30 April 2007

A shtetl fashion statement

When Jasia of Creative Gene announced the topic - School Days - for the new Carnival of Genealogy, I took a nostalgic trip back in time.

Procrastination is genetic in my family so I forgot to share that trip on my blog until today.

My maternal grandfather Szaje Fink (who would become Sidney Fink in New York) and his siblings lived in the "shtetl" (Yiddish for small town) of Suchastow. This well-travelled little village was in Austro-Hungary when my grandfather lived there, then became part of Poland, and today is in Ukraine. For a very short time, it seems also to have been part of Slovakia.

My grandfather spoke several languages -- Yiddish, Polish, Russian, German and Slovak. He used to say he was never quite sure of where Suchastow was each day until he heard how the teacher addressed the class.

Born in 1898 (during the big Purim blizzard) in an even tinier hamlet in the same area, he came to America in 1914.

One of the best stories he ever told was about school.

The children went to school in a slightly larger hamlet down the road. Their mother, Rivke (Rebecca, who would become Regina on her New York gravestone), would always tell them to come home together quickly so no one would kidnap them.

In those days, prefaced my grandfather, the littlest kids wore long shirts which trailed down behind them.

Late one cold afternoon, they began walking home on a muddy path through the trees.

Suddenly, they thought they heard someone walking behind them and remembered their mother's stories of kidnappers. They became frightened and started running. No matter how fast they ran, the footsteps behind them kept coming.

Out of breath, red-faced, panting, they rushed in the door of the house, screaming for help because someone was chasing them. Rivka looked out the door, but saw no one. As she checked the children and calmed them, she began to laugh.

It seems their shirt tails had become wet, muddy and then frozen. Each time they took a step, the frozen shirt tails thumped the ground. As they ran, the tails hit faster and faster - thump, thump, thump - they believed they were being chased.

I don't know for sure, but it is likely Rivka shortened all their shirt tails that night.

One magazine, four stories

Visit the Jewish Magazine's latest issue for four interesting stories on Newark's Jewish community, the Project of Hope, Sephardic Jewry and a family's trek to America:

I enjoyed reading Jay Levinson's "This City is Just Memories: Remembering a Forgotten Jewish Community" about Newark, New Jersey, as my maternal great-grandparents settled there in 1905.

Syd Mandelbaum's "Project of Hope" discusses finding Holocaust Survivors with DNA. Mandelbaum will be speaking on his project at the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, along with other DNA and genetics experts on a variety of subjects.

Sephardic Jewry is a favorite subject, as regular readers of Tracing the Tribe already know. Manuel Azevedo has contributed "How the Portuguese Secret Jews Saved England." There's an interesting link to Ladina: Aspiring to give a voice to our heritage with numerous relevant postings on Spanish and Portuguese Jews; some postings are in Spanish and Portuguese, most are in English.

"Continuing The Walk: Walking through generations" by Richard Steinberg, a New York Times and international best-selling author, is the story of his own family's Exodus from a central Russian "nameless" shtetl through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, Belgium, England and finally to America.

While it is an evocative piece, Steinberg perpetuates the number one myth of immigration. He writes

"Here I stand, in the footsteps of David and Philip Meister (become Steinberg, when the Immigration Officer at Ellis Island couldn't pronounce their last name, and so gave them a new one off of an approved list)."

This is untrue. Ellis Island immigration officers spoke some 60 languages and had translators for additional languages. The officers worked off passenger manifests that were prepared before the ship sailed. No immigrant's name was changed at an officer's whim at Ellis Island, and MEISTER would have been one of the simplest names the officers had seen that day.

Family history lost

As described in this article, Western Illinois University president Al Goldfarb visits a junior high school to talk about his experiences as the child of Holocaust survivors.

Al Goldfarb had some questions.

"How many of you know one of your grandparents?" Goldfarb asked. "How many of you know an aunt or an uncle?"

Most of the students gathered in the gym of Monmouth-Roseville Junior High School raised their hands.

"You know what my answer would have been? No. Did I know my grandparents? No," Goldfarb said. "My history was taken away from me. My children's history has been taken from me."

In Ukraine, his mother was 12 in 1939. With family members, she escaped from a ghetto into the Ukrainian forest, and spent years under cover. After the war, she and an aunt went to a displaced persons camp, where she met his father. He had survived the Flausenberg labor camp. They married in 1947 and went to the U.S.

Goldfarb grew up in New York with his parents, brother and great-aunt. The rest of his family and all their possessions, including photographs, were lost in the war.

He told the students, "You need to not view the Holocaust as ancient history," Goldfarb said. "I'm the example of that."

Digital is not forever

Sally Jacob's Practical Archivist blog provides down-to-earth great information. It is always on my must-read list.

Her newest postings include a pointer to a Varietyarticle, which stresses that digital, unlike a diamond, is NOT forever.

No more dyes to fade, no more film stocks to decay or catch fire. Just pristine digital data, preserved for all time, and release prints as clear and sharp as the images caught by the camera.

Just one problem: For long-term storage, digital is -- so far -- proving to be a time bomb, more permanent than sand painting but not much else.

Kind of scary - just when some of us have been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st digital century, we read this:

It's not that there's no way to store digital data. On the contrary, there are dozens of ways to store it, most of which go obsolete in just a few years. Remember 5" floppies and Zip disks?

And the disks that have stuck around? Not so reliable.

Data tapes are balky and can fall apart. Data DVDs and CDs have a history of "rotting" and can't be counted on to last as long as their commercially pressed cousins.

Says Sally, "The old school method of "store and ignore" simply doesn't work with digital. 40% of backup tapes have frames missing or corrupted after being stored for as little as 9 months."

Her solution: Transform digital intermediates into three-color separation negatives.

Other recent postings on her blog include practical advice on mold and how it can play havoc with photos, printing inscriptions on the backs of photographs, and tackling large-scale family photo projects.

Mauritius: An immigration story

While Tracing the Tribe is focused on Jewish genealogy, the inclusion of unusual, little-known records for other peoples is also important to place our own immigration and genealogy issues into perspective.

From The Hindu newspaper, comes this story concerning Mauritius and the Indian immigration, titled "A necessary exile."

From 1829-1850 until 1929, some 5 million poor Indians, mostly from Tamil-Telugu, Madras and Bihar) migrated to Mauritius; about 40% were women.

At Moka, the Indian Folk Museum of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute is dedicated to keeping alive immigrants' history. Some 2,00,000 photographs and half a million coolie records including birth, death and marriage registers, dating from 1842 to 1920 are part of its impressive archives, easily making it the largest on indentured labour anywhere in the world.

The Frozen Chosen: What if?

Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" is located in the imaginary city of Sitka, which is not quite like the real town. From the New York Times, read this review by Patricia Cohen.

Mr. Chabon takes a historical footnote, a pie-in-the-sky proposal to open up the Alaska Territory in 1940 to European Jews marked for extermination, and asks: What if? What if this proposal, which in real life was supported by the secretary of the interior, Harold Ickes, but killed in Congress, had actually passed? What if Jews had poured into a frigid island instead of the Middle Eastern desert, and the state of Israel had never been created? What if the small settlement of Sitka had grown into a teeming Jewish homeland, a land not of milk and honey but of salmon and lumber?

Chabon visited Alaska in 2004 and selected Sitka as the home for the imaginary millions of European Jews saved from the terror and their children and grandchildren. The book describes the eve of Reversion, when the land is to be returned to the Alaskans and the Jews kicked out.

Cohen describes her visit to the real Sitka and meetings with its Jewish residents, describes the first Jewish wedding there (the menu featured H&H bagels flown in from New York), Alaska's wildlife and the Nugget Restaurant's famous banana cream pie (featured in the novel).

For the book, Mr. Chabon dug into New York’s underworld slang, filling in at spots with his own linguistic creations. A latke is a beat cop and a sholem is a gun — a bit of wordplay, as “sholem” in Yiddish means peace, and “piece” is slang for gun in English. The powerful local mafia is made up of Hasidic Jews with payess, long curling sidelocks.

In the book, Chabon used the name of his grandmother's shtetl, Verbov, for the Hasidic sect that runs "his" Sitka.

Definitely on my to-read list.

Seeking heirs in Israel

From Ha'aretz, a story about thousands of pieces of Judaica, hundreds of art works, half a million books - all owned by Holocaust victims - which are in Israel, held by state institutions, private museums and synagogues.

The Company for Locating and Retrieving Assets of Holocaust Victims is asking for all of the items so it can attempt to locate the heirs. If they cannot be found, the company will sell the items and distribute the funds to groups aiding Holocaust survivors and institutions which remember the Holocaust.

The items were transferred to Israel after World War II by the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO), formed by the Jewish Agency, Joint Distribution Agency, World Jewish Congress, Agudat Yisrael and others.

The JRSO archive has disappeared and little is known about it, according to the article, but the paper obtained summaries of JRSO management debates, some prepared by the JRSO executive secretary, the historian and political theorist Hannah Arendt.

Most of the items JRSO handled came from a huge buried treasure of looted Jewish property that was discovered by the United States Army in salt mines near Wiesbaden in central Germany.

One summary says that, "in July and August 1949, 211 crates were sent from Germany containing 10,400 ritual items." About half - 97 crates - were sent to Israel, 83 to New York, 16 to Europe and 25 damaged ritual objects were sent to be melted. "In Wiesbaden, 45,000 to 50,000 volumes from Jewish-German institutions and 1,100 rare books are waiting to be sorted," it says.

JRSO looked for the items' owners only in some cases. In the case of a giant book collection dubbed the "Baltic Collection," estimated to number more than 16,000, JRSO decided to try to locate only the heirs of five or more books. The rest were distributed to institutions and organizations and 45 crates were sent to the Jewish National and University Library for two years.

New York: A play to offend everyone

The Jewish Voice and Opinion (Englewood, New Jersey), is, according to its Web site, a politically conservative Jewish publication which presents news and feature articles not generally available elsewhere in the Jewish or secular media.

For something you won't read anywhere else - for sure - try this article by editor Susan Rosenbluth, about the Jewish Theater of New York's current production, "Last Jew in Europe."

Poland may be trying to shed its reputation as a hot bed of antisemitism, one that, today, must exist virtually without Jews (living, that is; Poland has often been called "one giant Jewish cemetery"), but, in this effort, the country will receive no help from Tuvia Tenenbom.

Tenenbom, the artistic director of the Jewish Theater of New York, describes the Lodz, Poland, locale of the play "an antisemite’s paradise, right in the middle of the EU, where anti-Jewish declarations are graphically exhibited in almost every street corner and calls for sending Jews back to the gas chambers go unchallenged."

The play's characters: The possibly Jewish Jozef (but who thinks he is) who fears his anti-semitic fiancee Maria will find out, and John, a young American Mormon "who arrives in Lodz to research the genealogy of dead Polish Jews so that they can be 'baptized' in an after-death proxy ceremony back in Salt Lake City."

The article addresses Tenenbom's extended vist to Radzyn, Poland to see where his great-grandparents once lived and where an ancestor established the Chasidic dynasty called the Radzyner Court. At one stop, a man tells him he couldn't sleep because "there are too many Jews in the world."

In Radzyn, once home to a Jewish majority, the Polish government built a neighborhood on top of the cemetery in 1957. Tenenbom meets a woman who lives in one of the houses and believes the dead Jews under her house have brought her luck, and are the reason for her "sweet apples."

And Tenenbom mentions his visit to Utah, including a computer center which houses the Mormon sect’s genealogical databases. There, he discovered that his grandfather was among those whom the Mormons had baptized by post-mortem proxy.
"What a fate for a Jew: Turned into a Mormon in the US, into fertilizer in Poland," says Mr. Tenenbom.

The article goes on to discuss Tenenbom's belief that the Polish Embassy and Consulate are pressuring the New York Times not to review the production.

For more information, www.JewishTheater.org

28 April 2007

Looking for museums in the Old Country?

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles is putting together a list of museums in shtetls and small towns in all areas where Jews once lived.

Nancy Holden, editor of the JGSLA Roots-Key journal, asks "If in your travels, or travel preparations, you have heard or visited a local museum or know of a local historian, we would like to hear from you."

The list will become part of the society's project: "Recreating Your Ancestral Shtetl." JGSLA will work on this during 2007 and plans to publish results in a special issue by December.

For more information, click here to contact Holden, and to see the titles of the many excellent articles published in Roots-Key since 1994.

Roundtable on Vienna's community archives

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is hosting a roundtable discussion on June 7, titled "Rescuing the Evidence: The Archive of the Jewish Community of Vienna."

In 2000, during a routine inspection of one of its older buildings, Jewish Community Vienna (IKG) officials found a vacant apartment filled with wooden cabinets and 800 cardboard boxes -- covered with decades of dirt, dust and mold -- containing documents.

Some of the items discovered have become part of a cache detailing the Viennese Jewish community's final pre-Holocaust years -- it now numbers some 2 million pages of Holocaust-era documents, including reports, letters, emigration and financial documents, deportation lists, name card files, books, photographs, maps, and charts.

The recently-found materials represent a substantial and long-forgotten archival record part of what was once the largest German-speaking Jewish community in Europe.

In 2002, the Museum and the IKG agreed to jointly rescue the materials and make them available to both the Viennese public and at the USHMM.

The panelists at the USHMM program on May 7 will highlight the discovery, rescue, and dissemination of the materials; the impact on survivors; the importance for genealogical research and the scholarly field of Holocaust studies at USHMM and at a planned Vienna Wiesenthal Institute (VWI); and preparations for an exhibition set to open at the Vienna's Jewish Museum later this year.

The event includes a welcome by the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (CAHS) director Paul Shapiro. CAHS senior program officer Suzanne Brown-Fleming is the panel chair, while participants include: Ingo Zechner (Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center director, Vienna, Austria); Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek (Jewish Museum Vienna chief curator, Austria); Anatol Steck (CAHS Program Officer, International Archival Programs); and Walter B. Feiden (a Viennese survivor in New York who was featured on the CBS 60 Minutes segment, "Revisiting the Horrors of the Holocaust").

For more on the USHMM's Vienna archival collection, click here. For roundtable reservations and information, click here.

NOTE: Both Shapiro and Zechner will also be speaking at the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, July 15-20, in Salt Lake City. Conference opening keynote speaker Shapiro will address the latest news on the Bad Arolsen records, while Zechner will speak on the Vienna community records.

Barbados: A treasure of Sephardic Jewish records

A new database of English settlers in Barbados from 1637-1800 is now on Ancestry.co.uk; it offers births, wills, marriages and other documents.

For those with Sephardic Caribbean ancestors, this database may be a goldmine of information.

I did a quick search for COHEN, and under an interestingly-named heading of "Jewish Baptisms," found numerous Jewish births. A page with dates of 1799-1800 held a transcribed, typed list of numerous births. The data comes from Register RL1/75. A further note indicates the register is in deteriorated condition and is closed to general view.

Names of infants and parents:

Isaac, son of Benjamin Henriques DaCosta
Joseph, son of Naphtali Hart
Benjamin and Mozeley, twin sons of Isaac Elkin
Walter and Isaac, twin sons of Jacob Levi
Daniel, son of Moses Pass
Sarah, daughter of Moses DeCastro
Hannah, daughter of Eleazer Myers
Sarah, daughter of Jacob Levi
Hananel, son of Moses Decastro
Isaac, son of Benjamin Cohen de Azevedo
Rebecca, daughter of Lemon Hart
Esther, daughter of Elieser Montefiore

HINT: Search for common Jewish given names, such as Isaac (or Isaque, as it is spelled in some documents), Jacob or Moses, and other families of Sephardic lineage will show up. Names with "de" sometimes run together; e.g. de Fonseca will be listed as defonseca or the Portuguese version, dafonseca. The documents also indicate relatives in different cities and daughters' married names.

Here's a will dated July 4, 1685, which was translated from Portuguese.

NAVARRO, Aaron, son of Abraham Navarro of Amsterdam, now resident in Barbados. Since there is no money in the business concern in Brazil, brother Moses Navarro should come to Amsterdam; Iihac Nunes Navarro - Adm in Brazil; my nieces, daus of Mandey Couzal; the heirs of bro Jacob Navaroo; Jacob Fundas; Samuel Frazad; Samuel DeNeiga (also spelled DeVeiga) regarding the care of Abraham Navarro or Mosso concerning the care of his heirs; mentions the Adm of bro Mahamad Eveham (?); daus Hanah Navarro and Ehetta Navarro; mentions Moses Hisquian DeMercado, wf Esther Navarro; chn Moses Navarro, Jacob Navarro, and Sarah Fletcher to place property with the heirs of my bro if own heirs die; Haham Reby; Elias Lopez; Jacob Dafonseca Valle; Joseph Senior; nephew Abraham Valverde; Nosea May Sarah Torres, chn of my wf (?) Esther Navarra. signed Aaron Navarro. Witnesses: Joseph Senior, Sam Brunts, Thomas Page, Jacob Baruh Louzada, Jacob Dafonsecca Neza. Proved 29 Oct 1685.

The 1711 will of merchant David Castello indicates his sons Jacob and Ephraim are to receive the 5 books of Moses he has in synagogue. His son Moses and daughter Hannah are to receive 1/3 of a house in Amsterdam near the Vinticue in the company "of my sisters which was put in the orphans house in Amsterdam by my fa [father] in 1670; daughter Judith Mandez, wife of Moses Mandez Jr - 5 shillings, and names his wife Rebecca as his executrix.

A 1715 document, a memo to a will, reveals that the person gave his nephew "420 aces in the parish of St. Marie's in Jamaica I bought of Moses Cohena, a Jew."

Happy hunting!

26 April 2007

Bringing home the lost

Michael Freund is chair of Shavei Israel, which assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people.

Here he addresses Israeli demographics and a solution.

THE FACT is that there is a vast, and largely untapped, reservoir of people clamoring to join, or rejoin, the nation of Israel.

From Poland to Peru, and in places as far afield as Russia, China, Portugal, Spain and Brazil, an extraordinary awakening of momentous proportions is taking place, as various communities with a historical connection to the Jewish people now seek out their roots and long to return to our people.

In many instances, these people's ancestors were torn away from us against their will, as a result of the oppression and persecution that hounded the Jewish people throughout the centuries of exile.

And now, these communities are all knocking on our collective door, pleading to be allowed back in, whether through conversion or return.

He addresses the Bnei Menashe of India; the Bnai Anousim in Spain, Portugal and South America; hidden Polish children; 20,000 Subbotnik Jews who converted 200 years ago; "Jews of the jungle" in Peru's Amazon basin and their Moroccan ancestors; Kaifeng, China.

Although aimed at increasing aliyah to Israel, there is no doubt that for genealogists, the thought that descendants of our ancestors may be out there - somewhere - is inspiring.

Ends Freund:

It demonstrates the power not only of Jewish memory, but of Jewish destiny as well.

And it underlines the fact that no matter how far a Jewish soul may wander, even to the farthest corners of the world, it can - and ultimately will - find its way back home.

New Haven: Medical histories and life

From the Yale Herald, an article about an interesting volunteer program, Living History, at the Yale-New Haven Hospital:

Kupiec, who wears a hot pink hospital coat, is a Living History volunteer: Every Thursday, she visits willing patients here to record their life histories. The Living History program, established at YNHH last year, allows patients to share their lives.

"It is a living, breathing chronicle of a patient’s non-medical history," reads the program brochure. Volunteers are trained in listening and writing skills, and spend up to an hour with each patient asking questions that range from the basics (nicknames, education history, hobbies) to such specifics as "How did you meet your spouse?” and “Is there anything you have always wanted to do but haven’t?"

One copy is laminated and given to the patient, while a confidential copy is provided to caregivers; it help physicians and other staffers make connections to their patients.

The patients sometimes share these histories with their families, or use them to reorient themselves after surgery or illness.

Keeping archives accessible as technology shifts

How are you storing your archival data? Will it still be accessible down the road?

County and state archives are dealing with changing technology for the masses of records they keep. Here are are two stories dealing with these issues.

In Florence, Alabama, the Times Daily reports:

Mindy Hurt has worked for the Lauderdale County Commission long enough to remember when data was saved on eight-inch floppy disks.

In fact, she still has unopened boxes of the large disks in a cabinet in her office.

Because of fast-paced changes in technology, however, those disks are virtually useless, since the county has no way to access the data.

The story jumps to the Library of Congress, where Guy Lamolinara says

"Paper is in many ways more stable than digital content," he said, but "think about Web sites. How many that existed 10 years ago still exist today? And in what form? Web sites can change daily or even by the minute."

The second story is about the Washington State Archives:

Inside the storage area, row after row of movable shelving is filled with boxes, enormous leather-bound volumes and stacks of documents. The room is kept at a constant temperature of 60 degrees and between 40-45 percent humidity. Paper, even if it is more than 100 years old, absorbs and releases moisture as its environment changes, according to Scott Sackett, an archivist at the central branch. The best thing you can do for the documents is keep them at a consistent temperature and humidity, he said.

Records keep growing and so do storage problems.

Spelling 101: Flexibility is key

Searching for your name? Try asking a first-grader to spell it phonetically. You might come up with a few more variations.

This article by James Beidler, focuses on spelling, and explains some universal problems faced by family history researchers.

He speaks about the name DAUB and how, in German, D, T, B and P are pronounced similarly, producing such variants in a simple four-letter name as Doub, Toub, Taub, Thaub, Doup, Toup, Taup, Thaup, Taube and Daup.

Beidler mentions how, in Pennsylvania, 18th century German names with umlauts, the two dots over vowels, were hard to anglicize, so that the name KRUECK is seen as 18th century Grig and Creek and contemporary Krick, Crick and Creek.

He also talks about his own name and how it is pronounced ... or isn't.

Happy reading!

DNA: Searching for Dad

Matt Crenson is an AP national writer with a special interest in DNA.

His latest is about Martin Marshall's search for his father.

Marshall has learned some fascinating things about his heritage. But he has also infuriated and antagonized complete strangers who can't believe that he would suggest that a loved one might have sired illegitimate children - and then ask for their DNA to help prove it. He has been accused of harassment and even extortion.

He still doesn't know who his father was, and says "It's more of a twisted tale and journey than I envisioned."

"What are the procedures," Marshall asks. "Where's the handbook for how you go about doing this kind of research?"

Read the story here

India: Family records lost

Can you imagine losing your family's records covering hundreds of years?

Although not about Jewish records, this story will make any genealogist feel uncomfortable at the least.

According to this article in the Times of India:

"Maithil Brahmins are known to have followed the "panji prabhandha" (system of recorded genealogy) since 14th century. These records are maintained by "panjikars", who examined the validity and purity of marriage settlements.

"The institution of "panjikar" (genealogist) was established by Maharaja Harsimhadeva (1296-1323 AD) of Karnat dynasty at Saurath. In course of time, genealogical records assumed gigantic proportions and it was decided to make genealogists available at villages across Mithilanchal to facilitate marriages."

According to the story, the ancestral details of thousands of Maithil Brahmins, written on palm leaves for generations have allegedly been sold to a US agency which said it would document them and turn over a printed record.

Said one victim:

"The middleman gave me Rs 4,000, at the rate of 10 paise per leaf, to get my all records printed. After sometime, he dumped the records in gunny bags at my home, without handing over the printed version. Later, I found many pages were torn and hundreds of them missing," he alleged.

Israel: Let your fingers do the walking...

It's hard to "let your fingers do the walking" when the website won't cooperate.

Israel's phone company Bezeq had a useful online site until a few months ago, when it was "improved."

The old one was useful for researchers or anyone looking for friends and family in Israel, especially when combined with Steve Morse's front-end utility for non-Hebrew speakers from around the world.

The new site has major limitations and Steve's utility won't work with the new site - he has taken it down - meaning non-Hebrew speakers are out of luck.

Read all about it in my Jerusalem Post story, "Bezeq's new Web site stymies genealogical searches."

"Those searching for family and friends in Israel have been deprived of a major resource, because Bezeq has redesigned its online telephone directory.

"Hard hit by the changes are professional and amateur genealogists who assist in reuniting families separated by the Holocaust or other events."

Read the complete story here.

Israel: "From threads to a quilt" May 9

JFRA Israel's Ra'anana branch will host, at 7.30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, Rachel Kreisberg-Zakarin who will present "From a few threads to a whole quilt: The story of my genealogical research into the Simon Wiesenthal family."
Kreisberg-Zakarin is the granddaughter of Simon Wiesenthal

Writes JFRA Israel's president Ingrid Rockberger: "Until about a year ago, Rachel knew very little about her grandfather's family other than the fact that he and his wife lost 89 family members in the Holocaust. Rachel's research sheds light on the Wiesenthal family roots in Galicia, those family members who immigrated to the US, those who died in the Holocaust and those who survived - to tell their stories and of those who perished.

Doors open at 7 p.m. at Beit Fisher, 5 Klausner Street, Ra'anana.
Admission for JFRA members, NIS 5; for others, NIS 20.

For more information, click here.

Northwest tour for Jewishgen's Blatt - UPDATE

UPDATE: Warren Blatt's topic will be Polish resources in Vancouver, B.C. on May 10.

Jewish genealogical societies in the Northwest have been doing a great job sharing sometimes substantial expenses to bring in excellent speakers who make the rounds in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

I believe that this is a model more geographically- related societies should be considering.

This time, the speaker is Warren Blatt, editor-in-chief of JewishGen, the primary Internet site for Jewish genealogy, a division of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Blatt has authored Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area (Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, 1996); co-authored (with Gary Mokotoff), Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy (Avotaynu, 1999); and is editor of the Kielce-Radom Special Interest Group Journal. In 2004, he received the IAJGS’ Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2004 Jerusalem conference.

He has more than 25 years of research experience with Russian and Polish Jewish records, and authors the "JewishGen FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Jewish Genealogy" and many JewishGen InfoFiles.

Portland, OR: Brunch with Blatt on Sunday, May 6

The JGS of Oregon's 2007 annual brunch will take place from 10.30 a.m.-1 p.m., and Blatt will discuss new JewishGen developments and preview new features coming soon to your computer. For all details about reservations, event, location, directions, click here.

Seattle, WA: Two talks on Monday, May 7

The JGS of Washington State has announced that Blatt will give two presentations. Doors at the Mercer Island JCC auditorium will open at 6.30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. Photo ID is required to enter the building.

He will present "Jewish Given Names" and "JewishGen Highlights."

Learn why Mordechai Yehuda is also Mortka Leib is also Max, in Blatt's overview of Jewish first names, focusing on practical issues for genealogical research. Our ancestors each had many different given names and nicknames, in various languages and alphabets - this can make Jewish genealogical research difficult. This presentation will demonstrate the history and patterns of Jewish first names, and how to recognize your ancestors' names in genealogical sources.

He will also highlight recent updates to JewishGen including its most popular databases: the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF), JewishGen ShtetlSeeker; the Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP), and JewishGen Discussion Group message archives. Learn how JewishGen's internet databases can help add to your own genealogical data.

JGSWS library materials will be available for research before and after the presentations. Programs are free for JGSWS members, $5 for non-members. For more information, click here.

Vancouver, B.C. on Thursday, May 10

On May 10, Blatt's subject will be Polish resources at the Jewish Genealogical Institute of British Columbia event. For more information, email jgibc@yahoo.com.

The JGIBC was founded in 1992 and has an extensive collection of genealogical research books, journals, maps, microfiche and reader housed in the Jewish Community Centre. On March 26, The Jewish Historical Society of BC celebrated the grand opening of the Jewish Museum and Archives in the same location.

St. Louis: Meet me at the (Gen) Fair May 5

The St. Louis Genealogical Society will host its 37th fair on May 5. Among the sessions is "Beginning Genealogy" with Ilene Murray of the Jewish Special Interest group (J-SIG).

To see the other conference sessions, click here

J-SIG began in June 2005 as a revival of the Jewish Genealogical Society of St. Louis. Click here for more information on location, meetings and resources.

The group's next meeting is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, when Ilene Murray will speak on mailing lists and e-mail, covering subscribing to and managing Internet resources.

According to J-SIG's site, Jews have been living in St. Louis since 1807 (when merchant Joseph Philipson arrived from Pennsylvania), and the first recorded prayer session with a minyan was in 1836. By 1850, there were some 50 Jews in the city and land was purchased outside the city for a cemetery. Today, that land is midtown and the cemetery has been relocated.

In 1841, the first synagogue was organized. Another congregation and a second cemetery followed. In 1854, there were enough Jews to require a rabbi, and the first synagogue was constructed in 1855.

By 1900, there were some 40,000 Jews, four cemeteries, four newspapers, two funeral homes, a Hebrew Free School and many Jewish organizations. Today there are more than 60,000 Jews, with many congregations, cemeteries, Holocaust museum, theater, charities, schools and nationally-known hospital.

A bibliography on the site lists five books about the community. Resources include a cemetery index. The St. Louis Public Library's includes Jewish books, periodicals, Yizkor books, maps and gazetteers. The Missouri Historical Society's Research Library holds business records, Jewish newspapers and more. Click here for a timeline of St. Louis Jewish history.

The Wandering Jew: A call for papers

The Israel Genealogical Society has issued its call for papers for the Third One-Day Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, which will take place on November 12, 2007.

This year, the event will focus on "The Wandering Jew: Jewish migration during the 18th-20th centuries."

According to the organizers, this covers any Jewish community anywhere at any time during this time span. The emphasis of any presentation should include available resources and should deal with availability and access to documentation.

The deadline for abstracts is June 1.

For all details, including location and formatting of abstracts, click here.

Tel Aviv: Success highlighted May 1

JFRA Israel's Tel Aviv branch has invited Patricia "Trisher" Wilson to speak at 8 pm, Tuesday, May 1, The program is in English.

Wilson, a Ra'anana resident originally from London, has recently reunited a dozen families, some of which have been spotlighted in Jerusalem Post articles. She will demonstrate how she uses the Internet, Yad Vashem and genealogical research methods.

The stories surrounding these connections contain many twists and turns, and attendees will find them fascinating.

The meeting is at Beit Shalom, 2 Shir St. Tel Aviv. JFRA members: no charge; others, NIS 15.

For more information, click here.

21 April 2007

Bad Arolsen records: Germany ratifies opening

More good news!

With Germany's April 13 ratification of the international agreement to unseal the Bad Arolsen archive, a majority of the 11 nations that oversee the International Tracing Service archives have voted to unseal the archive's 30-50 million pages (including 17.5 million names).

This trove is administered by the International Red Cross. In May, the oversight committee will meet in The Hague to finalize arrangements for the transfer of digital copies to other Holocaust research centers where survivors will be able to see their own files and researchers will be able to work with them

Before the amendments permitting this transfer can take effect, all 11 signatories must ratify them.

Germany ratification was essential politically in several ways, including the fact that the archives are in Germany and subject to German law.

The U.S., Israel, Poland, the Netherlands and Britain have also ratified the amendments. The others are Belgium, France, Italy, Greece and Luxembourg; most of them say they intend to ratify before the end of 2007.

Since 1955, Bad Arolsen has responded more than 11 million requests for information, but virtually no one but Red Cross staff has seen the files directly.

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Jewish Genealogy Conference - UPDATE

There's only one week left to get early registration discounts for the main event of the Jewish genealogy year - The 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. The registration price goes up May 1.

Hundreds of international researchers, experts and archivists are expected at the event, which runs from Sunday, July 15-Friday, July 20, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This is your chance to network in person with the international experts of Jewish genealogy, with research partners and far-flung family.

I'm looking forward to meeting Tracing the Tribe readers at the conference, so let me know if you'll be attending.

Experts include authors, technology gurus, genetics and DNA specialists, geographic and regional research coordinators and many more. Programs for researchers of all experience levels, from beginners to professionals, have been scheduled.

Don't miss out on this year's program, which also provides access to the Family History Library, the world's largest genealogical library with many Jewish records.

The Second Genealogy Film Festival will offer many films, ranging from short subjects to full-length films, covering documentaries, ancestral roots travel, Sephardic, Holocaust and many other categories. They'll be screened free of charge from early morning to evening.

If you're interested in essential computer skills, the training workshops are filling fast, so you might want to take a look at the offerings and save a spot at one or more. I'm taking the PhotoShop class and some others. Classes have an additional charge.

There are special interest group luncheons, some with speakers, in addition to focused half-day programming blocks for many regional research groups. The luncheons (extra charge), are also filling fast, and are either exclusively kosher or offer kosher options.

Travel discounts are available for air and train, while tours of Jewish Salt Lake City as well as some of the breathtaking scenery in Utah are planned. Congerence-goers can also take advantage of special hotel rates to arrive early and/or stay late to tour or research at the FHL.

The conference has also expanded its room block to accommodate the anticipated attendees.

For all event details and online reservations, click here.

20 April 2007

Spain before Poland as youth destination?

A Ha'aretz writer questions the value of Israeli youth trips to Poland's concentration camps, and believes learning history from the beginning is more important, and says the story of Jewish Europe is both Ashkenazi and Sephardi.

At "Granada of the Jews" they will visit Alhambra and hear about Shmuel Hanagid. In Cordoba they will visit the Great Mosque, the beautiful synagogue and see the statue of Maimonides. In Toledo they will get to know the Jewish Museum of Spain and read a text of Yehudah Halevy, engraved, for a change, on stone. One may even dare to sneak a poem of Lorca's into the program.

Israeli pupils, both Jewish and Arab, would take this trip together. Only those who studied and prepared for it seriously and with interest would be chosen to go. Their parents will pay only a symbolic fee, a sign of commitment to the values it represents. All the rest would be financed by the Education Ministry, the Spanish government - some of whose officials have displayed considerable interest in this idea - and independent foundations.

Read about a small paper mill in Andalusia, operated by Jewish and Moslem partners whose clients were Christians. The author says students should walk through Venice, Krakow and Thessalonike and trace signs of life, not only death.

Read the complete article here

Holocaust book now online

The Holocaust Chronicle is an 800-page book with more than 1,800 images, first published in April 2000.

It is now online and searchable here.

It is searchable through the index, keyword, chapter, page number or date search (with pull-down menus).

Searching for "Mogilev," brings up
August 19, 1941: Einsatzkommando B as well as local collaborators in Mogilev, Belorussia, kill more than 3000 Jews.

And a photograph:

Under the control of Einsatzgruppe B of the SS, these dejected Jewish men in Mogilev, Belorussia, march to forced labor or death. The large size of the Star of David on their clothing suggests that this photograph may have been intended as part of a propaganda film, designed to fuel hatred of the Jew as a subhuman threat to society. Oversized stars, signs hung around necks, degrading labor--all of these were filmed and photographed to transform human beings into the sorts of Jewish caricatures favored by Nazi cartoonists and illustrators.
Photo: Bundesarchiv / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive

Birobidzhan: Yiddish culture revival

From the Jerusalem Post, a story on the return of Yiddish to Birobidzhan, the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region 5,000 east of Moscow created by Stalin in 1934.

The official language was Yiddish and "secular Jewish culture" its focus.

Bar Ilan University professor Dr. Boris Kotlerman of the Rena Costa Center for Yiddish Studies plans to revitalize Yiddish culture in a region that once was home to 50,000 Jews.

More than 70 years and four generations later, the Jewish Autonomous Region, with a population nearing 200,000, has barely 4,000 Jews, many intermarried and most lacking even vague memories of the rich Yiddish culture that once permeated the region.

At the request of the local university, the Birobidzhan Far Eastern State Academy for Humanities and Social Studies, Kotlerman has established the "International Summer Program for Yiddish Language and Culture." The program will bring participants from around the world - applications and interested queries have been received from Japan, France, Germany, the United States and Israel - to study over the summer at a new center established in the Academy's Faculty of Foreign Languages. As part of the new initiative, the Academy is also founding a new research institute for the study of Yiddish language and culture.

Jewish leaders were killed in the mid-1930s and, in 1949, nearly all Yiddish institutions were closed, except for the Birobidzhaner Stern newspaper, which still operates.

The local archives, which should hold immense files of data on its residents, were closed in 1949 and its closure was recently extended for another 25 years.

Read the complete article here.

Looted art: Who should have it?

This Miami Herald story discusses who best represents the victims of the Holocaust and their descendants. At issue is the Israel Museum versus a company headed by a survivor which is entrusted with locating victims' property.

The stakes are high: Although the museum says most of the roughly 1,200 paintings and items of Judaica have little monetary value, they include important paintings such as one by the early 20th century Austrian master Egon Schiele thought to be worth more than $20 million.

None of the museum's pieces has ever been claimed by survivors or heirs, the museum said. But a law passed last year requires Holocaust victims' property to be turned over to the restitution company, known as The Company for Locating and Retrieving Assets of People Who Were Killed in the Holocaust.

On the other side, is company head Dutch-born Avraham Roet,78, who survived as a hidden child, and who says the museum doesn't have special status.

"The Jewish people is demanding the return of looted property around the world, and there is no reason that the Jewish people should behave differently with itself and with its own institutions," Roet told AP.

Controlled by Holocaust survivors' groups and other Jewish organizations, Roet's company is required by law to look for heirs to the recovered property, and if none are found, sell the property and distribute the money to needy survivors.

Roet maintains "the law requires the museum to turn over any artwork that might have belonged to Holocaust victims - including everything it received from the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization, which took control of much unclaimed Jewish property in postwar Europe."

A New York University expert on looted art, Lucille Roussin, is quoted as saying the museum could have done more to find heirs: "The pieces have been in the basement for however many years - how can anybody claim it? You have an obligation to put it out there," she said. The article states that most of the works are not on display and are stored away.

Another expert says that the Museum should make the artwork accessible to victims and heirs on the Internet, while the museum says it is compiling an online catalog.

Jewish athletes - a short history

A newly-released film details Jewish athletes' lost past.

Producer David Vyorst's documentary film, The First Basket, premiered recently at the National Center for Jewish Film's annual film festival. An article in the Brandeis University newspaper explains how the film chronicles a history of American Jewish basketball players.

In a memorable scene from the movie Airplane!, a passenger asks a flight attendant for some light reading. She promptly presents the passenger with a flimsy sheet of paper titled "Famous Jewish Sports Legends."

That gag, according to Vyorst, is contrary to the attitude toward Jewish athletic achievement he hopes to inspire.

"When I made [The First Basket], people said it must be a pretty short movie," Vyorst said. "[But] sports and physicality are important parts of Jewish history."

Click here
for a JTA article about the making of the film.

Research: Working with dates

Lets talk about dates. No, not the yummy brown fruit or the social activity, but the years connected with our family history research.

From the UK comes a good article with many tips. While not specially geared to Jewish research, these are applicable to all research. Among the topics are dates in registers, calendar matters, checking handwriting and inks in registers.

"It is wise to exercise extreme caution and skepticism with information about dates in our family history research. Dates are more difficult to recall years after an event, and are more easily mistranscribed than other types of genealogical data. Therefore, one should evaluate whether the date was recorded at the time of the event or at a later date."

One Thousand Children: an interview

Some 1,400 unaccompanied children from Germany and other areas threatened by the Nazis, ranging in age from a few months to 16 years old, were sent by their families to the U.S. from 1934 through the end of the war. They were sent to Jewish homes throughout the country.

Few ever saw their parents again.

The organization detailing their history and connecting the children is One Thousand Children. Its president Iris Posner has spent years tracking those children. Click here for more on the project.

I talked with Posner about her project several years ago. Following our conversation, I detailed the project's history for the Jerusalem Post. As a result of that article, several previously "lost" children, then living in Israel, were found and reconnected.

Iris was interviewed March 28 on the Washington DC-area cable television show, "Tracing Your Roots." The interview, which describes how they found the children, can be seen here. Alternatively, click here and scroll to previous shows.

Although OTC intensively campaigned to convince the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to include the story of this important and uniquely American project, its efforts were unsuccessful. The USHMM only includes the Kindertransport project.

Fortunately, however, the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia is now the repository of the One Thousand Children Archival Collection, the only collection of its kind in the world holding original materials donated by One Thousand Children, Inc. and numerous individual OTC children. Click here for the museum.

The Jewish tribes of Arabia

The Scribe is a publication written for the dispersed members of the Iraqi Jewish community, and funded by an exiled Iraqi. A lecture on "The Jews of Arabia" by Lucien Gubbey was condensed in one article.

According to the article, "Arab historians mention some 20 Jewish tribes, including two tribes of Kohanim. The Jews spoke Arabic, were organised into clans and tribes just like the Arabs, and seem to have fully assimilated the values and customs of desert society."

The article details some of these tribes.

Read it here

Lost tribes in many places

I recently became aware of a series of articles on communities that have been considered as 'lost tribes of Israel'. These articles, some written by Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, who spent several years in Japan, compare the customs, history and traditions of each of these cultures with Judaism.

Japan: a fascintaing comparison of Japanese and Jewish customs.
The Pathans

In the Ecuador article, Tokayer also writes about Argentina. He discusses claims about finds of ancient menorahs, about supposedly Hebrew-speaking natives who knew the Shema, ancient artifacts inscribed in Aramaic and more.

Food for thought.

India: Stories of a vanishing tribe

Nextbook posts some fascinating cultural features.

"Out of India" is about the stories of writer Sophie Judah which chronicle a vanishing tribe - the Bene Israel. Writer Amy Rosenberg's interview of Judah provides a window to a little-known community.

"Sophie Judah hails from Jabalpur, a small town nestled among the hills, caves, and lakes of central India. In her wide-ranging collection of short stories, Dropped from Heaven, she describes a town much like Jabalpur, detailing the ways and manners of the tight-knit Jewish community, known as the Bene Israel, that migrated there from India's southwestern coast in the late 19th century. In Judah's stories, the women wear saris and observe the Sabbath, the families eat curry and keep kosher, and in the synagogue (really the living room of one well-to-do clan), the congregants speak Hindi and utter Hebrew prayers."

Judah discusses her childhood; Jewish observances; convent educations; relationships between Jews, Moslems and Hindus; and her aliyah to Israel.

Read it here

Cape Verde: Jewish presence

YNet recently posted a story about Israel's ambassador to Senegal, Gideon Bachar, who visited the island nation of Cape Verde to present his credentials and was astonished to discover the Jewish heritage of a local young woman.

I guess Bachar missed the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Washington, DC in 2003, when we listened to a fascinating program on the history of the island and its Jewish roots by Carol Castiel of the Jews of Cape Verde Project.

Castiel spoke about two major waves of immigration. In the late 15th century, Jews and New Christians fled to Cape Verde to escape the Inquisition. In the mid-19th century, Jews from Morocco and Gibraltar arrived. Gravestone inscriptions reflect this wave, found in cemeteries on the islands of Sao Tiago, Santo Antao, Boa Vista and Sao Nicolau. Common names, said Castiel at the conference, are AUDAY, COHEN, LEVI, BENROS, BENOLIEL, WAHNON, PINTO, FERRERA and SERUYA.

In 1994, a group of descendants of those Jews created a committee within the Cape Verde-Israel Friendship Society (AMICAEL) to press for the restoration of cemeteries throughout the islands and create a permanent archive documenting their ancestors. In 2003, the president of AMICAEL was Januario Auday Nascimento, who was then a Member of Parliament. Castiel was AMICAEL's U.S. representative.

The YNet story is about the meeting between the ambassador and Katya Ben Shimol, 17, on Cape Verde, which is off Africa's west coast. Her ancestor - Shlomo Ben Shimol - immigrated from Morocco in the 19th century, part of a group seeking economic opportunities. Many were bachelors; they married into the island's local population. There are Jewish cemeteries, and a village named Synagoga.

Their descendants are aware of their heritage although they've been Christians for generations.

While the ambassador was in Cape Verde, a Spanish-Jewish doctor, Dr. Jose Tristan, was there to operate on 20 local children born with cleft palates. During his visit, Bachar met Katya:

The girl displayed curiosity about Judaism and proudly showed the ambassador a small notebook, written in Portuguese, in which she recorded her genealogy along with copies of photographs of her ancestors.

One of the photos shows the gravestone of the Jewish founder of her family, Shlomo Ben Shimol, who came to Cape Verde from Tetouan in Morocco and passed away in 1904.
Moved by the surprising meeting with the young woman, the ambassador and the doctor decided to set out to find Ben Shimol's grave.

Between soaring basalt mountains in the center of the island of Santiagu, the two located the lone grave. Ambassador Bachar said Kaddish over the grave. "The man probably never got to have Kaddish said over him," Dr. Tristan said.

For more on Cape Verde Jews, click here, here, and here .

Here is a listing of more sources on the subject.

DNA: Race, genes and illness

While not specifically related to Jewish DNA, the concepts in this Boston Globe article are interesting.

The story discusses rates of premature births and gene variants among different ethnicities, drugs that work better in people of certain backgrounds, how race is defined and other issues.

"When one team of philosophers asked 500 geneticists to point out what part of a DNA sample constituted a gene, these experts didn't concur.

Race may be an even trickier concept. Are the researchers referring to skin color? Hair type? Eye shape? Does nationality factor in? "If I were to ask everyone here, 'What is race?' I'd probably get as many answers as there are people," Howard University geneticist and ethicist Charmaine Royal told a group of anthropologists and geneticists recently gathered by the American Anthropological Association to discuss race and disease.

The story was written by Sally Lehrman, who reports on health and science for Scientific American, the radio documentary series "The DNA Files," and other media.

Pittsburgh: Jewish newspaper records online

If your families of interest lived in the Pittsburgh area, this online resource may contain valuable information.

It provided me with details about Aaron Tollin of Chester, PA. I didn't know about him until he was in his 90s and living in California, and I never meet him in person although we did speak several times. This online resource offered his photograph, education details and news items from 1930-38.

The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project (PJNP)can be accessed here at the Pittsburgh Jewish Genealogical Society or here on the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries site.

You can currently search or browse records from 1902-1962; eventually, records will run from 1895 to the present.

Material includes life cycle announcements (births, bar mitzvahs, engagements, military service events, social events, weddings, anniversaries and obituaries) as well as display ads.

In its early history the Jewish Criterion covered all of Pennsylvania and some border areas, although by the 1920s, its territory was mostly the western third of the state.

According to archivist Susan Melnick of Pittsburgh's Rauh Jewish Archives, information is being added as the project continues. More Criterion issues will be added. The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh and the American Jewish Outlook will become accessible through the database and search capabilities will be enhanced.

The project is a collaboration of the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, the Rodef Shalom Congregation Archives, the Rauh Jewish Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center, and the Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh.

Projects of this type should be on the agendas of all local Jewish genealogy societies who can assist in developing such vital programs.

The only caveat is that searchers must carefully read the scanned page to find the reference, because the name is not highlighted as done in some online archives.

Happy hunting!

Poland: Notary documents and JRI-Poland

A popular aspect of each annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is the networking of geographic special interest groups. This year, some 30 SIGs have scheduled programming and luncheons.

One of the largest and most active is JRI-Poland - Jewish Records Indexing-Poland. In addition to Tuesday afternoon programming, the group will host an opening day luncheon on Sunday, with JRI-P associate director Hadassah Lipsius of New York.

Lipsius will present "Polish Notary Documents and the Family Mysteries They Reveal," demonstrate examples as sources for genealogical and family history information and review typical contents of prenuptial agreements, posthumous possession inventories, testaments and private agreements (lease, hire, partnerships).

These documents often reveal genealogical details omitted in other records, helping researchers to break through roadblocks.

According to Roni Seibel Liebowitz of the JRI-Poland Board of Directors, Lipsius is still questioning her family to find out who inherited the pearl necklace and the three silver forks mentioned in her great-great-great-great-grandfather's posthumous inventory!

This is the fourth annual JRI-Poland Luncheon and is exclusively kosher under rabbinical supervision of Salt Lake City Chabad Rabbi Benny Zippel. There is a fee for the luncheon and it is always sold out - early reservations are advised. Registered conference-goers can sign up for this event at the conference Web site; go to Registration Update.

If you haven't yet registered for the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, what are you waiting for?

The conference anticipates some 700 attendees - including international researchers, experts and archivists - for an intensive learning and networking experience running from Sunday, July 15 to Friday, July 20.

For all event details and online registration, go to the conference site. Early registration discounts end May 1.

17 April 2007

Miami: Jewish and non-Jewish DNA, May 6

It's a bit early for this announcement, but go ahead and mark your calendars now. I want to give you plenty of time to get to Miami!

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami will host Dr. Abe Lavender on May 6, at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation building. Visit the JGSGM site for details.

Dr. Lavender will discuss Jewish genetics and the extent to which DNA can be used for Jewish genealogical research.

Among the questions he'll discuss: How closely related are Ashkenazim, Sephardim and other Jewish groups? Who are the closest non-Jewish relatives of Jews? Is it Eastern Europeans, Western Europeans, or Middle Easterners, such as Palestinians? What is the famous Cohen gene, and is it a valid measure of Jewish heritage?

A professor of sociology and Sephardic studies at Florida International University, Lavender has authored six books and more than 50 articles.

He is president of both the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies- which has a fascinating range of articles - and the Miami Beach Historical Association - which offers a history of Miami Beach and a PDF of the first Miami Beach Telephone Directory in 1920.

Virginia: Visiting Galicia, April 22

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington will host Dr. Richard Roth from 1.30-4 p.m. April 22, at Olam Tivah in Fairfax, VA.

In spring 2006, Roth and his young daughter traveled to Poland and Ukraine in a search for his ancestral shtetls. For two weeks, they traveled without a group, although sometimes with a guide, and he captured the experience in photographs and notes.

Roth will explore preparations, expections and the experience as he saw it.

Following his program, a JGSGW member panel - each of whom have made shtetl trips - will discuss their own trips and answer questions.

Roth is an associate professor of mass communication at Franklin Pierce College, has taught higher education communication courses for 20 years; and has been a public broadcasting associate producer.

The day will also offer a Beginner's Workshop from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with Roth's program following from 1.30-4 p.m.

For more information on this program, the Beginner's Workshop or directions, click here.

Los Angeles: Many Yiddishkayt programs April 21-29

Five interesting programs from April 21-29 will take place in Los Angeles, sponsored by Yiddishkayt.

April 21
Billy Wilder Theater, UCLA Hammer Museum
Film critic Kenneth Turan hosts an evening of Jewish silent films accompanied by music. Films include D.W. Griffith's short, A Child of the Ghetto, and East and West with Molly Picon.

April 22
"Acting Jewish: Film, TV, Comedy, Music"
Part of Nextbook's Los Angeles Festival of Ideas

April 23
University of Judaism
Panel discussion with filmmaker and experts as part of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. The World Was Ours is a documentary focusing on Vilna, which was called "the Jerusalem of Lithuania." It focuses on inter-war life, narrated by Mandy Patinkin.

The panel includes filmmaker Mira Jedwabnik Van Doren; Vilna Ghetto survivor Reba Leventhal; and Hannah Pollin, who was a 2003 Fulbright Fellow in Lithuania.

April 24
The Fine Arts Theater, Beverly Hills
A book discussion on Arts and Culture editor of The Forward Alana Newhouse's book, A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life From the Pages of The Forward. Photos range from the Lower East Side to Central and Eastern Europe.

April 28-29
Yiddishkayt Los Angeles and the National Yiddish Book Center are teaming up to bring Yiddish books to the L.A. Times Festival of Books (booth #704). Special events: 1 p.m. Saturday: Alana Newhouse book signing; 10 a.m. Sunday: book signing with Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman, authors of Yiddish with Dick and Jane and Yiddish with George and Laura. Books and CDs will also be on sale.

Check the Yiddishkayt Web site for reservation information.

Istanbul: 100,000 records now online

Daniel Kazez of Ohio and his volunteers have put marriage, death and burial records from Istanbul online. The records now number nearly 100,000. The search engine at his Web site includes both Sephardic and Ashkenazi records dating back to the late 1800s.

The records include a treasure trove of data.

To work with the records, click here.

16 April 2007

Yad Vashem: Women in the Holocaust

“Spots of Light: To Be a Woman in the Holocaust,” a new multimedia exhibit dedicated to women’s experience during the Holocaust is open at Yad Vashem’s Exhibitions Pavilion.

It voices the unique experiences of millions of women - targeted, pursued, abused and murdered during the Holocaust. Through personal accounts, photos, artwork, artifacts and video displays, it uncovers the human, feminine story behind the historical narrative, bringing us into the world of Jewish women as they experienced the terrible events of the Holocaust. From a uniquely feminine perspective, the exhibit explores such issues as love, motherhood, faith, food, creativity, friendship and more, in a time when civilization was undermined and humanity brought to the abyss.

The exhibit also contains a new work of video art - “To Be a Human Being” - created specifically for the exhibit by renowned artist Michal Rovner. The work is based on a group interview conducted with 10 Holocaust survivors at Yad Vashem. This is Rovner’s second work displayed at Yad Vashem: “Living Landscape,” portraying pre-war Jewish life in Europe, is the first display in the Holocaust History Museum.

For more, check Yad Vashem.

Learn genealogy online

Looking to jumpstart your genealogy project?

Learn the essentials with a a group of enthusiastic and expert teachers.

Among the practical online genealogy classes from GenClass to begin May 3:

Adoption Investigation
Eastern European Genealogy Research: Part 1 (Basic)
Family Tree Maker 16 - Basic
Lost Friends and Family Investigation
Native American Genealogy
Write Your Family History Step-by-Step

Each class is only $29.95 for four weeks of instruction (eight lessons and class chats). Detailed information about each class and instructor is at the Web site.

Registration is open now at GenClass.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll mention that I'm a co-teacher of Jewish genealogy for this venture. See the online calendar for the next scheduled Jewish genealogy class.

Teaching intolerance: Too far in Texas?

Remember a school program from years ago that was supposed to teach students about intolerance?

Students were separated by eye color into the groups of good or bad guys, and endured various restrictions and humiliations. This was meant to demonstrate how one characteristic can subject innocent people to persecution.

In Texas, it seems a Holocaust lesson meant to be in a similar vein went too far.

A three-week school experiment for 9th graders in an advanced placement geography class was deemed too harsh, although it provided a valuable lesson.

Those designated as Jews had to wear a Star of David. Others were designated as Germans. Some parents and students said the experiment went too far, with some students spitting at, tripping and pushing others.

"According to students and teachers, the assigned Jews were forced to stand against the wall as the German students passed by in the hallway. The Jewish students ate lunch last and had to pick up every one's garbage. But some students say things began to escalate."

Read it here.

The Orphan Train story

Ever heard of Dowagiac, Michigan? It was the first stop of the first Orphan Train in 1854.

Author (A Faraway Home: An Orphan Train Story) Janie Lynn Panagopoulos told the Dowagiac Daily News the story of those 45 children, ages 6-15: "desperate, homeless children enduring squalid conditions on the streets or in filthy tenements - more often abandoned than without parents - to start new lives with loving farm families in America's heartland."

"Had this first train trip to your community not worked well" in 1854, she said Thursday night, "the children who were to follow between 1854 and 1928, 250,000 lives would be lost. You all set in motion a great thing. The Children's Aid Society (CAS) still exists in New York City, but it probably wouldn't if that first train hadn't been successful."

No one family could afford to take two brothers, but rather than separate them, they were placed at adjacent farms. A German Jewish boy was taken in by a doctor. An affluent farm family adopted "Sweet Meg."

She describes the horrible conditions of New York City.

In 1851, there were 4,000 inmates younger than 21 locked up in adult prisons; 800, ages 10-14; and 175 ages 4-9 "committing murder trying to steal food to survive. At 4, a child could be cast out on the street and not be taken care of because they could crawl in the trash and look for food on their own." The police chief estimated there were 40,000 homeless children subsisting on the streets.

"They were walking rag bundles, scabbed over and dirty. Layer after layer of crust which took three or four scrubbing baths before they got down to their skin," the author said.

According to the author, Charles Loring Brace, horrified by the conditions in New York, introduced the idea of transplanting urban orphans to healthier rural lifestyles after investigating similar European practices.

Many of the kids rescued by relocation went on to have great success in life: there were governors, members of Congress, mayors, a Supreme Court justice, artists, businessmen, educators and more.

Read the complete story here.

London: "Who do you think you are?" LIVE

I'd like to be in London from May 5-7, but I can't. However, if you can attend a genealogical fair hosted by the popular British TV show, "Who Do You Think You Are?," you'll be in for a treat in several ways.

This genealogy-oriented program is hosting the huge fair at the National Hall and upwards of 15,000 attendees are expected.

As part of the fair, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain will have a stand (number 390) on Sunday and Monday, May 6-7. Their stand will not be open on Saturday, May 5.

Experts will be present to help with your family research and answer questions. Resources will include books, leaflets, newsletters and magazines to look at and purchase.

At 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 6, a public launch of "The Jewish Community in mid-19th Century Britain is planned. Edited and coordinated by Petra Laidlaw, the database covers mainly England, Wales and Scotland with some additions from Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Island of Man.

Most names are linked to the 1851 census, and there are some 18,000 names, about half the British Jewish population at the time. Some entries date back to the 1740s to the 1950s. Most entries include the core information of where and when a person was born, their parents, spouses, children, residence and occupation.

1.45 p.m. Sunday: "Tracing your Jewish Ancestors" with Laurence Harris.

2.45 p.m. Monday: "Jewish Ancestors from Eastern Europe" with Dr. Saul Issroff.

Members of the JGSGB can buy two all-event tickets for GBP20.00. This price appears to be a 50% savings. For more information, click here, and use the code JGSGB241. The deadline for this special price is April 22.

A world-class Sephardic heritage center in Seattle?

I love Seattle, and on my last brief visit in November, I spent Shabbat with cousins Larry and Janet (Benezra) Jassen, had Shabbat dinner at their home with the older generation, Charlie and Rose, kids, spouses, a grandchild, cousins, and the delightful Hazzan Isaac Azose. I'm looking forward to my next visit in July.

Many Sephardic Jews - in fact, the largest number outside of Israel - live in the city, having arrived a century ago from the island of Rhodes (where Janet's family is from) and Turkey. The community is very close-knit and everyone seems to know everyone else.

Rabbi Cohen-Scali of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth wants to see a world-class Sephardic Center built in Seattle. It would become the number one resource for anyone who wants to research Sephardim. It would host speakers and focus on Sephardic community history in all its aspects, including Ladino, theater and food.

Of course, I'm hoping Sephardic genealogy will be an important aspect.

"The plan includes the most comprehensive and complete and rich library, focusing mainly on Sephardic literature, but of all kinds: halachah, history,” Cohen-Scali says. “Most of the Middle Ages rabbis were from Spain."

Though the center would touch on different communities, its primary focus would be on the Ladino-speaking community. He says he wants to use new video and audio technology to collect and preserve the different songs and liturgies of different Ladino-speaking and other Sephardic traditions.

"I am not talking about a small thing," he says, "because that is already being done. There is a Sephardic center that deals with Jews in Los Angeles. There are centers in universities which deal with the Ladino language. There is a Sephardic Jew who is a publisher in Israel, who publishes books by rabbis from Rhodes. We have a publication that publishes in Belgium in Ladino."

If this is the place for a major Sephardic cultural institution, then now, Cohen-Scali believes, is the time. He is working toward an official public launch of the idea sometime later this year, the 100th anniversary of the first Rhodesli Jews — the Jews from the Isle of Rhodes — coming to this city.

"That is a very significant and an appropriate time to launch such an idea,” he says."

Finding elusive women

Tracking down female ancestors can be much harder than finding records of their male counterparts.

Some factors may help in tracing female members of a family: In some ethnic communities (such as Iranian and Spanish), women keep their maiden names after marriage, and in other European Jewish communities at specific times in history, restrictive marriage laws meant that children were given the mother's maiden name. Sometimes researchers have the ketubot (Jewish wedding contracts) of family members.

However, in the U.S., where the tradition is for the wife to adopt the husband's name after marriage, it can be much more difficult.

Genealogist/author Sharon DeBartolo Carmack's book, "A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors" is a great help. She advocates searching traditional as well as non-traditional sources in the great hunt.

"Family heirlooms and artifacts such as quilts, needlework or paintings may yield valuable clues about the female relative who created them. Careful examination of letters, diaries and journals may reveal hidden, 'written between the lines' details about either the female ancestors who wrote them or those mentioned within them."

To read more, click here.

A 60-year-old treasure is found in Poland

A collection of family pictures, hidden in the chimney wall of a Polish house in Chelm before the Holocaust, were returned to their Israeli family 60 years later.

"A month ago, on the evening of his mother's death, Pini Beeri received a phone call from a stranger. "I have something that will interest you," said the stranger, who identified himself as Zvi Lander. "Can we meet?"

Beeri apologized that he could not, his mother was on her deathbed. Indeed, she died six hours later. Lander arrived at the house between the funeral and the shiva, and handed over an album of 178 previously unseen photographs: photos of the murdered family of Beeri and his sister, Riki Ariel."

Until then, Beeri's mother only had one picture of her parents, and now they have photos of their grandparents, aunts and uncles and much more.

To see 100 of the recovered photographs and help identify them, click here

Familes mentioned in the story include ARIEL, BODEN, BEREZOWSKY, BEERI, WEIKSELFISH, and LANDER.

How were these images rediscovered? A group of young Poles in Chelm are attempting to preserve the town's Jewish traditions. Today a bar sits where the synagogue used to; the group wants to turn the building into a museum in honor of the destroyed Jewish community.

Chelm was one of the oldest Polish Jewish communities, dating back to the 12th century. Its Jewish cemetery dates to the 1300s and is being restored, in an effort funded by the town's survivors.

A computer programmer whose father was born in Chelm, Lander visited the town a year ago and was handed, by a local history teacher, a CD with 178 photographs found in her home during renovation. Lander didn't know who was shown in the photos, but he brought them to Israel.

The breakthrough came when he saw that one of the photos showed a sign, Warsaw Laundry and the name of P. Boden. Lander looked in the Yad Vashem archives and found the name of Pearale Boden Berezowsky, and brought the photos to her son.

The photos are a microcosm of normal Jewish life, and in contrast to the traditional depiction of a religious Polish Jewish community, "these images show stylish men in sharp suits, next to beautiful girls and fancy cars, playing sports, picnicking, in the countryside on Shabbat or on the busy town streets."

Most of the people in the pictures are unidentified, not family members. Do you recognize anyone? Read the complete story, then visit the photograph gallery to see how you can help.

To read more, click here.

April 17, 1907: Ellis Island's busiest day

Today is the 100th anniversary of the largest single day of U.S. immigration - 11,500 people passed through Ellis Island on April 17, 1907. Nearly 1.3 million immigrants arrived in the U.S. that year; some 80% arrived at Ellis Island in what was the busiest year in its 60-year history.

In honor of this important milestone, Ancestry.com is offering free access through April 30 to the entire U.S. Passenger List Collection, which includes "more than 100 million names of people who arrived at more than 100 U.S. ports of entry between 1820 and 1960."

If you don't already have an Ancestry subscription, this is a great opportunity to see how useful this and other databases can be to your research. The price is right!

The site also offers an interactive multimedia tour of the national landmark.

Passenger lists provide essential information of each family's unique history. The types of data in each record depend on the date and and port of entry.

For the anniversary story of one family, click here . Here's an excerpt:

"Like most immigrants coming to America in the early 20th century, Mulfeld's grandmother and her four children entered the New World through Ellis Island, a small stretch of land off the coast of New York. Here immigrants bought train tickets for cities across America. Here they traded their drakhmas, liras, or rubles for dollars. And here they waited to be given permission to enter the United States.

"Ellis Island was their first connection to the other side," said Mulfeld, 60, an Internet entrepreneur. "That's where we got our start."

It was a Saturday afternoon, and Mulfeld's grandfather - who had been in America for five years - stood waiting for the ship carrying his wife and four children (including Stanley's mother) to arrive. The ship arrived from Paris, where the family was delayed on their yearlong journey from a small town outside Kiev."

12 April 2007

Michigan: You can go home again! UPDATE

In the Detroit area? If so, learn how you can go home again - this time to your ancestors' heim.

Sol Sylvan will speak on the nine most important words you need to know before making an ancestral visit to Eastern Europe at the 1 p.m. Sunday, April 29 meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Michigan, at the Zekelman Family Holocaust Memorial Center of Michigan, Farmington Hills.

Sylvan will demonstrate what is essential for a successful trip - a trip of a lifetime; explain motivation and goals; offer practical suggestions for hiring guides and translations, advance preparations, travel arrangments, dealing with essentials such as money and clothing, camers and recorders, insurance, health and safety.

In addition to sharing information on the costs of a trip, he'll show a video of his 2004 visit.

From 2002-2005, he made four visits to Eastern Europe, including Warsaw, Krakow, Western Ukraine, the Carpathians, etc., and will return to Poland and Ukraine with two daughters, a granddaughter, a second cousin and a friend in July 2007.

A former Michigan resident, Sylvan now lives in Washington state, is actively involved in his own family research and helps others.

For more information, go to the Jewish Genealogy Society of Michigan. Also, check out the eight program handouts from the JGSMI's 2006 mini-workshop.

For more on Sol Sylvan, see this article in the Seattle JT.

“Its become an avocational vocation, trying to motivate people to visit their roots while there are still people to talk to who were alive when your parents or grandparents were there, who were there when the Holocaust took place,” he says.

Sylvan interviewed one elderly woman who witnessed a Nazi massacre of her town’s Jewish residents and another in her 90s who remembers Sylvan’s grandfather, one of the town’s three blacksmiths."

10 April 2007

Sacramento: Discover the FHL on April 16

Will you be attending the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, in Salt Lake City, home to the largest genealogical library in the world?

The JGS of Sacramento is offering a special program about the Family History Library at 7 p.m., Monday, April 16.

Speaker Joyce Buckland will demonstrate how to make the best use of the library with a floor-by-floor tour of its collections and resources. Learn to find your way around and how to find help.

Buckland has made annual trips to the FHL since 1975, and is a specialist in English genealogical records.

For location and more information, click here.

Long Island, NY: pulling text from image files

The Mid-Island JCC is the place to be when the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island hosts Logan Joseph Kleinwaks on April 22.

Kleinwaks, a Reston, Virginia genealogist with a physics and mathematics research background, has developed OCR (optical character recognition) software to search scanned documents such as directories.

Many pre-World War II Eastern European business and address directories have been scanned and made available as part of library digitization programs. Usually, however, they are presented as images but not text.

Kleinwaks will demonstrate how to use his software to search these resources. His OCR-based approach allows data from print sources to be made searchable very quickly, with little manual intervention. He will also discuss its applications to other Jewish genealogy projects.

Kleinwaks is also interested in Jewish cemetery photographic documentation, improving Internet access to genealogical information and privacy issues. He is coordinator of the new JewishGen Danzig/Gdansk Special Interest Group, and has researched one Galician family for three years with more than 3,300 relatives. He will speak at the upcoming 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Kleinwaks is the creator of several Web sites: Family Tree Registry, Kalter Family and Shoah Connect.

Admission is free, and the society's experts will answer genealogical questions starting at 1:30 p.m. For more information and directions, click here

Los Angeles: Bring your shtetl to life on April 23

My former congregation, Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, is the venue for the upcoming meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles about "Recovering Memories: Bringing your shtetl to life."

The meeting begins at 7.30 p.m. April 23, and will focus on the work of the Ariogala (Lithuania) Research Group.

The ARG has brought to life their ancestral shtetl. Members have shared information and resources to obtain complete records for the town. They have reconstructed the lives of their families and learned about the shtetl's 250-year Jewish history. The time line runs from the 18th century's Grand Duchy period through the Russian Empire period and Lithuanian independence and ends with the Holocaust.

Lists of residents helped to uncover relationships between families. Correspondence files show how Jewish community leaders interacted with the government. Newspaper articles, personal memoirs and family photographs provide a picture of pre-Holocaust Jewish life.

Personal visits by ARG members provided a sense of place and led to new information. Group members photographed the town, determined which buildings were pre-war and cataloged the Jewish cemetery's remnants.

Sources of archival records include archives and museums, YIVO, Yad Vashem, the U.S. National Archives, the Library of Congress, and survivors, descendants and current town residents.

Speakers at the upcoming event include:

ARG organizer David B. Hoffman, president of the Jewish Family History Foundation, a nonprofit genealogical organization preserving 17th-18th century Eastern European archival documents;

JGSLA past president Sonia Hoffman, coordinator of the Grand Duchy Project of the JFHF; and

JGSLA CFO Nancy Biederman, who served as co-president in 2006, and is an active JFHF board member.

For more information on the program and speakers, click here.

San Francisco: Listen to the past on April 16

The Peninsula branch of the Jewish Genealogical Society of San Francisco Bay (JGSSFB)has scheduled a meeting with Irene Reti, Regional History Project director at UC Santa Cruz's University Library.

At 7.30 p.m. April 16, Reti will present "Listening to the Past: An Introduction to Oral History for the Family Historian," in Los Altos Hills.

Reti's project documents UCSC and California's Central Coast through oral history interviews. She has been an editor with the project since 1989, and chair of the publications committee of the National Oral History Association, which recently published Oral History for the Family Historian, A Basic Guide.

Reti authored The Keeper of Memory, a memoir about her life as the daughter of two Holocaust refugees, and publisher of A Transported Life: Memories of Kindertransport, The Oral History of Thea Felkis Eden, and others.

For more information, location and directions, click here

Australian obituary notices online

On this Web site, every obituary, death and funeral notice from every Australian newspaper is published daily. Also, beginning this month, probate notices are also included.

More than 32,000 notices are currently available.

There is a Geneaology section (in that quaint spelling), but access requires a one-time-only fee of A$19.95. This payment provides access to what the Web site describes as "advanced searches of our extensive full transcript database of all Australian Obituary, Death and Funeral Notices as they are published or from our Archives."

Something to keep in mind if your research involves Australia.

09 April 2007

Poland: Bialystok cemetery wall planned

Here's information on the Wschodnia Street Cemetery, also called the Bagnowka Cemetery. This is, according to Mark Halpern, coordinator of the BialyGen Special Interest Group, the only Jewish cemetery in Bialystok that still has visible gravestones.

A Jewish woman living in the city, Lucja (Lucy) Lisowska, is dedicated to ensuring the security, maintenance and restoration of the extensive cemetery, which has no fences.

Through her work and with the help of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland and Jewish religious representatives, the Bialystok municipality has agreed to build a wall to separate the Jewish and adjacent Catholic cemeteries. Work will begin in April.

According to Halpern, Lisowska also helped coordinate the March 2007 visit of 180 Israeli soldiers organized by Yad LeZehava Holocaust Research Institute in Kedumim. They cleared debris and helped document the cemetery. Eventually, that work will be included in JewishGen's Jewish Online World Burial Registry.

To read more about this, click here.

Other Bialystok cemetery links are here, here and here.

New York: Family History and the Holocaust seminar

A reminder about the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York's all-day seminar,
Family History and the Holocaust: A Day of Learning, on April 22, at the Hebrew Union College.

Speakers include Nolan Altman, Zvi Bernhardt, Jan Tomasz Gross, Peter Lande and Robert Moses Shapiro. For all details of the program and speakers, click here.

Who Do You Think You Are, now airing in Israel

Without fanfare, the very popular British genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are" began airing a few weeks ago on Israeli TV. It is on nearly every night, and we're now watching the second session.

When I saw it while channel surfing, I was frankly surprised since no mention had been made in Israel's English-language press.

It is quite an impressive series. I've had guests watch the show with me, none of whom had ever thought much about family history. After seeing the show, every guest asked me family-history questions, and I think perhaps they now understand what I do and why I do it.

Perhaps the best parts of the show are when the British celebrities featured in the episode say that they don't know anything, don't care to know anything, and then gradually become caught up in the chase for their roots. They visit places in the UK, and also travel to other countries in pursuit of family knowledge.

The show's low-key approach to what can be a somewhat obsessive hobby seems to hook viewers, lighting their imaginations as to what they can learn about their own ancestors.

Ah, the wonders of television. Each of the people featured in an episode shows up at various record offices and archives, innocently asks for a marriage, census or birth record and, in a few seconds, is handed the requested information. The celebrities, of course, always seem to find parking spots directly in front of whatever records office they are visiting and there are never any lines at the window.

In Israel, it is on YES cable's Reality channel (29) at 8.30 p.m. most evenings, followed by a repeat at 1.30 a.m.