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Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure - WATCH NOW

Originally aired July 2021

A Brooklyn man’s quest to reclaim his family’s apartment building in Poland led to a new understanding of his relatives, and a frightening entanglement with Nazi treasure hunters. On a Fulbright Fellowship in Lithuania in 2010, Toronto native Menachem Kaiser traveled to Poland and there, in the village of Sosnowiec, he was inspired to take up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building. His encounters with long-time residents of the building and with a Polish lawyer known as “The Killer” are intwined with a surprise discovery of a cousin’s secret memoir revered by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who believe it is an indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder. Don’t miss hearing about Kaiser’s extraordinary journey and exploration of the many issues surrounding inheritance, legacy, and family history. Hosted by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.




Using the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Archives for Family History Research - WATCH NOW

Originally aired May 2021

The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center (JHC) at New England Historic Genealogical Society preserves the histories of Jewish families and institutions in New England and beyond. The JHC holds more than 2 million records in its archives and more than 600,000 searchable documents in its digital collections. Learn more about the collections, resources, and expertise at the JHC, and how these materials can be leveraged by family historians.







The Story of Jewish Families and Their English Country Houses - WATCH NOW

Originally aired May 2021

The story of the Jews and England is long and complicated. Expelled by King Edward I in 1290, they were not permitted back in the country until 1655, when Oliver Cromwell allowed 400 Jews to settle in England. By the 19th century, Protestant England was one of the most tolerant countries in Europe for Jews and had a prime minister who had been born Jewish. The result was a flourishing Jewish community, primarily centered in the counties near London, that built and acquired great country houses and established world class art collections and gardens of delight. The Rothschilds are possibly the most famous Jewish family in England, but there are other, less well-known names who helped create modern England. People like Isaac Goldsmid, a London-born financier who became the first Jewish baronet in English history. This amazing man helped found University College London, was a leading figure in the Jewish emancipation movement, and a proponent of the reform of the penal code. The stories of these families, and many more, will be explored in this illustration-rich, art-drenched, history-filled lecture.



Stories from the Archives, Diaries - WATCH NOW

Originally aired May 2021

Diaries are important primary source records for genealogists, historians, and family members alike. Even if it’s not written by your ancestor, a diary can provide incredible insight into the daily life of an individual and a specific time and place. This recorded webinar will feature just some of the diaries held by the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections and the Wyner Family Heritage Center at NEHGS. We will also discuss how to find these resources in historical societies and other repositories across the country. Hear the stories behind these items and the families who donated them.




Shalom/Salem: Archival Stories from Salem’s Jewish Community - WATCH NOW

Originally aired May 2021

Learn about the families, businesses, and synagogues that make up the Jewish history of Salem, Massachusetts through the lens of the archival collections at the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society. Associate Director of Archives and Education Stephanie Call will showcase photographs and ephemera that highlight the contributions of the city’s Jewish community.




Boston’s Jewish Family Businesses: The Colonial Era to the Present - WATCH NOW

Originally aired April 2021

From the Hays-Touro family in the 1770s, to Filene's and Stop and Shop in the 20th century, to today's fourth- and fifth-generation Jewish family enterprises, Boston and its environs have been home to notable multi-generational Jewish family businesses. Michael Feldberg, Ph.D., Executive Director of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, shares his research into notable family businesses in Greater Boston and explores the role that Jewish values and tradition may have played in the inter-generational transfer of significant Boston-area companies.




Kitchen Explorations with Chef Michael Leviton - WATCH NOW

Originally aired March 2021

Join chef Michael Leviton as he cooks and discusses some of his favorite Passover recipes from the archives of the Jewish Heritage Center at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This collaboration between Leviton, JArts, Jewish Heritage Center and the Vilna Shul explores, enlivens and shares the recipes and tastes of Jewish Boston.





All the Horrors of War: A Jewish Girl, a British Doctor, and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen - WATCH NOW

Originally aired February 2021

All the Horrors of War
follows Glyn Hughes, a high-ranking British officer, and Rachel Genuth, a teenager from the Hungarian provinces, as they navigate their respective forms of hell during the final, brutal year of World War II. Their stories converge before the war’s end in Bergen-Belsen, the then largest Nazi concentration camp. Hughes suddenly finds himself responsible for unprecedented rescue efforts; Rachel is among the thousands of ravaged inmates at death's door. Their narratives tell a larger story—about the suffering of the victims, the struggles of liberators who strove to save lives, and about the human capacity for fortitude and redemption. This live event was moderated by Ryan Woods, COO of American Ancestors & New England Historic Genealogical Society.



Jewish and African-American Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed - WATCH NOW

Originally aired December 2020

Why do Americans tend to separate their dead along communal lines rooted in faith, race, ethnicity, or social standing? Dr. Kami Fletcher and Dr. Allan Amanik, editors of the anthology Till Death do us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed (University Press of Mississippi/Jackson, 2020) discuss the physical and symbolic borders of America’s ethnic cemeteries and what these divisions reveal about American history. Drs. Amanik and Fletcher share the histories behind the development of New York’s Jewish cemeteries and the 1807 founding of Baltimore’s African Burying Ground, and what the physical and invisible borders of these cemeteries tell us about how Americans negotiated race, ethnicity, religion, class, and national origin in the 19th century.





Jewish Immigrants in the American Antiques Trade - WATCH NOW

Originally aired November 2020

In the early twentieth century, Jewish cabinetmakers from Eastern Europe played a pivotal role in the emerging market for antiques and their reproductions. In this talk, Briann Greenfield and Erica Lome explore the lives and careers of two immigrants, Israel Sack and Nathan Margolis, who trained together in Lithuania and became noted authorities on Early American furniture. Their clients included some of the most famous collectors of their era, such as Henry Francis du Pont, J.P. Morgan, and Luke Vincent Lockwood. As an antique dealer and cabinetmaker respectively, Sack and Margolis exemplified a larger tradition whereby America’s oldest families depended on Jewish immigrant labor to preserve and reproduce their colonial heritage. This talk recovers their fascinating legacy and demonstrates their lasting influence on American decorative arts.



The First American Jewish Woman Novelist: The Story of Cora Wilburn and her Novel, Cosella Wayne - WATCH NOW

Originally aired October 2020 

Cora Wilburn’s Cosella Wayne, published serially in 1860 and never before published as a book, is both the first novel written and published in English by an American Jewish woman writer and the first coming-of-age novel to depict Jews in the United States. Set in the 1840s, it opens up a whole world of which we know little: a world of crooked gem dealers who traveled to exotic places, like Australia, India, and Venezuela, visiting Jews in each one; a world where a Jewish child might be “rescued” from her non-Jewish father so that it could be raised by Jewish parents; a world where a Jewish “father” molested his daughter; and a world where that daughter took solace in the new, heavily female movement known as Spiritualism, becoming for a time among its best-known writers. The story of Cora Wilburn—who lived for many years in the Boston area—as well as the story behind that story, form the subject of this lecture.



Summer Haven: Jews in the Catskills During and After the Holocaust - WATCH NOW

Originally aired August 2020

Phil Brown of the Catskills Institute examines the lives of local residents, resort owners, guests, and workers of the Catskills resort area through the lens of the Holocaust. A haven for both survivors and earlier Jewish refugees, the Catskills offered Jews ways to release their rising fears during and after the war years by engaging in community life. Learn how Jews began to vacation without guilt in "The Mountains," launching the "Golden Era" of the resort area in the 1950s and 1960s -- and how Yiddish language and culture (and even Yiddish jokes) in the Catskills were a form of resistance.




Jewish Women in the Labor Movement - WATCH NOW

Originally aired July 2020

From sweatshop workers to union organizers, Jewish women have been on the front lines of the American labor movement since the beginning of the 20th century. As women and as Jews, their commitment to social justice and a more equitable world made these activists uniquely qualified and determined leaders of a major American movement—and they also laid the groundwork for the feminist movement. Learn about the activists who made lasting change from Judith Rosenbaum, scholar of women's history and CEO of the Jewish Women's Archive.





Jewish Life in Rural New England: How the Jews Got to Mars Hill, Maine, and Other Stories From the Field - WATCH NOW

Originally aired June 2020

From 2002 to 2006, Michael Hoberman conducted fifty interviews with over sixty Jews from various parts of rural New England for his book How Strange It Seems. In this talk, he will tell the story of how he found, interviewed, and maintained contact with this generationally, observationally, and occupationally diverse group of people. Michael Hoberman teaches American literature at Fitchburg State University. His most recent book, A Hundred Acres of America: The Geography of Jewish American Literary History was published in 2018 by Rutgers University Press, was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2019 and has been favorably reviewed in, among others, the LA Review of Books, Shofar, and MELUS Journal. He lives in Buckland, Massachusetts.




"From Teeming Zion's Fertile Womb": The Curious Career of Judah Monis - WATCH NOW

Originally aired June 2020 

Judah Monis was born in Italy, received a Jewish education in Livorno and Amsterdam, and traveled to New York in 1716, where he affiliated briefly with that city's Shearith Israel congregation. Why and how he ended up moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, accepting a teaching position at Harvard and converting to Christianity is the subject of this talk hosted by the Jewish Heritage Center and presented by Michael Hoberman, the author of New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America.




Return to the Catskills - WATCH NOW

Originally aired June 2020

Phil Brown, Founder and President of the Catskills Institute, discusses the Jewish experience in the Catskills; from the first Jewish boarding house before the turn of the 20th century, through the decline and current transformation. This presentation shows images of the hotels and bungalow colonies, the people who stayed and worked there, and the food and entertainment that sustained them.



Brought to you in partnership withThe Brue Family Learning Center