Driving Directions

Current Programs

Non-members/Visitors are welcome to attend programs for a $5.00 fee. If a guest joins the Society the fee will be applied toward the membership dues. Programs generally start at 1:30 PM - see exact time for each meeting, below. Doors open a half-hour earlier. Meetings start with JGSGW business, introductions of new members, and then the guest speaker.

Workshops are open to JGSGW members only. Non-members may join on the day of the workshop unless advance registration is required.

  The Meeting Calendar for the first half of 2014 is:  

** Sunday, May 4, 2014 - Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington
** Sunday, May 18, 2014 - B'nai Israel, Rockville, MD
** Thursday, May 22, 2014: Library of Congress
Sunday, June 8, 2014 - Potomac Community Center, Potomac, MD

** Part of the Jewish American Heritage Month events. Click here to see the complete list on the Whats_Hot page.

 Inclement weather policy: if the synagogue
 (or other venue) is closed, our meeting will not be held.


May Sunday, May 4, 2014        *** Joint Program with JCC-GW ***
Reception and Book Talk / Signing with David Laskin
3:00 PM - Reception  *** JGSGW Members Only ***
4:00 PM - Book Talk and Signing (open to public)  *** see flyer here ***

The JCC of Greater Washington and the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington present a Book Talk and Signing with David Laskin, author of The Family.

Free of charge.

For advanced book sales, email: jgsgw@jgsgw.org

To register, email: dgoldberg@jccgw.org

May Sunday, May 18, 2014        *** Two Programs ***
Program #1: The Immigrant Saga: A Memoir of the Lower East Side & Early Jewish American Writers
Program #2:  
Documentary film “Stories from the Syracuse Jewish Community”
1:00 PM - Schmooze
1:30 PM - Short Business Meeting, Announcements, and Program
  Speaker #1: Professor Sanford Sternlicht, Ph.D.   *** see poster here ***


The story of the massive Jewish emigration to America from Eastern Europe (1882-1924) is one of America's greatest success stories. And it was the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the traditional reception area of NYC from the great Irish Famine (1845-1849) until today, that was their first American home.

The Lower East Side was (and is) a magical place teeming with people. Even in my childhood there were African Americans, Poles, Ukrainians, and Irish living in the predominantly Jewish area, and of course, just next door was and is China Town and Little Italy.

What did the Jewish Immigrants do for a living? What was religious and cultural life like? What did they eat, read, see for entertainment, and what games did the children play in an area that had a population density as great as Calcutta.

Of particular interest is how and why did many Jewish writers come to write in English rather than in Yiddish, their mother tongue? These writers, such as Abraham Cahan, Anzia Yezierska, Marya Zaturenska, Michael Gold, and Henry Roth broke new ground and made the way for the next generation, the great generation of Jewish American
writers: Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, and others.

Dr. Sternlicht will also be speaking on Monday, May 19, 2014 at noon at the Library of Congress, African & Middle Eastern Reading Room, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, District of Columbia 20540.
The Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington and The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington are sponsoring Dr. Sternlicht’s lecture at the Library of Congress in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month.

Sanford Sternlicht is Emeritus Professor of English at Syracuse University. He has a B.S. from SUNY: Oswego; M.A. (with distinction) from Colgate University, and  Ph.D. from Syracuse University. He has been Leverhulme Visiting Professor of English at the University of York, England and a Fulbright Senior Visiting Professor of English at the University of Pecs, Hungary. He has lectured nationally for the English Speaking Union of North America. Sternlicht has been a New York Council for the Humanities Speaker in the Humanities since 2008. A former United States Naval officer, Sternlicht has published 4 books on Naval History including: Uriah Philips Levy: The Blue Star Commodore.


Speaker #2: Robin Meltzer

What do you do if there are few or no genealogic resources for your hometown? Create new ones. Cousins Linda Epstein, a certified archivist, and Robin Meltzer, an attorney, realized that their
genealogic research required information not held by libraries or archives, but perhaps kept by their grandparents’ friends and neighbors. To uncover these items, they joined together in December 2011 to found the Facebook group “Jewish Community of the 15th Ward, Syracuse, New York.” Now at over 500 members, group participants have contributed thousands of images, including family photos, letters, scrapbooks, headstone photos, vital records and business ephemera from the 1870s onward. This fully searchable database has solved many dozens of family mysteries and brought about several family reunions. Inspired by these discoveries, group member and producer Jay Lurie began filming a documentary on Jewish Syracuse history in May 2011. Robin joined the project as associate producer. The completed film will be broadcast on public television in Central New York and shown at genealogy and Jewish heritage events. Also see program on May 22 at the Library of Congress, below. This May 18 presentation is 80% about crowdsourcing, and 20% movie; the May 22 presentation will be just the reverse - primarily movie.

Robin Meltzer is JGSGW Vice President of Communications. As an attorney and genealogist, Robin has 30 years of research experience. Robin has also written and co-written several articles on Jewish genealogy and local history for the Jewish Observer of Central New York and Mishpacha, the JGSGW newsletter.

May 22: Thursday, May 22, 2014
Program: "Stories from the Syracuse Jewish Community”  (Jay Lurie Productions)
Location: Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, corner of 2nd Street and Independence Avenue SE, third floor, Mary Pickford Theater 
Time: 12:00 PM
  “Stories from the Syracuse Jewish Community” presents the history of Jewish life in central New York, from German Jewish merchants who founded businesses on the Erie Canal, to Russian immigrants who built a vibrant neighborhood in Syracuse’s 15th Ward. Photographs and archival film footage bring to light Jewish Syracusans from shoemakers to the Shubert brothers. Residents recall the their childhood synagogues, YMHA basketball rivalries, the upheavals of World War II and the dislocation of urban renewal. Through the many changes of the last century, families and neighbors maintained strong connections, laying a solid foundation for the community’s future. The presentation is sponsored by the Library of Congress in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. Associate producer Robin Meltzer, JGSGW VP for Communications, will give a brief introduction to the documentary.

June Sunday, June 8, 2014
Membership Appreciation Luncheon      *** Members Only - no Guests ***
Noon - Meeting and Luncheon
1:00 PM - Program
  Speaker: Seth Kibel in Concert

Enjoy a toe-tapping program of klezmer music interwoven with an engaging narrative on the history of this unique musical form and its impact on Jewish culture. Seth will be accompanied by pianist Sean Lane.

Seth Kibel is one of the Mid-Atlantic's premier woodwind specialists, working with some of the best bands in jazz, swing, and more. Wowing audiences on saxophone, clarinet, and flute, Seth has made a name for himself in the Washington/Baltimore region, and beyond. He is the featured performer with The Alexandria Kleztet, Bay Jazz Project, Music Pilgrim Trio, The Natty Beaux, and more. Winner of 24 Washington Area Music Awards (Wammies), including "Best World Music Instrumentalist" (2003-11) and "Best Jazz Instrumentalist" (2005, 2007-8, 2011-12). For more information, visit http://www.sethkibel.com/.


© 2014, Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, Inc.