KEIDAN VRI: a call for Zamlers #lithuania

Olga Zabludoff <oz@...>

Dear Fellow Keidaners:

As I was thinking of something new and different to say, two pieces of news
came to me.

The first was an email >from Sam Schleman. He has already contributed
generously to our Vital Records Indexing project, but he expressed the wish
to help generate more funds to expedite the progress of this effort.

Sam had tallied up his known living relatives and came up with some
200--all of them descendants of Keidaners. "What I would like to do is
to send out an email to all these relatives, describing the Keidan Vital
Records project and asking them to make contributions to the project,"
wrote Sam. "Of course, if other Keidaners were to do this, we might raise
additional [monies] for the project." Sam went on to explore the
possibility of allocating the individual contributions of his relatives
to a cumulative Schleyerman Family Fund.

As I reflected on Sam's touching gesture, I realized he was responding
to the ancient call for Zamlers.

In the 19th century the great Jewish historian Simon Dubnow issued an
appealfor Zamlers to round up communal records and historical documents
in theremote shtetlach of the Russian Pale. Were it not for these Zamlers,
the"History of the Jews in Russia and Poland" and "The World History of
theJewish People" might never have been written.

When YIVO was founded in Vilna in 1925, hundreds of Zamlers answered
their call, collecting documents and records for the YIVO archives. And
much more recently Aaron Lansky, the founder of the National Yiddish
Book Center, said he owes his greatest success in collecting 1.5 million
Yiddish books to his team of energetic Zamlers.

In Yiddish "zamler" means "a collector." The ancient Zamlers traveled
onfoot or, if they were lucky, by horse and wagon. Today's Zamlers can
networkon the internet.

If the Keidan VRI project is going to blossom in 2005, we need the help
ofZamlers. You can be a contributor, you can be a Zamler, or you can be
both. If you select "Both," you will immediately qualify for the "Mentsh
of theMonth" award.

As Joel Ratner has already announced in an earlier post, a translator
has been assigned to the Keidan vital records, and work is about to begin.
Butthe challenge will be to keep the translator translating. We have
sufficient monies to pay for the translation of an initial batch of
records. But thousands more records are waiting for your funding. Make
it happen.

Email me to receive the easy VRI donor form and send it with your
contribution to:

LITVAKSIG, Inc., Department 77-9253, Chicago, IL 60678-9253.
And then go out and be a Zamler!

Olga Zabludoff, Coordinator
Kedainiai/Keidan VRI Project

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