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30 September 2016

Rosh Hashanah 2016 (5777) - Happy New Year


As Rosh Hashanah approaches I find myself reflecting on all that has blessed my life this year. I find myself thinking of all my friends and family and thank you for being the people you are. 
I wish you and your families a New Year full of happiness, good health and peace.

L'shana tovah tikatev ve'techatem l'alter l'chayim tovim - may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year, for a good life immediately.


13 September 2016

Home of Peace Cemetery, Los Angeles, California

    
 Over the last few days I had the opportunity to visit California to meet with some members of the wonderful Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles. It was a great chance to renew old friendships as well as make new ones. It is at gatherings such as this, that I am reminded of why I enjoy Family History.

Our meeting was held at the Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library of Los 
Angeles, located at the American Jewish University. The library was very comfortable and inviting, which caused many of those gathered to come together in groups to talk about family. This is almost always my favorite part, learning that even though our families may come from different places at different times, their life experiences when handed down to us, make us more alike than than we would have expected. Before and after the meeting I was able to enjoy one of my other favorite family history events, visiting some local Jewish cemeteries. On this occasion the majority of my time was spent at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Los Angeles.
 The Home of Peace Cemetery was founded in 1901 when a local Jewish man, Kaspare Cohn,  donated 30 acres of land for the cemetery. Other cemeteries are nearby but I found myself drawn to this place. The reason I like to visit cemeteries is most likely the same as everyone else, to feel the incredible amount of history contained in the lives of those buried within.  The Home of Peace, while not as big as some cemeteries, has more than its share of history.
It is true that we may never know all that these people experienced in their lives, because all we sometimes have is a name, date of birth and date of death. With that little to start with, it may only be the family that can fill in the blanks. However, there are some stones that give us a little look into the lives of those buried here. It is a few of those types of stones that show a little bit of the history here.

The first stone, that of Max Davidsohn, in just a few short lines, lets you know something about the life this man led. It states,

"Beloved and Devoted Husband, Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather, Saved Thousands of Jews From Death Camps. We Shall All Miss Him."

It may be impossible to truly know how many people today have him to thank for their lives, but words only can not possibly be enough to honor him, we should never forget him.
The second stone, also shows someone who affected many lives but in a totally different way. During a time when many needed a way to take their minds off their troubles, whatever it may be, including the concern for their families in Europe during the war, they looked to comedy and movies. 
One of the groups that filled this need were three Jewish brothers from Brooklyn, the Three Stooges. Born to parents Solomon Horwitz and his wife Jenny Goldsmith, both of Lithuanian ancestry, the Three Stooges became one of the most famous acts of the time. Eventually, Jerome (Curly) and his brother Samuel (Shemp) would change their last name to Howard and make their homes in California. Upon their deaths, both would have the Home of Peace become their final resting place. 
Their lives were much different, yet they all touched many lives. One helped people flee, and the others helped people cope. In life, they may never have known one another, yet in death they all contribute to the history and the story that remains at the Home of Peace Cemetery.
May they all be remembered.

06 September 2016

Denmark Census, 1911

One of the newest databases at FamilySearch, the 1911 Census of Denmark, shows how we all benefit when websites and archives work together. This census, which was the 13th census conducted since 1787, is now available because of the work of many. The original images of the census were provided by the National Archives of Denmark, the name index was provided by MyHeritage and they are now available for free at FamilySearch. The records are in wonderful condition and very easy to use.

The collection consists of 447,000 images which have been indexed by name, gender, marital status, relationship to head of household and birth date. In addition information such as religion and place of birth can be found on the original images from the census.
The image below, is a great example of this census. It shows Jacob Cohen, who was born on 10 Oct 1865 and his wife Olga, who was born on 10 Oct 1883. The final member of the household is son Elieser who 3 years old, having been born on 7 July 1908 in the city of Copenhagen. All 3 members of the family are listed as being Mosaiske in the column showing religion.


This collection is not only wonderful for those whose ancestry leads to Denmark, but it also gives all of us a great deal of hope that the future of genealogy will include many more examples of people working together for the good of all. A big thanks to all who came together for this collection.

01 September 2016

European Days of Jewish Culture, 4 September 2016


This Sunday, September 4, is the European Day of Jewish Culture (EDJC). Over 2 dozen countries will be celebrating. In 2016 the theme of European Days of Jewish Culture will be Jewish Languages.
A great amount of information pertaining to Jewish languages as well as some wonderful information Jewish Culture and Heritage is available at the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ) website.


What a great opportunity this provides for Jews all over the world to learn a little more about our heritage. A great thanks to the European Association for the preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage for making this possible.