JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen JGSGW (DC) meeting, Sunday, December 12, 2010 #general

Marlene Bishow <mlbishow@...>

Speaker: Avron Bendavid-Val, author of "The Heavens are Empty: Discovering
the Lost Town of Trochenbrod"

Settlement of the village that became Trochenbrod started in the early 1800s
in a small clearing in the forest in what is today northwest Ukraine. Jews
began settling there and farming because under Czarist decrees, only by
doing that could they avoid oppressive anti-Jewish laws, including having
their sons conscripted to serve in the Russian army until age 45. As
Trochenbrod grew to its final population of about 5,000, it became the only
freestanding town created, populated, and self-governed entirely by Jews
ever to exist outside the biblical Land of Israel. Trochenbrod became a
thriving regional commercial center that had a highly diversified and
largely self-sufficient economy.

The book, "The Heavens are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod,"
is the product of 12 years of research by Washington, DC resident Avrom
Bendavid-Val, who made nine visits to the site where Trochenbrod once stood
and the surrounding area. He tells its history not as a scholarly
presentation, but as a story, including a little bit of how he uncovered
what happened in this vanished place. The book is unique in the variety of
first person accounts he draws on, including those of Ukrainians and Poles
who knew the town as children. It's also unique in the large number of
photographs and maps it contains. The emphasis is on the life and vibrancy
that was there, not just on the town's destruction.

Avrom will have copies of his book available for sale and signing.

Location: Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road, Alexandria VA.
Time: 1:00 PM - Schmooze
1:30 PM - Short Business Meeting, Announcements, and Program
Cost: Free to Members and first time visitors. Others may attend for $5.

Alan Levitt

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