JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen New Book Announcement: A Noble Heritage #general
Jeffrey Mark Paull
New Book Announcement for A Noble Heritage
In May of 1914, Nathan Polonsky, together with his wife and four of their
children left Cherkasy, Russia, and settled in Brooklyn, NY. Nathan passed
away in 1929, and Bessie in 1938. Little was known regarding their life
before immigrating to America. Other than whisperings of the family being
somehow descended >from one of the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov, there was
no family tree or paper trail to document who their ancestors were.
In the spring of 2008, while researching his family history in preparation
for his son Joshua's Bar Mitzvah, Nathan Polonsky's great-grandson, Dr.
Jeffrey Mark Paull, found a photograph of Nathan's tombstone. The Hebrew
inscription on the tombstone revealed that Nathan was the descendant of two
of the most influential early leaders of the Chassidic movement -- the
Shpoler Zeida (the grandfather of Shpola), and Rabbi Pinchas Shapira of Koretz.
This finding led Dr. Paull on a four-year quest to rediscover his Polonsky family's
lost heritage. Based upon surviving Shpola vital records, Zvenigorodka censuses,
and many other historical documents, he succeeded in connecting his branch of the
Polonsky family to five generations of Polonsky rabbis who served as Av Beit Din of
Ekaterinopol. The first of these rabbis, Shmuel Polonsky, married Sarah Rachel
Sheindel Shapira, the daughter of Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz.
As Dr. Paull began digging deeper into his family history, the pieces of his
ancient lineage began falling into place, until ultimately he succeeded in
tracing his noble rabbinical heritage over 1,000 years to Rashi and his
forebears. The Polonsky lineage descends >from many of Europe's most eminent
and illustrious rabbinical families, including Kalonymos, Treves, Shapiro,
Luria, Katzenellenbogen, Yaffe, Wahl, Twerski, Wertheim, Gelles, and Zeida.
Dr. Paull's astonishing level of perseverance and meticulous research was driven by
his search for spiritual meaning, Jewish identity, and ancestral connection. His
research and the resulting book, "A Noble Heritage: The History and Legacy of the
Polonsky and Paull Family in America," have forged ties to an entire estranged
contemporary extended Jewish family, and provided an educational path to
understanding Judaism more deeply for his family and for future generations.
A Noble Heritage is not merely the retelling of Dr. Paull's personal family
history, but a fascinating historical account of the Jewish people, their
centuries-long struggle to survive in Europe and Russia, and the Jewish
immigrant experience in America. It is also a guide for others to learn how
to trace their own family history, and an expression of how the process of
genealogical and historical discovery reconnects 21st century American Jews
to their Jewish cultural heritage in profound ways. His work has inspired
his readers and audiences to begin the process of researching their own
family histories and ancestries.
A Noble Heritage has received highly favorable reviews >from such notable
authorities on Jewish genealogy and history as Dr. Antony Polonsky and Dr.
Edward Gelles. A Noble Heritage may be purchased directly >from the author,
the publisher, Infinity Publishing, or >from the major online book retailers,
including Amazon.com. Several chapters of the book can be previewed on
MODERATOR NOTE: This is a one-time commercial announcement of a book of