Monday, October 03, 2005

Rosh Hashanah


Beginning at sunset tonight, October 3rd until sunset October 5th 2005, our Jewish friends will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s the beginning of the Jewish Year 5766.

"Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game. There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions." Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. More on this concept at Days of Awe." (1)

For those just starting out tracing their Jewish Roots, you'll undoubtedly hear about the following three websites. When anyone asks ol' Myrt how to begin, I refer them to:

They been around since 1997, to assist researchers in honoring their ancestors. Their contribution has grown by leaps and bounds. Check out, which chronicles the growth through 2003. This website has a lot of "how-to" type info, in addition to several databases, and the searchable Family Tree of the Jewish People. You'll find a message board, the Jewish Records Indexing for Poland, the IAJGS Cemetery Project, and a link to an improved search capability for Ellis Island. Projects include ShtetLinks, Yizkor Book Project, Holocaust Global Registry, Online world-wide burial registry. JewishGen has joined with Yad Vashem to record the missing names of Jews who died in the Holocaust.

Publisher of works on Jewish Genealogy
You'll want to subscribe to the print magazine of the same name, in addition to the free email "Nu? What's New?" The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy, edited by Gary Mokotoff. Of particular note is the postcard collection located at: "Turn-of-the-century postcards and photographs of Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, other countries of Europe and the United States available as computer scanned images (JPG). Some are scenes of Jewish life; others are views of towns and townspeople. The original postcards often cost hundreds of dollars. By scanning the originals, we can offer you images for only $2.50 apiece. You can then print the images on a color printer or include them on a Web page. The images were originally from the postcard collection of Tomasz Wisniewski of Bialystok who used the income to further his numerous non-profit projects on the history of Polish Jewry. Since then, Wisniewski has dropped out of this venture and it is provided solely by Avotaynu."

You'll also need to have copies of these award-winning publications to assist with your research:
-- Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy edited by Sallyann Amdur Sack and Gary Mokotoff
-- Where Once We Walked: Revised Edition by Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack with Alexander Sharon

You'll probably find "A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia by Alexander Beider" at a regional library in the genealogy department. Avotaynu described the as a book that "provides information about some 35,000 different surnames used by Jews in Galicia. For each name, the author describes the districts within Galicia where the surname appeared, the origin of the meaning of the name (etymology), and the variants found."

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies
This association holds an annual conference with representatives from over 75 national and local societies. They are planning ahead 2 years with conferences scheduled as follows:
-- 13-18 August 2006 New York City, NY
-- 15-20 July 2007 Salt Lake City, UT

For Further Reading
(1) Judaism 101

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

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