Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy SA-SIG
I Scored at a Jewish Singles Mixer, Genealogically Speaking
by Steven J. Kitnick
Editor: Dr Saul Issroff
Copyright © 2002 Saul Issroff, Mike Getz, SAfrica SIG
and Jewishgen Inc.
This page URL: http://www.jewishgen.org/SAfrica/kitnicks.htm
Revised: 28 May 2002
In July of 1996, I attended the International Jewish Genealogical Seminar held at the Park Plaza hotel in Boston. My primary reason for attending the seminar was to network. I always seem to get my best results by shmoozing.
My major research goal was to determine how I was related to South Africans Bertha [Norwitz] and Philip Frame, and how Bertha was related to my maternal great-granduncle Berel Orelowitz, the brother of my maternal great-grandfather Yitzhak Yosef "Joseph" Orlovitz.
I first learned about my South African relatives in January of 1979, while I was in Miami on business working the Dallas-Pittsburgh SuperBowl. My late great uncle Sam Lovitt [née Orelowitz] told me his uncle Berel Orelowitz had immigrated to South Africa.
Several years later, I learned that members of my Levine branch of the Orelowitz family had maintained contact with the South Africans. My second cousin Michael Ledeen's [née Levine] family had extensive contact over the years. A few attended the Bar Mitzvah of another second cousin Richard Levine c. 1952. However, no one was able to tell me how we were linked.
While shmoozing at the Jewish singles mixer at the seminar - a social event that I suggested to seminar chair Warren Blatt - I made a connection that offers further evidence that life's happenstances may be more than random, unrelated events. Call it coincidence. Synchronicity. The Baal Shem Tov would call it Bashert.
Among those in attendance was my friend Dr. Saul Issroff, a native born South African now living in London, and a recognized expert in Lithuanian and South African Jewish genealogy and history. Saul was aware of my desire to link Bertha [Norwitz] Frame to my Orelowitz family tree.
At the mixer, Saul was chatting with seminar attendee and local Boston resident Susan Kormis. When their conversation turned to South Africa, Susan mentioned that she had a friend named Lorraine Norwich who was from South Africa. Saul told Susan that I was researching the Norwitz and Norwich family names. Saul then introduced me to Susan.
I gave Susan my hotel room number and asked her to forward it to her friend. The following day her friend telephoned. I told Lorraine I was related to Bertha [Norwitz] and Philip Frame - the late textile magnate, industrialist, and founder of The Frame Group in Durban, South Africa. Lorraine told me they were her aunt and uncle. Bertha was her father's sister. Lorraine was my third cousin!
Later, my "new" cousin Lorraine came over to the hotel. She brought a three-ring binder of genealogy, family history, and photographs compiled and written by her mother Rose [Sive] Norwich, the wife of the late Dr. Isadore "Oscar" Norwich [née Norwitz, formerly Noriskin]. Included among the photographs was a picture of her paternal great-grandfather Berel Orelowitz.
My foremost research goal was accomplished. My reason for attending the seminar fulfilled. As other seminar attendees were at lectures or doing research, I was shmoozing in the Captain's Bar having drinks and "scored" at the Jewish singles mixer: genealogically speaking.