July 10, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Bildner Center to Host Historian Laura Leibman

A descendant of one of the most prominent Jewish families since the American Revolution, Blanche Moses firmly believed her maternal ancestors were members of the Sephardic elite. Yet she found herself at a dead end when it came to her grandmother’s maternal line. Award-winning historian Laura Arnold Leibman spent a decade unraveling the mystery of Moses’ ancestry, discovering that her grandmother and great-uncle began their lives poor, Christian and enslaved in Barbados.

This family’s fascinating story will be the subject of Leibman’s virtual talk on Tuesday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m. Based on her new book “Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family” (Oxford University Press, 2021), Liebman examines family heirlooms and other artifacts the Moses left behind in Barbados, Suriname, London, Philadelphia and, finally, New York.

Free and open to the public, the talk is sponsored by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University, and is made possible through an endowed gift from Toby and Herbert Stolzer. Advance registration is required at BildnerCenter.Rutgers.edu.

Laura Arnold Leibman, Ph.D., is professor of English and Humanities at Reed College.

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