In August 1994, the first "Leadership Conference for Descendents of Anusim" was held in Jerusalem, at the Shehebar Centre for Sephardic Studies, which took place with the generous support of the Jewish Agency, the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, the Levinson Foundation, and the World Sefardi Federation (via its Midrash Sefardi Institute in Jerusalem). That meeting was small and private. It concentrated on enhancing the bond of the participants to the land, and educating them in Jewish history and spirituality, with an emphasis on Sephardic history and culture. The group stayed for a week, and heard lectures from Israel's finest scholars on various aspects of Jewish culture, with an emphasis on Sefardi heritage. The choice of Jerusalem as the conference site proved excellent. The people who attended were deeply moved to be back in their ancestral cradle, and the history and special spirit of the place had an overwhelming impact on everyone. The speakers were drawn from Israel's elite, and included Professor Moshe Idel of the Hebrew University (premier authority on kabbalah), Professor Ruth Reichelberg, Dean of Humanities at Bar-Ilan University (an expert in Sephardic history), Rabbi Nissan Ben-Avraham (himself of the anusim), Itamar Yaoz-Keszt (one of Israel's foremost poets and editor-in-chief at Eked Publishing House), among others. The attendees had a memorable audience with Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron.