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Leadership & Committees

Biographical and Contact Information

The following is an alphabetical list of Rav-SIG Board and Committee Members.

  • Rabbi Asher Bar-Zev, Database Committee, Guide to Rabbinic Research & FAQ Committee
    Palm Beach, Florida, USA. E-mail
    Asher Bar-Zev is a Conservative rabbi with 22 years of experience in congregational pulpits. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and has published research on DNA and RNA synthesis in response to steroid hormones in insect development. He has recently retired as a vice-president of Merrill Lynch after serving in that capacity for 22 years. He has been involved in genealogical research for some 35 years and can trace his ancestry through 31 generations back to Rashi, through the famous Hasidic Rabbi Elimelech of Lezajsk and the MaHaRaM of Padua, Rabbi Meir Katzenellenbogen. A number of his genealogical articles have been published in Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy.

  • Shirley Rotbein Flaum, Rav-SIG Coordinator, Steering Committee, Guide to Rabbinic Research Committee Chairperson
    Houston, Texas, USA. E-mail
    Shirley Rotbein Flaum was born in Houston, Texas, to Holocaust survivors from Lodz, Poland, and Vilnius, Lithuania. She has a BA from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a founding officer of the Holocaust Museum Houston. She is the Lodz Archive Coordinator and a Board member of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland. She is also the founder and co-coordinator of the Lodz Area Research Group of JewishGen. Her rabbinic ancestry includes Shlomo Luria (the MaHaRaShaL), Even HaOzer, Moshe Kharif (ABD Ulanow), and Rabbi Meir Eisenstadt (Panim Meiroth). She is related to Rabbi Aaron Walden of Warsaw (Shem HaGedolim HeKhadash) and Yechiel Kestenberg, last rabbi of Radom.

  • Werner L. Frank, Guide to Rabbinic Research & FAQ Committee
    Calabasas, California, USA. E-mail
    Werner L. Frank has been actively engaged in genealogy since 1996, having amassed a family database of over 28,000 names. This research has extended to the 13th century, achieved by tapping into a rabbinical line. He is currently writing a book devoted to the history of his family, including events leading to his 1937 emigration from Germany to the U.S.A. Frank is a member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles and is affiliated with the French organizations Gen Ami and Cercle de Genealogie Juive. He participated in the formation of GerSIG (German Special Interest Group of JewishGen) and has written for both Stammbaum and Maajan. He has given talks at the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Los Angeles (1998), Salt Lake City (2000), and London (2001). Frank has a Bachelor and Masters degree in Mathematics. His professional career has been in computer software, co-founding Informatics, Inc. in 1962 and ending his career at Sterling Software, Inc.

  • Chaim Freedman, Bibliography Committee
    Petah Tikva, Israel. E-mail
    Chaim Freedman was born in Melbourne, Australia, to parents of Eastern European origins. He was educated at Mount Scopus College in Melbourne. A noted genealogist, he has lectured at numerous genealogical and historical conferences and has published research articles in Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Sharseret Hadorot, Search, and the Journal of the Australian Jewish Historical Society. He is the author of several books, including Eliyahu's Branches: The Descendants of the Vilna Gaon and his Family, and Beit Rabbanan, and editor of Jewish Personal Names: Their Origin, Derivation and Diminutive Forms. He possesses an archive and library of genealogical sources and is considered an expert in researching Hebrew sources of Eastern European genealogy.

  • Dr. Jacob D. Goldstein, Discussion Group Committee Chairman
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA. E-mail
    Jacob D. Goldstein was born in Colombia. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is a scientist specializing in modeling of random phenomena. His community involvement includes synagogue leadership, Holocaust education, and Jewish family education. He is the leader of an Internet-based discussion group for children of survivors of the Shoah.

  • Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn, Steering Committee
    Melbourne, Australia. E-mail
    Philip Heilbrunn was ordained in South Africa in 1976. He is the former Chief Rabbi of Adelaide, Australia, and has been the President of the Association of Rabbis in Australia and New Zealand for the past seven years. He is been the Rabbi of St Kilda Synagogue in Melbourne since 1988. He is descended from Rabbi Aharon Shmuel Kaidanover and Rabbi Samuel Gershon Steg of Warburg.

  • Dr. Robert E. Heyman, Steering Committee, Database Committee Chairman
    Silver Springs, Maryland, USA. E-mail
    Robert Heyman has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Maryland in College Park. He is directly descended from Rabbi Haim David Langfus of Bedzin, and, through him, Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe HaLevush. He is related to the Kalish and Super Rabbinical families. Dr. Heyman's work has been published several times in the Kielce-Radom SIG Journal.

  • Dr. Yehuda Klausner, Database Committee
    Beer-Sheva, Israel. E-mail
    Yehuda Klausner is a Civil Engineer with a BSc, CE, and MA from the Technion IIT, Haifa, and a PhD from Princeton University, USA. He served as Professor of Civil Engineering at Wayne State University, Detroit, and the Negev Institute for Arid Zone Research, Beer-Sheva. From 1970 he was a practicing Civil Engineer specializing in industrial structures and foundation engineering, consultant in many projects for governmental, public and private organizations. He published many professional papers and a book on Continuum Mechanics of Soils. In 1982, he became interested in the genealogical studies of his family and his database currently comprises several families he is researching, including Rabbinic families.

  • Ronald M. "Ron" Landau, Steering Committee
    Huntington Beach, California, USA. E-mail
    Ron Landau is a technical writer. He has a MS in Engineering from Newark College of Engineering in New Jersey. He is a direct male descendant of the Admor of Ciechanow, Rebbe Abraham Dobrzinsky Landau, who was the son of Raphael Dobrzinsky of Parzeczew and the grandson of Berish Dobrzinsky of Kutno. He is researching Rebbe Abraham's descendants Dov Berish Landau (of Biala), Yakov Yitzack Landau (of Mlawa), and Moshe Landau (of Leczyca). His work has been published in Toledot: The Journal of Jewish Genealogy.

  • Philip Cala-Lajzerowicz (Lazar), Web Site Editor
    Illinois, USA. E-mail
    Philip Lazar is Senior Editor of Dotsero, Inc.: Relocation Compass, Relocator's Advocate. He is a consultant and a professional in speech writing, business policy formulation, and newsletter hosting. He is a former Senior Automotive Editor of Runzheimer International: Fleet Maintenance & Safety, Radiator Reporter, Brake & Chassis News and Transportation. He is currently conducting genealogical research into the Lajzerowicz and Cala families of Piotrkow Woiwode, Poland.

  • Hadassah Lipsius, Bibliography Committee
    Kew Gardens Hills, New York, USA. E-mail
    Hadassah Lipsius has a BS and MS in Engineering. She is Senior Quality Manager at BAE Systems. She is a board member and Shtetl CO-OP coordinator of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland and a board member of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (New York). She is also the Database Manager for the Warszawa Research Group of JewishGen. She traces her family through several Rabbinic lines in Poland and Lithuania, including the first Jewish property owner in Warszawa.

  • Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein, Advisory Board
    New Jersey, USA. E-mail
    Avrohom Marmorstein received semicha from Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, New Jersey. He is a member of the National Council of Synagogue Rabbis of Agudath Yisrael. He is the author of Halachos of the Seder, Halachos of Purim, and Bartenura and co-author of Yad Yoledes.

  • Dr. Perets Mett, Steering Committee, Research Groups Advisory Committee Chairman
    London, England. E-mail
    Perets Mett received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics at the University of Surrey. He is currently engaged in constructing a descendants' tree for Rabbi Yisroel Rottenberg, Av Beit Din of Magnuszew and Ger. This tree includes numerous rabbinic personalities, including all Gerrer rebbes.

  • Moishe Miller, Research Groups Committee
    Brooklyn, New York, USA. E-mail
    Moishe Miller was educated at a yeshiva and has a BS in Computer Science from Brooklyn College. His family lore claims paternal descendancy from the tribe of Issachar. His rabbinical ancestry centers primarily around the Bnei Yissochur, Rabbi Hersh Mylech Spira (1783 - 1841), whose offspring intermarried with many other Chassidic dynasties. A web site at www.langsam.com contains much of this family's genealogical and rabbinical information.

  • Daniel Polakovic, Bibliography Committee
    Prague, Czech Republic. E-mail
    Daniel Polakovic was born in Bratislava (formerly Pressburg), Slovak Republic. He has a MA in Jewish and Cuneiform Studies from Charles University in Prague. He is a historian and bibliographer of the Jewish Museum in Prague. He publishes mainly in Judaica Bohemiae (Prague). He is the author of Dov Chazak, a catalogue of Hebraica and Judaica books and manuscripts of Bratislava's synagogue genizah.

  • Leslie Reich, Steering Committee
    Manchester, England. E-mail
    Leslie Reich is a yeshiva graduate and has a BA in Mathematics. His maternal grandmother was a Halberthal from Brody, Galicia, whose rabbinical ancestry is included in Neil Rosenstein's The Unbroken Chain (1990 Ed. p.569). His wife, neé Vera Katz, has her father's yichus listed in the same work (p. 302).

  • Dr. Neil Rosenstein, Steering Committee, Advisory Board Chairman, Research Groups Advisory Committee
    Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. E-mail
    Neil Rosenstein was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1944. He studied medicine at the University of Cape Town and interned in Israel. He specialized in surgery at the Mt. Sinai hospitals in Cleveland and New York City, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, New Jersey. As a result of over four decades of investigative study of rare books and manuscripts, trips to libraries and cemeteries, travel and correspondence, Dr. Rosenstein has accumulated a vast matrix of material on Jewish genealogy, especially in the field of rabbinical dynasties for which he has become world famous. He founded the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (New York) in 1977, first located in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and is also the founder and director of the Computer Center for Jewish Genealogy. Dr. Rosenstein is the author of many works on Jewish genealogy, his magnum opus being The Unbroken Chain, first published as a single volume in 1976. An expanded two-volume second edition was published in 1990. Other noted works include Avnei Zikaron (Stones of Remembrance), which includes a CD-ROM, The Gaon of Vilna and his Cousinhood, and Latter Day Leaders, Sages and Scholars. He has produced a CD-ROM with the indexed obituaries of the first-ever Hebrew weekly, HaMagid, which was in print from 1856 to 1903. In addition, he is a contributor of articles to various Jewish genealogical publications, including Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy and The Jewish Press. He lectures frequently and has spoken many times at various Jewish genealogical societies in the United States and abroad, as well as at the international seminars for Jewish genealogy and the annual national summer seminars. His biography is included in Who's Who in World Jewry (1987) and is listed in Marquis' Who's Who in America (from 1997 onwards).
  • Rabbi Mordechai Schlanger, Guide to Rabbinic Research & FAQ Committee
    New York City, New York, USA. E-mail
    Mordechai Schlanger has a BA from Brooklyn College and an MBA in Computer Technology from Baruch College in New York. He received Rabbinical Ordination from Mirrer Yeshiva Central Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He is a former practicing Rabbi and Talmud instructor. He is the author of Talmudic articles and co-author of A Guide to Practical Halacha, and a translator of Yiddish and Hebrew Rabbinic works. Currently, he is Vice President, Systems, of a major financial institution.

  • Rabbi David Shapiro, Guide to Rabbinic Research & FAQ Committee
    Jerusalem, Israel. E-mail
    David Shapiro was born in New York City, New York. He attended the Yeshivos of Zichron Meir (Staten Island), Beis Medrash Elyon (Monsey), and Kaminetz (Jerusalem). He received semicha from Rabbi Moshe Halbershtam of Jerusalem. His profession is translation, editing, cataloguing, and publication of all kinds of Hebrew manuscripts on all rabbinical subjects. He has done work for Machon Yerushalayim, Machon Ofeq, Machon Mishneh Halachoth (Ungvar), and Machon Mishnat Rebbe Aharon (Lakewood). He is a lecturer and author, and has published the genealogy of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav. His personal family research includes the Brandwein family (Stretin chassidic dynasty), the Ashkenazy family of Rozdal (Galicia), and the Shapiros of Panevyz, Vilkomir and Anykscias (Lithuania).

  • Tom Venetianer, Steering Committee
    Sao Paulo, Brazil. E-mail
    Tom Venetianer was born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia (now the Slovak Republic). He is a Shoah survivor and was an inmate in the concentration camp Terezin (Theresienstadt). He is an Electronic Engineer with an MBA in Finance and Marketing. His family, of Venetian origin, descends from several rabbis in Slovakia and Hungary (the Venetianer-Vinazia family, whose yichus is listed by Béla Kempelen, p. 29, and the Berger and Stark families). He is related to Lajos (Ludwig) Venetianer, chief rabbi in Ujpest, (Budapest) and a prominent historian. He is Rav-SIG's founding web site designer and webmaster.

  • Rabbi Dov Berish Weber, Advisory Board
    Brooklyn, New York, USA.
    Dov Berish Weber was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received a yeshiva education. He has done extensive rabbinical genealogical research for various rabbinical families. His research has been published in Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, 1996, 1998 (Bergenfield, NJ), and in the scholarly Hebrew periodicals Nachlat Tzvi, 1994 (Bnai Brak), Siftei Tzadikim, 2000 (Bnai Brak), and Ohr Yisrael, 2002 (Monsey, NY). Additional family research has been included in such published books as Kol Todah, 1999 (Brooklyn), Birkat HaMazon, 2000 (Brooklyn), and Keren Yisrael, 2000 (London, England). He was the co-editor of Avnei Zikaron, 1999. He has done research in New York institutions such as YIVO, Leo Baeck, Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, and the New York Public Library. He has highest level of skill in reading ancient Hebrew manuscripts.