Inspiration: Vote for this Jewish genealogy video

“Genealogy is roots, connections, wanderings, imaginings, hearts, souls and minds,” says one participant in a short inspiring video that all genealogists – Jewish or not – should see (and vote for now).

Developed by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado and produced by the multi-talented Ellen Shindelman Kowitt, this video has the potential to influence a large audience of young people and bring them into the field.

But the JGSColorado needs the help of Tracing the Tribe’s readers to do it. Watch the video here as it reveals to viewers concisely and precisely what Jewish genealogy is, why we do it and some advice for beginners.

It takes only eight minutes to view the video and a few seconds to vote for the full five stars it deserves.

Ellen is one of the most dedicated and passionate genealogy people that I know. Her work focuses on the preservation and connectivity of the Jewish community in Colorado and throughout the world. Her passion for our favorite topic has brought people to their roots and revealed stories that would have been lost forever.

The video was produced as part of a larger JGSColorado project, and the group needs your help in a grass-roots video contest.

If the video wins any final position from first to fifth place, it will be announced at the Jewlicious Festival – the largest Jewish student and young adult festival in the world – in southern California February 19-21. It is the only video with a genealogy theme in the competition.

As genealogists, we are always talking about how we can bring in younger people. Imagine if this video were played to that huge young audience? How may this video impact the future of the Jewish genealogy world?

Be a part of this dream and help the JGS of Colorado – and perhaps the entire field of Jewish genealogy – by voting for this video.

Let’s win one for Jewish genealogy! Vote now!

Send this announcement to the members of your family, to the members of your genealogy societies, to your friends who understand your passion to this field, and ask them to vote as well. This post will be on Facebook and on Twitter, so if that’s your thing, please “LIKE” it and retweet it to let people know about it.

Go here or

Some relevant quotes from the video:

According to Rabbi Josh Rose of Congregation Har HaShem:

“It isn’t just accumulating information about your [ancestors], but being drawn into the process and being affected by it. Genealogy is you. Both what we discover and the very process of discovering is at the core of what we are. Link this to the study of Torah and you are learning the story of our people, the genealogy of our people. It is not only what we discover but the process, how that learning informs you, changes you, draws you in.”

Martin Mandelsberg, a Holocaust artist, notes that genealogy asks (and sometimes answers): “Where did I come from? How far can I go back? Are there people like me? I had to come from somewhere – who am I?

Terry Lasky, who has documented 22,000 Jewish burials in Colorado, advises viewers of two important points: “Have patience. Don’t expect to find everything in an hour,” and “Never give up.”

Go to the link above, see the full video, be inspired and vote for it now.

World Jewish Studies: Italian section

An extensive section at the conference focused on the Italian Jewish community, in cooperation with ASSEI (The Israeli Association for the Study of History of Italian Jews)

Here are some of the categories and lectures (E=English, H=Hebrew):

The attitude towards the other in Italy
Silvia Cappelletti (E) The Expulsions of the Jews from Rome under Tiberius and Claudius: A Juridical Study
Yosef A. Cohen (H) The Place of the Apostate Alessandro Franceschi in the Jesuit Mission to Italian Jewry in the First Half of the 16th Century
Francesco Spagnolo (E) Participants-Observers: Christian Presences in Italian Synagogue Life
Itzhak Sergio Minerbi (H) Pope Benedict XVI and the Jews

Jewish Thought and Society in Italy
Pier Gabriele Mancuso (E) Sefer Yetzirah: Early Jewish Mysticism
Lea Naomi Vogelmann Goldfeld (H) Mordechai Shmuel Ghirondi, Rabbi of Padova, Scholar and Kabbalist
Asher Salah (E) From Odessa to Florence: Elena Comparetti Raffalovich and Jewish Russian Intellectuals in Post-Risorgimento Italy
Cristina Michal Bettin (E) Jewish Youth in Italy: Between Integrations and Assimilation, 1861–1938
Anna-Dorothea Ludewig (E) Marranism and Identity Construction in 19th-Century German-Jewish Literature
Paola Ferruta (E) “New Marranism” and the Encounter Between Jews and Universalism
Marina Arbib (H) The Diaries of Gershom Scholem: A Jewish Intellectual Shapes His Identity
Amir Ashur (H) Developments in the Status of Jewish Women in 12th-Century Egypt as Portrayed in Prenuptial Agreements from the Cairo Genizah
Avraham David (H) Culture and Trade Connection Between Egypt and Crete in the Late Middle Ages, as Reflected in Cairo Genizah Documents

There is also another list that didn’t seem to be categorized, but included the following very interesting topics:

Joseph Rapaport, “The Leadership of the Jewish Community in the Kingdom of Navarre Before the Expulsion”
Yosef Hacker, “Charles the Eighth, the Conquest of Italy and Hispano-Jewish Aspirations on the Eve of the 16th Century”
Luis Cortese, “Isidore of Seville, Thomas Aquinas, and Alonso de Cartagena on Forced Conversion”
Ahuva Ho, “Alfonso de Zamora: an Apostate in the Service of the Church”
Ricardo Munoz Solla, “Conversos burgaleses: Historia de una silenciosa presencia (siglos XV-XVI)”
Samuela Marconcini, “Tolerance and Anti-Judaism: the Politics of Conversion to Catholicism in Tuscany Between the Seventeenth and the Nineteenth Centuries”
Matteo Al Kalak, “The “House of Catechumens” in Modena between Dukes and Popes (1583-1797)”
Ilaria Pavan, “The “House of Catechumens” in Modena during the Emancipation Age (1804-1941)”
Yosef Kaplan, “The Building of Sephardic Communities in the “Confessionalization Era”: A Comparative Approach”
Anita Waingort Novinsky, “A Critical Approach to Sephardic Historiography: The Forgotten Marranos of America”
Jose Alberto Rodrigues Da-Silva Tavim, “A Troublesome Theme: The Jews and the Intelligence Networks in Portugal’s Asian Empire In the 16th Century”
Schulamith C. Halevy, “Los Trevino: a `Tribe of Sefarditas’ in El Nuevo Reino de Leon District”
Asaf Ashkenazi, “Historia general de las Indias”
Limor Munz-Manor, “The Old World and the New”: The Jewish Discourse on America in 16th-Century Italy”
Claude B. Stuczynski, “Jews and Judaism in the Juridical Debates on Amerindians in 16th-Century Spanish-America”

Women and Widows
Tirtsah Levie-Bernfeld, “Sephardi Widows in Early Modern Amsterdam”
Ruth Lamdan, “Widows, Old and Respected Women in Ottoman Jewish Society”
Michal Ben Ya’akov, “From Marginality to Opportunity: Widows in Nineteenth Century Eretz-Israel”

What a wide panorama of topics addressing women, history, America, pre-Expulsion issues, conversion and much more!

Tracing the Tribe believes that Jewish history and genealogy cannot be separated. Each helps us learn about the other and to understand events on a very personal level as we realize that our own ancestors may have lived through those exact events and in those places.