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2019
January, 2019
 Courtesy of Yeshiva University Museum, explore the remarkable story of a pre-War family photo album that was owned by a woman who, before her deportation from the Kovno Ghetto, smuggled it to a non-Jewish family for safekeeping and which was fortuitously discovered in 2013 and reunited with the original owner's descendants.   The speaker is Ilana Benson, Director of Museum Education at Yeshiva University Museum.   To RSVP, email program@jgsny.org, if you would like to attend.
  Speaker: Eddy Portnoy An underground history of downwardly mobile Jews, Bad Rabbi mines the Yiddish press to expose the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was. In this talk, Portnoy will discuss the Yiddish press and the often strange stories about Jews that appear in it, as well as how it can be used as a genealogical ...
February, 2019
Speaker: Olivier Szlos This in-depth genealogy resource presentation describes the work of the "Grodzka Gate-NN Theatre" Centre to reclaim Jewish memory in Lublin, Poland. Specifically, it will explain its 43 Thousand Project and provide a hands-on approach to explore the public access database http://teatrnn.pl/people that can possibly add names to your family tree. The presentation will touch also on the Antwerp Lublin project, JRI-Poland.org and other sources of genealogy data for the Lublin region in Poland.   The Lublin. 43 Thousand project refers to the estimated number of the Jewish men, women, and children residing in the Polish city of Lublin in 1939 on ...
March, 2019
Speaker: Alan Shuchat  Records from the Russian Empire show that people were often registered as citizens of one town but lived in another. What was the system of registration and residence permits under the tsars and later in the Soviet Union? How were people divided into social estates? How did our ancestors obtain steamship tickets and travel from their shtetls to the steamship ports? How can these records and historical knowledge help us trace our families before they arrived here?   Alan Shuchat is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Wellesley College. He has researched his family’s history for several decades and traced branches ...
April, 2019
Speaker: Todd Knowles Co-sponsored by Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute  We live in a time when the availability of genealogical records appears to be almost endless. Every day, a new database becomes available or new records are added to an existing database. This growth has enabled people worldwide to make large strides in searching for their ancestors from the comfort of their own homes. FamilySearch.org is one of the leading online providers of free international genealogical records, but its vast website can be difficult to navigate. In this presentation, Todd Knowles, FamilySearch's Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer, will provide an overview of ...
May, 2019
Speaker: Alma Gottlieb  Co-Sponsored with the American Sephardi Federation   From Poland to Brazil to New Mexico, many individuals, families, and communities around the world are discovering that they have Jewish ancestors who renounced and/or suppressed their religious identity. What happens when Christians today learn that some of their long-ago relatives were Jewish? The West African island nation of Cabo Verde offers an especially compelling place from which to explore this intriguing process because of the unexpected convergence of Jews and Africans on a remote archipelago in the North Atlantic. In this talk, Professor Gottlieb will discuss her research with Cabo Verdeans on and off the ...
June, 2019
Speaker: Phyllis Kramer Co-sponsored by the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History   Certainly a great resource for the family genealogist are the records generated when a person dies. This presentation will cover in depth each type of record beginning with the death certificates and continuing with cemeteries, landsmanshaftn, gravestones, social security, medical records, undertakers, newspaper obituaries and probate. The presenter will strive to shed light on this dark topic. Phyllis Kramer is a practicing genealogist, with primary interest in Eastern European Jewish research. She has an MBA from Fordham University and a B.S. from Cornell. She retired from ...
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 ...