30 November 2008

Chicago: The Obamas' Jewish house

Leave it to the Chicago Jewish News, edited by Pauline Yearwood, to come up with a fascinating house history - the Jewish history of President-elect Barack Obama's house in Chicago - by Charles b. Bernstein and Stuart L. Cohen.

A Chicago attorney, Bernstein is a genealogist of the Chicago Jewish community, and a Chicago Jewish Historical Society founder. A mortgage banker, Cohen's hobby is Jewish genealogy and Chicago Jewish history.

Its future is to be the Chicago White House. But a look at its past shows the construction of the Obama home was financed by a prominent Chicago Jew, that it was once lived in by a Jewish family and that it was home to both a Jewish day school and a yeshiva...

After Pauline Yearwood's recent startling scoop in the Chicago Jewish News, which revealed that First Lady-elect Michelle Obama is a first cousin, once removed, of Rabbi Capers Funnye, it appeared unlikely that another significant Jewish connection to the Obamas would be found.

The Southside home - at 5046 S. Greenwood Avenue - is across the street from the city's oldest Jewish congregation - KAM-Isaiah Israel Congregation. Secret Service agents guarding the home use the temple's facilities. Only residents and temple members are allowed to pass through the street barricades at both 50th and 51st streets.

The earliest document for the house is a construction loan, dated Oct. 4, 1905, obtained by real estate developer Wallace Grant Clark from Moses E. Greenebaum. A prominent mortgage banker and real estate developer, Greenebaum was a member of a pioneer Chicago family which became a leader in both the general and Jewish communities. Moses's father, Elias Greenebaum, came to Chicago in 1848 and eventually entered the mortgage and banking business. Elias's father, Jacob, followed Elias to Chicago, so Moses was already a third generation Chicagoan. Elias was a founder of Sinai Temple, Chicago's first Reform congregation. Elias, Moses and Moses's son Edgar were all presidents of Sinai.

Built about 1908, its first Jewish owner - in 1919 - was Max Goldstine who bought the house and the adjacent vacant lot for about $13,750. Goldstine and his wife - Ethel Kline - were born in Hungary and immigrated to America as children. They married in September 1901 and had three daughters. Lucille (1902) married Harold Rosenheim; Viola (1905) married Robert L. Leopold; and Maxine (1908) married Harold L. Newmann.

Goldstine's grandson Fred M. Newmann, 71, is a retired professor in Madison, Wisconsin and campaigned for Obama. Bernstein and Cohen contacted him and he was excited to learn that his mother's childhood home was the Obamas' house.

Granddaughter Nancy Rosenheim, 83, is married to Robert J. Greenebaum, 91, son of Edgar N. Greenebaum, Sr. (the son of mortgage banker Moses Greenebaum). Nancy and Bob's grandchildren are seventh generation Jewish Chicagoans. Lucille Goldstine Rosenheim told her daughter Nancy that the home had a third-floor ballroom.

Maxine Goldstine's childhood friend Dorothy Eckstein Herman Lamson of Highland Park, 95, grew up at 5125 S. Greenwood. She remembered Max had built a wooden toboggan slide on the adjacent vacant lot and that area children sledded there in the early 1920s.

Max and Ethel Goldstine sold the property via an April 1, 1926 deed to Virginia H. Kendall and Elizabeth K. Wild, as joint tenants.

During the Depression, the property went through foreclosure. The Foreman State Trust Savings Bank - the Foremans were a prominent Chicago German-Jewish banking family - was involved in the mid-1930s. Family and bank founder Gerhard Foreman (1823-1897) was married to a sister of Elias Greenebaum.

In about 1920, the Hebrew Theological College (HTC) formed and served mainly the Orthodox Russian immigrant community.

On March 26, 1947, the house was bought for the HTC with a donation from Anna Sarah Katz of Milwaukee, for about $34,000. There was also a $20,000 mortgage, $500 to be paid every three months until May 9, 1957, and signed by Rabbi Oscar Z. Fasman and Samuel S. Siegel. The Chicago Tribune reported September 22, 1947, that Katz "purchased a $50,000 plot of land with a building to be contributed to the Hebrew Theological College expansion drive."

In the late 1940s, the house was the first home of the South Side Jewish Day School, which later became the Akiba Day School, merging with the Solomon Schechter Day School.

The Orthodox Jewish population declined in the 1950s; the house was sold in 1954 to the Hyde Park Luthern Church for $35,000. The Obamas paid $1.6 million for it.

Read the complete article at the link above.

Utah: Clarion's Jewish colony

The Salt Lake City Tribune carried a story about the Clarion Jewish agricultural colony in Utah.

I first learned of Clarion through a colleague at the Henderson Home News in Southern Nevada - her family had lived in Gunnison. Later, I discovered more at sessions on Utah's Jewish history during several international Jewish genealogy conferences held in SLC.

Jessica Ravitz's story includes two sidebars, multimedia, historic and contemporary photographs.

Three miles west of Gunnison in south central Utah, where tumbleweeds roll across several thousand acres of rocky and barren land, 200 unlikely families once arrived to plant dreams. They were new Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland, people who, in most cases, had been in America for less than five years.

Leaving crowded city tenements and East Coast sweatshops, factory and peddling jobs behind, they signed up in 1911 to be part of a global experiment.

The back-to-the-soil movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw 40 Jewish agricultural colonies sprout up across America. This happened just as similar projects took root in Canada, Argentina and Ottoman-ruled Palestine, now Israel -- the genesis of the kibbutz movement, communal settlements that flourished in Israel's early years and still exist today.

The man who led the charge for those who journeyed to Utah was Benjamin Brown (nee Lipshitz), a Russian-born ideologue living in Philadelphia who believed this effort would save his people by getting them out of congested environments, diversifying their skills and instilling in them greater self-sufficiency and confidence.

The story has quotes from Brown's daughter Lillian Brown Vogel, now 99 and living in Ukiah, California.

University of Utah history professor Bob Goldberg wrote a book - Back to the Soil: The Jewish Farmers of Clarion, Utah, and Their World - about the colony and its struggles.

Four years of irrigation woes, a flood, an early frost, broken-down equipment, bad weather, financial troubles, poor soil and abysmal crops took a toll, causing most everyone to hop trains to cities. Along the way, three had died, including Aaron Binder, a strapping member of the community who was crushed in a logging accident.

Goldberg recently led high school seniors of Utah's largest synagogue, Congregation Kol Ami, to the area to see the remnants: a few headstones in Hebrew, ruins of foundations, etc.

In 1982, while looking at a book about the state's ghost towns, Goldberg discovered Clarion, and he wanted students to see an often overlooked chapter in Jewish and Utah history.

The Clarion colony was part of a final push for these agrarian developments in America. It was the largest in land area, as well as population, and lasted longer than any other settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, Goldberg said. Brown and his scouting partner, Isaac Herbst, had settled on Utah because the land was cheap, the state was hyping the promise of the new Piute Canal, and it was situated near railroad tracks. But, perhaps as important as anything else, Goldberg added that it was also far enough away from the East that it would make giving up and leaving more difficult for farmers.

Most families left in 1915 after the struggles proved too much. Their train tickets were paid for by Jews living SLC. Most went to cities, although a few went to farm elsewhere. The Jewish community tried to help and the history documents the fact that Mormon farmers offered assistance and knowledge. The church even donated $500 to help the Clarion group survive its last winter. The Clarion community utilized only half of the 6,000 acres they purchased.

A few families stayed until the late 1920s, but finally left when they became concerned that their high-school teenagers might marry Mormons.

Bruce Sorenson, 49, understands the intrigue. The local Mormon farmer, reached in his Centerfield home, first spotted the cemetery headstones when he was 16. Ever since then, he's remained fascinated and has taken it upon himself to watch over the grounds. He used to bring flowers to the two gravestones, which are surrounded by small fences to protect them -- until Eileen Hallet Stone, another Salt Lake City historian, told him Jews don't traditionally honor their dead that way. Every now and then, when he thinks of it and even though he admitted he doesn't know what he's doing, Sorenson shows up with candles to light on Hanukkah.

He occasionally spots people wandering around in search of something. visitors have included Brown's daughter Lillian and her son, other colonists' descendants, and even people from Israel. He helps out by showing them where to go, what he knows and asks them to sign his copy of Goldberg's book.

There's much more in the complete article at the link above.

Boston: Two dramatic stories, Dec. 7

Two dramatic stories of digging into lost histories and reuniting long separated families will be featured by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (JGSGB) at its December 7 meeting at Temple Emanuel in Newton.

The stories are Stephen Denker's "documenting business history in Cuba," and Alexander Woodle's "reuniting family divided by 250 years."

Denker reports on seven years of research, worldwide travel and internet chats. By tracing his American family’s manufacturing business and life in Cuba early in the 20th century, he unraveled a genealogical history and reconnects cousins separated for more than 70 years. In summer 2007, Denker spent two weeks in Havana completing his research and visiting the family home and factory.

Woodle reports on re-tying a genealogical thread after 250 years. His quest started with discovering a familiar surname in Austria and Romania in a search of international telephone directories. JewishGen and Familysearch database resources provided evidence of relationship. He then contacted a family in Romania, and utilizing the latest tool of genea-technology, dispatched a DNA kit. Last May, Woodle traveled to Central Europe to visit his distant cousins.

Both presentations exhibit an additional important facet of genealogical research: historical context. Denker describes the circumstances of Jewish immigration to Cuba. Woodle’s review of Jewish history in Central Europe yields clues to the dispersal of his family from 18th century Bohemia to Banat (now partially in Romania) in the southern reaches of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Join the group from 1.30-4.30pm, Sunday, December 7, at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St., Newton. JGSGB members: free; others: $5. For directions and additional details, click here.

Australia: Jewish genealogy conference

I know this is somewhat late, but it's important to note that the first-ever Australian Jewish Genealogical Conference was held in Canberra in early November. An article describing the meet was carried in the Australian Jewish News here.

Participants at the first Australian Jewish Genealogical Conference held in Canberra discovered some surprising family connections.

The conference included a reception hosted by Israeli Ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem, special interest group sessions and guest speakers from the National Archives of Australia, National Library and Australian War Memorial.

It was nice to see the names of good friends and acquaintances from down-under: Rieke and Peter Nash, as well as Martha Lev Zion from Beersheva.

This conference - as do many genealogy conferences - produced some surprises. Two delegates discovered they were born in the same hospital in Shanghai to refugee parents. Peter and Prof. Ben Selinger found a connection through their fathers' professional lives in pre-war Berlin.

Sharing the same great-grandfather were Enid Yoffa Elton and Cecily Parris. He had arrived in Australia in 1847 from Krakow via England.

“It was unbelievable,” Elton told The AJN. “I found about four or five relatives from the same family tree.”

Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem - whose family name was Frenkel - hosted a reception for attendees. He told how he found surviving Polish family members in Melbourne, while another attendee wondered if she was related to Rotem through her mother's family.

Dr. Martha Lev Zion was the keynote speaker and discussed two modern tools for genealogical research: the growth of online records and DNA analysis.

Read the complete article for more information.

Postings of note: Thank you, Randy Seaver

My colleague Randy Seaver, author of the excellent Genea-Amusings blog, also writes a weekly Best of the Genealogy Blogs, where he spotlights excellent postings across the genea-blogosphere.

He reads hundreds of blogs each week. We are happy that he finds the time to do that!

In his round-up posted today, Randy pointed to my Tracing the Tribe post on the LDS issue of posthumous baptism of Jews (Holocaust victims and others) here and MyHeritage.com's interview with me.

Thank you, Randy!

28 November 2008

Maryland: Jewish history

Maryland Public Television aired a special on the state's Jewish history, according to this Baltimore Jewish Times story.

What struck Karen S. Barber the most was the oneness, that sense of unity, even during times of great struggle and adversity.

“The Jews in Maryland have, for hundreds of years, practiced the core tenet of Judaism, the idea that you start by helping your own,” she said.

An award-winning independent television and video producer, Ms. Barber is the creative force behind “Maryland Generations: The Jewish Experience,” the latest installment in Maryland Public Television’s “Maryland Generations” series.

The program covers the mid-19th century to today and aired on November 23, 24, 25.

Barber spoke with immigrants from Germany and Eastern Europe, World War II refugees, local historians and others, interweaving the stories with archival footage, photographs and memorabilia.

Among the many stories she heard, Ms. Barber said she was especially struck by the tales of Jews who left the comfortable familiarity of the city to seek their fortunes in Maryland’s smaller towns and rural regions.

“I didn’t know anything about the population that went into some of the more rural areas and what life was like, the challenges those people faced in making life in a small town,” she said.

For those who ventured into Southern Maryland, Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, “there were so many challenges, things as basic as the difficulties of finding kosher meats, of getting a bar mitzvah,” she said.

Barber talked about the lengths some individuals went to sustain their identity while living in rural areas.

“To balance life as a Jew and life as a business person in Cumberland, they took ads in the newspapers to alert the public that they would be closed because it was Yom Kippur. Kids took the train to Baltimore for Hebrew lessons,” she said. “All that was very interesting.”

The program delves into some of the historic moments within the state’s evolving Jewish community, including those Jews who moved to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area during the New Deal era. It looks at the struggle to expand the rights of Maryland’s Jews, the divide among Jews regarding the abolition of slavery, and especially the complex relations between Jews of German origin and those from Eastern Europe.

There's more to read in the complete article at the link above.

Food: The circle of life bread

This morning we had left-over baked salmon with cream cheese on pita - we were out of bagels - so I was in the mood for this New York Times review of Maria Balinska's "The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread."

While my favorite non-bagel breads are thick Persian barbari and fresh egg challah, there's just something about a bagel that puts it at the top of the bread list.

FOR Maria Balinska, it was never just bagels and yuks. “People used to laugh at me when I told them I was writing a book about bagels,” she said. “I’d tell them it was actually quite serious.”

Her book, “The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread,” was published this month by Yale University Press, and Ms. Balinska, the editor for world current affairs radio for BBC News in London, was in New York to talk about it over bagels and eggs at the Second Avenue Deli.

The book, thought-provoking and fact-filled, is one that also uses the bagel as a way of viewing Polish-Jewish history. It begins with an unexpected look at a boiled, baked and ring-shaped possible ancestor in southern Italy and a steamed and baked possible predecessor found among the Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China. The book moves on to Poland, the Jewish bagel’s probable birthplace, and the bagel’s older and similar Christian relative, the obwarzanek.

Balinska's father's family is Polish (Jewish and Catholic), and she grew up outside Princeton, NJ, within bagel-rolling - is there such an Olympic sport? - distance of New York City. But she didn't have her first bagel until college. When she won a grad scholarship to study in Krakow, she saw the obwarzanek and became intrigued.

In the 1980s in London she worked at the World Jewish Congress' research arm, the Institute of Jewish Affairs and began talking with people about the bagel and started researching.

But she doesn't believe the popular story that the bagel was produced as a tribute to John III Sobieski, 17th-century Polish king, after he saved Austria from Turkish invaders at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.

Her own theory is that it is a cousin of the pretzel — it may already have been a staple among Jewish bakers before they migrated to Poland from Germany in the Middle Ages, or it may have developed alongside the obwarzanek, which was a favorite at the Polish royal court, a court that was frequented by the Jewish elite.

The first known reference to the bread with a hole among Jews in Poland, she said, was found in 1610 Yiddish regulations of Krakow's Jewish Council, which listed how much an infant boy's circumcision could cost to avoid making the non-Jewish neighbors envious. The etymology of bagel is unclear, but Balinska says many experts say it comes from the Yiddish beigen, to bend.

On a business trip to Poland, Balinska's husband found an old pretzel tin with the name Beigel. She says that the Beigel family had dominated Jewish baking in pre-Nazi Krakow, preparing bagels and other breads.

In the old days, bagels were hand-rolled, boiled, then baked - a labor-intensive process for the many bagel-bakers and who, in 1951, called a bagel-bakers' strike. Eventually, technology took over.

“Lots of things have happened to bagels now that have very little to do with bagels, or certainly what I think they should be,” she said, mentioning ubiquitous phenomena like giant bagels, many-flavored bagels, many-colored bagels and other unbagel-like bagels. “ So many are simply bread rolls in the shape of a ring, in the shape of a bagel.”

Balinska prefers the old-fashioned ones such as those served at New York's Second Avenue Deli, made by David Teyf. She also likes those in London's Golders Green. She says that the London bagel is smaller than the New York bagel, is tangy and more chewy.

Lender's introduced frozen bagels out of New Haven, Connecticut, in the 1960s. A major innovation was the pre-sliced bagel, as consumers were injuring themselves trying to slice the frozen bagels.

Before the 1960s, bagels were known mainly in cities with large Jewish populations. Today, every tiny town across the US offers bagels.

In Tel Aviv, we have Tal's Bagels, which are really delicious. Family and friends travelling to Israel used to bring us fresh-from-the-H&H-oven bagels from New York. Now we have Tal's.

Sicily: Two lists of Jewish surnames

As Tracing the Tribe has previously noted, Sicily had a large medieval Jewish population. Following the 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain, many of them came to Sicily. Unfortunately, the Jewish community was expelled from the island in 1493. Many left for mainland Italy, across the Straits of Messina, while others went underground.

Jewish settlements existed on Sicily since Roman times. According to some sources, the largest number were brought back by Pompey after he destroyed Jerusalem in 63BCE. Roman Proconsl Crassus was said to have sold 30,000 Jews as slaves.

By the Inquisition, there were Jewish quarters (giudecca) in 50 Sicilian cities and towns, as well as some islands off Sicily, with populations ranging from about 350-5,000 individuals.

Sicilian Jews lived there for more than 1,500 years and were active in all areas. They were prominent in trading, agriculture, medicine, philosophy, silk, as well as farming and manual trades.

Francesco Giunta and Laura Sciascia published a paper in Italia Judaica that includes transcriptions of 349 notary record fragments from the Sicilian Provincial State Archives concerning forced sales of properties following the Expulsion order, and listing Jewish sellers and Christian buyers back to 1492. Their paper contains transcriptions of all the records, in the original Latin, as well as an alphabetic list of the sellers followed by a listing of the buyers and then details of each transaction.

Here is the list from that source. X in both Sicilian and Catalan is pronounced as SH. The family name is in upper case with given names (if more than one individual) in parentheses.

Abadara Iesu, Abrac Aurifici Paxi, Adili David, Allegrottu Simone, Alluxi Sabet, Aluxu Salomone, Anaf Aron, Arnac Salamone, Asunsi Vita, Attuni/Actuni (Bestet, Busacca, Manuel, Samuel, Azarono), Aurifice/Laurifice (Busacca, Isacco, Leone, Sadia, Abram), Azarini (David, Iuda), Azeni (Aron, Bracon, Geremia, Manna, Mosè, Nissim, Pietropaolo, Sadia), Ben Iosep (Iacob, Leone, Salomon), Benassai Benedetto, Bina Mardoc, Bonet Iosep, Bonu Busacca, Calabrisi (David, Nissim, Salomon), Canet (Crixi, Donato), Catalano Nissim, Chicheri Gaudio, Chippet Xibita, Chispi Abram, Chispu Manuele, Cuino(Abram, Bonavogla, Geremia, Muxa, Rafael, Salomone, Senia), Dat Iuda, Elevi Muxa, Faudali Mardoc, Ficart Busacac, Finei Tobia, Fineni (Manuele, Ricco, Manuli), Fisico Beniamino, Furnari Iosep, Gazi Grazia, Gibet Xibita, Girachio (Gabriele, Salomone), Girgenti Sadia, Guillelmo Mussuto, Guini Savita, Insize Xibita, Isac (David, Muxa, Simone, Xibita), Iuzufi Vita, La Bonavogla Prospero, Laurifice (Aurifice) - see Aurifice, Levi (Busacca, Lia), Lincio (Gabriele, Iacob), Linzio Sadia, Lisia Xibita, Lu Medicu (Abram, David, Salomone, Samuele), Lu Presti (Busacca, Iacob, Scibita), Lumedicu Sadono, Lupu Zactarono, Marsili Sabet, Matrimora (David, Muxa), Millac (Muxa, Sabet), Mira Muxa, Mugnay Graziano, Muxa Maxalufo, Muxarella Gandio, Nagira Nissim, Nalini Aron, Nanu Xibita, Polizzi Anna (Xanna), Rabiki Muxa, Raskisi (Falichisi) Iuda, Rausa Grazia, Russo (Attono, Salomone), Sabuti Iesus, Sacerdotu (Aron, Barono, Busacca, Gabriele, Leono, Lia, Mardoc, Salomon), Salamon Abram, Samuel Xue, Sanzato Gentile, Simonis Muxa, Siracusa Abram, Stozu Iosep, Sufi (Leone. Nissim), Susan Salomone, Tagul (Asaraz, Mardoc), Tolu Iosep, Veri (Manuele, Perna), Vigivani (Muxa, Gabriel), Visa Abrac, Vita Manuel, Xaccaruni David, Xafini Abram, Xamuel Rabin, Xane, Xareri Mardoc, Xattarini David, Xifuni Abram, Xunina (David, Muxa, Iacob, Zibita), Zel Abram.

There is another listing of Jewish surnames and given names used in Messina, Sicily prior to 1492. Although this list has been previously posted on Tracing the Tribe, it may be interesting to compare both in one place. This is from Professor Giuseppe Martino's paper on The Jews of Messina, which is a fascinating Jewish history. Surnames are bolded below.

Abbanascia Mosè, Abraham Rabbi Jacob ben, Abulafia Abraham ben Shemuel, Abulrabbi Aaron, Amato Amergi, Aurifici (Aron, Vitali), Balsamo, Barone, ben Nachman Mosheh, ben Shalom Rabbi Abraham, Ben Yijù (Abraham,
Mubaschir, Surur, Shamwal, Moshe), Bonanno, Bonavoglia (Heftz) ( David, Mosè (Mohe), Bonfiglio, Brigandi, Bruno, Burrada, Campagna, Catalano Mose, Chanchio Sacerdote, Chaninello Muxa, Compagna (Aron, Muxa), Conti (Jacob, Rosa), Costantino, da Bertinoro Obadià, di Dioniso Giosuè, di Minisci (Salomone, Azaria), Fermo Elias, Finzi Gaudio, Gini (Salomone, Guglielmo), Hadad Rabbi Nathan ben Sa 'adiah, Hasdaj Mosè, Lagumina G, Marino, Marmici Elia, Mazza, Medici Mosè, Monomato (Giovanni, Pagana), Romano, Sanguinetti Rav Ismaele, Scivinell Isacco, Sigilmasi Rabbi Sa 'adiah, ben Izahaq, Sigtune, Spangnolo (Abramo, Iacopo, Mosè), Staiti, Syminto, Tudela Benjamin, Tzarfati Rabbi Natronay, Zacco (Giuseppe, Gaudio) .

27 November 2008

Shanghai: Jewish history, name database

The "Hunt for Jewish History" in Shanghai was detailed in this Shanghai Daily story.

The managers of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum said they are working to collect more artifacts and artwork from Shanghai and overseas to enrich the facility's exhibits and better document this important part of the city's history.

The government-operated museum, at 62 Changyang Road, was established in the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue, a religious and cultural center used by Jewish refugees in Shanghai during World War II.

Nearly 15,000 people from 50 foreign countries and regions have visited the museum since it opened in October last year, museum managers said.

The synagogue is located near the former Jewish neighborhoods around the Tilanqiao area in Hongkou District.

District government spent US$1 million last year on a major renovation to restore the synagogue to its original look and opened the museum at the same time. The managers of the museum have been working to enrich the exhibits and artwork ever since.

Two galleries, in separate buildings outside the synagogue, have been completed and opened to the public over the past six months.

One gallery holds more than 100 photos and items, and a short movie detailing the city's Jewish past is screened. Artwork is in the other gallery.

Museum curator Chen Jian, a district government official, said there is an urgent need for more exhibits: "It's not only meant to make the museum more attractive to visitors but for the sake of preserving this special history."

"Witnesses to this history, including the Jews who used to live in Shanghai and the old Shanghai residents, are passing on. So we need to gather precious historical evidence such as photos and papers as quickly as possible to add to our exhibits," he said.

The museum is planning to develop more interactive content for the building's third floor.

Of special interest to Jewish genealogists who had family in Shanghai is the interactive database launched in June. It holds some 14,800 refugee names of those who fled Europe and were granted asylum in the Tilanqiao area. The museum is trying to complete the name list of nearly 30,000 refugees who arrived.

Names were collected from memoirs, historical documents and those contributed by overseas visitors to the museum. A dedicated museum computer with the database is available for visitors at no charge.

History's mysteries: The walking stick returns

The Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette offered a Jewish genealogy story about Congregation Achduth Vesholom's 160th anniversary and a piece of its 19th-century past brought back by modern technology.

The item is an engraved, golden-topped walking stick, presented by the congregation to its founder, that had been languishing in a Philadelphia-area man’s estate.

The tale worthy of PBS’ “History Detectives” began with an e-mail that arrived at the synagogue’s office in April, says Beth Zweig, of Fort Wayne, the congregation’s president and celebration coordinator.

“Hi, my name is Ed Romanofsky. I’m doing a favor for a friend. He has an old cane,” the e-mail began.

Romanofsky, 56, of Havertown, Pa., picks up the story. The friend, Ed Campuzano of Upper Darby, was cleaning out his brother’s house after his death and found the cane. It was inscribed “F. Nirdlinger Esquire from the members of Congregation Achduth Vesholom, Fort Wayne, Ind.”

Campuzano wanted to return the cane to the Nirdlinger family but didn't know how to find them. Romanofsky Googled Frederic Nirdlinger and found a hit on the synagogue's website history. Zweig, who wrote about the congregation's early history, recognized the name immediately.

Nirdlinger, she says, was not just anybody. The German-born merchant was the leader of the 23 founding members of the Society for Visiting the Sick and Burying the Dead, the predecessor to Achduth Vesholom.

Indeed, he had allowed the young, then-Orthodox, Jewish congregation, the oldest in Indiana, to meet in his brick home for services. Men sat in one parlor and the women and children in another, as was traditional then, she says.

Nirdlinger was a businessman whose New York Emporium grew to be one of the largest clothing stores in the state. While there were no descendants in the congregation as Romanofsky and Campuzano had hoped, Zweig knew where to find one.

A few years ago, she says, Roger and Mimi Arnstine of Cleveland had contacted the congregation while visiting Fort Wayne to research their genealogy at the Allen County Public Library. Roger Arnstine is Frederic Nirdlinger’s great-great-grandson.

Zweig contacted the Arnstines, and the stick was reunited with the family by August.

The story behind the story:

Campuzano’s brother found the stick some four decades ago on a train from Philly to New York. He liked it and took it home.

Zweig checked through the congregation's records - translated from German at the library, but found no mention of the stick as a gift. She thinks it might have been an 1865 gift after Nirdlinger had spent 15 years as president of the synagogue.

The Arnstines were planning to attend the anniversary celebration, along with another descendant who recently appeared on the scene.

Kristine Nirdlinger - great-great-great-niece of the founder - lives in the Chicago area and contacted the congregation at Rosh Hashana. She is coming with her fiancé and her parents. She recently learned about her Jewish ancestors as she prepared to marry a Jewish man. She has converted to Judaism and discovered her link to the congregation.

Read the complete story about the second-oldest Reform congregation west of the Rockies at the link above.

Iceland: Jewish history

A new blog - Bear Stone Cottage, offers the history of the Jews in Iceland.

According to this posting, Jews were called Gydingar - a diminutive of Gud (God). The 13th-century Gydinga Saga - the Saga of the Jews, is a translation of Maccabees I with bits of Flavius Josephus. Another word for Jew was formerly neutral and now considered negative: Judi/Judar.

Looking for your lost branch? They may be among the few frozen chosen of Iceland.

- A Polish Jewish convert to Christianity, Daniel Salomon, arrived in 1625.
- Dutch Portuguese Jacob Franco of Copenhagen was put in charge of all tobacco sold in Iceland and the Faroe Isles in 1704.
- A few years later - 1710 - Abraham Levin and Abraham Cantor were given similar responsibilities. Cantor’s son Isak took over in 1731.
- A Jewish trade ship - the Ulricha - was rented by Ruben Moses Henriques of Copenhagen, arriving in Iceland in 1815.

Iceland's parliament, in 1853, rejected the Danish king's request to allow foreign Jews to reside in Iceland, but two years later said that both Danish and foreign Jews were welcome. No Jews are recorded as accepting this offer.

Most trade was owned by Icelanders, but in the late 19th-century, some trading agents represented Danish Jewish companies.

In 1874, Hungarian Jewish journalist Max Nordau was mentioned. Fritz Hemann Nathan arrived from Denmark in 1906 and became a prosperous merchant, founding Nathan & Olsen in Reykjavik. In 1916, he built the tallest building - five stories - in the city, and the first to have electrical lighting. However, after he married in 1917, he found it was impossible to live a Jewish life and moved to Copenhagen.

In the 1930s and the Depression, non-Jewish immigrants received work and residence permits easier than Jewish immigrants, and in May 1938, when Denmark closed its gates to Austrian Jews, Iceland did the same in a few weeks.

In the late 1930s, some Jews were expelled from Iceland. A Leipzig Jewish refugee - Otto Weg - stayed during the war. He wanted to become a full Icelander, converted and changed his name to Ottó Arnaldur Magnússon. Although he had a doctorate in geology and mathematics, he never received an academic post and worked in construction.

When British forces arrived in Iceland in May 1940, some Jewish servicement were among them. Although there was no synagogue, they found some Jews who had arrived earlier.

On Yom Kippur 1940, some 25 Jewish soldiers from England, Scotland and Canada, eight Jewish refugees and Hendrik Ottósson gathered together. Ottósson's wife was Jewish and he served as their leader. Officials offered a chapel for the service in the old cemetery, but Ottosson felt insulted and rented a hall of the Good Templars’ Lodge, and borrowed the only Torah scroll in town for the very first non-Christian service in 940 years.

That day marked the official founding of the first Iceland synagogue. Vienna native Arnold Zeisel was the first head of the community, and the group met regularly.

The Icelandic bar mitzvah took place on the Shabbat of Passover 1941 even though British forces did not send a rabbi.

When US forces arrived in 1941-42, community life was more active with an American rabbi landing in 1941. It had grown large enough that a building had to be found, and an Orthodox congregation also met.

The American rabbis in war-time Iceland maintained contacts with the German-speaking Jews , who preferred the liberal Reform approach of the American rabbis. At Rosh Hashana 1944, 500 Jews attended services. Until the mid-1950s, there were two congregations. Jewish servicement accounted for 2,000 of the 70,000 forces stationed.

In 1955, when Alfred Joachim Fischer visited and wrote about the community, he said that almost all the refugee Jews had been naturalized and changed their names, according to law, to Icelandic names.

Today, the very liberal community is very small and there have been only four bar and bat mitzvahs.

The blog post indicated that there are reports of Jews buried in the old Reykjavík cemetery and of headstones bearing the Star of David.

UK: 1851 Anglo-Jewry Database updated

Petra Laidlaw has informed us that the latest set of revisions have been uploaded to the 1851 Anglo-Jewry Database.

The database now includes some 25,000 entries. Petra believes that there were about 30,000 Jews in the British Isles then, so this should represent some 80% of them.

If your ancestors were in the UK at that time, this database may be very useful to you.

26 November 2008

Germany: 9,000 euthanasia victims' register

German publication Deutsche Welle carried a story on the compilation of a register of 9,000 mentally ill people killed by the Nazis as part of Hitler's euthanasia policy. Germany historians at Berlin's Freie University and Brandenburg's memorial trust are spearheading the effort.

Hitler first outlined his Nazi euthanasia campaign, which would later be called Operation T4, in his book "Mein Kampf." Believed to have claimed 70,000 victims between January 1940 and August 1941 alone, the idea behind Operation T4 was disseminated through Nazi propaganda films depicting the mentally or terminally ill as "useless mouths to feed."

Financed by the German lottery, the university in Berlin and the state of Brandenburg's memorial trust, which is located in the town of Brandenburg, have decided to lead the one year project because they feel the issue of euthanasia during Hitler's reign has not received the proper attention it deserves.

"We have wanted to do this for years, but the state archives and many of the necessary information sources only became available after German re-unification," said Guenter Morsch, a researcher at the Brandenburg memorial trust.

Historians believe that more than 100,000 people - most previously unidentified - were euthanized. Researchers say exposing this horror is an important step for Germany as it continues to delve into its Nazi past.

Brandenburg was where the first mentally ill Jews were killed. "Too few people are aware of how significant this town was during the Jewish Holocaust," said Morsch, who added that the register is a dignified way to remember the deceased, it's a service to families left behind, important for general historical research and will serve an educational purpose.

Read the complete story at the link above.

25 November 2008

DNA: End-of-year savings at FamilyTreeDNA.com

Those of us with FamilyTreeDNA projects are always looking for ways to encourage more people to join. We eagerly look forward to the company's end-of-year special price breaks.

Others - who have been thinking about starting a first-time project or an additional project - use these breaks to get their group going.

Everyone loves a sale! And the special prices encourage the holiday gifting of kits. A FamilyTreeDNA kit:

- is always the right size
- is always the right color
- is hypo-allergenic
- no complicated assembly
- no batteries
- takes up no room
- means the recipient won't have to stand on lines to return it
- adds so much to our group and general knowledge

I'm sure there are other reasons readers can offer, so please chime in with your comments.

Pricing is in effect through December 31, 2008 for kits ordered and paid for through that date. Prices are:

Y-DNA37 - $119
Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus - $199
Y-DNA67 - $218
Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus - $308
mtDNAPlus - $139
Full Genomic mtDNA - $395
SuperDNA - $613

For more details, go to FamilyTreeDNA for ordering information or to set up a new project.

We hope that more Tracing the Tribe readers will be able to add more individuals and gain additional knowledge about their family or community with their ongoing project, and that many more researchers will finally take the next step to initiate a new or first-time project.

If you have questions about setting up a DNA project, just contact the friendly people at the company.

Vienna: Sephardic databases now online

Three databases on the Turkish (Sephardic) community of Vienna, Austria are now online, according to Mathilde Tagger of Jerusalem.

These include the:

Birth Register: Some 4,000 individuals, including the newborn, parents, maybe a grandparent, midwife and mohel (ritual circumciser).

Wedding Register: Some 5,000 individuals for some 800 marriages, including bride, groom, parents, maybe grandparents.

Tombstone Inscriptions: 192 Sephardic graves from the Zentral Friedhof (Central Cemetery) of Vienna, based on photos taken by the amazing Celia Male of London, who also writes for the International Jewish Graveyard Rabbit. These inscriptions are in Hebrew, German, Judeo-Spanish, Serbian and Bulgarian.

Sephardic research pioneer Jeff Malka also participated in making this possible as he scanned the birth and wedding registers from microfilms at the Family History Library.

Baptism: Holocaust survivors break off Mormon negotiations

Since 1992, some Jewish genealogists have been aware that the Mormons have performed posthumous baptisms and confirmations on innocent Holocaust victims and other Jews. Since then, many more people have learned of it. In 1995, the church signed a pledge saying it would no longer perform these posthumous baptisms on Holocaust victims.

It is well known in some Jewish genealogy circles that new names have been continuously added, that some names removed have again been entered and that both prominent and ordinary Jewish individuals have also been subjected to these rites.

This posting has been in draft since November 15, when I went offline due to our recent family emergency. The delay has allowed me to add in Gary Mokotoff's excellent latest article in his Nu? What's New? e-zine as a resource on this topic.

Writes Gary:

In 1992, the Jewish genealogical community discovered that 128,000 German Jews murdered in the Holocaust were posthumously baptized by the Mormon Church. The source was a memorial book called Gedenkbuch. At that time I was president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. I informed the Church that if these baptisms were known to the general Jewish community there would be a public outcry. After two years of discussions, in the summer of 1994, the Church told me they planned to do nothing about it. Bill Gladstone, then president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada, was a writer for the Jewish Telegraph Agency. He wrote an article that was published in Jewish newspapers. The reaction of the Jewish community was instantaneous and the Church started back-pedaling furiously, apologizing for what they did. It led to
the Church signing an agreement in May 1995 with a number of Jewish organizations to limit their posthumous baptism practice of Jews — of all Jews, not just Holocaust victims — to only direct ancestors of Mormons.

The last time Tracing the Tribe wrote on this issue, many comments were posted.

A history of the issue, by Bernard Kouchel, is on JewishGen here, and Gary's article includes links to others. Dedicated researcher Helen Radkey of Salt Lake City has done extensive work on uncovering inappropriately entered individuals. Gary's article links to Helen's reports here, here and here.

Many Jewish genealogists have found their own relatives listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI), an index of all individuals who have been subjected to this rite.

Over the years, Helen has provided me with her reports and studies. She always asks why the Jewish community doesn't step up to the plate and and get involved. I have no answer for her, as I have asked the same question.

For 14 years, there have been fruitless negotiations, meetings after meetings, empty promises and continuing baptisms.

We Jews have not been the only ones questioning this distasteful procedure. In 2003, the Armenian Church publicly denounced the practice and, a few years later, the Russian Orthodox Church did the same. In May 2008, the Vatican ordered Catholic dioceses to keep member registries from Mormons so that Catholics could not be re-baptized.

While other groups made very public statements about their feelings, the Holocaust survivor community - which grows older and smaller each year - kept negotiating quietly year after year with not much happening. Jewish genealogy associations refused to make public statements out of what some called fear that the church would keep Jewish genealogical resources from them. Few other Jewish organizations thought the matter important enough to join the indignation bandwagon.

When famed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, however, was found to be entered in the IGI a year after his death, the Jewish world woke up and protested loudly. Supposedly, Wiesenthal was not posthumously baptized - merely cleared for the rite - and his name was removed from the IGI. Holocaust victim Anne Frank has been entered numerous times, as have other of her family members.

To bring it closer to home, some of my own relatives were entered in the IGI just because one church member decided to submit for baptism the names of all those buried in one Connecticut Jewish cemetery.

Finally, Ernest Michel - who first called major attention to the issue after finding his Holocaust victim parents listed in the IGI - has said enough is enough and ended negotiations following the last meeting on November 10.

Some in the Jewish genealogy community repeat that we shouldn't make waves as speaking loudly and publicly would somehow restrict Jewish access to genealogical records that we need. Others have called that particular attitude akin to selling one's soul for microfilm access.

And, while the church contends that the rite does not make the deceased a member of the Mormon church, the text of the proxy rite reads differently. Gary quotes the text in his article: "in the name of Jesus Christ we lay our hands upon your head, for and in behalf of [name of the deceased), who is dead and confirm you as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and say unto you, you receive the Holy Ghost. Amen."

For many years, my own reasoning has been that while I know what the IGI is - and I have spent long hours attempting to remove inappropriately entered relatives from it - my descendants may not be aware of the real story. When they start looking for family - as I hope they will - what they will see is that family members who were lifelong Jews with no interest in other religions, are baptized Mormons. This will be completely false.

The names of my family members - whether Holocaust victims who met tragic and untimely death at the hands of Nazis or ordinary American Jews who lived long natural lives as good Jews - have been entered by unrelated church members who have proxy baptized my relatives without permission (either the deceased or living relatives).

Under church policy, members are to submit only their own relatives' names, and are also supposed to obtain permission from living relatives to enter names of others. These rules have not been followed.

It is about time that Ernie Michel has called an end to negotiations with the church. Year after year, meeting after meeting, he has been promised that the practice will end, that safety controls will be put in place. Some experts, indeed, have said over the years that the church seemed to be sorry it signed the 1995 agreement.

The major news stories say the church was surprised by Michel's statement and action. I wonder why the church thinks that 14 years of negotiation without tangible results, along with continuing baptism and re-baptism of those removed, is an impetus for more of the same?

For other sources on this topic:

A November 10 article in the Jerusalem Post also quotes Gary. The story is no longer online, but had received many viewer comments.
NEW YORK - Holocaust survivors said Monday they were abandoning negotiations with the Mormon church over its posthumous baptisms of Jews who were killed in Nazi death camps.

Survivors claim elders of the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have refused to systemically search for and remove the names of Holocaust victims from their master genealogical database and have failed to prevent "zealots" from adding thousands of new Jewish names to the list in recent years - including thousands lifted from Yizkor books of Jews massacred at Berdichev in Ukraine.

"We are not going to continue meeting with the Mormon Church," said Auschwitz survivor Ernest Michel, head of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, who has spearheaded efforts to scrub the Mormon lists since discovering in the 1990s that his parents were among 380,000 Holocaust victims having been baptized into the Christian faith.

Gary Mokotoff, a Jewish genealogist who participated in meetings with Mormon leaders, described the negotiations as "fruitless."

"We go round and round, and they refuse to change their position," Mokotoff told The Jerusalem Post.

He and Michel claimed the church had failed to enforce rules it agreed to in 1995 to prevent Holocaust victims' names from being added and had not reprimanded those who moved to restore thousands that had been removed form baptismal lists.

"The Church's actions show disrespect for us - they revise history, intentionally or not," said Michel, who cited July correspondence with church leaders at a Manhattan news conference in which elders stated they would only remove the names of Jewish Holocaust victims upon request rather than conducting their own records search.

"Leave our six million people, all victims, alone," Michel said. "They have suffered enough."...

According to the article, the church - instead of removing names automatically - is requiring Jewish groups to continue supplying names of victims. Researcher Helen Radkey began checking the IGI for people with Jewish names after her research showed multiple baptismal listings for Anne Frank. She says the church failed to remove all 380,000 known Holocaust victims' names after the 1995 agreement and her searches of password-protected Mormon databases revealed many baptized Mormons with typically Jewish names like Solomon or Esther who had died between 1941 and 1945.
"The list problem is something the church could have cracked down on, should have cracked down on, and has not cracked down on," Radkey told the Post. She said the database could be easily compared against lists from Yad Vashem or other Holocaust clearinghouses.
Holocaust survivor Roman Kent, who appeared with Michel and Radkey, said at the press conference: "Forget the lists - it is not a numbers game. If it is even 100 people, it is too many."

Here's the JTA.org story, "Survivors say Mormons reneging on 1995 baptism pledge."
..."They tell me that my parents’ Jewishness has not been altered," said Michel’s prepared remarks for the news conference, which was held on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. "But in 100 years, how will they be able to guarantee that my mother and father of blessed memory, who lived as Jews and were slaughtered by Hitler for no other reason than they were Jews, will someday not be identified as Mormon victims of the Holocaust?"...

The Genealogy Insider blog at Family Tree Magazine also carried a posting here.
...The Associated Press reported on yesterday’s American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors (AGHS) press conference. The organization claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hasn’t enforced a 1995 agreement to permit its members to submit for posthumous baptism by proxy (often described as “temple work”) names of only those Holocaust victims who are direct relatives.

Posthumous baptisms by proxy are central to Mormons' faith because the practice allows families to be reunited in the afterlife. They see the baptisms as an offer that the deceased individual can refuse; many Jews view the practice as disrespectful to those who were killed for their religious beliefs.

A researcher the AGHS hired reported finding several thousand names in the
church’s genealogy databases, some submitted as recently as July.

The church removed Jews’ names after the 1995 agreement, but told the Associated Press that since then a few well-meaning members have “acted outside of policy.”...

The full AP article is at CNN.com here.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Holocaust survivors said Monday they are through trying to negotiate with the Mormon church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they are making changes to their massive genealogical database that will make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy, a rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.

But Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said that is not enough. At a news conference in New York City on Monday, he said the church also must "implement a mechanism to undo what you have done."

"Baptism of a Jewish Holocaust victim and then merely removing that name from the database is just not acceptable," said Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.

"We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," Michel said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough."

Michel said talks with Mormon leaders, held as recently as last week, have ended. He said his group will not sue, and that "the only thing left, therefore, is to turn to the court of public opinion."...
The full article indicates that the church kept part of the agreement by removing more than 260,000 names from the IGI, although researcher Helen Radkey says that, since 2005, there have been resubmissions and new entries of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews.

According to Radkey, her research:
suggests that lists of Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped into the database. She said she has seen and recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate baptisms had been conducted for Holocaust victims as recently as July.

Wickman said lists of names have been entered into the database by a small number of well-meaning members who were acting "outside of policy." He said that church monitors have identified and removed 42,000 names from the database on their own, and that the church welcomes research from others.
The church said that a new database version - New Family Search - is being tested and should reduce the problem. It is also proposing the rejuvenation of a monitoring committee set in 2005 - which has met only once since then.

Tracing the Tribe will continue to post information on this issue as information becomes available. Learn more about this issue by accessing the resources, reports and links provided above.

24 November 2008

California: Steve Morse's One-Step, Dec. 8

Steve Morse is the featured speaker at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County, on Monday, December 8.

The meeting, co-sponsored with Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, will begin at 7pm. Note that day and start time differ from the normal schedule.

"One-Step Webpages: A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools" is Steve's topic.

The One-Step website started out as an aid for finding passengers in the Ellis Island database. Shortly afterwards it was expanded to help with searching in the 1930 census. Over the years, it has continued to evolve and today includes over 150 web-based tools divided into 14 separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations to last-minute bidding on e-bay. This presentation will describe the range of tools available and give the highlights of each one.

Steve, as creator of the One-Step Website, has received both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society and more. The one-step program has revolutionized conducting genealogical searches in large databases.

All participants who join or renew memberships for 2009 are eligible for the drawing of great genealogical prizes. There is no fee to attend the meeting.

For more information, contact president Jan Meisels Allen at publicity@jgscv.org.

23 November 2008

Miami: Jewish community's history, Dec. 7

As a former resident of South Florida, I was always fascinated by the early Jewish history of this community and the state.

The next meeting of the JGS of Greater Miami will feature Professor Seth Bramson speaking on his recently published book, "L'Chaim: The History of the Jewish Community of Greater Miami," at 10am, Sunday, December 7.

Bramson, an adjunct history professor at Florida International University, includes the story of Isidor Cohen, who arrived in 1896, and his family. The 160-page book - with more than 180 photographs - also discusses restrictions against Jews, information about the community's businesses, schools, temples, restaurants, clubs, and hotels, as well as community institutions such as the Jewish Museum, Federation and others.

The book will also be available for sale at the meeting at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Building, 4200 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami (bring picture ID). See the link above for more information.

22 November 2008

Yearbooks: Genealogical info, photographs

Genealogists know that yearbooks are useful to track relatives and view their photographs.

Think of your own yearbooks, high school and college. Some include only graduating seniors' photos and information; others may include info on students of other years. Some include an address index. Many contain ads from proud parents congratulating their offsprings' achievements.

At the very least, they are a good source of fun - remember those old haircuts and cutting-edge fashions of long ago?

My own high school yearbook photo is a source of endless humor. How exactly did I get my hair into that lacquered flip? I seem to remember walking around with huge rollers in my hair for long periods of time - and trying to sleep in them - and using a can of hairspray each day! I'd show it to readers but I don't have my yearbook here in Israel. Lucky you!

It's also interesting to see our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in their teens and young adulthood.

Alumni associations of high schools and colleges may have additional information as well - it's always worth a call. I attended New York City's High School of Music & Art (known as M&A), which has a particularly active alumni association, excellent reunions, a good newsletter and raises money for school-related activities. M&A has a number of alumni genealogists as well, including Rosanne Leeson, vice president of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society (SFBAJGS).

There are several Jewish genealogical and historical societies working to collect yearbook information, and the always-amazing Steve Morse also has a project solely for Brooklyn's Tilden High School. I would have attended Tilden if I hadn't gone to M&A. My mother, uncle and sister graduated from Tilden, and I just found my uncle, Robert Fink, using Steve's Tilden yearbook page here. Bob was class of '53, but my mother graduated in the 40s and is not (yet) listed, and my sister's year is not yet indexed.

Steve's approach is different from the projects underway (see below) by JGS of Long Island and Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. He focuses only on Tilden and only borrows yearbooks long enough to scan them. A volunteer transcribed the yearbooks (names and addresses). This is helpful as you can find everyone who lived on a certain street.

Currently, Tilden is represented by almost all the yearbooks from the 50s-60s, with one from the 30s - some 18,000 names. The project is less than a year old. Search here and click on a name to see the yearbook page.

Why did Steve undertake this new project? He hopes that others will do the same thing for their own schools. Additionally, he says, "I will make all the tools that I developed freely available to interested parties. This includes the search-application generator, the street-list generator, etc."
The JGS of Long Island launched its yearbook project in June 2006 to match researchers with yearbook owners. There's an online inventory of school yearbooks, showing school, year, city and state. Yearbook owners scan or photocopy content for interested researchers.

The JGSLI acts as an intermediary in soliciting yearbook owners to share information with researchers. The past year has seen dozens of connections. Originally, the focus was New York City/Long Island, but the project has expanded to include yearbooks from other JGSs, genealogical groups and interested individuals.

The project is described in detail on the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies page here. Click on the link for the November IAJGS Echo. The item includes the yearbook database link and how to volunteer your own yearbook for this project. The spearhead for this project at JGSLI is Nolan Altman.

In Michigan, former JGS of Michigan president Mark Manson writes about the yearbook project of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan (JHSM).

For 10 years, the JHSM has been soliciting the donation of yearbooks, first from Detroit high schools and now expanded to the entire Metro Detroit area and many cities throughout the state.

The group is creating on online index of all seniors in each book. Currently, there are more than 112,000 names from some 600 books; some 1,000 books in total will be indexed. The earliest book is 1904 Central High School (Detroit).

The project has received multiple copies of books for many years. The ultimate plan is to scan and place images online. Thus multiple books are needed to create one "clean" copy, because many books have pages missing, photos may have been cut out, autographs obscure photos.

The JHSM plans to sell CD copies of the scanned books for $36 each. The funds will be used to support, fund and continue the project. All seniors in all books are indexed. Books include public, private and parochial schools (no matter the affiliation). The project has received college, university, medical and law school books; junior high school books, school newspapers, large class photos, reunion books, graduation programs as well as dried corsage flowers in pages of books more than 60 years old.

Names already indexed can be viewed here. click on YEARBOOK PROJECT, type in a last name and first name. Click SEARCH and view results.

The JHSM is encouraging other genealogical and historical societies to also begin such a project in their own communities. Hundreds of projects are already online, including databases on Ancestry.com and other major websites.

These books are very valuable to researchers, and many get thrown away every day, thus reducing the chance that someone might find information of value. Please check with your own relatives and see what they might have in their own libraries. If a relative dies and you are involved in checking through their possessions, try to find a good home for any yearbooks found.

Do you know where your yearbooks are now?

Think about offering them to one or both of these or other projects to preserve the valuable information they contain.

Museum of Family History updates of interest

Steve Lasky of the Museum of Family History shares this month's updates:

Zionism in Europe: 12 pages dealing with the various Zionist youth movements that existed in Europe pre-World War II, e.g. the Betarim, Hashomer Hatzair, the Gordonia, Maccabi Hatzair (sports), Yugen Freiheit, Poalei Zion, Hapoel Hatzair, and the Hachalutz pioneering movement.

Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger was a fourteen-year-old poet, a native of Czernowitz, Ukraine. Tragically she perished in a Nazi SS camp in December 1942. Fortunately we are blessed that her many works survived.

Walk in My Shoes: Collected Memories of the Holocaust: Istvan Katona from Kartal, Hungary, was in Buchenwald and Mauthausen.

Yiddish great Maurice Schwartz's biography, next four chapters in the series. The final chapters will appear next month.

Works-in-progress: Exhibition devoted to the city of Czernowitz, Ukraine. Steve is hoping to announce in December that some transcripts will be ready to view as part of the Education and Research Center (ERC) Lecture Series.

Thank you to Steve for doing such a fantastic job with his Museum of Family History. Jewish genealogy is always thankful for those individuals who develop a concept for an innovative offering and run with it, thus enriching the lives and research of so many people around the world.

Book: Rummaging in the trunks of life

Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent offered a great story by Robert Leiter on what can be found if one only takes the time to look. "Dear, Dear Diary," is the story of a chance discovery revealing a vibrant life.

Lily Koppel was a young reporter working at The New York Times and living at 98 Riverside Drive, when one morning in the fall of 2003 she found a large red Dumpster firmly planted outside her apartment house, brimming with old steamer trunks. Though Koppel was late for her job on the Metro desk, she was struck by an impulse that nothing else mattered but discovering what was inside the trunks. She assumed they wouldn't be around for long, so she pulled her hair back in a ponytail, hoisted herself up into the Dumpster and dove in.

She soon discovered why these "treasures" were being disposed of: The management at 98 Riverside Drive had decided to expand the bike room in the basement, and all unclaimed tenant storage, some of it dating back to the early years of the 20th century, was being ditched. Koppel rooted in that Dumpster until dusk began to settle around her.

One of the doormen had already found a young woman's diary and knew Koppel would be interested. It had belonged to Florence Wolfson, and it would be the basis for "The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal" (Harper).

Amazingly, Koppel tracks down Florence, 90. She kept the diary as a teenager from 1929-1934, with some 2,000 entries recording meeting friends for tea, nightclubbing, dancing, shopping, teen gossip, fashion, plays, exhibits and music.

After three years wondering about the diary's writer, she received a call from a lawyer who specialized in tracking missing persons. Koppel discussed the diary with him, and after a few weeks of investigation, Florence Wolfson was found in Westport, Connecticut, with her longtime husband, Nathan Howitt, who appeared as "Nat" in many diary entries.

Reading what she'd written -- it was begun when she was just 14 -- the elder Florence was amazed by the young girl she'd once been. She told Koppel that she'd brought back her life. And so, with the help of the original diarist, Koppel fleshed out Florence Wolfson's story until it became The Red Leather Dairy.

Writes Leiter, "The book is filled with the surprise and wonder of stumbling upon another person's life -- one that was eventful and filled with detail. Even famous people pop up now and again."

No matter its faults, what keeps you reading The Red Leather Diary is the mystery at the heart of Wolfson's life: How did this rambunctious young woman, filled with artistic passion -- and others, as well -- become the long-married, 90-year-old that the author eventually found? Koppel reveals some of the answers -- those she was able to unearth -- though not until the very end of the tale. But you'll just have to read about them yourself.

Read the complete story at the link above.

Humor: Top 10 worst family heirlooms

As noted previously, I am catching up with reading email and my favorite gen blogs, such as Chris Dunham's Genealogue postings, such as this one from November 10.

Thanks, Chris - I really needed a chuckle or two during the last week!

The Genealogue's top 10 worst family heirlooms:

10. Open jar of mayonnaise.

9. Great-grandparents' bondage gear.

8. Toenail clippings.

7. Predisposition to public flatulence.

6. Grandpa's place on the couch.

5. Credit card debt.

4. Live hand grenade with missing pin.

3. Vintage roadkill collection.

2. Grandma's secret crystal meth recipe.

1. Autopsy photo album.

Read The Genealogue regularly for more of Chris' insights!

Washington, DC: Mark your calendars for 2011

Mark your calendars for 2011!

Marlene Bishow of the JGS of Greater Washington (JGSGW) has announced that the venue for the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be hosted by the JGSGW at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC, from August 14-19, 2011.

The beautifully appointed Grand Hyatt is centrally located on H Street between 10th and 11th Streets. A tunnel from the hotel lobby leads directly to the Washington Metro system for ease in traveling about the city to the National Archives, Library of Congress, Holocaust Museum, and other area sights. Chinatown and theatres are conveniently located. The hotel has 888 rooms and 40,000 square feet of conference space, which will be dedicated to the conference.

The conference programs will take place on two levels accessible from the main lobby by elevator and escalator. On one level there will be banquet and kosher food facilities, as well as the cyber classroom, resource room, theatre and smaller meeting rooms. On the other level, a massive ballroom will be divided into lecture halls and a comfortable central lounge for networking and relaxing between events. A vendor room will be adjacent to the lecture halls. The cyber café with sufficient computers connected to internet resources will be set up in the central lounge.

For those starting their budget keeping now, note that the room rate is the same as this year's Chicago conference - $199.

As always, Tracing the Tribe will provide all information as it is announced. The co-chairs of the 2011 conference are Marlene Bishow, Vic Cohen and Sue Isman.

21 November 2008

Tel Aviv: Staying connected

Just a note to let readers know why Tracing the Tribe has been quiet for about a week.

My husband was in Tel Aviv Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) and we all know that family and health take precedence over blogging and other mundane tasks (I also missed several story deadlines). He's now at home, feeling better, and I'm plowing through 2,000+ emails and attempting to get some work done.

While medical care is excellent in Israel, hospital Internet connectivity doesn't really exist. Although the hospital has an efficient arrangement for renting televisions, modems are not part of their marketing plan - which is more than silly. When my husband was in the hospital last year, I asked the TV guy why they don't rent modems and he couldn't answer me.

Things have changed for the better - at least at Ichilov Hospital - and I am delighted and want to tell the world!

This past Wednesday, I was in the Weizman Mall, across from the hospital, when my husband called me from his floor lobby: "There's a young woman here working on a laptop and she's on the Internet." I replied that it was impossible to my knowledge. However, always the optimist, I asked him to inquire. Omer (one of those unisex Israeli names like Tal and Gal that can equally designate both males and females) said that modems and laptops were available for rent from a kiosk on the mall's second floor.

I immediately went upstairs and met the enterprising young Nir who rents laptops with and without modems or just the modems (unlimited or 10-gig modems run about $6/NIS 25 per day, about $37/NIS 150 per week; about $90/NIS 350 per month, depending on exchange rate), which run off his servers.

Open only about two months, he's just started advertising. What a great idea!

Even if patients cannot or don't want to use computers, they have many visitors who either want or need to stay connected. Many people stay overnight with loved ones, and the Internet is a great idea to fill those long hours.

I found out too late (we were coming home the next day), but I could have been online all week, answered email, met deadlines, blog posted, researched medical information, and stayed in contact with family and friends - all during my husband's frequent naps and my long quiet nights there. I hope we don't have to see the inside of the hospital for a long time to come, but if we do, we now know we can stay connected.

I did my part to let people know about Nir. I went to the information desk and asked the staffer how many people ask about Internet in the hospital. He said some two dozen people had asked just that day and he had to tell them there wasn't any way to connect except in the 12th floor library or in the mall across the street (MacDonald's is a hotspot, as is the Aroma coffeehouse). I gave him one of Nir's cards and he was happy that he could help people who asked.

Later in the day, I had to visit the hospital office, where patients and families also inquire about staying connected. They were also interested.

I would have been happy to pay $37 to stay connected during our week there! For more information, you can email Nir, and view the complete pricelist here (English/Hebrew). Just tell him where you read about it!

Most of the website is only in Hebrew, but does offer direct links to games, news, web search, email and more. I think I'll suggest he offer a page on Jewish genealogy links and resources!

Ancestry.com: New resources added

This week, Ancestry.com added some interesting new resources.

The US City Directories database has been supplemented by some 50 million names in 1,100 city directories from 45 states and Washington, DC. This includes directories around the year 1890. and the collection's high quality grayscale images offered are clearer than images in previous collections.

City directories are very important assets in tracking ancestors. You may be surprised at what you can find in these valuable resources. Even better, Ancestry plans to add thousands of additional directories over the next few months. Search this database here.

For more on the new directories, see Chris Lydiksen's Ancestry.com blog post here.

The website has also added to its US military collections. U.S. military collections:

- U.S. Military and Naval Academy Registers, 1805–1908;
- U.S. Navy Pensions Index, 1861–1910;
- Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office.

The International Collection has also benefited with new or updated databases:

- Värmland, Sweden, Parish Records, 1661-1895 (Swedish);
- UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919;
- as well as three groupings of Croatia records (christenings, marriages and deaths).

View the complete list of recently added databases (a few months of additions) here.

16 November 2008

FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage partner to help researchers

And here's a great announcement that will assist family history researchers and genealogists. Two good friends - whom I have each known since before the launch of their respective companies - Bennett Greenspan (FamilyTreeDNA.com) and Gilad Japhet (MyHeritage.com) are now partnering to help people trace family history with DNA.

Here's a link so Tracing the Tribe readers can each save up to $60 on testing.

Here's the full announcement:

Tel Aviv, Israel and Houston, Texas – November 20, 2008 – MyHeritage, one of the world’s most popular family Web sites, today announced a partnership with FamilyTreeDNA, the company that pioneered DNA testing for genealogic research. In addition to MyHeritage’s innovative Smart Matching and Research technologies, members can now also use information contained in their DNA to find present-day relatives who share a common ancestor from many hundreds of years ago.

FamilyTreeDNA users can take advantage of MyHeritage’s site to not only further research family history, but also stay connected with current family members around the world.

“With close to 220,000 records, FamilyTreeDNA is the largest database of genealogic DNA information in the world. This provides the perfect complement to MyHeritage’s current research tools, giving our members another way to learn about where they come from,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We help people around the world discover, connect and communicate with their extended family network and easily research their family history. Now, by working with FamilyTreeDNA, we can offer a solution when the paper trail runs out.”

Since its founding in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA has tested over 450,000 people, help ing customers trace family history when no conventional records are available. The advanced DNA screening technology, among other things, can reveal Native American, African or Jewish descent on paternal or maternal lines, as well as uncover ancestral information for those who were adopted. Through a range of tests, users can obtain information on recent and historical origins, including a migration map on both paternal and maternal lines.

MyHeritage's 27 million users will have access to the following three tests:
· Y-DNA25 – a Y-chromosome test for males (US$129)
· mtDNA – a mitochondrial DNA test for males and females (US$129)
· Y-DNA25 + mtDNA – a combined Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA test for
males (US$219)

Bennett Greenspan, President and CEO of FamilyTreeDNA, said, “MyHeritage is an invaluable resource when researching family history online, which is a perfect complement for our DNA research. Our DNA research can show two people that they are related, and MyHeritage's Smart Matching technology can compare their family trees to show the connection. We are also excited to give our members, through MyHeritage, a way to stay connected with relatives all over the world.”

MyHeritage is a leading online destination for families. On the site, people can find relatives, research family history, and stay connected to family members across the globe. In addition, MyHeritage offers automatic photo tagging technology that makes it easier to label, organize and search for digital photos, giving families another fun way to stay in touch.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage was founded by a team of people who combine a passion for family history with the development of innovative technology. It is now one of the world’s leading online networks for families, and the second largest family history website. MyHeritage is available in 34 languages and home to more than 27 million family members and 280 million profiles. The company recently acquired Kindo, a family social network, and is based in Bnei Atarot, near Tel Aviv, Israel. For more information, visit www.myheritage.com.

Find a video about MyHeritage's new photo tagging features here.

About Family Tree DNA

Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA (www.familytreedna.com) was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes: until then, testing had only been available for academic and scientific research. Since that time, the pioneering company has developed a breadth and depth of programs and services and created standards that have earned it international respect and made it the world's most popular DNA-testing service not only for genealogists but for anyone interested in delving beyond the surface into family roots. Today, Family Tree DNA's approaches 220,000 individual test records, making it the premier source for researching recent and distant family ties. Family Tree DNA has recently been featured in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and on NBC-TV's "Today Show" and CBS-TV's "60 Minutes."

09 November 2008

Vancouver, BC: Jewish genealogy workshop series

The Jewish Genealogical Institute of British Columbia is presenting "Trace Your Jewish Ancestry: Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy" workshops every Sunday during November at the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia.

I was just informed of the series - unfortunately the first two sessions have already taken place.

The first session -"Why Jewish Genealogy?" - was presented on November 2, when JGIBC president Catherine Youngren provided an introduction to the challenges, rewards and myths of Jewish genealogy, what you know that you thought you didn’t, and the initial five steps that emphasize the pedigree chart. Beginner genealogy kits were explained and provided to participants.

The second workshop took place November 9. “Getting Started” addressed interview techniques, collection and analysis of interviews, documents and photographs.

Click here to learn more details about the series. Each workshop is CN$15 per person.

There's still time to register for Sessions 3 and 4:

Sunday, November 16:
Session 3 – Surfing the Net

Bring your projects, research materials and questions to this session about online genealogical resources, such as Jewishgen.org, yadvashem.org, ellisisland.org, ancestry.com, findmypast.com, newspaper searches (The Jewish Chronicle, Palestine Post, etc.), and census and passenger list searches. Presenters: Members of JGIBC

Sunday, November 23:
Session 4 – Putting It All Together

Bring your projects, research materials, and questions to this final session. The afternoon includes “Piecing the Puzzle” by JGIBC president Catherine Youngren, and “Book Writing and Publishing” by JGIBC past president Cissie Eppel. These will be followed by one-on-one work with registered participants.

Boston: Global Jewish Languages conference, March 2009

A seminar on global Jewish languages and literature will be part of the ACLA conference in March 2009.

Jews have been creating unique fusion languages for thousands of years, beginning with Aramaic, which combined the lingua franca of the Assyrian and Persian Empires with classical Hebrew.

These languages include: Biblical andModern Hebrew, Aramaic, Judeo Spanish/Ladino/Judezmo, Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, Yevanic, Judeo-Malayalam, Shuadit, Judeo-Italian/Italkian, Judeo-Provencal, Judeo-Portuguese, Israeli Sign Language, Karaim, Judeo-Georgian, Israeli Sign Language and Judeo-Chinese, among others.

Papers on Jewish languages and literature are sought that address the following questions:

What constitutes a Jewish language?

How have Jewish languages been affected by modernity and geographical

What, if anything, makes a language"Jewish"?

Does linguistic "Jewishness" reside in typography, literature,alphabet, culture, or elsewhere?

What are the parameters of Jewish literature?

Topics include alphabetization, translation, oral tradition, diaspora, literary production and dissemination, and the sociology of Jewish languages.

For more information, check the ACLA website.

Boston: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia, Nov. 22

Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston

Brown University Professor Omer Bartov will speak on "Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia," at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston's 2nd Annual Genealogy Lecture co-sponsored by Hebrew College.

The event will be held at 3pm, Sunday, November 23, in Berenson Hall, Hebrew College, in Newton Center.

Once home to a vibrant Jewish community, former Eastern Galicia is now part of Ukraine, where all traces of a Jewish past are being eradicated in the name of a fiercely aggressive Ukrainian nationalism. This region was once part of Poland and also the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where multi-ethnic communities co-existed before WWII.

Omer Bartov, an international authority on genocide, traces the destruction of the region’s Jewish communities under Nazi and Soviet rule, and explores the contemporary politics of memory in Ukraine. He is the Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University. His lecture draws on his most recent book, "Erased, Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine" (Princeton, 2007).
Admission is free, but advanced registration is required due to limited capacity. Register at www.hebrewcollege.edu/events.

JGSGB and Hebrew College are also offering an intensive course in Jewish genealogical research on Monday evenings from February 2-March 30, 2009. For more information, email president@jgsgb.org.

The annual lecture and genealogy course receive the generous support of harvey Krueger and the Stone Charitable Trust.

For more information on the JGSGB, meetings and other details, click here.

Brussels: Low Countries Jewish Studies, May 20

It seems to be conference time again, and here's one at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, on Jewish Studies in the Low Countries, set for May 20, 2009

The Institute of Jewish Studies organizes for the second time an interdisciplinary conference concerning Jewish Studies on the Low Countries at the University of Antwerp. The purpose of the conference is to facilitate contacts between researchers working within this area of study.

We especially encourage young researchers to participate in the workshop. We also hope for contributions from more established researchers, in order to establish a positive exchange between different research generations.

Presentations may include works in progress. We welcome all themes and disciplines within Jewish Studies concerning the Low Countries. Proposals need not be limited to a specific historical period. Both individual and panel proposals are possible. The conference languages are Dutch and English.

A 400-word abstract and CV must be received by December 18, 2008. For more information, contact Karin Hofmeester.

New Orleans: Alsace-Lorraine Jewish Experience, November 2009

The Alsace-Lorraine Jewish Experience in Louisiana and the Gulf South is a New Orleans conference set for November 2009.

The call for papers has just been announced.

The Historic New Orleans Collection, with support from the Consulate General of
France in New Orleans and from Tulane University, announces a one-day conference
to be held November 13, 2009, in New Orleans. The organizing committee invites
submissions on a range of subjects discussing the Alsace-Lorraine Jews of New
Orleans and their associated communities.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

- Jewish community life in Alsace-Lorraine
- Rhine Valley immigration to the New Orleans region
- Jews in 19th-century New Orleans
- Rural vs. urban lifestyles of Louisiana's Jewish immigrants
- German-French relations in America
- European Jews and their cultural allegiances in America.

Proposals for 30-minute English-language presentations should be sent to Mr.
Daniel Hammer, danielh(AT)hnoc(DOT)org, including a CV and 500-word abstract. Program submissions must be received by November 15, 2008. Limited travel funds are available.

Tel Aviv: MyHeritage photo tagging, Nov. 10

The new MyHeritage.com Photo Manager is the subject of the next Israel Genealogical Society - Tel Aviv branch meeting.

The new feature provides tagging capabilities and face recognition.

Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage.com will demonstrate and discuss photo uploading and how to use face recognition technology to group and identify the people in those photos, which can be either from your computer or imported from a favorite online photo service (Picasa, Fliker, Facebook, etc).

The Hebrew program begins at 7pm, Monday, November 10, at Beit Hatanach, 16 Rothschild Blvd. The library will be open at 6pm. IGS members, no charge; others, NIS 20.

08 November 2008

Los Angeles: Sephardic music, Nov. 16

Voices of the East is a concert of Sephardic, Persian, Turkish and Moroccan Jewish music, at Stephen S. Wise Temple, 7pm, Sunday, November 16.

I'm glad to report that the line up includes:

- Hazzan Nathan Lam
- Pini Cohen
- Hazzan Haim Mizrahi (Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel), and
- The Valley Beth Shalom Choir under the direction of Dr. Noreen Green,

Importantly our cousins Hazzan Farid Dardashti (Beth El Congregation, New Rochelle, NY), and his daughter Galeet Dardashti, leader of then Mizrahi group Divahn will perform.

Tickets are $25. For more information, email sephardicconference@huc.edu.

The concert was made possible by a Milkin Family Foundation Grant, and is part of the Sephardic & Mizrahi Studies conference in conjunction with UCLA and USC.

US Congress: 44 Jewish members

According to JTA, the following is a list of the 44 Jewish members - 13 senators and 31 representatives - who will serve in the 111th U.S. Congress that convenes in January:


Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)
Norm Coleman (R-Minn.)**
Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.)
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.)
Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)**
Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Carl Levin (D-Mich.)**
Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.)
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)
Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)


Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)
John Adler (D-N.J.)*
Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.)
Howard Berman (D-Calif.)
Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.)
Susan Davis (D-Calif.)
Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)
Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)
Bob Filner (D-Calif.)
Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)
Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
Paul Hodes (D-N.H.)
Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.)
Ron Klein (D-Fla.)
Sander Levin (D-Mich.)
Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
Jared Polis (D-Colo.)*
Steve Rothman (D-N.J.)
Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.)
Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)
Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)
Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
Robert Wexler (D-Fla.)
John Yarmuth (D-Ky.)

* Elected to Congress for the first time

** Senators who were re-elected (Coleman defeated Democratic challenger Al Franken in Minnesota by 571 votes, but a recount is expected. Franken also is Jewish, leaving 13 Jewish senators regardless of who emerges as the winner.)