On the road again: Hong Kong, Australia

Tracing the Tribe’s first-ever trip to Hong Kong and Australia begins tomorrow and I’ll be blogging every day.

In Hong Kong, my schedule includes:
  • Wednesday, February 24, 8pm, at the Jewish Community Center: “The IberianAshkenaz DNA Project: So You Think You’re Ashkenazi?”
  • Thursday, February 25, 8pm, at the Jewish Community Center: “Introduction to Jewish Genealogy,” for the community.
  • During the week, I’ll also present “Intro to Jewish Genealogy” for students at Carmel College.

I’ll do some sightseeing (weather permitting), enjoy the cuisine, meet interesting people and spend Purim in Hong Kong. Of course, I’ll be blogging, so stay tuned.

On March 1, I fly to Melbourne, Australia, for the Second Australian National Jewish Genealogy Conference (March 7-9). I’m honored to have been invited for this event and look forward to seeing the Australian Jewish genealogy community.

My presentations include the IberianAshkenaz DNA Project as well as social media for today’s genealogists.

Friends and family are part of the Australian schedule, including cousins who come from Bobruisk, Belarus and from America (in Sydney). I’ll be visiting the Sydney cousins for the second part of my trip, and may do some additional talks there.

On the return flight, I will speak on MyHeritage.com, presenting an overview of its tools and features and encouraging people to participate in the new Beit Hatfutsot-MyHeritage.com partnership.

Family trees created with a special version of the free MyHeritage software will be periodically transferred to Beit Hatfutsot for digital archiving for ever.

This should be a very exciting trip, new sights, fascinating people and much much more.

Blogging will be on the menu in Australia as well.

Readers who either live in these destinations or who have been there before, are invited to suggest their favorite experiences – things to see, places to eat, etc.

Next week in Hong Kong!

Tel Aviv: Iranian film forum, Feb. 23-May 25

The Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University will present an Iranian Film Forum on Tuesdays, from February 23-May 25.

Screenings, followed by Q&A, will run from 6-8.30pm (Room 281, Gillman Building).

Attendees will have the opportunity to become acquainted with diverse aspects of the Iranian experience, within the country and abroad

Professor Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, an Iranian filmmaker and creative arts profession at Siena College of New York, will lead the discussions. He is a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.

— February 23: Introduction to Iranian Cinema
Dream Interrupted (2004); Mahmood Karimi-Hakak
A documentary film based on “Exiled to Freedom: A Memoir of Censorship”

— March 16: Women in Iran
The Day I Became a Woman (2000); Marzieh Meshkini

— April 13: Iranian Youth
The Girl in the Sneakers (1999); Rasul Sadrameli

— May 4: Minorities in Iran
The Blackboard (1999); Samirah Makhmalbaf

— May 25: Iranian Diaspora
To be announced

The program is tentative and subject to change

San Francisco: ‘Jews in China’ series during March

Jews in Modern China is a series of programs touching on the Jewish experience, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee San Francisco.

The exhibit of photographs, documents and memorabilia portrays a little known chapter in Chinese and Jewish history. It follows three ethnic streams of Jewish communities that lived in harmony with their Chinese neighbors in Shanghai and other Chinese cities, 1840-1949:

— Sephardic merchants, originally from Iraq, who played a significant role in the commercial and real estate development of Shanghai. Settling mainly in the British sector of the city, they built synagogues and established Jewish social service agencies, schools and other institutions that laid a foundation for Jewish communal life.

— Russian Jews escaping czarist pogroms from the 1880s to World War I and after World War I, the Russian Revolution. This community brought Zionist organizations, Yiddish publications and other cultural activity to Shanghai’s French Concession, as well as to Harbin, further north.

— European Jews escaping the coming Holocaust. Shanghai was an open city that did not require visas or passports to enter. Despite the Japanese occupation of Shanghai when they arrived, Jews lived in relative comfort, thanks to the previously settled Jewish community. However, in 1942 the Japanese, bowing to the wishes of their German allies, confined Jews who had come from Europe since 1937 to a squalid ghetto area until the end of the war.

The program is part of the Shanghai Celebration, a year-long program for the San Francisco Bay area, with exhibitions, films, performances, lectures. and other events. It also includes the Asian Art Museum’s major Shanghai exhibit (February 12-September 5).

“Jews in Modern China” series includes:

Tuesday, March 2, 5:30pm – Officers Club, the Presidio, San Francisco

Exhibit viewing and a conversation between Professor Pan Guang, dean of Center for Jewish Studies, Shanghai; and Professor Thomas Gold, UC-Berkeley. Sponsors: American Jewish Committee San Francisco Office, Asia Society of
Northern California.

“Shanghai Jews: Art, Architecture and Survival”
Thursday, March 4, 7pm – Contemporary Jewish Museum

From the mid-19th-mid-20th centuries, Shanghai was transformed into a multi-cultural, international city. Presented by Nancy Berliner, Chinese art curator, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. Sponsors: Asian Art Museum, Holocaust Center of Northern California, American Jewish Committee San Francisco Office.

“Remembering Rena”
Sunday, March 7, 2pm – Officers Club, Presidio, San Francisco

A program honoring the late Rena Krasno, a Shanghai native whose books, lectures, and archival projects crafted a legacy of connection to the Jewish experience in China. Speakers will include colleagues, friends and family. Sponsors: The Sino-Judaic Institute, Pacific View Press.

“A Young Man in Shanghai: Troubles and Triumphs”
Wednesday, March 10, 7pm – Officers Club, Presidio, San Francisco

Author and educator Audrey Friedman Marcus, who will discuss the Shanghai experiences of her late husband, Fred Marcus, who fled Germany at age 15. His recently published diary depicts the challenges and struggles that he and some 20,000 fellow Jewish refugees encountered. Sponsors: American Jewish Committee San Francisco Office, Bureau of Jewish Education of San Francisco.

“Founders of the Shanghai Jewish Community: The Sephardic Story”
Sunday, March 14, 2pm – Officers Club, Presidio, San Francisco

Presented by Shanghai-born Leah Jacob Garrick – the fourth generation of her family to live there. She will discuss the history and legacy of Sephardic families who laid the foundation of the Shanghai Jewish community while playing a significant role in the business and architectural development of the city itself. Sponsors: China International Cultural Exchange Center, American Jewish Committee’s San Francisco office.

Lehrhaus Judaica will also sponsor the related “Jews in Modern China” lecture series, at 4pm, March 21, at Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, and at 7pm April 29, at the Officers Club, Presidio. The series features Bay area residents who represent the Sephardic, Russian and Holocaust-refugee communities of China (1840-1949). Speakers include Rabbi Theodore Alexander, Leah Jacob Garrick and Inna Mink. Moderator: Linda Frank.

For more information, visit the AJC San Francisco.

Florida: John Martino, ItalianGen, March 7

You don’t have to be Italian to be in the Italian Genealogy Group’s database!

John Martino, a founder of the Italian Genealogy Group (IGG), will speak on just that topic at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County (JGSPBC) on Sunday, March 7.

The JGSPBC’s annual “Lunch and Learn” is set for 11.30-3pm, at the Crown Plaza Hotel, West Palm Beach.

Now IGG vice president and Special Project Coordinator, John has received an award from the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York (JSNY), and ItalianGen also received the Malcolm Stern Award from the IAJGS for its work in developing research databases.

Tracing the Tribe remembers the excellent talk John gave at the IAJGS annual conference (New York 2006), where his society received the Stern Award.

John will discuss how his 1,200 worldwide volunteers – of all ethnicities and religions – have created a variety of databases in New York and New Jersey, and how the same can be done in Boston, Detroit , Philadelphia Chicago and elsewhere.

He’ll address the many naturalization records, and county, federal, and NYC vital records now in the IGG databases that have helped many genealogists in the US and around the world, how to use these databases and how they were created. The information contained includes data for Jewish genealogists not found elsewhere.

Tracing the Tribe has found many items of value for her New York-based families in IGG’s resources.

IGG was organized in 1990 and John was one of its founders. He has visited Italy twice and has traced his family back to 1572. Since he retired in 2000, he hs devoted most of his time to organizing volunteers to create databases.

He first helped the JGSNY with Kings County naturalizations, followed by Suffolk, Nassau and Bronx counties. The federal records came next, including the Southern District Naturalization and now he’s working on the Eastern District.

Brian Anderson, Department of Records and Information Services commissioner, asked John to computerize the Municipal Archives’ vital records. John and the IGG team have computerized New York City’s death records (1891-1929) and the Groom Index (1895-1936).

Fee: members, $25; others, $30. Free valet parking. Reservations required by February 27. See the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County website for information and reservations.