JGSLA 2010: Conference site, blog now live!

The 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy website is now live – and JGSLA 2010 also features a blog.

The conference will run from July 11-16, 2010, at the new JW Marriott at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.

The conference site is here: http://www.jgsla2010.com/

Read the JGSLA 2010 blog here: http://www.jgsla2010.com/blog/

Three posts are now up:

Go West, Genealogists!

Get Ready, Get Set, Mark Your Calendars!

Coming on a Jet Plane or a Slow Train?

Did you know that you can reserve your room right now?
Do you know when the Call for Papers will begin?
Do you know the way to LA?
Did you know JGSLA 2010 is on Twitter and Facebook?

Visit the JGSLA 2010 website and the event blog for details.

Poland: JRI-Poland, Kielce-Radom SIG agreement

Stanley Diamond, executive director of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland), has just informed Tracing the Tribe of this important announcement concerning an agreement with the Kielce-Radom Special Interest Group (K-R SIG)

In 2004, following years of outstanding contributions of in-depth research in this geographical area of Poland, the K-R SIG Journal ceased publication of its hard copy journal. During and since that time, the indices of many towns published in the Journal were transferred to JRI-Poland and are available in the online searchable online database.

With the new agreement, full extracts for tens of thousands of records from all towns, originally published in the K-R Journal, in addition to thousands more extracts – that had not been published – will be integrated into the JRI-P database in its freely available and searchable online database.

The extracts are from LDS microfilms of Polish-Jewish records.

– The K-R SIG web pages are now been integrated into the JRI-Poland website and all information concerning K-R SIG data is now available through a thumbnail link at the bottom of the JRI-P home page (link above).

– All K-R SIG Journal editions have been scanned and now online at JRI-Poland, freely searchable and downloadable PDF files.

– To benefit previous Journal subscribers and all researchers with an interest in the geographical area covered in the former Kielce and Radom Gubernia – and as part of the closing of its accounts – the K-R SIG management has made a generous grant to JRI-Poland for the funding of records from these areas.These funds have enabled JRI-Poland to complete funding for the following towns originally indexed under the JRI-Poland/Polish State Archives (PSA) project.The data for these towns is now searchable online:

Bodzentyn: BMD 1885-1904
Checiny: BMD 1885-1903
Daleszyce: BMD 1897-1904
Grojec: BMD 1878~1902
Konskie: BMD1885-1904
Ksiaz Wielki: B1869-71,87-99; M 1862-1880; D_1869-71,97-99 (some Krakow data)
Lopuszno: BMD 1874-1904
Miechow: BMD 1870~1903+1872-74 (some Krakow data)
Mogielnica: BMD 1878-1901
Radom: Books of Residents
Radoszyce: BMD 1885-1904
Warka: BMD 1878-1901,1903
Wloszczowa: BD 1824-1903; M 1823~1903
Wolanow: BMD 1878~1903

On behalf of the board of JRI-Poland and the K-R SIG management, Stanley writes:

I would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Warren Blatt, founding editor of the Journal and K-R SIG Advisory Group members Debra Braverman and Carol Isaak who made the decision to entrust JRI-Poland with their valuable work.

At the same time, I would like to offer special thanks to Hadassah Lipsius and Meira Puterman who had the major task of adapting the K-R SIG web pages (and PDF links) to the JRI-Poland web site and to JRI-Poland Database Manager Michael Tobias who processed all the new data so quickly for this special launch.

What excellent news to start the Jewish New Year 5770, with so many accessible online resources. Thank you to everyone involved.

Yom Kippur: Who’s coming to your break-fast?

For a twist on the usual “name five people you’d like to have dinner with,” the JPS Blog posted this question: Name five Jewish authors (living or not) you’d like to break the Yom Kippur fast with.

Sarah’s JPS Blog post listed Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead), Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is illuminated), Philip Roth (Portnoy’s Complaint) and Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree and others).


Tracing the Tribe would like to break-the-fast with this group: Cecil Roth (History of the Marranos … uh … Conversos!), Pere Bonnin (Sangre Judia), Dr. Spencer Wells (DNA books), Jon Entine (Abraham’s Children) and Mel Brooks (aka Melvin Kaminsky, too many too list), but I’m also adding in Jeff Malka (Sephardic Genealogy). The more the merrier.

Anyone else coming? Let me know as I have to order the bagels.

While searching around, I found some interesting online resources such as Quoteland.com. Here’s one of Mel’s lines:

“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.”

Almost like genealogy, except our hundreds or thousands of separate people live in our genealogy software programs.

And this one at Famous Quotes & Authors, particularly fitting:

Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. So, for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast-beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one.

We have a choice of laughing or crying through life. I choose laughter.

Onion or plain? Let me know.

Brooklyn: Conversos follow tradition

The Jewish High Holydays usually produce a plethora of stories about Conversos or Bnai Anousim, and this year is no different.

Moshe and ChanaLeah Nunez have an interesting story on CNN, a video link and photos here. The photo here is their wedding photo before they converted to Judaism.

Every Friday evening, the Nunez family sits down to a traditional religious dinner.

Moshe Nunez and his family moved to Crown Heights, a New York neighborhood with thousands of Hasidic Jews.

Like most families in their Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, their Jewish Sabbath meal includes blessings over the wine and bread, the company of family and friends and excellent food.

But for the Nunez family, the Sabbath table would not be complete without salsa picada and jalapeno dip.

Born to a Mexican father and American mother, Moshe Nunez is an information technology consultant and motivational speaker who was raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. His wife, ChanaLeah is the daughter of a Salvadoran mother and American-born father who was raised in Panama. They have a son,Michael, 17, and daughter Simcha, 18.

“Our home is a Latin American home,” Nunez says.

“We bring into our home a mixture of the American and Latin culture, and that’s reflected in the way we eat. We also enjoy hosting guests, so it’s a very Hispanic thing, and a Jewish thing.”

Nunez says that among thousands of Hasidic families in the area, a significant number are Latinos.

“There are a lot of Latin American Jews here,” Nunez says. “Some of them have moved from countries like Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina, where there’s political unrest. We make a life here, settle down and become part of the fabric of American society, but we still don’t lose our roots.”

Many non-Jewish Latinos are surprised to see Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn who speak Spanish, carry on their Hispanic traditions and even keep up with soccer scores from their home countries, Nunez says.

While an excellent story about this couple and what they represent, Tracing the Tribe wasn’t happy that the pejorative term Marranos (instead of Conversos or Bnai Anousim) was used many times in the article. You might think CNN would know better.

Nunez began working on his family genealogy some 13 years ago when they lived in Atlanta, and he met Lorraine Nunez, raised as a Christian, who believed she was a direct descendant of the famous Portuguese physician Samuel Nunez who arrived in Savannah, Georgia in the 1700s and helped start Congregation Mikve Israel.

Lorraine inspired Moshe – then Marco – to explore his own genealogy. ChanaLeah – then Jacqueline – knew that her army colonel grandfather in El Salvador was Jewish. The couple believed their ancestors were conversos from Spain and Portugal.

[NOTE: According to Tracing the Tribe’s copy of Pere Bonnin’s “Sangre Judia,” there are several listings for this name: Nunes 1634 Toledo, Nunez 1634 Toledo, Nunez 1202 Galicia, Nunez de Leon 1721 Sevilla, Nunez de Najara 1593 Granada and Nunez de Silva 1654 Alcala. It also appears frequently in the various Sephardic name indexes at SephardicGen.com and in the indexed name engine at Sephardim.com, which indicates a strong Jewish connection.]

Moshe began studying the Bible, including the Torah, while working on the family genealogy, and – when they relocated to Milan, Italy for his work, the couple continued their Judaic studies under Orthodox rabbis and had Orthodox conversions to Judaism, changing their names to Moshe and ChanaLeah.

The Jewish community in Milan welcomed the family “with open arms,” Moshe said. “The rabbi said to me, ‘Moshe, you are Jewish, you were always Jewish.'”

The couple who are both songwriters and musicians were inspired by their experiences and wrote a song – “Jews of Spain” in Spanish, English and Hebrew. It is on Nunez’s album, “Kol Haneshema” (Every Soul).

He hopes that sharing the knowledge of Torah through education, songs and acts of kindness will ensure that what happened to the Conversos during the Inquisition won’t happen again.

Read the complete story at the link above, and also view a video in which Nunez talks about his life, cooks and sings.

Thanks to Rabbi Gary Gans for this link!

Brooklyn: 3 synagogues named ‘Historic Places’

Three Brooklyn synagogues have been chosen for the State Register of Historic Places, according to the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program. Several others are waiting approval.

The Brooklyn Eagle story is here.

The three synagogues are:

– Ocean Parkway Jewish Center, Kensington. Built 1924-1926, the Classical Revival-style synagogue/center was designed by Brooklyn architects Samuel Malkind and Martyn Weinstein.

– Shaari Zedek Synagogue, Bedford-Stuyvesant. Built 1909-1910, it is an early work by an important and influential Brooklyn-born architect Eugene Schoen, who was also an interior and furniture designer. Since 1944, it has been St. Leonard’s Church.

– Kol Israel Synagogue, Crown Heights. Built in 1928 and designed by Brooklyn architect Tobias Goldstone, it features a fieldstone facade embellished with Moorish-influenced decoration.

Three more sites – Jewish Center of Kings Highway, Young Israel of Flatbush and Kingsway Jewish Center — have been reviewed by SHPO staff, and will be presented at the December board meeting, according to Friedman. The seventh — Temple Beth El of Boro Park — is still being researched.

Nominations mean eligibility of Sacred Site grant and loan programs and other possible restoration funding sources.

Over 22 years, it has made more than 100 grants to 50 landmark Brooklyn churches, synagogues and meeting houses – some $800,000. During 2007-09, a Brooklyn survey identified 172 religious buildings that have functioned as synagogues; 113 current and 59 former synagogues were surveyed, as well as 118 Roman Catholic churches.

Aliza Ross of Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, who worked on the survey, wrote in an email, “During the summer of 2007, myself and two colleagues working for the Conservancy spent three months looking for historic synagogues in Brooklyn. (Most are not listed in the white pages, therefore, one must drive and/or walk around to find them.) We spent hours upon hours researching their history, documenting their condition, and discussing their eligibility with Kathy Howe of the SHPO. Without the work of the NY Landmarks Conservancy, these synagogues would still be unknown architectural gems.”

Read the complete article at the link above for much more information.

Thanks to Joy Rich for this link!