Soviet immigrant to share family history with Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 #ukraine

Martin Fischer

"Apple Does Not Fall: Shtetl Cousins Meet Iron-Curtain Cousins" will be family historian Bena Shklyanoy's presentation topic at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois meeting at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill.

Prior to the presentation, the JGSI research library and genealogy help desk will open at 12:30 p.m. For more information, see or phone 312-666-0100.

Bena Shklyanoy was born in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, when it was part of the Soviet Union. In 1976, she immigrated to the United States with her husband and two young daughters. In 2004, her family story project began. It is now documented on her website/blog, which focuses on insights into Soviet culture, cultural clash, and the long-lasting impact of government and history on personal decisions.

Her website and blog at is the result of more than 11 years of research and recollections. It includes her family trees, photos >from travels to ancestral shtetls and the story of an average Soviet Jewish family, including during the mid-1970s Jewish emigration >from the USSR, an era little known in the U.S, Bena says.

She presented her work at the 2016 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Seattle and has spoken to various other organizations.

At each regular JGSI monthly meeting, its genealogy help desk is operated by member volunteers >from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. The volunteers access online databases and answer genealogical questions one-on-one for members and visitors as time allows.

The JGSI research library has more than 800 volumes of interest to Jewish family historians. Many are available for borrowing by JGSI members for a limited time. All are available for perusing >from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at each regular monthly meeting.

Submitted by:
Martin Fischer
Vice President-Publicity
Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

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