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September, 2019
SPEAKER: Daniel Walkowitz   The extended Walkowitz family arrived in Paterson from Lodz, Poland, as early as 1910.  They worked in the textile mills, department stores and shops of the city while taking an active role in Yiddish theater, the Paterson Folk Chorus, and labor politics. It was a Jewish World of Yiddishkeit in which the author was raised and participated. As a radical student activist in the late 1950s and 1960s, he subsequently imagined himself walking in the footsteps of his Paterson grandparents who fought to improve the living and working conditions in the Lodz and Paterson mills. The author recounts ...
October, 2019
 Speaker: Dan Oren Co-sponsored by the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History Contrary to dusty first impressions, genealogy can be an adventure. In Dan Oren’s new book The Wedding Photo, a visit to an abandoned Polish Jewish cemetery in 1993 launches a 20-year search to solve the mystery of "Who is Buried in Sarah's Tomb?" A visit with a cousin unearths a breathtaking photo of a Berlin family wedding from 1926 and leads to discovering their unimaginable post-wedding history. An archivist in Prague discovers a secret uncle whose life takes the reader from the Metropolitan Museum of Art ...
November, 2019
Speaker: Mikhal Dekel It is a largely unknown and astonishing fact that most Polish Jews who escaped Nazi extermination survived as refugees in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and India. Mikhal Dekel, whose then thirteen-year-old father was such a refugee, will share her decade long archival research and global travel to retrace their 13,000 mile route. This route began with deportations to gulags and “Special Settlements” in the Soviet Interior and continued on with collective settlements in the Soviet Central Asian Republics, refugee camps in Iran and India, and kibbutzim in Mandatory Palestine. Dekel tells a story at once intimate and historically sweeping, conversing ...
December, 2019
Speaker: Alec Ferretti This lecture will discuss how best to weed out false-positive DNA Matches that Jewish test-takers face daily. Alec will outline the data that demonstrates the unique ways in which endogamous populations match each other. Then, by using visualization tools such as DNA Painter, he will illustrate webs of interrelationships of endogamous test-takers and identify genetic pile-up regions (or multiple shared autosomal DNA segments stacked up on top of each other) that may not indicate shared ancestors. Although there is no surefire method as of yet to remove false matches, by having a more thorough understanding of endogamous results, we ...