NMJHS Life & Legacy Endowment Fund: Create Your Own Legacy

LIFE & LEGACY: L’Chaim New Mexico — To Our Jewish Future

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is committed to helping secure the future of New Mexico’s Jewish community. We are excited to participate in a new 4-year partnership with them.

LIFE & LEGACY is an endowment program designed to help you create permanent legacy gifts, demonstrating your belief in the continuity of Jewish life in New Mexico for generations to come. Working together with Jewish organizations and synagogues in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, this program helps individuals and families create ongoing support for the Jewish causes you care about.

NMJHS is one of ten New Mexico organizations participating in Life &Legacy: L’Chaim New Mexico- To Our Jewish Future.

Others include:

Congregation Albert, Albuquerque
Congregation B’nai Israel, Albuquerque
Congregation Nahalat Shalom, Albuquerque
HaMakom, Santa Fe
Jewish Care Program
JCC of Greater Albuquerque
Jewish Federation of New Mexico
Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe


Testimonial: “What NMJHS has meant to me” Dorothy Corner Amsden, NMJHS, Past President, Los Alamos
New Mexico history took on a new and relevant meaning for me after I joined the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society and started learning about how Jewish history intertwines with New Mexico history. Having a new, Jewish perspective made impersonal state history come alive for me.

Over the years I’ve learned about Jewish merchant families from Germany who settled throughout New Mexico in the late 1800s and were accepted into the social fabric of the Territory’s small towns and growing cities. Their stories have been preserved by NMJHS members as videotaped interviews with descendants and published in anthologies.

Intriguingly, European Jewish merchants were not the first Jews to set foot in New Mexico, as I learned through NMJHS publications and conferences. Crypto-Jews fleeing the Inquisition in Mexico City had settled along the Rio Grande in the 1600s. In recent years their heritage has started coming to light. This is history unfolding before our very eyes.

It’s astonishing how much the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society has accomplished since it was established in 1985. NMJHS has led the way documenting Jewish presence and influence in New Mexico from the very beginning of Spanish colonization. It’s been a fascinating learning experience for me and countless other Society members as we read its award-winning quarterly newsletter, Legacy, and attend its programs and conferences.

My association with NMJHS over the years has deepened my appreciation of their unique mission within the Jewish community and in a wider context as well. The Life & Legacy Partnership Program, which was established two years ago, is the perfect vehicle for making a gift now or in your estate planning.

NMJHS “Pioneer” Society Donors as of July 30, 2023

Rick and Kathy, z”l Abeles
Dorothy Corner Amsden
Anonymous (3)
Anonymous, IMO Albert &Lillian Hartog
Anonymous, IMO Leah Kellogg & Gerald Bell
Gloria Abella Ballen & Ron Duncan Hart
Deborah Avren
Lance and Julia Bell
Wayne Bobrick, z”l & Tania Bobrick
Daniel B. Borenstein, MD
Jeffrey Brown & Cherri Hudson-Brown
Harvey & Chris Buchalter
Patricia Carlton
Alan and Diane Chodorow
Sandra and David Dietz
Stuart Feen & Carol Sonnenshein
Bill and Margrethe Feldman
Doris Francis-Erhard
Carla Freeman, z”l
Talia Freedman
Debra Wechter Friedman
Irene & Robert Gale
Art Gardenswartz & Sonya Priestly
Sheila Gershen & Sy Baldwin
Elliott Gerson
Linda & Ed Goff
Marcia Greenbaum
Paul Greenbaum
Helen Grevey
Jessica Herzstein
Stan &amp, Helen Hordes
Frederic William Ilfeld, Jr.
Debra Kane & Steven Kesselman, z”l
Heath & Barbara LaMont
Bernice Langner
Fran Levine
Norma Libman
Cynthia and David London
Kathleen Kahn Mahon
Stephen P. Margulin & Iris S. Weinstein
Anne McCormick & Alan Wagman
Harold Melnick, z”l
Richard Melzer
Susan K. Michelson & William Stein
Beth Moise, z”l
Steve Moise
Beverly Post and Jack Shlachter
Noel Pugach
Fred Raznick
Erika Rimson & David Bernstein
Robert Rubenstein
Naomi Sandweiss
Rae Siporin
Paul Sklar
Robert Spitz
Marcia Torobin
Murray Tucker, z”l
Gary and Sandra Wallace
Sarah Winger

New Mexico Jewish History and NMJHS: A Snapshot

New Mexico’s Jewish history reaches back almost 500 hundred years when some of the early Spanish arrivals by way of Mexico traced their family histories to Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jews who became conversos, or “converted” in order to escape the clutches of the Spanish Inquisition. The mid-19th century marked the arrival of European Ashkenazi Jews via the Santa Fe Trail, and they became the leading merchants in the Territory. When the railroad arrived in the 1880s, more Jewish merchants arrived and expanded their business presence throughout New Mexico.  The history of New Mexico Jews tells the stories of individuals and organizations who made their mark on all walks of life from business/commerce; ranchers and miners; social organizations; traders with the Navajo and Pueblo reservations; to becoming the first mayor of Albuquerque and first governor of the State. All of them made significant contributions to the Territory and later State, and it is our goal and responsibility to ensure the recognition as well as through educational programming this rich history reaches the public. New Mexico Jewish history, therefore, reflects a blend of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic cultural traditions, a unique feature in U.S. Jewish history.

Founded in 1985, our mission is: “The New Mexico Jewish Historical Society is a secular organization that promotes greater knowledge and understanding of New Mexico’s diverse Jewish experiences within a broad cultural context.” Through our programs, annual Fall Conference, and publications, we are the sole state-wide organization devoted to the research, collection, and publication of these events and the stories of Jewish families who settled here. It is our goal to ensure that this rich history reaches as many as possible to keep our stories alive for now and generations to follow.

Our legacy donors want to ensure that the history of the Jews of New Mexico and their contributions to the state are preserved and available to the Jewish community and the general public. If it us not us, then who will pass along these stories to next generations?

Your legacy gift today promises that the stories and contributions of the Jews in New Mexico will be kept alive and passed to the next generation. Please join us!

If you would like to learn more about Life & Legacy, please contact Erika Rimson, Executive Director, Jewish Community Foundation of New Mexico, erika@jcfnm.org



NMJHS is a private non-profit 501 c 3 organization and Life & Legacy contributions are tax deductible.