Thursday, January 28, 2010

Congregation Shearith Israel, a.k.a. the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, of New York, cir 1897

Congregation Shearith Israel, also known as the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue is located in New York City, and has used five buildings during its long history as places of worship. The congregation's first synagogue was readied for worship in 1730 on Mill Street (though the first Spanish and Portuguese Jews arrived in New York in 1654).

The fifth building used as a synagogue by the congregation was located on West 70th Street, beginning in 1897.

I have just put an article from the New York Daily Tribune (dated May 23, 1897) on my Museum website that discusses not only the dedication of the building, on West 70th Street, but also describes events there (Services) as well as such notables as Rev. Dr. Sabato Morais (Philadelphia), Rev. Nieto and Rev. Mendola De Sola (of Montreal). An interesting read.

The article can be found at

I hope to put on more interesting articles to researchers with Sephardic roots. A listing of the Museum's more than one hundred articles can be found at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lodz Ghettto Cemetery Burial List

In advance of the Museum's large online exhibition later this year about many of the Jewish Ghettos of Europe, I thought it would be good to make available to you two lists comprised of nearly fourteen hundred names of Jewish residents who perished in the Lódz Ghetto and were buried in the cemetery there. You needn't look up a specific person's name in a database; they are all there for you to see on a single web page.

These lists are by no means complete, as there were no doubt many more of our ancestors who died in the Ghetto and were buried there. However, these lists might just help some of you who had family in the Ghetto during World War II with your Lódz family research. The lists give the names of the deceased, and often the father's name, the date of death and age at death.

The lists come to you courtesy of the Lódz Jewish community through the agency of Yad LeZehava (YZI) in Kedumim Israel and with the dedicated cooperation of the officers and men in the IDF 'Witnesses in Uniform' Program.

The lists can be found at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Brooklyn's 16th Ward Ghetto in 1899

Another article, this one from an 1899 edition of the Brooklyn Daily-Eagle, in which a reporter is taken on a tour of the then Sixteenth Ward--the Brunswick/East Williamsburg area of Brooklyn--and reports on the deplorable conditions he found there. The article starts in part:

There are many sweatshops in the Sixteenth Ward Ghetto which, from time to time, have been inspected by the Health authorities of this borough.... Great numbers of garments, cheap and costly, such as are worn by men, women and children, are made in these shops, and these goods are sold in every borough of Greater New York. For this reason, my reader, if for no other, you have a personal interest in this Ghetto, as you will see even by even brief reflection. For the germs of deadly disease maybe conveyed long distances in clothing. The makers of these skirts, cloaks, shirts, trousers, overcoats and children's clothing are, for a great part, Polish and Russian Jews, who toil in such unsanitary shops....and [they] live in miserable little rooms of poorly constructed old wooden tenements. Hundreds of these toilers cannot speak English, are unfamiliar with our laws and customs, have come from lands in which oppression and dire poverty drove them into wretched habitations from which pure air, sunshine and the water necessarily to cleanliness were shut out....

You can read the full article at
You can chooose from more than one hundred other articles published around the turn of the twentieth century at

Friday, January 22, 2010

Museum's Cemetery Project: New Unique Surnames Lists Ready for Viewing

The gravestones in the following society plots have been photographed and the names of the deceased recorded. The plots are listed by the name of the town that is associated with each plot.

You can find the links to these lists at If you find a surname of interest and would like the photo sent to you, please email the Museum at and indicate the surname and the town associated with the listing. Here are the towns:

Budanov, Ukraine
Lokachi, Ukraine
Bitola/Monastir, Yugoslavia/Macedonia
Pukhovichi, Belarus
Khoshchevatoye, Ukraine
Stavishche, Ukraine
Divin, Belarus
Pomoryany, Ukraine
Shargorod, Ukraine
Novogrudok, Belarus
Raygorodok, Ukraine
Shumskoye, Ukraine
Voynilov, Ukraine

There are other society plots for each town located within other cemeteries within the New York metro area, but these burials are from Beth Moses Cemetery only in Pinelawn, New York. There are no plans to photograph the other plots for the towns noted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Jewish Children of Mukacheve, Hungary Sing "Hatikvah"

I have added a third short film (fifty-three seconds) to the current MOFH Film Series showings.
You can now see and hear a couple of hundred Jewish children sing "Hatikvah" in pre-World (1933) War II Mukacheve (Munkacs), Hungary. The link is The clip is in an mp4 format and is best seen and heard using Internet Explorer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MOFH New Film Series

As most of the Museum's fans already know, there is a great number of both audio and video clips on display within the Museum. One may, for instance, watch any of more than two dozen video clips--previews created from documetaries with a Jewish theme. The link is

There are also many, many sound clips that are also available for "your listening pleasure." You may access the lists of all the audio and video content found within the Museum by visiting

The Museum of Family History, always wishing to add more interesting features and content, would like to announce the creation of its new "MFOH Film Series," which will present short films or clips shown nowhere else on the Museum's website. What is different about this Series--as opposed to other content on its site--is that these films will only be available for a short period of time, i.e. usually from one day to one week, and then it will no longer be available at the Museum for viewing.

The dates of each film showing will be stated on the Museum's Film Series page.
From Sunday, January 24 to Saturday, February 6th, you can see two short films (those who visit the Museum blog may have an earlier viewing of these two films beginning today).

The first two filma available for viewing are (the duration of the clip is indicated within the parentheses):

"It's Your Story" - National Museum of American Jewish History (11:45).
The Museum, located in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (address: Independence Mall East, 55 North 5th Street), is scheduled to open sometime during the Fall of 2010. Here you may view a nice introductory short film produced by the Museum. The Museum's website can be found at

The Al Jolson Film Festival - "Hollywood's Famous Feet" (8:40).
With Al Jolson doing the narration, this short presents the story behind the famous footprints and signatures outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, and many of the top names in Hollywood are on hand to view the proceedings, including John Wayne, Ralph Staub, Donna Reed, Gene Autry, Edgar Bergen, Sid Grauman, Ken Murray and John Stahl... -- per IMDb. Festival film clips come courtesy of the International Al Jolson Society (IAJS).
Website: This clip is presented to you in an mp4 format, so hopefully you will be able to watch it. Please be patient and wait for it to load--it make take one minute or longer, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. More Jolson Festival clips will follow after February 6.

You can access both short films by using the links provided at Future films will be included on this webpage in the near future.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Museum of Family History, a New Member of the Association of Holocaust Organizations

The Museum of Family History is pleased to announce that it has been accepted as a member of the AHO, i.e. the Association of Holocaust Organizations. The AHO has, as its members, over two hundred and eighty organizations, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

According to the AHO, The Association of Holocaust Organizations was established in 1985 to serve as an international network of organizations and individuals for the advancement of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

The AHO website can be found at

Call for Material: "The Jewish Ghetto" and "Never Forget: Visions of the Nazi Camps"

Many new online exhibitions are being planned for 2010 at the virtual Museum of Family History. Two such exhibitions are entitled "The Jewish Ghetto" and "Never Forget: Visions of the Nazi Camps."

"The Jewish Ghetto" will feature information about and photographs of many of the ghettos that once existed. There will also be first-hand testimony given by some of those who were forced to live in these ghettos during the Second World War, not only in written form, but also as short audio-visual clips.

The Museum depends on people like you for material to build its exhibitions. So, with that in mind, the Museum would like to send out a "call for material" to all of you for any material you possess that you think might fit in well with this exhibition. It is preferred that you not send any original material and that you send what you have as jpegs or Word documents by email.

Have you photographs of any of the ghettos? Written testimony from someone who lived in a ghetto (or perhaps you yourself lived in one)? Have you either audio or video testimony, where you recount your experiences in the ghetto? Are you the translator of a Yizkor book that contains testimony of those who lived in a ghetto?

If you have any questions, please contact me (Steve) at .


Another exhibition in the works is an augmentation of an ongoing exhibition of the same name that currently contains photographs taken within the last ten or so years of the former concentration camps of Europe, which today mostly serve as memorials and museums. The new exhibition "Never Forget: Visions of the Nazi Camps" will be similar to the "Ghetto" exhibition in that it will tell about many of the concentration, labor and transit camps in both first- and third-person.

The Museum is looking for testimony for this exhibition as well as that of the "Ghetto" exhibition. The Museum also needs current-day photographs (ie. within the last two decades) of many of the former concentration, labor, and transit camps. The Museum has a limited collection, but is in need of more, i.e. photographs of former camps not included within its current collection. If you have any such photographs, please contact me at first before you send them, in order to make sure that they are needed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Museum of Family History Update for January 2010

A Happy New Year to all. This year promises many new and interesting exhibitions at the virtual Museum of Family History, so keep reading the Museum blog to learn of all that's new and exciting.

Here is a summary of what new material and exhibitions were added to the Museum of Family History over the past month or so. This summary does not include all that was added; for that you will need to read the previous Museum's blog entries. Here, though, is a summary, of what's new:

1. "The Jews of Asia." The Museum's first offering to you is an exhibition entitled "Synagogues and Memorials." Currently you can see photographs of synagoggues taken in the 1990s and 2000s in the following locations: Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Bombay (Mumbai) and Cochin (Kochi) in India; Rangoon (Yangon) in Burma (Myanmar), Singapore, Tajikistan, Lebanon and
Istanbul, Turkey (i.e. the Asian side of the Bosphorus).

The Museum is looking for material for an uncoming exhibition about the Jews of Asia, so if any of you possess or can obtain material that can be used in this exhibition, please contact me at . Such material can include one's biography that includes an account of one's time spent in Asia at any time up until 1960. Photos, audio-video are always welcome.

2. All sections of the 1905/1907 book "The Immigrant Jew in America" is now available to you at the Museum. You can now read about the Russian Jew of Chicago, as well as the Russian Jews of New York and Philadelphia. The exhibition's table of contents can be found at

3. Anti-Semitism in Europe - Letters from Leipzig: Within the six years preceding the start of World War II, a non-Jewish German woman named Ilse Gerngrofs wrote four letters to a Jewish friend in New Zealand (not knowing she was Jewish). The Museum presents these to you now so that they may serve as an example of the anti-Semitic sentiments that existed in Germany before and after Hitler came into power. These letters are very offensive, but
worth reading. The link is

4. Synagogues of Europe: Greece: Athens, Corfu, Rhodes and Thesssalonika; Spain: Madrin and Toledo; Ukraine: Husiatyn and Zastavna.

5. Newspaper Archives: There are now over one-hundred articles available for
your perusal. Please visit the archives at to see what might be of interest to you. There are now over two dozen articles published between the 1880s and 1906 about the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Reading these
articles is a great way to get a feel for Jewish life there more than one hundred years ago. There are even two short film clips for you to see, made in 1903, showing scenes of the Lower East Side.

6. For those of you who don't already know, The Museum has placed online an important report and a table of pogroms that occurred between 1903 and 1906. First, you will be able to read over the introduction and commentary to all of this as published by the American Jewish Committee in their American Jewish Year Book, Volume 8 (1906-1907). Secondly, you will be able to peruse a table of more than two hundred and fifty towns and cities in Europe where
pogroms occurred. Within this table is a listing of the damage caused in these locations (when available), as well as some general remarks made about each pogrom. You will also find for each pogrom event listed, the date of occurrence, the name of the town or city, the gubernia, the overall population of the location and the Jewish population, though numbers are not given for every town or city. There is also a supplemental table of pogroms in other locations in November 1905 not included in this larger table. There are also articles about the pogroms in Gomel, Belarus and Bialystok, Poland.