JGSLA 2010: Belarus events set

As a charter member of the Belarus SIG, this group is dear to Tracing the Tribe’s genealogical heart.

Belarus SIG began life as a crowded birds-of-a-feather meeting spearheaded by Daveid Fox, at the Boston 1996 conference and became a SIG at the 1998 Los Angeles event. The speaker in Boston was a then-recent Mogilev immigrant to Brooklyn, Bella Nayer, who had been very involved in community affairs.
The map (above left) is a 1916 map of Belarus. 
The graphic (below right) is a woodcut of the Mogilev synagogue.

What does the SIG have planned for its return to its birthplace?

Tracing the Tribe has already covered the Belarus luncheon (Tuesday, July 13) speaker: Moscow born, Jewish filmmaker, researcher and travel professional Michael Masterovoy.

The luncheon description reads:

 “In 1793,the central part of Belarus, including Minsk, became a part of the Russian empire. In addition to being the capital of Belarus it was also a center of Jewish life and home of many Torah sages and Yeshivas that attracted students from all over Europe. Before World War II, Jews made up 40% of the total  population in the city. Join Moscow born, Jewish filmmaker, researcher and travel professional, Michael Masterovoy, as he takes you on a tour of a present-day Belarus, which resonates with the past. View a short video of several Belarusian shtetls, walk the streets of Movsha Shagal’s (Marc Chagall’s) Vitebsk with Michael (and view the museum) and learn about the positive aspects of travel to a socialist state with a human face, the land of vodka and honey that echoes with the footsteps of our ancestors.”

The luncheon is a fee-added event. Belarus SIG luncheons are always well-attended – sign up early and avoid disappointment.

The Belarus SIG business meeting is set for later the same day and will feature the group’s progress and achievements.

The group also plans to be part of the Sunday opening day Market Fair, from 2-4.30pm.

The Market Fair will feature experts and mavens staffing “pushcarts” and offering assistance and guidance, representing nearly every region where Jews once lived. “Wares” will include old maps, vital records, landowner records, historical photos and postcards, translation, crafts, cooking and much more.

Food (including kosher) will be available for purchase. And don’t miss the great klezmer concerts (yes – two of them!) by Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi, after the Market Fair and again in the early evening.

For more information on the Belarus SIG, its treasure trove of databases and much more, click here.

New York: Three Catalan Sephardic programs, May 2-4

The American Sephardi Federation has scheduled three programs from Sunday, May 2-Tuesday, May 4.

— A History of Jewish Catalonia
4pm, Sunday, May 2

A lecture on this book, along with a sale and signing, will feature authors Sílvia Planas and Manuel Forcano.

This beautifully illustrated book traces the rich and fertile history of the Jews in Catalonia from the time of the late Roman Empire and the Early Middle Ages, until the drastic decree of expulsion by the Catholic Monarchs.

It captures their wedding songs, the smells from their cooking pots, and reconstructs the soaring intellectual edifice they created despite the difficulties of a daily life fraught with religious persecution and social degradation.
The program is in collaboration with and the support of NYU’s Catalan Center, an affiliate of the Institut Ramon Llull, and the European Institute of the Mediterranean

Fee: ASF members/students, free; others $5. It will take place at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, NYC. Reservations requested.

— A Certain Identity: Crypto Jews Around the World
6.30pm, Monday, May 3

Thousands of Iberian Jews went “underground” at the time of the Inquisition and the expulsion from Spain. They dispersed across Europe, across the ocean to South America and the Caribbean, to North Africa and the Middle East. With tremendous tenacity, they preserved their heritage, married among themselves, and passed it down from generation to generation.

Gloria Mound, Director of the Casa Shalom-Institute for Anusim Studies in Israel, will illuminate their fascinating history, their presence in the Caribbean and in European countries, as well as previously unsuspected links with French Huguenots.

Fee: ASF members/students, $5; others $10. It will take place at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, NYC. Reservations requested.

— Traces of Esther: The Jewish Presence in Contemporary Catalan Literature
6.30pm, Tuesday, May 4

Manuel Forcano, PhD (Semitic Philology), poet and essayist, will offer a Catalan perspective on Jewish culture as reflected in the writings of the great 19th and 20th century Catalan authors. Offering rich passages from the literature, Dr. Forcano will guide us from the negative stereotypes of the 19th century, through the fascination with Israel as both a religious and political inspiration, and the Bible and the Talmud as references, to the emergence of a modern, nuanced view of the place of Jewish culture in Catalonia.

The program is in collaboration with and the support of NYU’s Catalan Center and the European Institute of the Mediterranean.

Fee: no charge. It will take place at the King Juan Carlos Center, 53 Washington Square South (bet. Sullivan & Thompson Streets). Reservations requested.

Israel: JFRA, IGS merge

Tracing the Tribe previously noted the merger of the Israel Genealogical Society and the Jewish Family Research Association as of January.

Here is the official announcement by IGS president Michael Goldstein and JFRA president Ingrid Rockberger:

Michael Goldstein, President of the Israel Genealogical Society (IGS) and Ingrid Rockberger, President of Jewish Family Research Association, Israel (JFRA) are delighted to announce the merger of their two societies.

The joint organization now has 10 branches throughout Israel and will be pooling all its resources to further genealogical services and activities in Israel and to create a large, vibrant and forward-looking society.

A wide range of programs is now available in both Hebrew and English – with other language groups being planned.

The annual one-day seminar is being expanded and plans are already underway for the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Israel in July 2014.

The society will be pleased to welcome guests from abroad at our meetings, which are posted on our website.

We also invite speakers visiting Israel to give a lecture or presentation at one of our branches. Please contact us in advance so we can coordinate date and location.

The organization will continue to be known as the Israel Genealogical Society (IGS) in English. [NOTE: The merger is reflected in the organization’s Hebrew name]

Wishing everyone a Happy Pesach,
Michael Goldstein
Ingrid Rockberger

Tracing the Tribe looks forward to this new endeavor.

Webinar: Make the most of a gen conference, March 27

Are you a first-timer planning to attend a genealogy conference? If so, don’t miss this free expert webinar on Saturday, March 27.

Participating in a large-scale event can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect or what to do.

Whether you’ll be attending the Southern California Jamboree, the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, or any other gen conference, learn how to get the most out of such an event.

After all, you’re making an investment of your time and money!

George C. Morgan of The Genealogy Guys Podcast will present a free webinar to help you get the most out of any genealogy conference – one of the best ways to enhance your research skills, learn new techniques, resources and strategies for finding ancestors.

It may even provide new ideas to those who have attended conferences in the past.

George will cover the folowing:

— Registering for the conference

— Planning your conference schedule

— Planning your attack on the exhibit hall (from preliminary research on company websites to a shopping list)

— Utilizing the program and syllabus in the best use

— Networking and socializing to make connections

— Encouraging cousins to attend.

— Travel arrangements

George will also provide activity suggestions once your at the conference: meeting other attendees, arranging one-on-one time with favorite speakers, and how to work exhibit hal vendors to gather new information.

The original broadcast of the March 27 webinar is limited to 100 “live” attendees, but the program will be available for download or viewing anytime at the Southern California Genealogical Society.

“How to Get the Most out of a Genealogy Conference” is set for Saturday, March 27, from 10-11am PDT. Register here. After registration, you’ll receive a confirmation email with detailed information on how to participate.

JGSLA 2010: Program highlights

The JGSLA 2010 program committee is releasing names and topics of some speakers.

Acceptances have been received by presenters.

As Tracing the Tribe has previously posted, author Daniel Mendelsohn is the keynote speaker while the first-ever scholar-in-residence will be pioneer Jewish genealogist Arthur Kurzweil.

Among the speakers:

— New York University geneticist Dr. Harry Ostrer: “The Jewish HapMap: What Genetics Has Given to Jews and What Jews Have Given to Genetics.”

— The American Joint Distribution Committee’s Linda Levi will demonstrate how the AJDC archive is organized and how to research.

— USHMM Registry of Holocaust Survivors director Lisa Yavnai will speak on that registry. Other USHMM repeat speakers Megan Lewis and Jo-Ellyn Decker: “Improving Your Research Experience.”

— The Lucille Gudis Memorial Lecture will be presented by University of Massachusetts Professor Vincent Cannato on his book, “American Passage: The History of Ellis Island.”

— Yad Vashem Hall of Names director Zvi Bernhardt: “Using the Yad Vashem Database (of Shoah Victims’ Names) for Beginners.”

— Genealogy’s well-known “Photo Detective” – Maureen Taylor – will offer her expert forensic advice on photograph interpretation and preservation.

There will be international experts from Vienna (Wolf-Erich Eckstein, Israelitische Kultusgemeinde); Prague (Julius Muller, Toledot Jewish Family History Center); Vilnius (Dr. Egle Bendikaite, Vilnius Institute associate professor); and Warsaw (Yale Reisner, The Jewish Historical Institute’s Jewish Genealogy and Family Heritage Learning Center).

Tracing the Tribe will present three programs: an update with new information on the IberianAshkenaz DNA Project, as well as “The Wonderful World of Genealogy Blogging” and “Sephardic Genealogy: Trends and Resources.”

Stay tuned for more!