Monday, July 20, 2009

Mishpacha Magazine: A Genealogy Resource

Posted By Ann Rabinowitz 

Five years ago, “Mishpacha”, the most widely read orthodox magazine in Israel decided to put out an English-language edition to broaden its readership base.  Since then, the magazine has grown and one can find articles that focus on Jewish content from all over the world.  The articles are accompanied by beautifully done photographs which enhance the text.  The magazine can be located on-line at the following site:  www.mishpacha.com.

The most recent edition, Issue 267, July 15, 2009, is an example of the broad scope of the many articles it contains which are of genealogical interest.  A major article is entitled “Keeper of Memories:  The Astounding Life and Career of Yaffa Eliach” by Barbara Bensoussan.  Of course, many genealogists are familiar with Dr. Eliach who has written extensively on her ancestral shtetl of Eishyshok, Lithuania, and this piece provides further definition of her accomplishments.
Another well-written article is “Jews of the Emerald Isle” by Shira Yehudit Djlilmand.  The article provides a history of the Jewish community in Ireland along with wonderful photos and coverage of what the community is like today.  Well worth reading.  
Additionally, writer Lily Astaire takes readers on a visit to Girona, Spain, in her article “In the Footsteps of the Ramban, A Visit to Jewish Catalonia, Part Two”.  This provides an insightful discussion of the place where Moses Nahmanides or the Ramban, 1194-1270, lived and had his yeshiva.  Nahmanides was a famous critic of Moses Maimonides, the Rambam, 1138-1204, who lived in nearby Cordoba.  The restoration of the historic structures of pre-Inquisition Girona and the finding of many ancient documents going back to the 13th Century are the focus of this quite interesting piece.   

The magazine also focuses on American communities too with such complementary articles as:  “A Right Turn to Woodbourne” by Rochel Weinstein which covers the history of Woodbourne, NY, and its settlers from Lodz and Warsaw and its accommodation of Jewish summer visitors.   The other article is “Jewish Life in the Country” by Barbara Bensoussan, which discusses the tradition of going away during the summer to bungalow communities.

You may find the latest information on various Jewish communities around the world or tidbits on certain traditions and historical and rabbinical figures.  All have a place in this magazine which is sure to please many genealogists.

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