New Tool for Jewish Genealogy

You Are Invited

NEW TOOL for Jewish Genealogy

The IAJGS invites you — and encourages the entire genealogical community familiar with researching Jewish ancestry — to review the Draft DoJR Record Type Taxonomy for Jewish Genealogy and provide comments.

Two Week Comment Period

Mon 5 July – Sun 18 July

DoJR Record Type Taxonomy

Taxonomy – DoJR


Warsaw – After IAJGS 18

After the IAJGS conference at the Hilton Hotel, my big walk included the Nozyk, the Old Town, The Bristol Hotel, Polin Museum, Centralna Station area, and back to the Nozyk later in the day.

Around the city

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Back to the Nozyk Synagogue

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Hotel Bristol

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The Old Town

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On the way to  Polin Museum

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Polin Museum

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On the way to Centralna Train Station

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Nozyk Synagogue before Shabbat

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Around Centralna at nightime

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Goodbye – back home to Australia

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IAJGS Conference Warsaw 2018

We are very pleased to inform you that the following proposal has been accepted for presentation at the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Warsaw, Poland from August 5 -10, 2018.


2018 Conference Schedule

Abtract #1
The Partisan Song Project and Genealogy – Inspiring and Connecting a New Generation

“Zog Nit Keynmol” is the anthem of Holocaust survivors. It is a legacy that is in danger of soon dying out. The Partisan Song Project is an initiative to connect it to the next generation through meaning, context, and family histories.

This multi-media presentation follows the path of the project from its genesis in January 2017:

the initial request from a school for information;

my research methodology and content;

my “out of the box” teaching style to 1000 students;

planning and running a separate online class with five schools in the FSU and hosted by a sixth;

introducing family history to the program;

working with more schools;

spreading the message via social media, Holocaust centres and survivors;

going global with the support of World ORT; HET UK, TEC Lithuania, Yad Vashem; and

the case study of Oscar Borecki, a Bielski Partisan from Novogrudok and commemorating his legacy in Australia.


Warsaw Handout 1

Abstract #2

Back From the Polish and Litvak Diaspora: Virtual Journeys That Connect Us To Our Roots.

Back From the Polish and Litvak Diaspora: Virtual Journeys That Connect Us To Our Roots.

My first heritage visit to Poland and the Baltics was in 2011. I have returned six times since, accumulating a wealth of information, photos, stories and contacts.

In this multimedia presentation find out why and how we gather and share this data with others in mind; and why we include both past and contemporary Jewish Life.

I will help you grasp the importance of the web using the following tools, drawing on some examples:

JewishGen KehilaLinks – my 80 KehilaLinks (35 Lithuania, 7 Poland, 6 Belarus, others in Latvia, Germany, Russia, Estonia, China, Africa and Australia);

WordPress – 600 posts and pages that make up my tangential travel and Jewish Life website;

online classrooms which can simultaneously connect nine schools at once;

Google, including Google Search, YouTube, Translate, Maps, Earth, Hangouts, Chrome and Drive;

social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; and

additional resources such as Wikipedia


Warsaw Handout 2


Warsaw KehilaLink

I am pleased to advise I have taken on the important project of creating
and running the Warsaw KehilaLink.

It is quite surprising that there has been no KehilaLink for Warsaw,
once the largest Jewish city in Europe and the second largest in the
world after New York.

JewishGen KehilaLinks (formerly “ShtetLinks”) is a project
facilitating web pages commemorating the places where Jews have lived.

Kehila  [Hebrew] n. (pl. kehilot): is used to refer to a Jewish
community, anywhere in the world.

KehilaLinks are hosted by JewishGen, the world’s largest Jewish
genealogical organisation. It has a user base of over 500,000 registered
users worldwide.

I invite you to send in your stories, memories, photos and family

The link to the site under construction:



Jewish Community of Warsaw



IAJGS Orlando 2017

IAJGS Orlando

Orlando Jewish Info – Your Jewish Guide to Orlando Orlando Jewish Info – Your Jewish Guide to Orlando Orlando Jewish Info Guide Source: Getting there The Swan …


More From IAJGS Orlando

Selfie with E Randol Schoenberg

The Cleveland Jewish News

Jewish Genealogical Societies annual conference opens doors to history

Jewish Genealogical Societies annual conference opens doors to history

What’s one of the most common reasons people attended the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies recent annual conference at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, Fla.?


Selfie with Jane Edelstein

Roy Ogus featuring the Kimberley KehilaLink


With Geraldine Auerbach MBE – my partner on the Kimberley KehilaLink – London June 17

In the Footsteps of Zalman Tzoref: A film by Orna Bird and Omri Lior.

This video is about Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tzoref It is a trailer for the full length documentary film made by Orna Bird and Omri Lior!


Next Year In Warsaw

IAJGS Orlando

Orlando Jewish Info – Your Jewish Guide to Orlando

Orlando Jewish Info – Your Jewish Guide to Orlando

Orlando Jewish Info Guide


Getting there

The Swan & Dolphin Resort at Disney World

Information Booths

The Big Shmooze

Down To Business

How Can We Help?

See Ya …..

…. in Warsaw

Let’s Catch Up At IAJGS In Seattle


Hi from Perth, Australia.

I start my long 24 hour trek early tomorrow from Perth to Seattle.

I will be in Seattle until Tuesday evening.

I am giving a presentation at a South African Tea Party this Saturday afternoon. This will be of interest to those wanting to connect with their shtetl.
This talk is being held within walking distance from the Sheraton.

For more details, see:

I plan to spend most of Monday and Tuesday meeting up with the many people I have communicated with via the 70 JewishGen KehilaLinks I write and manage.

These Jewish websites cover many countries and regions – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Belarus, Russia, South Africa, Australia and China.

The list is here:

If you would like to catch up with me to discuss these, your shtetl, heritage travel or just to say hello, email me at I am likely to be near the lobby.

See you soon!

Best regards

Eli Rabinowitz
Perth, Australia

The New Birzh Kehilalink

The Birzh ShtetLink has been upgraded to a KehilaLink

Birzh front.12.15 pm



  • the tribute to Joseph Rosin z”l by Joel Alpert
  • the report by Abel and Glenda Levitt on their recent visit
  • my photos from last month’s visit

I have four talks coming up:

Perth, Australia

Exploring our Roots

Beth Protea, Herzlia, Israel


IAJGS International Jewish Genealogical Conference, Jerusalem, Israel


Gitlin Library, Cape Town, South Africa


Limmud Oz Sydney has finished.

A most successful Festival of Jewish Ideas with 200 presenters over 2 ½ days.

[huge_it_slider id=”20″]


Limmud 15 1 Limmud 15 2

35th IAJGS International Jewish Genealogical Conference

I am pleased to advise that I have been selected to give a presentation at the 35th IAJGS International Jewish Genealogical Conference in Jerusalem in July.

The title of my talk is:



The narrative about Moshe and Paula starts in Orla, Poland and ends suddenly in South Africa.

However, the research starts 80 years later in Australia and takes me to Poland, Belarus, Israel, the UK, Germany, South Africa, the US and Canada.

More to follow in upcoming blogs.


Where is Orla:

Facebook page just started for Moshe and Paula:

ENJOY A RARE GENEALOGICAL FEAST OF KNOWLEDGE when top experts from around the globe gather in Jerusalem. Nearly 200 guest lecturers will share their expertise and research on the world’s main Jewish communities including the US, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel, and Russia, PLUS they’ll take you to such exotic Jewish genealogical destinations as Tuscany, Casablanca, Sweden, Spain, Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Belgium, Latvia, Moldova, and many, many more. Their lectures will encompass a host of topics, from technological developments in genealogical research to perspectives on the Holocaust to the science of onomastics (the study of names), and a wealth of other topics including DNA.
DON’T MISS THE PRE-CONFERENCE SHABBATON on the Friday-Saturday, July 3 -4 weekend preceding the Conference, followed by an UNFORGETTABLE “EXPLORATION SUNDAY” on July 5. Full and fascinating details are on the conference website
Conference discussion group and more. Sign up for our ongoing Conference discussion group, where announcements and special offers are being posted. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Just click on the links at to sign up and stay informed.ief Rabbi Lau
Michael Goldstein, Chairman
35 th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Conference Keynote Speaker Announcement
From: Michael Goldstein, Chairman IAJGS 2015 (
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:17:21 -0700 (PDT)

Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, will deliver the keynote address at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) 35th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Jerusalem from July 6-10, 2015. Rabbi Lau will speak on the topic, ?Connecting to Jewish Heritage through Jewish Genealogy.? Israel Meir Lau, who was one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp at the age of eight in 1945. Throughout his life, he has continually championed the preservation of the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust, gaining prominence as an outstanding orator and activist. Rabbi Lau has participated in every March of the Living commemoration held in Poland, bringing together thousands of students and adults from around the world. He brings an important message to focus on the individuals who comprise the millions murdered. Israel Meir Lau was born in the Polish town of Piotrków Trybunalski, and is the 38th generation in an unbroken family chain of rabbis. On Independence Day 2005 Rabbi Lau received the Israel Prize generally regarded as the State of Israel?s highest honor, for lifetime achievement and special contributions to society and the State. In 2011 he was awarded “Legion of Honor” (France?s highest accolade) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In announcing Rabbi Lau as the keynote speaker, Conference Chairman Michael Goldstein put forth that the message that Rabbi Lau brings to us at the conference and in all his related talks a message that reinforces how vital our research is so that we learn of those members of our family who were displaced and murdered and how important our research is in bringing together families which were torn apart.

Yisrael Meir Lau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
ישראל מאיר לאו
Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv
Chairman of Yad Vashem
הרב לאו.JPG
Other former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Personal details
Birth name Yisrael Meir Lau
Born 1 June 1937 (age 77)
Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland
Nationality Israeli
Denomination Orthodox
Residence Tel Aviv
Parents Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau
Children 8 children including David Lau

Yisrael (Israel) Meir Lau (Hebrewישראל מאיר לאו‎; born 1 June 1937 in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland) is an Israeli and the Chief Rabbi of Tel AvivIsrael, and Chairman of Yad Vashem. He previously served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003.


Yisrael Meir Lau (8 years old) in the arms of Elazar Schiff, Buchenwald survivors at their arrival at Haifa on 15 July 1945.

Lau was born on 1 June 1937, in the Polish town of Piotrków Trybunalski. His father, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau (PolishMojżesz Chaim Lau), was the last Chief Rabbi of the town; he died in the Treblinka extermination camp. Yisrael Meir is the 38th generation in an unbroken family chain of rabbis.[1]

Lau was freed from the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945, after Rabbi Herschel Schacter detected him hiding under a heap of corpses when the camp was liberated.[2] Lau has credited a teen prisoner with protecting him in the camp (later determined by historian Kenneth Waltzer to be Fyodor Michajlitschenko).[3] His entire family was murdered, with the exception of his older brother, Naphtali Lau-Lavie, his half brother, Yehoshua Lau-Hager, and his uncle already living in Mandate Palestine.

Lau immigrated to Mandate Palestine with his brother Naphtali in July 1945, where he studied in the famous yeshiva Kol Torahunder Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach[4] as well as in Ponevezh and Knesses Chizkiyahu. He was ordained as a rabbi in 1961. He married the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchok Yedidya Frankel, the Rabbi of South Tel Aviv.[1] He served as Chief Rabbi in Netanya(1978–1988), and at that time developed his reputation as a popular orator.

Lau is the father of three sons and five daughters. His eldest son, Moshe Chaim, took his place as Rabbi in Netanya in 1989; his son David became the Chief Rabbi of Modi’in, and later Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel; and his youngest, Tzvi Yehuda, is the Rabbi of North Tel Aviv.[1]Lau is the uncle of Rabbi Binyamin (Benny) Lau, an educator and activist in the Religious Zionist movement, and Amichai Lau-Lavie, the founder and artistic director of the Jewish ritual theater company Storahtelling.

In 2008, Lau was appointed Chairman of Yad Vashem, succeeding Tommy Lapid.

Rabbinical career

Rabbi Lau addresses
the United Nations

Lau was ordained as a rabbi in 1961. His first rabbinic position was at the Ohr Torah synagogue in North Tel Aviv. In 1965 he was appointed as rabbi of the Tiferet Tzvi Synagogue in Tel Aviv, a position he held until 1971 when he was appointed rabbi of North Tel Aviv.

In 1978 Lau was appointed as chief rabbi of the city of Netanya. In 1983 Lau was appointed to serve on the Mo’etzet of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. In 1988, after the death of his father-in-law, Lau was appointed to serve as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, a position he held until 1993. When Lau met the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson in 1992, the Rebbe told Lau to finish his work in Tel Aviv, as he would soon be chosen to become the Chief Rabbi of Israel.[5] In 1993, Lau was elected Chief Rabbi of Israel.

On 9 June 2005, Lau was reinstalled as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv after serving in this position from 1985 until 1993, when he was appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position which he held until 2003.

Lau has often been characterized as the “consensus rabbi”, and has close ties to both Haredi and Modern Orthodox Judaism, particularly in regard to his politics, which have been characterized as moderate Zionist.[6] One report described him as “too Zionist to be considered Haredi.”

He is respected internationally by Jews and non-Jews alike, and is one of the few figures in the Haredi world who has managed to gain the trust and admiration of both the Sephardic and Ashkenazic population.[7][8] Lau has received some negative attention for his stances and remarks on non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism. When Lau was awarded the Israel Prize in May 2005, there were protests from the Masorti and Reformmovements in Israel. Non-Orthodox leaders noted that it was ironic that Lau was being honored for “bridging rifts in Israeli society”. Lau’s spokespeople said that the fact that he had been approved by the (presumably heterogeneous) Prize Committee spoke for itself.3

Interfaith work

In 1993, Rav Lau had an hour-long meeting with John Paul II at the Pope’s summer residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome sought to offer the Vatican’s moral support to the latest peace moves in the Middle East. The visit was the first between a Pope and one of Israel’s chief rabbis since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.[9] In 2009, he was critical of a speech given by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Israel.[10] He later applauded a new papal statement which gave more emphasis to the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust.[11]

Presidential candidacy

In the spring of 2006, the Israeli media reported that Lau was being considered for presidency of the State of Israel. Some critics in the Israeli media wrote that Lau was more focused on maintaining his image as a progressive than in implementing such positions in the rabbinate’s policies, specifically major issues such as agunot, civil marriage, the status of Shabbat, and other divisive topics that continue to be relevant to many in the secular community vis-a-vis the Chief Rabbinate, which under Lau’s leadership usually sided with the Orthodox perspective.

Another criticism was that a rabbi as president could further blur the line between religion and the state, and push Israel closer to becoming a theocracy, both in fact and public perception. Israel’s gay community also opposed Lau’s possible candidacy due to his criticism of the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv and views on same sex couples. The Reform and Conservative movements in Israel also regarded Lau’s candidacy as “unsuitable.” A Reform activist accused Lau of being more concerned with fulfilling Judaism’s ritual requirements than focusing on pressing ethical questions such as discrimination in Israel or genocide in Darfur.

Awards and recognition

In 2005, Lau was awarded the Israel Prize for his lifetime achievements and special contribution to society and the State of Israel.[12]

On 14 April 2011, he was awarded the Legion of Honor (France’s highest accolade) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in recognition of his efforts to promote interfaith dialogue.[13]


“Let’s sit down together and let’s live together. We always knew how to die together. The time has come for us to know also how to live together, said Lau, calling for co-operation and dialogue between all Jews (Jerusalem, 14 February 1999).

At the 2006 commemoration of the massacre of Babi Yar, Lau pointed out that if the world had reacted, perhaps the Holocaust might never have happened. Implying that Hitlerwas emboldened by this impunity, Lau speculated:

Maybe, say, this Babi Yar was also a test for Hitler. If on 29 September and 30 September 1941 Babi Yar may happen and the world did not react seriously, dramatically, abnormally, maybe this was a good test for him. So a few weeks later in January 1942, near Berlin in Wannsee, a convention can be held with a decision, a final solution to the Jewish problem. Maybe if the very action had been a serious one, a dramatic one, in September 1941 here in Ukraine, the Wannsee Conference would have come to a different end, maybe“.[14]

Published works