Schedule of 2018 Events

There are 10 monthly meetings: January-June; September-December 2018.

Please note: Meeting times, dates, locations and speakers are subject to change.

Information is regularly updated.  



Sunday, May 27, 2018 

1:00 PM-1:30 PM Research Help

Lecture: 1:30 PM

Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027
(Corner of Old York Road and Township Line Road)

Speaker: Ron Arons, Author and Speaker

Over the past 20 years, Ron has given 450+ presentations re methodology and technology. He has authored three books, including The Jews of Sing Sing, WANTED! U.S. Criminal Records, and Mind Maps for Genealogy. In 2006 he appeared on the PBS TV series The Jewish Americans, talking about Jewish criminals on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. That same year he won a research grant from the New York State Archives to continue he research on the topic of Jewish criminals in New York City. Ron earned a B.S. in Engineering from Princeton and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Topic: Sex, Lies, and Genealogical Tape

Most genealogists focus their efforts on collecting names, dates, and places to grow and expand their family tree as much as possible. This is quite natural. However, a much different experience can be had by focusing one’s efforts on one ancestor at a time. By doing so, one can go beyond the questions: Who?, When?, and Where?. One can explore the far more interesting and powerful questions, WHY? and HOW? Why did our ancestors act the way that they did? How did their behavior have an impact on us? Individual-focused genealogy provides additional insights not into ancestors’ lives but our own lives as well.

The truly unexpected benefit of this approach is that it broke down brick walls, allowing the speaker to push back his family tree another four generations. (Truly remarkable.) It also exposed the speaker to all sorts of records he might not have explored otherwise.

June (date and time to be determined)
Venue: TBA

September (date and time to be determined)
Venue: TBA

Speaker: Felicia Mode Alexander

Felicia is a recently retired teacher who was trained as a Holocaust educator and ran programs with students in Holocaust education.

Topic: Researching Holocaust Survivor Histories

Felicia will talk about research she has conducted for others on their own Holocaust survivor parents’ histories that were never revealed while the parents were alive.

October: TBA

Sunday, November 18, 2018 

1:00 PM-1:30 PM Research Help

Lecture: 1:30 PM
Venue: TBA

Speaker: W. Todd Knowles, Accredited Genealogist (AG)

Todd is a member of the International Patron Services team at the Family History Library in Salt lake City, Utah. After being introduced to family history at the age of 12, he soon discovered his Jewish roots. The journey to find these Polish Jews has led to the creation of the Knowles Collection (, 6 databases that as of May 1, 2016, contain the genealogical records of over 1.4 million people. Todd has spoken throughout the world and his articles have been widely published.

Topic: Making the Most of FamilySearch for Jewish Research

This presentation will focus on the FamilySearch website ( ) which holds the records of over 6 billion people worldwide, making it the largest collection of free family trees, genealogy records and resources in the world. In this lecture Todd will guide us through the FamilySearch website which an emphasis on finding our Jewish families. We will also learn how to use the Knowles Collection, 6 databases that contain the records of over 1.4 million Jewish people.

December: TBA


Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 1:30 PM
Main Line Reform Temple
Speaker: Hadassah Lipsius

Hadassah Lipsius is a long time board member of the JRI-Poland board as well as Archive Coordinator for the Warsaw and Tomaszow Mazowiecki Archives. She is the database manager for JewishGen’s Warsaw Research Group and has helped index Warszawa newspaper life cycle announcements. She serves on the executive council of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc (New York). Hadassah has travelled many times to Poland to pursue her family research.
Topic: Warsaw 2018: Research Opportunities and the Conference
Warsaw is and has been the capital of Poland and had the largest population of Jews in all of Europe before WWII. Hadassah Lipsius will talk about the varied and unique sources for researchers whether they are researching Warsaw or any part of pre-War or post-War Poland. Sources include; vital record research, newspaper announcements, business directories, homeowners lists, cemetery records, notarial records as well as business records and much more. This lecture will review the sources, show examples and provide aides and tips in how to perform your search.
As you all know, the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Warsaw, Poland between August 5-10, 2018. This is the first time that the conference will be held in Eastern Europe and in order to assist researchers in preparation for the conference, Hadassah Lipsius and Mark Halpern will provide some information about the Conference, the program, and travel options and answer participants’ questions.

Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM (please note earlier time)
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel

Speaker: Rhoda Miller, Certified Genealogist

Rhoda Miller, Ed.D., CG® has been a Certified Genealogist since 1998 specializing in Jewish research and Holocaust studies. Rhoda is a Past President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island (JGSLI) and continues her leadership as a board member. With JGSLI, she led the project to produce the Arcadia Images of America book Jewish Community of Long Island. Under Litvak SIG, Rhoda volunteers as Co-coordinator of the Svencionys District Research Group, administers a Svencionys DNA group, and is webmaster of the JewishGen Kahilalinks Orlya, Belarus website.
Topic: Evidence Analysis: Which is the Right Record?
Utilizing the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), this presentation will demonstrate methods of looking at your research to find gaps as well as evaluate findings, especially those with conflicting evidence. Holocaust records will be utilized to support the GPS.

Handout Evidence Analysis

Sunday, March 25, 2018
Lecture: 1:30PM
1:00PM-1:30PM Research Help
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027
(Corner of Old York Road and Township Line Road)
Speaker: Anat Feinberg, Professor Hebrew and Jewish Literature

Anat Feinberg, born in Tel Aviv, is Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Literature in Heidelberg, Germany. She has published books and articles on Israeli literature, on Jews in German theatre, and was in charge of Modern Hebrew Literature in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica.
Topic: The Jeckes in Israel
The Israelis call them “Jeckes” and refer to those Jews who came to pre-state Israel from Germany after 1933. In my talk, I shall relate the story of their emigration story and shed light on their contribution to social and cultural life. While at first Israelis tended to be critical about the Jeckes, over the past decade their image underwent a radical change. The talk will close with a short examination of the way the Jeckes have been portrayed in Israeli literature.

Sunday, April 22, 2018
1:00 PM-1:30 PM Research Help
Lecture: 1:30 PM
Main Line Reform Temple
410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood, PA 19096
Speakers: Monique Rubens Krohn and Mark Halpern
Monique Rubens Krohn is the daughter of a family rescued by the Portuguese diplomat, Aristides de Sousa Mendes. She is an accomplished writer and historian whose career has spanned many sectors and fields. Currently, she writes book and film reviews for an online media network and is the Secretary of the Sousa Mendes Foundation, based in New York City.
Mark Halpern was an international businessman who spent three years in Japan. In retirement, Mark spends his free time working with JRI–Poland, JewishGen, IAJGS, and the JGS of Greater Philadelphia helping others research their roots in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Recently he researched the stories of a number of refugees saved by Sempo Sugihara.
Topic: Two Righteous Gentiles: Sousa Mendes and Sugihara
Most Jewish Genealogists know the story of Sempo Sugihara, known as the Japanese Schindler. Sugihara, Japanese consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, issued over 2,000 Japanese transit visas that enabled over 6,000 Jews to escape war torn Europe in the summer of 1940. Less well known is Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul stationed in Bordeaux, France. Sousa Mendes defied his government and issued some 30,000 visas, including about 10,000 to Jews.
Both men were awarded Righteous Among the Nations by the Government of Israel. Their stories – similarities and differences – will be discussed.


Last Updated April 2018 Copyright © 2017 Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia