Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Holocaust Memorial Center
Refreshments will be served

JGSMI is proud to present

The Green Dumpster Mystery (Ha’taalumah Ba’meholah Ha’yerukah)
Israel, 2008, 50 minutes
Hebrew with English subtitles
Directed by Tal Haim Yoffe

The Green Dumpster Mystery

Courtesy of The National Center for Jewish Film

Traveling on his scooter through Tel Aviv, filmmaker Tal Haim Yoffe finds a discarded box of old photographs in a green dumpster. This docu-detective film, slowly unwinds a family history, beginning in Lodz, Poland, and traveling through the Siberian Gulag, a Samarkand sugar plant, a Ha’apala ship and the battlefields of the Sinai Peninsula. Like Daniel Mendelsohn’s bestseller The Lost and David Ofek’s film No. 17 is Anonymous, this tightly-paced tour de force vividly evokes the now-extinguished lives of an anonymous—but typical—Israeli family.

Winner of the Yad Vashem Award, Jerusalem International Film Festival 2008 (Chairman’s Award for Artistic Achievement in a Holocaust-related film)

“I think there are thousands of families with not exactly the same story but families with Holocaust survivors as grandparents and great-grandparents, with IDF soldiers who got killed. It’s a typical family, and a tragic family. Everything that could have happened to them, happened to them.”
-Director Tal Haim Yoffe

A One Man Films Production
With assistance from The New Israeli Foundation for Film and Television
Produced, Directed & Written by Tal Haim Yoffe
Camera Ari Amit
Editor Anat Lachovitz
Music By Dani Reichental
Featuring Tal Haim Yoffe, Dani Walkowicz, Mati Ben-Ari, Sivan Ben-Ari, Neta Gold, Bracha Klichewski and Friedrich Mücke
Film provided by The National Center for Jewish Film

The National Center for Jewish Film


Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Holocaust Memorial Center
Refreshments will be served


tombstoneAlthough we would all appreciate the opportunity to personally interview our deceased ancestors, we have to learn to settle for what’s available. When our ancestors died, others created a host of records, which those of us in subsequent generations can use to further our research. This program is designed to assist in that process by suggesting where to find and how to use them. Learn to locate records of your deceased ancestors and follow the leads contained in those records.

About the Speaker: Ken Bravo

Ken BravoAt the end of 2012, Ken Bravo retired as a partner in the Cleveland based law firm of Ulmer & Berne LLP after a 45-year legal career, which included 12 years with the United States Department of Justice prosecuting major fraud and organized crime cases. After he left the government in 1979, Ken’s career in private practice focused on business litigation, securities arbitration and the defense of white-collar criminal matters.

Ken is Vice President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and is a Past President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland. He served as a co-chair of the 2014 IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City. He is a frequent lecturer on a variety of genealogy subjects. He has been searching his own roots since the mid-1970s and, in more recent years, has added the families of the spouses of his four children to his research.

In the community, Ken has served a President of the Bureau of Jewish Education; President of what was then the Great Lakes Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs; Vice President and Board Member of the Gross Schechter Day School; Vice President and Treasurer of The Park Synagogue; and Member of the Board of Governors of the Ohio State Bar Association. He currently serves on the Board of Menorah Park Center for Senior Living where he chairs the Government Relations Committee.

Ken and his wife Phyllis have been married 51 years and are the parents of four children and eight grandchildren.


Sunday, October 11 at 2:30 PM
Baldwin Public Library – Jeanne Lloyd Room
300 W. Merrill
Birmingham, MI 48009
Click for map
Free for all attendees

Flag of Germany

The session begins with a glimpse into the not-yet-available collection of Jon Stedman, a long-time, passionate German-Jewish genealogist whose copious research notes and files document the nature of how family history research in Germany and the US has changed over the last 50 years (his research began in 1958). From there Karen will demonstrate how new online resources, accessible genealogies, databases and DNA—together with aid from local historians and researchers in Germany—create unparalleled opportunities for researchers of German Jewish family history. Karen will provide contact information for local historians of former Jewish communities, museums and other resources throughout Germany.

Karen FranklinKaren S. Franklin, Director of Family Research for the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City, is a past Co-Chair of the Board of Governors of JewishGen. A past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums, she is currently a vice-chair of the Memorial Museums committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums). She serves on the Advisory Board of the European Shoah Legacy Institute and was awarded the 2012 ICOM-US Service Citation. The citation is the highest honor of ICOM-US. Ms. Franklin is a juror for the Obermayer German Jewish History Award.


Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Holocaust Memorial Center
Free for members; $5 for guests

This event is presented in memory of former board member Judge Shlomo Sperka (z”l), who passed away in Israel on July 28, 2015.

Have you been curious about your family history but have no idea how to begin? This presentation is geared for the beginner and intermediate researcher. You will be acquainted with the availability of various research documents. Organizing and keeping track of research as well as the reliability and accuracy of documents will be discussed.

Central topics include: City Directories, U.S. Census, U.S. Naturalization, Ship Manifests, WWI Draft Registrations, Social Security Death Index, Newspapers, Cemeteries, Funeral Records and Vital Records.

An overview of Internet genealogy sites, historical and authoritative treatises and joining genealogical societies as well as special interest groups [SIG] and birds of a feather [BOF] will conclude the program.

About the Speaker
Diane FreilichDiane M. Freilich, JD is a duly licensed attorney in the State of Michigan since 1972. In 1997 she became active in family research, finding family members throughout the United States, United Kingdom and all the way to Zimbabwe.

Diane has been a guest lecturer on several topics since 2005. She has lectured to local genealogical societies in Michigan and Arizona as well as International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies [IAJGS]. Additionally, Avotaynu has published two of her articles. Exploring Court House Records Fall 2005 and the other Extended Uses for U.S. City Directories [Summer 2015].

Diane sits on the Board of her local Genealogical Society in Michigan for the past 17 years.


Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 11:30 AM
Adat Shalom Synagogue – Youth Lounge (downstairs)
29901 Middlebelt Road in Farmington Hills
Election, Brunch and Lecture – $40 per person

“How Jews Invented and Reinvented Comic Books”
with Adat Shalom’s own Rabbi Aaron Bergman

Many people know that Jewish artists and writers created the vast majority of superheroes that are still popular today. Not too many know that the format of the comic book itself was created by Jewish entrepreneurs. In the 1980s, Jewish artists recreated the genre by introducing graphic novels and a higher level of artistic and intellectual content. We will look at the history of the comic book from its very humble beginnings to today.

Rabbi Aaron BergmanRABBI AARON BERGMAN is a Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and pursued additional graduate work in Jewish Folklore at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was part of the educators program at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Rabbi Bergman served as a rabbi at Congregation Beth Ahm and was Rabbi-in-Residence at Hillel Day School. He was the founding Director of Jewish Studies at the Frankel Jewish Academy and has been an instructor in the Melton Adult Education program.

Rabbi Bergman and his wife Ruth, a noted educator herself, are the proud parents of four wonderful daughters: Rina, Shira, Ariel and Rikki.

Proposed Slate

President: Adina Lipsitz
VP, Programming: Alexandra Goldberg
VP, Membership: Richard Jaeger
VP, Publicity: Position Open
Recording Secretary: Joshua Goldberg
Corresponding Secretary: Diane Freilich
Treasurer: Irwin S. Alpern

Would you like to join the board? We are also looking for an editor for Generations. Please contact John Kovacs at by June 21, 2015.

Wheelchair accessible entrance: Drive around to the back of the building and turn left at the playground; park where the covered entrance is. The Youth Lounge is down the hall on the left.

Glatt kosher catering provided by Quality Kosher Catering.


IAJGS 2015

35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
July 6-10, 2015 in Jerusalem

JGSMI’s very own Corresponding Secretary, Diane Freilich, will be speaking at the conference on “U.S. City Directories – Unique Uses.”

The International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is the annual conference hosted by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). The IAJGS is an umbrella organization comprised of more than 70 national and local Jewish genealogical societies, Historical Societies and Interest Groups located in 14 countries. The conference is the leading genealogy event of the year for people researching their Jewish family history. The conference provides the latest information and tips for hundreds of researchers exploring their Jewish roots and building their family trees with common goals: to learn, to research, and to share.Some 800 professional and amateur genealogists from 30 countries and different religions are expected to attend the 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem. Recent conferences have been held in Salt Lake City (2014) Boston (2013) Paris (2012), Washington DC (2011), and Los Angeles (2010). Approximately every 10 years this conference is held in Israel and attracts an unusually highly diverse worldwide audience. The 2004 Jerusalem Conference attracted close to 800 participants of whom 40% per cent were from North America, 40% from Israel, 15% from Europe and the remainder from South America, Australia and South Africa. Join our diverse global group of genealogy enthusiasts!


Jerusalem, Wall and Dome - mtarlockThe 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held at the Ramada Hotel Jerusalem July 6-10 2015. The Conference will include 200 breakout sessions, workshops, a keynote address, and meetings of dozens of special interest groups including UK, French, German, Austria, Sephardic, South African, Czech any many more. A resource center will enable attendees to use fee-based subscription computer databases at no cost.

The conference will feature programs in Hebrew, English, Russian and French on topics such as new trends in online research, methodologies for obtaining vital records from Israeli, American and European sources, using DNA testing and genetics research to find relatives, Holocaust research in all its aspects, and practical tips for starting and expanding family research. Pre-Conference events will include a Shabbaton (Friday/Saturday program July 3-4) and Exploration Sunday (July 5) which will flow into the Monday Conference Opening. Arrangements have been made with research institutions and archives throughout Israel to enable attendees to visit or reach out to these unique repositories to further their research.

800 attendees are expected because Israel has exceptional research resources that exist nowhere else in the world; many North Americans because of the large number of genealogical societies there; Europeans because this is the annual conference closest to them and Israelis because of the proximity and lower cost.


Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Berman Center for the Performing Arts
West Bloomfield JCC

JGSMI is proud to once again to be a co-sponsor at the 17th Annual Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival, taking place from May 10-21, 2015.

About the Film:
Esther Stegmann is a 30-year-old journalist who hates lies. She is about to become immersed in a mysterious labyrinth of betrayal, complicity and dark secrets. A stylish Parisian thriller, “The Art Dealer” is set in the murky world of Nazi-looted art. Directed by the renowned François Margolin (“The Flight of the Red Balloon”), it begins when a Jewish woman investigates stolen family paintings only to uncover a story that has been carefully buried for decades by those closest to her.

In French with English subtitles
95 minutes
$10 (same as Berman Center Box Office)

Please note: you must fill out your mailing address in the registration form so that we can mail you your ticket. The confirmation email from EventBrite will NOT be valid at the Berman Box Office.


Diane OslundSunday, March 29, 2015
Holocaust Memorial Center, 11:00 AM

Speaker: Diane Oslund

Sourcing your genealogy research is an essential part of your family history record keeping. This talk discusses what a source is as well as what information is needed to source your documents and family information. Is the item you found a ‘primary’ or a ’secondary’ source for that particular data? What is a primary source? How does it differ from a secondary source? And don’t forget, why do we source? Do we really need to?


Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 11:00 am
Holocaust Memorial Center
Free for members; $5 for guests

Thousands of name change petitions were submitted to the New York City Civil Court during the 1940s and 1950s. A disproportionate number of them were submitted by Jews. Debates over Jewish identity at this time tended to equate name changing with passing and escaping the Jewish community. Rabbi Milton Steinberg, for example, in 1945, called for stronger Jewish identity among Jewish youth, warning that some “Jews change their names, dissociate themselves from their fellows, calculatingly conceal their origin and try to ‘pass.’” Quietly challenging portraits of name changers as “passers,” however, were Jewish voices like sociologist Erving Goffman, who described name changing as a more complex act of “covering”: hiding the most obtrusive parts of a stigma so that they did not impede daily life. My paper will use name change petitions, published writings, and unpublished letters from name changers during the postwar era to suggest that “covering” indeed more accurately reflected the complicated practice of name changing for the majority of American Jews.

Kirsten Fermaglich, Ph.D.

Kirsten Fermaglich is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Michigan State University. Her book on American social scientists and Holocaust metaphors, American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares: Early Holocaust Consciousness and Liberal America, 1957-1965, was published in 2006. She is also co-editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (2013). She is currently researching the history of name changing in New York City in the twentieth century for a book tentatively entitled A Rosenberg by Any Other Name.


Sunday, December 14 at 11:00 am
Holocaust Memorial Center
Free for members; $5 for guests

Film provided by The National Center for Jewish Film,

The National Center for Jewish Film

USA, 2009, 73 minutes, Color, English & Hebrew with English subtitles
Directed by Bob Richman
Produced by Zeva Oelbaum

About the Film

“I am experiencing that feeling of zest which goes with exploration. I am in the thick of an historic moment. I am in an era in the making…” – First lines of Ruth Gruber’s initial dispatch from the Soviet Arctic, 1935

Born in Brooklyn in 1911, Ruth Gruber became the youngest Ph.D. in the world before going on to become an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist at age 24. She emerged as the eyes and conscience of the world. With her love of adventure, fearlessness and powerful intellect, Ruth defied tradition in an extraordinary career that spanned more than seven decades.

The first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, Ruth also traveled to Alaska as a member of the Roosevelt administration in 1942, escorted Holocaust refugees to America in 1944, covered the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and documented the Haganah ship Exodus in 1947. Her relationships with world leaders including Eleanor Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, and David Ben Gurion gave her unique access and insight into the modern history of the Jewish people.

Through her own words and images, the film follows Ruth Gruber’s incredible journey as a student, a reporter, an activist leader and a prolific author. The film captures the drama of her life as she lent her camera lens – and her heart – to refugees of war. Ruth continues to travel all over the world re-connecting with many of the people who shared historic moments with her in Europe, in Israel, in the Arctic Tundra, in DP camps and refugee centers overseas and in the United States.

NCJF Ruth Gruber and her Leica camera. Courtesy of The National Center for Jewish Film

Courtesy of The National Center for Jewish Film