The Weekly News Nosh
JewishGen Weekly E-Newsletter
Phil Goldfarb, Editor
Date: October 2, 2022
“A Family Without The Knowledge Of Their Past History, Origin And Culture Is Like A Tree Without Roots”
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Enjoy this week’s Nosh!
- Free Access to German Records for a Week on Geneanet October 1-6. October 3 is Unity Day in Germany and October 6 is German-American Day. To celebrate, Geneanet is celebrating “Ahnenfest” – Ancestor Festival – with free access to their Premium German records from Oct. 1-6 inclusive. You need to register if you are not already a subscriber to Geneanet: https://en.geneanet.org/ Credit card information is not required. In the past few months, millions of European data points have been added to Geneanet. Indexes of over 55 million German birth, marriage, and death register entries are now available. Geneanet is a subscription service community of more than 4 million members who share their genealogical information, more than 7 billion individuals in the family trees. Its website is available in 10 supported languages. For help, go to: https://en.geneanet.org/help/search-engine-features-and-options Thanks to Jan Meisels Allen Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee for sharing this story.
- Sorting for Shared DNA Matches on MyHeritage. MyHeritage announces the addition of sorting abilities for Shared DNA Matches. Shared DNA Matches are a valuable tool for users interested in figuring out how they’re related to a specific DNA match. Previously, the Review DNA Match page showed a list of Shared DNA Matches that was pre-sorted based on the sum of DNA shared between you (or the person whose DNA kit you manage) and the specific match you’re reviewing. Now, in addition to viewing Shared DNA Matches according to the total amount of shared DNA, you can also sort the list of shared matches based on the amount of DNA they share with you, or the amount of DNA they share with the match you’re reviewing. Read the announcement on their blog: New: Sorting for Shared DNA Matches - MyHeritage Blog
- The pandemic and apps are fueling a surge of interest in Yiddish. More people are able to study the language through apps and online classes. Oy, schlep, shpiel, shtick and glitch. Yiddish words have long made their way into English, but the language, spoken by Ashkenazi Jews across Europe for over a thousand years, was considered to be a dying language for decades after the Holocaust. However, in the past two years, there has been a surge of new Yiddish learners. During the pandemic more than 300,000 people registered to learn Yiddish on Duolingo, a language-learning app. And 61 percent of users on Duolingo, who self-reported their age, said they were under 30. Additionally, YIVO reported a 500 percent increase in enrollments during that time period and now offers 10 times as many courses — mostly Yiddish courses — as it did before the pandemic. Read the story from the Washington Post: The pandemic and apps are fueling a surge of interest in Yiddish - The Washington Post Thanks to Bruce Drake for passing this story along to me.
- Speaking of Yiddish…How to greet people in Yiddish on each Jewish holiday. Sometimes there is one phrase used when seeing the person and another one when saying good-bye. When people start learning Yiddish, there are so many lessons to master that there’s often not enough time to learn the various ways of greeting people on Shabbos and the Jewish holidays. To make it easier to know which expression to use, Yiddish activist Jonah Boyarin has compiled this handy list of bagrisungen (greetings) for shabbos and all holidays, presenting each expression in Yiddish, English transliteration and translation. Read the story from the Forward: How to greet people in Yiddish on each Jewish holiday – The Forward
- How Tishrei Became the First Month of the Hebrew Calendar. How did we come to celebrate the New Year in the fall when in the Bible it was celebrated in the spring? And what is the origin of the first month’s peculiar name? Read the story from the National Library of Israel: How Tishrei Became the First Month of the Hebrew Calendar (nli.org.il)
- A 93-year-old Holocaust survivor has become a modern-day Chagall. Holocaust survivor Tibor Spitz from Slovakia has become a modern-day Chagall. Spitz and his family had lived for seven months underground in a forest dugout, no more than a mound of reinforced earth, overlooking Dolný Kubín, a mountainous region of northern Slovakia, near the Polish border. They subsisted largely on frozen berries and edible roots, dodging Nazi police patrols. Although he didn’t become an artist until he retired as a chemical engineer for IBM in 1968, he’d always wanted to be one, and repeated and stored the mystical stories his cantor father told him when he was a boy, even more so when they were in hiding. Read the story from the Forward: How a Holocaust survivor from Slovakia became a modern-day Chagall – The Forward
- German Jewish music festival brings global performers. The International Days of Jewish Music will touch all corners of the country and the musical spectrum. Meshing Chassidic jazz, klezmer, opera and film, Germany’s International Days of Jewish Music are set to celebrate the coexistence of European Jews and non-Jews. Running from Nov. 21-27, the fourth edition of the festival takes place at synagogues, Jewish community centers and gathering places across the country. Read the story from JNS: German Jewish music festival brings global performers - JNS.org
- October is Family History Month in the United States. Check program schedules for your local library and genealogical society to see what’s going on near you. The (US) Library of Congress posted a blog last year on Family History Month which is available at: https://blogs.loc.gov/families/2020/10/national-family-history-month/ . Family Tree Magazine has a list of activities that one may pursue to enjoy Family History Month See the article here: https://familytreemagazine.com/projects/family-history-month Thanks to Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee for this story.
- What’s a Christian unicorn like that doing in a Jewish marriage contract like this? A new exhibit about the Jews of Corfu offers some surprising insights into Jewish art and practices. When Abraham Shaptei wed Esther Kiridi on a Wednesday evening in 1820 on the island of Corfu, they displayed their richly illustrated ketubah, or marriage contract, for their guests to admire. Now, more than 200 years later, it’s not the abundance of gold leaf or the intricate vegetal tendrils that draws one’s eye. It’s the unicorn. Yet, unicorns, the zodiac and endless love knots feature prominently on the 10 ketubot displayed in “The Jews of Corfu: Between the Adriatic and the Ionian,” a joint exhibition between Columbia University and the JTS Library. In addition to the ketubot, the exhibit features prayer books and communal and legislative documents. Read the story from the Forward: What's a Christian unicorn like that doing in a Jewish marriage contract like this? – The Forward
- Jewish woman to be knighted for helping Sephardic Jews gain Spanish citizenship. Doreen Alhadeff has helped guide people around the world, from Greece to Hong Kong, through the citizenship application process. Alhadeff, a 72-year-old real estate agent from Seattle was the first American Jew granted Spanish citizenship under Spain’s 2015 law to repatriate Sephardic Jews from around the world. Now she is going to be knighted under the order of Queen Isabella the Catholic next month, by Spain’s monarchy for helping others obtain that same citizenship. Read the story from the Forward: Jewish woman to be knighted for helping Sephardic Jews gain Spanish citizenship – The Forward
- A Kol Nidre Prayer on the German Warfront in 1870. Even on Yom Kippur, German Jews in the 19th century were ready to sacrifice themselves for their homeland. The Franco-Prussian War broke out in the summer of 1870 and ended about six months later with the defeat of France. In 1870, German Jews saw the war against France as an opportunity to show their gratitude for the equal rights they had been granted not long before. Against this background, about 4,700 Jews joined the German army to fight for their homeland. A young rabbi named Isaac Blumenstein was offered to hold the Yom Kippur prayers in a local Catholic church. He refused and instead turned his and his neighbor’s personal quarters into a makeshift prayer space. Two candles were placed on a table that substituted as the bimah, and some 60 to 70 soldiers gathered there for the prayer. Read the full story from the National Library of Israel: A Kol Nidre Prayer on the German Warfront in 1870 (nli.org.il)
- Jewish Museum in Frankfurt is presenting the exhibition “Revenge: History and Fantasy” (“Rache, Geschichte und Fantasie”) from March 18 to October 3. The spectrum of this exhibition is wide: from biblical stories to popular fiction films, from the anti-Semitic motif to the historical episodes in which Jews wanted to respond with vengeance to the violence of which they were victims. Read the story from K. LaRevue: Frankfurt Jewish Museum’s Director and Curator Discuss "Revenge" Exhibition - Jews, Europe, the XXIst century (k-larevue.com)
- How did Medieval Jewish Tombstones End Up in an Italian Monument? Piecing together the inscriptions, scholars identified that they belonged to members of the Ferrara Jewish community who died between the years 1577 and 1690.The appalling story of desecrated tombstones from the 16th century Sephardic cemetery of Ferrara, Italy. Read the story from Aish: How did Medieval Jewish Tombstones End Up in an Italian Monument? - aish.com
- Sandy Koufax wouldn’t play on Yom Kippur. Neither would another ace Jewish pitcher. Ken Holtzman, who pitched for the Cubs and the A’s, had a longer career than Koufax, and more Yom Kippurs off the mound. Last week I included the story about: “Were Jews who played baseball on the High Holidays really cursed? Is the ‘Koufax Curse’ really a thing?” This week, the follow up, forgotten to history story is that in 1966, when Koufax stayed away from the ballpark on his scheduled start on the High Holiday, so did the opposing pitcher! Read the story from The Forward: The other ace Jewish pitcher who wouldn't play on Yom Kippur (forward.com)
- Will Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir be NASA's first woman on the moon? Born in Maine to a Swedish mother and an Israeli-Jewish father, Meir has been enamored with space from a young age and has been involved with NASA for nearly two decades. Since then, she has made waves as a successful and accomplished astronaut, including being part of the first-ever all-female spacewalk. Throughout that time, Meir has made no secret about her closeness to Judaism and Israel, proudly putting her Jewishness and Israeli ties on full display on social media and bringing an Israeli flag, Star of David socks, a commemorative coin honoring late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon and other related items with her into space. Read the story from the Jerusalem Post: Will Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir be NASA's first woman on the moon? - The Jerusalem Post (jpost.com)
- In Kaunas, a British artist shines light on Holocaust massacre forgotten by locals. Near the site of one of the genocide’s most heavily photographed atrocities, lighting designer Jenny Kagan brings the city’s wartime past ‘Out of Darkness.’ The 1941 Lietukis garage massacre in Kaunas, Lithuania, was among the Holocaust’s most heavily photographed “aktions” against Jews, but many of the city’s current inhabitants have never heard of the atrocity. Read the story from the Times of Israel: In Kaunas, a British artist shines light on Holocaust massacre forgotten by locals | The Times of Israel
- Jews and the occult: 5 myth-busting insights from a NYC museum exhibit. If you take the Torah’s word for it — not to mention generations of rabbinical literature — astrology, witchcraft, ghostbusting and the like are expressly forbidden in Judaism, and have no place in Jewish practice or culture. And yet, as the current exhibit at the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion highlights, the occult has always been an integral part of Judaism — and continues to be today. Read the story from the JTA: Jews and the occult: 5 myth-busting insights from a NYC museum exhibit - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta.org)
- How the Manischewitz gets made — a behind-the-scenes taste of America’s most iconic kosher wine. For the syrupy Concord grape wine to be kosher, it all has to be made over the course of one, single week, known as ‘Kosher Crush.’ Read the story from the Forward: How the Manischewitz gets made — a behind-the-scenes taste of America’s most iconic kosher wine – The Forward
- Known as the ‘Queen of Shuls,’ it’s missing just one thing: Jews. The synagogue is filled with relics and remnants of immigrant life, a magnificent fresco, a huge, and an ornate ark. The synagogue, built in 1909 by Lithuanian Jews, was known in its heyday as the “Queen of Shuls” in Chelsea, Massachusetts. At its peak, around 1945, each one of the 1109 seats was filled. Read the story from the Forward: Known as the 'Queen of Shuls,' it's missing just one thing: Jews – The Forward
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