Afew dozen people showed up when Bruce Kahn gave his first speech on on-line Jewish genealogical research in 1993. The setting was the annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy, sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS).
Kahn, then a research scientist at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., and a founder of the city's JGS branch, predicted that the Internet would revolutionize genealogical research.
"People thought I was crazy," he says.
U.S. Jewish organizations have joined Polish government and Jewish community leaders in denouncing the volatile language in a property lawsuit that accuses Poland of a pattern of ethnic cleansing of Jews after World War II. One Polish newspaper editor attacked the lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court as "a priceless gift for anti-Semites in Poland." The round of criticism comes as Polish legislators began summer vacation after drafting landmark legislation to return private property seized from Polish citizens by the Nazis or the Communists more than 55 years ago.
Abraham Gordon, a good Jew from Poland, has a favorite Christmas tradition. Each year on Dec. 25 he tells the story of the cast iron stove. It’s a tale with a happy ending — about the family that saved Gordon and his family from the Nazis.
On Christmas Eve, 1943, the youngest son in the Ziemczonek family — Catholics who lived on a farm in the part of Poland that became Byelorussia in 1939 — carried the heavy stove to the cave in the forest where the Gordons were hiding. The stove kept young Abraham, his sister and parents alive through the winter.
Birthright Israel, the ambitious and controversial project to provide a free 10-day trip to Israel for diaspora youth, is planning to send as many as 7,000 college students in January and February: even as organizers await the financial backing they counted on for the $300 million enterprise.
An urban legend going around the community says that a major rabbi placed a curse upon the Kennedy family, unto the end of generations, because Ambassador Joseph Kennedy was not a hard-liner about Hitler. Kennedyís son died fighting Hitler, but no matter: the curse was on. To many Jews, this eternal curse makes perfect sense.Other Jews refuse to say a kind word about Franklin Delano Roosevelt for his mishandling of the Holocaust. He led the war against Hitler?
An ethereal chasidic melody is sung in a small room by a minyan waiting for evening prayer. Yakov B., having led the afternoon prayer as mourners will, and having said the final Kaddish of his mournful year, now sits in a pew, closing his eyes. On waves of the wordless tune, his soul slips from earthly mooring; he has an inner vision: He is at a family simcha, the end of something. His father, for whom Yakov was saying Kaddish, looked young, beatific, in the middle of a circle dance.