The Weekly News Nosh
JewishGen Weekly E-Newsletter
Phil Goldfarb, Editor
Date: September 18, 2022
“A Family Without The Knowledge Of Their Past History, Origin And Culture Is Like A Tree Without Roots”
A lot of diverse and interesting genealogical, historical, and cultural stories today. There is something to "nosh" on for everyone...enjoy!
- The JewishGen High Holiday Companion 2022/5783 is now available. JewishGen is pleased to present the JewishGen High Holiday Companion 2022/5783, which contains inspirational vignettes about how Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were observed in various communities. This year's collection includes towns in Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus, and includes the account of Holocaust Survivors observing Rosh Hashana in their hometown after the war - a town which did not have even one standing synagogue for them to pray in. Particularly during this troubling time throughout the world, we hope that this companion will inspire you to connect with previous generations, and to help preserve and perpetuate the values which they held most dear. There are two ways to read the High Holiday Companion: (1) Click here to download as a PDF (2) Click here to read it online.
- ViewMate recorded its 100,000th upload. ViewMate, JewishGen's service where you upload images and get translations of documents, commentary on your research, and identification of genealogy-related photos and artifacts, recorded its 100,000th upload on 18 September 2022! You can view current submissions at https://www.jewishgen.org/viewmate/view.asp and search the archived images at https://www.jewishgen.org/viewmate/v_filterarchivesrch.asp .ViewMate has more than 270 active volunteers who generously offer their skills and expertise to translate or respond to other questions about your documents and images. In the past year, more than 920 users submitted 4561 items.
- Genome-wide data from medieval German Jews show that the Ashkenazi founder event pre-dated the 14th century. Ashkenazi Jews (AJ) emerged as a distinctive ethno-religious cultural group in the Rhineland and Northern France in the 10th century. A DNA study reports genome-wide data for 33 Ashkenazi Jews (AJ), dated to the 14th century, following a salvage excavation at the medieval Jewish cemetery of Erfurt, Germany. The results suggest that the AJ founder event and the acquisition of the main sources of ancestry pre-dated the 14th century and highlight late medieval genetic heterogeneity no longer present in modern AJ. Read the very detailed scientific DNA study: Genome-wide data from medieval German Jews show that the Ashkenazi founder event pre-dated the 14th century | bioRxiv
- New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch. This week 300,000 new, searchable, indexed records from the United States Bureau of Land Management Tract Books (1800 – 1955), and expanded archives for Benin, Chili, France, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, S Africa, and the Ukraine have been added. Also, additional United States records from Florida, Kentucky, New York, and Virginia. Millions of new genealogy records are added each week. Read their blog: New Free Records on FamilySearch 12 Sept 2022 View their records at: Search Historical Records • FamilySearch. For other genealogy content, peruse over 1,500 free, on-demand sessions from Roots Tech. On Demand • RootsTech 2022 • FamilySearch
- Findmypast Adds New Records Across Three Collections. This includes new study school records, marriage bonds and monumental inscriptions, all entirely exclusive to Findmypast. Read the information from their blog: . https://www.findmypast.com/blog/new/school-records-marriage-bonds
- Findmypast Free Access to Newspaper Archive to Honor the Late Queen. Speaking of Findmypast, to honor the late Queen Elizabeth II, they are offering their newspaper archive free of charge from Friday September 16 at 10:00 BST (British Summer Time) until Tuesday 20, 2022 10:00 BST. You can use the time zone converter to convert times to your local time by going to: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html To search the newspapers go to: https://www.findmypast.com/page/free-access You will need to register with name and email address, but no credit card information is required.
- “A Bittersweet Joy." Survivor Siblings Discovered through Search for Family Roots. The last time 87-year-old Wolf Hall saw his 90-year-old older sister Esther Bielski (née Hauszpeigel) was in 1940 in the Lodz ghetto. Wolf was 17 at the time and had left the ghetto together with his parents and six of his siblings for Krasnik, the first in a series of several relocations during the war. Esther's fate, however, took her to the Radom ghetto, and Wolf never heard from her again. Read the remarkable story from Yad Vashem: "A Bittersweet Joy" (yadvashem.org)
- French Genealogy Blog Article on French Genealogy-Ancien régime Geography. For those researching older French history The French Genealogy Blog has an interesting article about ancient France and Jews and where they lived prior to their expulsion in 1394. The article has maps of how France looked at the time. Anne Mordell, a professional genealogist living in France wrote the article. She also reminds us of the language differences and that in all locations Jewish documents may also be in Hebrew. Mordell also states the best research for each of the different regions may be done at Departmental and Municipal archives with their names, but not their websites. To read the posting go to: https://french-genealogy.typepad.com/genealogie/2022/09/french-jewish-genealogy-ancien-r%C3%A9gime-geography-is-important.html Thanks to Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee for this story.
- Noah’s Ark mosaic puts ancient Jordan synagogue on tourist map. As Arab countries from Bahrain to Morocco reconnect with their Jewish communities, church ruins in Jerash hearken back to biblical flood story. When archeologists first excavated the remnants of a sixth-century church in the ancient city of Jerash in 1929, they uncovered a mosaic floor filled with images of gazelles, horses, birds, rabbits, snakes and other creatures that tell the biblical story of Noah’s Ark. Also revealed by the American-British research team were a seven-branched menorah, a ram’s horn, a palm frond and other Jewish icons that indicated the Byzantine church had been built on the foundations of what was once a synagogue. Read the story: Noah's Ark mosaic puts ancient Jordan synagogue on tourist map - The Circuit’
- Meet the Rabbi Who Ended 1300 Years of Ritual Humiliation. In the year 532 CE, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian proclaimed that Jews could not provide testimony in a Christian court. The prevailing assumption was that the word of a Jew could not be trusted. This proved to be a fairly unworkable ban, so over the centuries a bizarre ritual developed, designed to intimidate Jews from their presumed predilection for untruthfulness. Known as the More Iudaico, Latin for “Jewish custom,” Jews who appeared in court were required to subjugate themselves to a broad array of humiliating circumstances, from calling down Biblical curses upon themselves if they were to lie in court, to standing bare-chested and bare headed on a bloody pigskin, with one hand on an open Bible, to discourage any possible dissimulation. Amazingly, some version of the More Iudaico persisted well into the 19th century, even in otherwise “enlightened” countries like England and France. That is, until 1838, when young Lazare Isidor appeared on the scene. Read the full story from Aish: Meet the Rabbi Who Ended 1300 Years of Ritual Humiliation - aish.com
- Yeshiva University brings exhibition on Samaritans to DC’s Museum of the Bible. Artifacts include paintings, manuscripts, books, photography, ritual objects and archaeological discoveries from Greece, Italy and Israel. The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is opening a new exhibition with unprecedented access to the life, culture and history of the Samaritans, a 2,000-year-old community. The Samaritans have lived in the Land of Israel, beside their sacred mountain, for millennia. They trace their lineage back to the Israelite tribe of Ephraim. Read the story from JNS: Yeshiva University brings exhibition on Samaritans to DC’s Museum of the Bible - JNS.org
- Rare, stolen 2,000-year-old silver coin returned to Israeli authorities in US. A Quarter-shekel minted in 69CE was smuggled out of country to black market; international probe results in it finally being restored to Israel Antiquities Authority. The quarter-shekel coin is from the fourth year of the Jewish Great Revolt against the Romans, which took place in 66-73 CE. It was minted in 69 CE, a year before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by Roman authorities seeking to suppress the Jewish revolt against their rule. Read the story from the Times of Israel: Rare, stolen 2,000-year-old silver coin returned to Israeli authorities in US | The Times of Israel
- At ‘The Fabelmans’ premiere, Steven Spielberg discusses how his Jewish identity is portrayed in the autobiographical film. It would be difficult to debate what Steven Spielberg’s “most Jewish” film has been, after a career with highlights such as “Schindler’s List” and “Munich.” But it’s now clear what the famed director’s most personal film is. Spielberg introduced “The Fabelmans,” his upcoming semi-autobiographical movie about his Jewish upbringing and his formative early years as an aspiring filmmaker, Read the story from JTA: At ‘The Fabelmans’ premiere, Steven Spielberg discusses how his Jewish identity is portrayed in the autobiographical film - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta.org)
- Over 25,000 Jewish partisans fought back against the Nazis. A new film tells eight of their stories. Director Julia Mintz interviewed some of the last surviving partisans for her documentary “Four Winters.” It started with the story of a young girl who encamped in a ditch and exploded a Nazi train heading to the frontlines. This girl wasn’t alone, but a member of a network of Jewish partisans numbering over 25,000 who fought Nazis and their collaborators in the woods of Belarus, Ukraine and Poland. Read the story from the Forward: Over 25,000 Jewish partisans fought back against the Nazis. A new film tells 8 of their stories. – The Forward
- Camel Caravans, Kasbahs and Berber Jews…50, 000 Once Lived There. Moment magazine has an interesting article, Camels Caravans, Kasbahs and Berber Jews. https://momentmag.com/camel-caravans-kasbahs-and-berber-jews/ NOTE: This is a subscription publication but permits a limited number of free articles. At one time, the ghetto in Marrakesh, Morocco, had 50,000 Jews. There were 42 synagogues, now there are two. The Lazama Synagogue was first founded in 1492 by Iberian Jews fleeing the Inquisition. This is where the city’s 150 remaining Jews come to pray. Unlike in Ashkenazi shuls, long rows of seats face each other in traditional Moroccan style, allowing sons to face their fathers in prayer and separating the pulpit from the bimah. It has been restored under King Mohammed VI’s $20 million budget initiative. Thanks to Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee for this story.
- Did Nazis make these Jewish women infertile? New research suggests female Auschwitz prisoners may have been given hormones in their soup that blocked their periods and hampered their ability to have children after the war. A survivor who worked in the Auschwitz kitchen said she was instructed to mix “very light pink chemicals” into women’s food as armed guards looked on. “Nobody’s ever studied its long-term impact,” said Peggy J. Kleinplatz, a professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, who authored the study, published this month in the academic journal Social Science & Medicine. Read the story from the Forward: Did Nazis make these Jewish women infertile? – The Forward
- Prague’s Jews build monument out of headstones plundered under communism. During and after the decimation of Eastern Europe’s Jewish populations in the Holocaust, even the dead were not spared: Locals, their Nazi occupiers and their communist rulers looted Jewish cemeteries for headstones and used them to pave roads and build countless public buildings, including schools, park pavilions and even churches. This month the Jewish community of Prague in the Czech Republic unveiled a new monument at its cemetery in an attempt to undo some of the damage. The monument consists of about 6,000 cobblestones made from Jewish headstones that were used in 1987 to pave Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The municipality handed over the stones to the Jewish community in 2020, after the stones were removed during renovations. Read the story from JTA: Prague's Jews build monument out of headstones plundered under communism - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta.org)
- Stolen by the Nazis: A Book’s Rediscovery in Jerusalem. The long journey of a book of Leviticus that was hidden in a Vienna basement during the Nazi era, before eventually making its way to the National Library of Israel’s Conservation and Restoration Lab. The book had been given as a gift to a bar mitzvah boy in 1936. Tragically, the gift’s recipient and his family perished in the Holocaust some years later. The Nazis looted many Jewish libraries in Austria on Kristallnacht and in the period that followed. Read the full story from the National Library of Israel: Stolen by the Nazis: A Book’s Rediscovery in Jerusalem (nli.org.il)
- Germany to pay £1 billion ($1.2 billion US dollars) in compensation to Holocaust survivors next year on the anniversary of a deal struck 70 years ago for Jewish victims of the Nazis. The body that handles claims for compensation and restitution says extra funds will be available for survivors fleeing the war in Ukraine. Read the story from Jewish News: Germany to pay £1 billion in compensation to Holocaust survivors next year | Jewish News
- Israeli archeologists discover 'once-in-a-lifetime find' of ancient pottery under beach. The burial cave in Israel from the Late Bronze Age, the time of Pharaoh Ramses II – possibly from the story of the Exodus from Egypt - contained dozens of intact objects. The cave was filled with dozens of whole pottery and bronze vessels just as they were placed during the burial ceremony, about 3,300 years ago. Read the story from the Jerusalem Post: Israeli archeologists find 'once-in-a-lifetime find' of ancient pottery - The Jerusalem Post (jpost.com)
- AJ Dillon, on being a Jew of color – Green Bay Packers running back said he’s been lucky to always have support. Dillon’s interview took place at the BBYO International Convention in Baltimore. Asking Dillon about his engagement in Jewish life throughout his childhood, he said: “Growing up, my mom’s side of the family was very Jewish, and I went to Hebrew school. I was very active, and I’m part of the Hendel family if there’s anybody in the Hendel family out here, and it’s just a long lineage and I’m happy to be a part of the culture that they have and continue.” Read the story: AJ Dillon, on being a Jew of color – Green Bay Packers running back said he’s been lucky to always have support | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle
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