07 August 2009

Philly 2009: 'Inquirer' covers opening night

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on this year's conference in this story of a few days ago.

It covered keynote speaker Father Patrick Desbois and his Ukraine project, tours, workshops and more.

The conference, which continues through Friday at the Sheraton Philadelphia Center City Hotel, will not dwell on the Holocaust.

With walking tours and workshops bearing titles such as "Mapping Madness" and "The Role of Philadelphia Jews in the Rise of Basketball," its overall tone is buoyant and industrious.

Yet, program chairman Mark Halpern pointed out, the "imperative" that compels Jewish interest in genealogy is serious.

"Jewish families have been fractured for a long time," said Halpern, an amateur genealogist. Decades before the Nazi extermination of six million, hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Eastern Europe to escape persecution.

For many of their children and grandchildren, he said, genealogy is "a way to reclaim the lives and history" of those who fled or were executed.

As of Thursday morning, the count was about 950 attendees, and the conference featured some 125 presenters.

The 12-page list of workshops and activities includes "Finding Places in the Russian Empire," "Learning the Cyrillic Alphabet," "The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe," "Common Genetic Traits and Diseases" of Jews, and "Finding Your Jewish Ancestors on Ancestry.com."
One of several field trips - some 100 signed up for the tours - visited the South Jersey chicken farms where many Jewish immigrants started their lives in America.

Although many programs focused on Eastern European Jewish identity, there were also several Sephardic topics and many technological sessions.

Read the complete story at the link above for more on Father Debois.

No comments:

Post a Comment