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Jewish Genealogy Society
of Cleveland

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We research and support programs by renowned genealogy experts and offer free monthly educational programs. We meet on Zoom (and occasionally in-person following COVID regulations) typically on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 pm ET.  Advance registration is required for all programs and must be posted by noon on the day of the program.  Please contact our Vice President for Programming to discuss speaker opportunities and program ideas.

You can also check out the IAJGS Calendar for a listing of Jewish Genealogy Events.

Upcoming events

    • 10/04/2023
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Zoom

    Why Did Our Jewish Ancestors Leave a Great Place Like the Pale?

    Date & Time:  Wed, Oct 4, 2023 at 7:00 - 8:30 PM ET

    Location:  Zoom

    Register Now . . . registration ends at midnight ET on Tues, Oct 3rd (the night before event).

    Program:  Jews were welcomed into the Polish principalities in the 1200s, most notably, by the Duke of Greater Poland, Bolesław the Pious. Thousands fleeing persecution and expulsions across Western Europe came.  As Poland expanded to the east and south, Jews moved into Lithuanian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian lands.  By 1800 there were more than a million Jews in the Pale. By 1900, they would number nearly five million. Jews flourished in the Pale, creating diverse religious, cultural, educational, and charitable institutions. Then, between 1881 and 1914 over two million left all that they had known for the West.  This talk discusses how the Pale came to be, life in it and why this mass migration occurred. It breaks the 120-year history of the Pale into periods of creation, confinement, repression, enlightenment, pogroms, and chaos. There is much more to the story than the horrific pogroms at the turn of the 20th century.

    Speaker:   Hal Bookbinder is a retired information systems professional who continues to instruct at the university level. He has been actively researching his genealogy for more than three decades, identifying over 4,000 relatives and tracing two lines to the mid-1700s in modern Ukraine. He is a past president of the JGS of Los Angeles and of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Hal publishes a series of monthly articles on safe computing which are freely available at He and his wife, Marci, were raised in the Catskills of New York State, in the famed “Borsht Belt”. After attending New York University and a four-year stint in the US Air Force, they have lived in the Los Angeles area. In 2018, he made a journey to Ukraine, visiting various areas of the former Volhynia and Podolia in which his family lived for hundreds of years.

    Registration:  Required and free.  A zoom link will be emailed to you the day before the program.  Registration ends at midnight ET on Tuesday, Oct 3rd (the night before event).

    A recording of this program will be available in the Member section of our website.  For information on membership, click HERE.

    • 10/11/2023
    • 10:00 AM
    • 11/15/2023
    • 12:00 PM
    • Landmark Centre Building, 25700 Science Park Dr, Ste 100, Beachwood, OH 44122

    Case Western Reserve University Siegal Lifelong Learning Program


    Instructor:  Ken Bravo

    Location:  Landmark Centre Building, 25700 Science Park Dr, Ste 100,    Beachwood, OH 44122

    Date:  Wednesdays, October 11-November 15

    Time:  10 am - Noon ET

    Have you ever wanted to learn more about your family history, but not known how to start? This 6-week class will combine lectures and hands-on research in a broad range of resources and methodologies for researching Jewish genealogy. Participants must bring a laptop computer or tablet and know how to log onto the internet and download .jpg images. Attendees should have a current Cuyahoga County Library card and have the password to log into the library remotely using that account.

    Cost:  Non-Member $180

                Lifelong Learning Members receive 15% discount


    • 11/14/2023
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Zoom

    From the Shtetl to Ellis Island:  Discovering the Journey with Leah Kaplan

    In partnership with Case Western Reserve University Siegal Lifelong Learning

    Date & Time:  Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023 at 7:00 - 8:30 PM ET

    Location:  Zoom

    Program:  Many American Jews have ancestors who left their towns and villages throughout Europe to come to America around the turn of the 20th century. They were fleeing poverty, famine, religious persecution, bleak futures without education, pogroms, and more. We know they sailed from various ports along the Atlantic, most likely in steerage class. Thousands landed at Ellis Island. But how did they travel hundreds of miles over land to get from their towns to port cities like Antwerp, or Rotterdam, and what was sailing in steerage really like? In this lecture, we will learn about their arduous journey, including details about why citizens of various countries decided to leave, the strict examination process in Antwerp and lesser-known facts about conditions at Ellis Island, circa 1900.

    Speaker:  Leah Kaplan

    Registration:  Required through CWRU Siegal Lifelong Learning.  Use this link.  Free and open to the community. 

    • 12/06/2023
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Zoom

    Annual Meeting and What I did with My DNA Results: Cliff Notes for the Emerging Genealogist with Robin Selinger, PhD

    Date & Time:  Wed, Dec 6, 2023 at 7:00 - 8:30 PM ET

    Location:  Zoom

    Register Now . . . registration ends at midnight on Tuesday, Dec 5th (the night before event).


    Speaker:   Robin Selinger, PhD

    Registration:  Required and free.  A zoom link will be emailed to you the day before the program.

    Register Now . . . registration ends at midnight on Tuesday, Dec 5th (the night before event).

Past events

09/06/2023 Using FamilySearch for Jewish Research and Cleveland Connections with Todd Knowles
08/20/2023 Summer Cemetery Cleanup
08/09/2023 The ABC's of Vital Records: Birth, Marriage, & Death with Deborah Abbott, PhD
07/30/2023 2023 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
07/12/2023 JGSC Quarterly Board Meeting
07/09/2023 Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)
07/05/2023 U.S. Synagogue Records as a Genealogical Resource with Ellen Kowitt
06/18/2023 Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)
06/09/2023 JGSC 40th Anniversary Program and Open House
05/21/2023 Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Spring Cemetery Cleanup
05/03/2023 Moving Your Family Memories from Nostalgia to History with Samuel Gruber, PhD
04/26/2023 2023 OGS Conference: What Brought Them Here
04/23/2023 NEOGRT Series with Daniel Horowitz (Sunday)
04/22/2023 NEOGRT Series with Daniel Horowitz (Saturday)
04/05/2023 Passover
03/29/2023 JGSC Quarterly Board Meeting
03/02/2023 RootsTech 2023
03/01/2023 Finding and Understanding Bubbe and Zayde’s Galician Vital Records with Mark Halpern
02/08/2023 ICA Art Conservation: Caring for Paintings and Frames
02/01/2023 Gone Girl: DNA and Document Strategies for Finding a VERY Long Lost Female Cousin with Rhoda Miller
01/27/2023 International Holocaust Remembrance Day
01/18/2023 Finding Your Roots: Documenting Family History in the Digital Age
01/04/2023 Researching Criminal Ancestors with Ron Arons
12/18/2022 Chanukah
12/14/2022 ICA's Conservation Highlights 2022
12/07/2022 Annual Meeting: Help Us Kickoff our 2023 Membership Drive and Take a Quick Tour of Our Online Home
11/13/2022 Exploring DNA Testing for Genealogy Research
11/09/2022 Caring for Silver
10/12/2022 Tips and Tools to Explore Military History and Make Family Connections
09/07/2022 Secrets, Lies, and Families … Let’s Talk! with Julie Klam and Diane Cole

Copyright 2023.  The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland, Inc. (JGSC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (EIN: 34-1648203).  All Rights Reserved.