In this first history of the Jews in New Mexico--from the colonial period to the present day--the author continuously ties the Jewish experience to the evolution of the societies in which they lived and worked. The book begins with one of the least known but most fascinating aspects of New Mexico Jewry--the crypto-Jews who came north to escape the Mexican Inquisition. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the story is more familiar: German merchants settling in Las Vegas and Santa Fe and then coming to Albuquerque after the railroad arrived. To these accounts the author adds considerable nuance and detail, particularly on the place of Jews in smaller communities such as Roswell and Las Cruces as well as their social life and religious practice in a frontier region.
The discussion of the twentieth century focus particularly on the dynamics of Jewish development, and the ways in which that process differed in New Mexico.