Upcoming Events

Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 1:30 PM

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: Rhoda Miller

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.


Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 1:30 pm
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel (tentative location)

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.


Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 1:30 pm

1:00PM-1:30PM Research help
Main Line Reform Temple
410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood, PA 19096

Speaker: Mark Halpern

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 (JGSGP) helping others research their roots in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Mark is a Board and Executive Group member of JRI-Poland, the founder of the Bialystok Area Jewish Genealogy Group, and past President and Program Vice President of JGSGP. Mark has chaired the program committees for the 2009 and 2013 Conferences in Philadelphia and Boston.

Topic: The Trip of a Lifetime: Refugees Find Safe Haven via Japan

Most Jewish Genealogists know the story of Sempo Sugihara, known as the Japanese Schindler. Sugihara issued over 2,000 Japanese transit visas that enabled over 6,000 Jews to escape war torn Europe in the summer of 1940. There is so much more to the story. There were many people – Europeans, Americans, Japanese – who helped to save these people. We will identify some of them and talk about their exploits. We will trace one Polish Jewish woman’s journey from Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland to Santa Monica, California using her Sugihara transit visa to ultimately obtain US citizenship. Her journey started in Poland and included stops in Lithuania; Moscow and Vladivostok, Russia; Tsuruga and Kobe Japan; Shanghai, China; Windsor, Canada; and Chicago and Los Angeles over 15 years mostly as a Stateless person. We will document her journey using genealogical methods and records.


Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm

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: Ron Arons

Ron worked for many years as a marketer at many high-tech companies, before deciding to work full time on his first book, The Jews of Sing Sing. Ron became interested in understanding his roots after he lost both his parents to cancer 16-18 years ago. In the process of researching his criminal ancestor’s past, Ron has traced his roots to England, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. In 2005 Ron won a Hackman Research Residency Award from the New York State Archives to continue his research of New York Jewish criminals. In January 2008, Ron appeared on the PBS television series, The Jewish Americans, as the acknowledged expert on Jewish criminals of New York’s Lower East Side. Arons tours the country giving educational and entertaining presentations on Jewish criminals and Jewish genealogy.

Topic: Sex, Lies, and Genealogical Tape

Through two related examples I show how one can piece together an ancestor’s life by collecting as much documentation about him/her as possible as well as looking at the environments where they lived. I will introduce a few tools to help this procedure/process, including the Life Chronology (TM), the Life Hub & Spoke, and mind maps. The process allows a genealogist the possibility to go far beyond names, dates, and places (the answers to the questions: Who?, When? and Where? It allows us to explore the far more interesting questions: Why? and How? Why did our ancestors act the way that they did? How did their behavior have a direct impact our lives? (How can we explain events and other things in our lives by their behavior?) I will demonstrate that the unintended benefit of this methodology: it surprisingly let me break through some brick walls, allowing me to push my heritage back four more generations and find a plethora of living relatives I never knew beforehand.



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