Date   

Levirate marriage #general

Judith Romney Wegner
 

Dear Jewishgenners

I have been VERY distressed by the dissemination of numerous inaccurate
statements concerning levirate marriage, which have appeared in recent
issues of the Digest, and believe it is VERY important to correct this
misinformation -- which will undoubtedly have bumsteered many Digest
readers who are not familiar with Jewish law.

For instance, a recent posting said:

It is considerably more than a custom. It is Jewish Law. If a man's brother
dies without children, the man is obliged to marry the widow so the seed of
his brother will be maintained. Anyone else wishing to marry the widow must
first see to the brother's refusal.
See the story of Ruth & Boaz in Genesis
About the only true statement here is that levirate marriage is indeed a
Jewish law and not a mere custom. (My own earlier post, pointing this out
in response to another inaccurate statement by an earlier poster, was
unaccountably rejected by one of the moderators!) The levirate law is
still enforced today, often with horrendous results for the widow, who
cannot legally remarry following the death of her childless husband unless
and until she is released by any and all brothers he may have -- and the
court cannot force him/them to release her! This release is absolutely
required EVEN IF those brothers are already married -- for technical
reasons related to the intrinsically polygynous nature of Jewish marriage.

However, the posting above contains NUMEROUS errors, as follows:

First: the story of Ruth is NOT found in Genesis, but in the biblical
book of Ruth.

Second, while the story of Ruth does involve levirate marriage, it does so
only incidentally to a completely separate law involving redemption of a
relative's property. Most people confuses the story in chapter 4, of a man
taking off his own shoe in connection with the sale or release of
property, with the entirely SEPARATE institution of levirate marriage
(and entirely different ritual involving a woman taking off a man's shoe)
described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. These are two entirely DISTINCT
institutions.

Third, the biblical source for the law of levirate marriage is NOT found in
Genesis at all, but as I said, in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. (True, there is a
story in Genesis 38 that involves levirate marriage, but the actual legal
rules are in Deuteronomy; these rules were further developed centuries
later in the Mishnah and Talmud -- but with no substantive changes to the
basic ritual mandated in Deuteronomy.

Fourth, contrary to the implication in the above posting, it is not up to
"anyone else wishing to marry the widow, to see to the brother's refusal."
It is up to the levir himself (Latin for "husband's brother) and the
levirate widow to perform the ritual known as halitzah, a term that
means "release" not "refusal" (although it does depend on the levir's
explicit refusal to marry the widow). Ever since the11th-century ban on
the practice of polygyny among Ashkenazic Jews in the 11th century, this
release has been treated as the required solution -- in other words,
marriage with the widow is no longer considered the primary obligation as
in former times.

Judith Romney Wegner
jrw@brown.edu


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Levirate marriage #general

Judith Romney Wegner
 

Dear Jewishgenners

I have been VERY distressed by the dissemination of numerous inaccurate
statements concerning levirate marriage, which have appeared in recent
issues of the Digest, and believe it is VERY important to correct this
misinformation -- which will undoubtedly have bumsteered many Digest
readers who are not familiar with Jewish law.

For instance, a recent posting said:

It is considerably more than a custom. It is Jewish Law. If a man's brother
dies without children, the man is obliged to marry the widow so the seed of
his brother will be maintained. Anyone else wishing to marry the widow must
first see to the brother's refusal.
See the story of Ruth & Boaz in Genesis
About the only true statement here is that levirate marriage is indeed a
Jewish law and not a mere custom. (My own earlier post, pointing this out
in response to another inaccurate statement by an earlier poster, was
unaccountably rejected by one of the moderators!) The levirate law is
still enforced today, often with horrendous results for the widow, who
cannot legally remarry following the death of her childless husband unless
and until she is released by any and all brothers he may have -- and the
court cannot force him/them to release her! This release is absolutely
required EVEN IF those brothers are already married -- for technical
reasons related to the intrinsically polygynous nature of Jewish marriage.

However, the posting above contains NUMEROUS errors, as follows:

First: the story of Ruth is NOT found in Genesis, but in the biblical
book of Ruth.

Second, while the story of Ruth does involve levirate marriage, it does so
only incidentally to a completely separate law involving redemption of a
relative's property. Most people confuses the story in chapter 4, of a man
taking off his own shoe in connection with the sale or release of
property, with the entirely SEPARATE institution of levirate marriage
(and entirely different ritual involving a woman taking off a man's shoe)
described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. These are two entirely DISTINCT
institutions.

Third, the biblical source for the law of levirate marriage is NOT found in
Genesis at all, but as I said, in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. (True, there is a
story in Genesis 38 that involves levirate marriage, but the actual legal
rules are in Deuteronomy; these rules were further developed centuries
later in the Mishnah and Talmud -- but with no substantive changes to the
basic ritual mandated in Deuteronomy.

Fourth, contrary to the implication in the above posting, it is not up to
"anyone else wishing to marry the widow, to see to the brother's refusal."
It is up to the levir himself (Latin for "husband's brother) and the
levirate widow to perform the ritual known as halitzah, a term that
means "release" not "refusal" (although it does depend on the levir's
explicit refusal to marry the widow). Ever since the11th-century ban on
the practice of polygyny among Ashkenazic Jews in the 11th century, this
release has been treated as the required solution -- in other words,
marriage with the widow is no longer considered the primary obligation as
in former times.

Judith Romney Wegner
jrw@brown.edu


Re: place of origin in Russian records - (A Passport) #general

DBH12345
 

So you can see how confusing this gets.
Ideas anyone?
And this passport is labeled "OVERSEAS PASSPORT #2072."
Would there be any record of an application for the passport?
I'm not going to even try to solve Steve's passport confusion, but I would
suggest that some explanations to some of the complexities of passports is
included in the "Description of the Documents in the Catalog of the Jewish
Holdings of the Kaunas Archives" at the LitvakSIG website
<http://www.jewishgen.org/litvak/kaunasix.htm>. In particular note the
difference between the Passport Issuance Books, The Passport Issuance Records,
and The Passport Registration Book!

A lot of records were kept, on application for a passport, when actually
leaving someplace, and on arrival somewhere else. Sometimes we have more
information than we know what to do with. On top of the attempts by the
government to keep track of everyone in these detailed ways, we have the
problem that our ancestors in 1904, sometimes had to go to somewhere else than
their hometowns, obtain false papers or give false information, in order to get
on a ship.

David Hoffman
Co-Coordinator, LitvakSIG


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: place of origin in Russian records - (A Passport) #general

DBH12345
 

So you can see how confusing this gets.
Ideas anyone?
And this passport is labeled "OVERSEAS PASSPORT #2072."
Would there be any record of an application for the passport?
I'm not going to even try to solve Steve's passport confusion, but I would
suggest that some explanations to some of the complexities of passports is
included in the "Description of the Documents in the Catalog of the Jewish
Holdings of the Kaunas Archives" at the LitvakSIG website
<http://www.jewishgen.org/litvak/kaunasix.htm>. In particular note the
difference between the Passport Issuance Books, The Passport Issuance Records,
and The Passport Registration Book!

A lot of records were kept, on application for a passport, when actually
leaving someplace, and on arrival somewhere else. Sometimes we have more
information than we know what to do with. On top of the attempts by the
government to keep track of everyone in these detailed ways, we have the
problem that our ancestors in 1904, sometimes had to go to somewhere else than
their hometowns, obtain false papers or give false information, in order to get
on a ship.

David Hoffman
Co-Coordinator, LitvakSIG


Jewish marriages in Galicia #galicia

Aaron Rosenberg <a-j.rosenberg@...>
 

My grandfather, Aaron KESTEL, was born in Brody in Novenber, 1860. His
parents were Chaim KESTEL and Golde Leah SIKULER. The only other child
surviving to adulthood, Chava, was born about 1871. The only European
document that has been handed down in the family is Chaim and Golde Leah's
marriage certificate, dated February 9, 1880, some ten years after my
grandfather's birth. So, although there is no question that my
grandfather's parents were marriage, it was not officially registered until
some 20 years after the fact.

The issue of why Jewish marriages were not officially registered has been
discussed before. But I am still do not completely understand the
cirumstances. Susan Wynne, in her book, cites an onerous tax on Jewish
marriages until the 1830's and a general distrust of the civil authorities.

But births (including circumcisions) and deaths were generally registered
in the books kept by the official rabbi. And what would have been the
reason for registering the marriage in 1880? Was there actually a
religious ceremony accompanying this registration? Wynne cites the need
for official documentation as a reason for registration, particularly for
emigration purposes. But my grandfather did not emigrate to America until
1893.

I'd be interested if anyone has additional insights or examples.

Aaron Rosenberg
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
Reply to: a-j.rosenberg@worldnet.att.net

Searching: KESTEL, ASCHERSOHN, SIKULER, KINTISCH, all >from Brody.


Editorial office re: Brody #general

GRoniger@...
 

I understand that Brody included a large Jewish population in the late 19th
century. Is there some way to get information on this population. I would
like information on the family of my grandparents who came >from Brody to
Vienna. My grandfather's name was Rubin Roniger.

Thanks,

George Roniger
GRoniger @AOL.com


Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia Jewish marriages in Galicia #galicia

Aaron Rosenberg <a-j.rosenberg@...>
 

My grandfather, Aaron KESTEL, was born in Brody in Novenber, 1860. His
parents were Chaim KESTEL and Golde Leah SIKULER. The only other child
surviving to adulthood, Chava, was born about 1871. The only European
document that has been handed down in the family is Chaim and Golde Leah's
marriage certificate, dated February 9, 1880, some ten years after my
grandfather's birth. So, although there is no question that my
grandfather's parents were marriage, it was not officially registered until
some 20 years after the fact.

The issue of why Jewish marriages were not officially registered has been
discussed before. But I am still do not completely understand the
cirumstances. Susan Wynne, in her book, cites an onerous tax on Jewish
marriages until the 1830's and a general distrust of the civil authorities.

But births (including circumcisions) and deaths were generally registered
in the books kept by the official rabbi. And what would have been the
reason for registering the marriage in 1880? Was there actually a
religious ceremony accompanying this registration? Wynne cites the need
for official documentation as a reason for registration, particularly for
emigration purposes. But my grandfather did not emigrate to America until
1893.

I'd be interested if anyone has additional insights or examples.

Aaron Rosenberg
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
Reply to: a-j.rosenberg@worldnet.att.net

Searching: KESTEL, ASCHERSOHN, SIKULER, KINTISCH, all >from Brody.


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Editorial office re: Brody #general

GRoniger@...
 

I understand that Brody included a large Jewish population in the late 19th
century. Is there some way to get information on this population. I would
like information on the family of my grandparents who came >from Brody to
Vienna. My grandfather's name was Rubin Roniger.

Thanks,

George Roniger
GRoniger @AOL.com


Sacks #general

Toni Valenstein <tovaknits@...>
 

Someone submitted a query, looking for the surname SACKS. I know this
is a long shot, but I recently discovered members of my family named Sam
& Selma SACKS, daughter Edith, m. Bart Land.

Researching: VALENSTEIN/WALLENSTEIN

Toni Valenstein
tovaknits@erols.com


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Sacks #general

Toni Valenstein <tovaknits@...>
 

Someone submitted a query, looking for the surname SACKS. I know this
is a long shot, but I recently discovered members of my family named Sam
& Selma SACKS, daughter Edith, m. Bart Land.

Researching: VALENSTEIN/WALLENSTEIN

Toni Valenstein
tovaknits@erols.com


Experience about asking naturalisation files in France #general

Micheline GUTMANN <MichelineGUTMANN@...>
 

I am happy to see that the information about reading
naturalisation files in France could be useful at least
for other French associations !
For everybody, I can relate my disappointing experience
and an important problem.
Yes, it is possible to see the files which are 60 years old (or more) .
But if you wish a copy, last year it was 2F each page. =

Now, you have to ask for a microfilm done by an imposed external society=

with no apparent relation with the Archives Nationales.
The cost is multiplied by 10.
I spoke of the problem to the French Federation of Genealogy.
I shall tell you informed of the result.

Micheline GUTMANN, GenAmi, Paris France
www.chez.com/genami


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Experience about asking naturalisation files in France #general

Micheline GUTMANN <MichelineGUTMANN@...>
 

I am happy to see that the information about reading
naturalisation files in France could be useful at least
for other French associations !
For everybody, I can relate my disappointing experience
and an important problem.
Yes, it is possible to see the files which are 60 years old (or more) .
But if you wish a copy, last year it was 2F each page. =

Now, you have to ask for a microfilm done by an imposed external society=

with no apparent relation with the Archives Nationales.
The cost is multiplied by 10.
I spoke of the problem to the French Federation of Genealogy.
I shall tell you informed of the result.

Micheline GUTMANN, GenAmi, Paris France
www.chez.com/genami


Help Wanted from the ShtetLinks Project #general

Chuck Weinstein <cweinstein@...>
 

ShtetLinks is in need of a volunteer who can take over coordination of
putting up ShtetLinks websites, checking them periodically for errors,
and working with people whose knowledge of HTML runs >from none to
maven. The ideal candidate for this volunteer position will have
regular internet access, a fair to good understanding of working with
HTML and one or more web composition softwares, a good ability to work
with a variety of people, and about 10-15 hours or so per week to work
with our sites. It helps if you are conversant with genealogy, and you
must have a reasonably dependable computer. We currently have four
people who are able to help on a limited basis, so you would not be
expected to do all the work, but at least coordinate it. Please respond
to me if you are interested and we can talk. Location does not matter.

Chuck Weinstein
JewishGen ShtetLinks Coordinator
cweinstein@jewishgen.org


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Help Wanted from the ShtetLinks Project #general

Chuck Weinstein <cweinstein@...>
 

ShtetLinks is in need of a volunteer who can take over coordination of
putting up ShtetLinks websites, checking them periodically for errors,
and working with people whose knowledge of HTML runs >from none to
maven. The ideal candidate for this volunteer position will have
regular internet access, a fair to good understanding of working with
HTML and one or more web composition softwares, a good ability to work
with a variety of people, and about 10-15 hours or so per week to work
with our sites. It helps if you are conversant with genealogy, and you
must have a reasonably dependable computer. We currently have four
people who are able to help on a limited basis, so you would not be
expected to do all the work, but at least coordinate it. Please respond
to me if you are interested and we can talk. Location does not matter.

Chuck Weinstein
JewishGen ShtetLinks Coordinator
cweinstein@jewishgen.org


Roniger #general

GRoniger@...
 

Looking for any information on Jewish Ronigers.

George Roniger
GRoniger@AOL.com


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Roniger #general

GRoniger@...
 

Looking for any information on Jewish Ronigers.

George Roniger
GRoniger@AOL.com


Names of Russian Soldiers #general

J M Y <gen528@...>
 

Hello all,

My great grandmothers uncles were in the Russian Army during the first
world war and were killed. I have a picture of them in uniform, however,
I don't have any idea what their names were. I know the last name and the
names of their parents. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could
go about finding out these individuals first names?

TIA,

June M. Young

Searching: FEDER, SEGAL, SCHIOWITZ, SCHNEER, LIEBOWITZ, YANKOWITZ,
YONKELOVITSH, SPIELBERG, ABRAMOWITZ


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Names of Russian Soldiers #general

J M Y <gen528@...>
 

Hello all,

My great grandmothers uncles were in the Russian Army during the first
world war and were killed. I have a picture of them in uniform, however,
I don't have any idea what their names were. I know the last name and the
names of their parents. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could
go about finding out these individuals first names?

TIA,

June M. Young

Searching: FEDER, SEGAL, SCHIOWITZ, SCHNEER, LIEBOWITZ, YANKOWITZ,
YONKELOVITSH, SPIELBERG, ABRAMOWITZ


Jewish Photo Archives #general

D. Doering <doeringd@...>
 

I'm seeking to identify the major national and international archives of
photographs of jewish life, culture, and history. Any information on the
names of the major collections or links to their web sites would be greatly
appreciated. I thank you in advance.

Don S. Doering
Philadelphia, PA
doeringd@alum.mit.edu


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Jewish Photo Archives #general

D. Doering <doeringd@...>
 

I'm seeking to identify the major national and international archives of
photographs of jewish life, culture, and history. Any information on the
names of the major collections or links to their web sites would be greatly
appreciated. I thank you in advance.

Don S. Doering
Philadelphia, PA
doeringd@alum.mit.edu