09 October 2009

Israel: 'Preserving memory' seminar, Dec. 1

Registration is now open for the Fifth National Seminar, this year under the joint auspices of the Israel Genealogical Society (IGS) and the Jewish Family Research Association (JFRA). The theme is "Preserving Memory: Family and Community."

The full-day event, from 8.30am registration to the 6pm conclusion, takes place Tuesday, December 1, at Bet Hatefutsoth, on the Tel Aviv University campus.

Readers who have not been to the museum recently will appreciate the beautiful renovation and new wing, permitting all lectures to be on the main level, along with an Aroma Coffee Bar branch (with wi-fi).

Searching for family roots and origins often leads to the discovery of ancestry in an historical perspective, thus revealing multilevel and layered cultural traditions of the community.
This year's event will focus on methods of preserving the memory of vanished communities in Poland, Galicia, Bukovina, Iraq, Yemen, the FSU, and other locations, even as the cultural and spiritual values of these communities remain alive.

Included topics:
- Writing and publishing Yizkor and Memorial Books.
- Preservation and restoration of historic cemeteries.
- Virtual digital reconstruction of town and communities.
- Preservation of customs, artifacts, crafts and cuisine.
- DNA and genetic research (Kohanim, Leviim, rabbinical lines)
Two simultaneous tracks (English and Hebrew) will follow the (1) opening comments and awards, (2) an introduction to the museum's databases by database department director Haim Ghiuzeli, and (3) Dr. Lea Haber Gedalia's presentation, "Reconstruction of Collective Memory: To tell about our Czernowitz (Bukowina).

The English track features:

- Prof. Daniel Wagner - Genealogical Database Merging: A tool for the reconstitution of vanished Jewish communities.

- Dr. Ida Selvan-Schwarcz - Yizker Bikher (Yizkor Books) as preservers of family and community history.

- Dr. Isaac Solomon - The Bene Israel Community of India.

- Rose Feldman - Building a virtual site for a place that no longer exists.

- Tova Waks - The Rejowiec Congregation in Israel: Memory of the home town.

- Dr. Racheli Kriesberg - Genealogical mapping of the Wiesenthal family: Skala (Galicia, 19th century. (Kriesberg is the granddaughter of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

The Hebrew track features:

- Dr. Victor Hayoun - The genealogical reconstruction of the Nabeul, Tunisia Jewish community.

- Orly Shtettiner - Siedlce (Poland) - An extinct community becomes a target for yearning.

- Hanna Kochavi - The silver spoon: Commemorating family through objects.

- Rachel Silko - The story of the Sasson families in Iraq and Israel.

- Dr. Ruth Marcus - Once upon a time, there was a shtetl called Lunna.

- Sara Weiss-Slep - Duesetos (Dosiat, Lithuania) Jewish community will be forever remembered.

Also simultaneous with the English and Hebrew tracks will be workshops, not yet publicly detailed, although Tracing the Tribe knows that Daniel Horowitz (of MyHeritage.com) will be participating.

The seminar ends with a joint Hebrew presentation by Avraham Sfadia,"From Aram Tsoba to Diaspora: Assimilation of Tradition, Identity and Heritage," and seminar concluding remarks.

Click here for the speakers' bios and abstracts. The Hebrew track bios and abstracts are not available in English, but readers may use Google Translate for a reasonable, if rough, translation into English or other languages.

The English registration form is here. Until November 15, registration is NIS 60 for members of IGS and JFRA, NIS 100 for others. Prices go up November 16 to NIS 80 and NIS 120.

Tracing the Tribe encourages readers in Israel, or those who plan to be visiting at that time, to register for the seminar. Seating capacity is limited for some events, so quick registration is suggested.

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