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2024 Tenenbaum Lecture: “Latinx Jews in their Adopted Homeland: Constructing New Realities and Claiming New Identities”


The Tam Institute for Jewish Studies (TIJS) at Emory University featured Prof. Laura Limonic of SUNY-Old Westbury as the speaker for the 2024 Tenenbaum Family Lecture in Judaic Studies, which addressed the topic: “Latinx Jews in their Adopted Homeland: Constructing New Realities and Claiming New Identities.” 

Limonic asked, “How do Latinx Jews in the U.S. identify? Can they choose their identity or is it assigned to them? Are their ethnic choices ever strategic or instrumental?” Drawing on the experiences of Latinx Jewish immigrants in the United States, the historical roots of Jewish migration streams to Latin America and a sociological comparative perspective, Limonic discussed how group construction is never static, and, in particular, how race, religion, and class are increasingly important mediating factors in defining ethnicity and ethnic identity.

Dr. Limonic is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at SUNY-Old Westbury. Her book, Kugel and Frijoles: Latino Jews in the United States (Wayne State University Press, 2019) explores issues of ethnicity, race, class and religious community building among Latino Jewish immigrants in Boston, New York, Miami and Southern California. 

This year marked the 27th Tenenbaum Family Lecture in Judaic Studies, which salutes the family of the late Meyer W. Tenenbaum ’31C-’32L of Savannah, Georgia. Tenenbaum, a native of Poland, arrived in the United States at the age of thirteen knowing no English, and graduated from the Emory School of Law eleven years later. He went on to head Chatham Steel Corporation, now a major steel service center with headquarters in Savannah.

The lectureship was established in 1997 by Meyer’s son, Samuel Tenenbaum ‘65C, and honors the entire Tenenbaum family and its ethos of citizenship and public service, which is expressed through its support of religious, educational, social service, and arts institutions across the United States.

Co-sponsored by: Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Departments of Religion, Sociology, and Spanish and Portuguese, Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Hightower Fund, Institute for Liberal Arts, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, Latinx Studies Initiative, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Office of Spiritual and Religious Life.

Watch the March 6th Tenenbaum Lecture here: 

Updated 3/19/24