paediatric optometry. Bev has also volunteered as a guide at the Holocaust Museum in Melbourne for the last 8 years,

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Our Endorsers:

Rabbi Michael Freund - Shavei Israel     


Dr. Ribeiro e Castro - Politician responsible for the Law of Return in Portugal

Genie MilgromAuthor and Crypto-Jewish Researcher    


eSefarad - The larger Sefarad Organisation with 19,000 followers

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman - Sydney Beth Din                


Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies at NetanyaAcademic College in Israel

Ashley Perry - Reconnectar & Knesset Caucus for Reconnection with the descendants  of Spanish and Portuguese Communities.    


Joe Lovett - Film Director Children of Inquisition

Achedut Halev  - Israeli Organisation    


Centro Cultural Sefarad Israel de Pernambuco - Brazil        


Associação dos Judeus Sefaraditas de Pernambuco - Brazil      


Rabbi Birnbaum -Dayan & Rabbi for the Rabbanute Conversions Beit Din Israel

Sinagoga Aboab de Fonseca - Brazil

14th February 2021

Bnei Anousim Present

Rabbi Yoram Ulman
The DNA test and   Jewish Status in relation to Halakha
Rabbi Yoram Ulman
The DNA test and   Jewish Status in relation to Halakha
Rabbi Yoram Ulman
The DNA test and   Jewish Status in relation to Halakha
Rabbi Yoram Ulman
The DNA test and   Jewish Status in relation to Halakha


Online Meeting

Registrants whose timezone prevents them from participating live will receive a link to a recorded session






7th February 2021

Bnei Anousim Past

7:00 pm
Bev Sacho
Brief Pre-Inquisition History of Sephardi Jewery in the Iberian Perninsula
The Forced Conversions 
1391 Spain
1496-1497 Portugal
The Terror of the Inquisition  1530-1821 Portugal
The Crypto-Jewish Traditions


7:00 pm

14th February 2021

Bnei Anousim Present

14th February 2021

Bnei Anousim Present

Ashley Perry
The Jewish world and the Israeli government position about the Bene Anousim.
7:20 pm
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman
The DNA test and   Jewish Status for Anousim in relation to Halakha
7:50 pm
7:40 pm
8:30 pm
Portuguese Bnei Anousim
Stories of their Journeys
Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum
The Return of the Bnei Anousim in Jewish Thought and Halakhah, Rabbi and Dayan, Eliahu Birnbaum
Genie Milgrom
How she found her 22 Jewish Grandmothers
to Inquisition
8:10 pm
Prof. W. George Mendes
Personal Journey to find he is halachiclly Jewish
8:00 pm
Joe Lovett
The Jewish tradition of shunning she/he who converts or marries “out” may have affected the fate of the Jewish people in different ways
8:20 pm
Q & A
8:50 pm
Q & A

Film Screening as Part of this Symposium

A film not to be missed, Register Now!

Children of the Inquisition is a re-examination of history and identity in a 2-hour documentary film, immersive website, and educational outreach project that unearths 500 years of hidden history. The film looks at what happened to the families forced to convert to Catholicism or flee during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions through the eyes of their contemporary descendants, many of whom are just discovering their often nuanced Jewish roots.  Our storytellers uncover the connections between their family’s journeys and this buried history.  The discoveries of these flights to safety over the past 500 years give a new perspective to the world events we face today.

 Children of the Inquisition is more than just a film. It’s an opportunity to better understand our complex world and identities.

Link to watch the film will be available for 2 Days to those registering for the Symposium




             1. History                2. Anthropology             3. Halakha

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