07 May 2009

Washington, DC: Litvak Legacy, Spinoza, May 17

Learn about the Litvak legacy at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington on Sunday, May 17.

Dr. Mark Ozer will discuss his new book, "The Litvak Legacy," beginning at 11am at B'nai Israel in Rockville, Maryland. Copies will be available for purchase along with a book-signing.
His thesis is that there is a distinctive Litvak cultural heritage that can be traced through the maintenance of that culture through the several generations and the significant impact it has had on the countries in which the immigrants settled. You will get a better understanding of these roots as he discusses his deeply researched findings published in The Litvak Legacy.
Advance registration is required; no charge for JGSGW members.
The workshop and Dr. Ozer's book is of great interest - - not only to the Litvaks among us but to all of us who are interested in learning more about the cultures our forebears created before they emigrated to the United States and how our inherited culture has affected the lives we lead every day.
A retired professor of neurology, Ozer is a descendant of Litvaks and a native of Boston who studied modern European history as a Harvard undergraduate. He practiced and taught medicine in Washington, DC, for many years.

Ozer has written and lectured extensively on the history of cities, and decided to write the book after visiting the Ponar forest, site of the murder of tens of thousands of Lithuanian Jews by the Nazis. The book is the result of extensive research and analysis since his visit.

JGSGW president Jeff Miller and program chair Harris Weinstein will moderate the discussion. If you have questions for the speaker, email them in advance.

At 1.30pm, Professor Daniel Schwartz will speak on "The First Secular Jew? Spinoza and the History of an Image."

Schwartz is assistant professor of modern Jewish history in the Judaic Studies Program of George Washington University. An expert on Spinoza, the famous and heretical 17th-century Jewish philosopher, he has a book in preparation under the same title (to be published by Princeton University Press).

His Columbia University PhD thesis was titled "The Spinoza Image in Jewish Culture," a study of the shifting perception of Spinoza in the modern Jewish mind. Schwartz received two master's degrees from Columbia in addition to his doctorate, and received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University.

Fee: JGSGW members, free; others, $5. For more details on the morning workshop and afternoon lecture, see the JGSGW website.

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