04 February 2011

Southern California: Leaving the Pale of Settlement, February 13

Some 80% of our ancestors lived in Poland and the western Russia Pale of Settlement in 1880.

Why they left such a "nice place" is the topic of the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV), on Sunday, February 13.

The program runs from 1.30-3.30pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. There is no charge to attend.

Speaker Hal Bookbinder will present "Why Did Our Ancestors Leave a Nice Place Like the Pale?"

Most Jewish genealogists are aware of the pogroms and mass exodus of our ancestors over the next generation. Hal's talk will provide background on the 120 years of the Pale from its formation at the turn of the 19th century to its dissolution during WWI.

Understanding this period in history provides context to the lives of our ancestors in the Pale, and their decision to leave everything behind for new lives elsewhere. The Pale of Settlement, in the Russian Empire, included much of  present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine and parts of western Russia.

The Pale afforded permanent residency to Jews, and beyond its borders, Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited.

Hal Bookbinder has been researching eight family lines for more than 27 years, identifying 4,000 relatives and tracing two lines into the mid-1700s. A JGSCV founding member and former JGSLA and IAJGS president, he created and continues to edit the annual Jewish Genealogical Yearbook.

In 2010, he received the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to Jewish Genealogy, and was recently elected to the JewishGen Board of Governors. He has spoken at numerous conferences, synagogues and society meetings on topics from computing to geography to brick walls.

For more information, contact the JGSCV or view its website.

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