Welcome to my home page.
I grew up in the small town of Newport Rhode Island. My father arrived in the United States in 1921 with his mother's and sisters from white Russia. At the time it was in Poland, now it is in Belarus, and before WWI it was in Russia. He joined his father and an extended family...in what was virtually a transplanted shtetl. More than 50% of the Jewish community was from the Dokshitz area. I did not really understand this until recently.
I was always interested in history. In the 1990s I because interested in my family history. I sought out my family which had dispersed throughout the United States. Eventually relatives were found in Minsk who had no idea about their American cousins. It also led to my assisting in the founding of a non-profit organization. The Friends of Jewish Dokshitsy which helped the Dokshitsy District, Belarus to restore their Jewish cemetery. Along the way I reunited several families that had been separated by geography, by the war and the holocaust, and the passage of time.
I am also a member of the Pokross family from Gorodishche, Ukraine and the Karnovsky family from Ignatovka, Ukraine, which is 13 miles from Kiev.
I grew up Newport RI. At the time I think I was related to much of Jewish Newport. and have created a Jewish Newport Blog. My interest in Jewish Newport has lead to several articles in The Boston Jewish Advocate and in the Rhode Island Voice. I have been to Belarus, the Ukraine, and Israel repeatedly since 2007. What you like to join me on a trip?
Often your research will lead to a wish to get together with your extended family.I have also been involved in planning several family reunions, and a shtetl reunion. Ihelp you plan a reunion. I can help you write your speech, or even be a speaker.
Jewish Genealogy. Start by talking to your relatives. This can then be supplemented by further research. In addition to helping you network among your family, I can put my experience using sources such as jewishgen.org, Yad Vashem, ancestry.com, google, online phone books, Facebook, and message boards to work for you. An article I co-wrote for Mass-Pocha, the newsletter or Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston. demonstrates genealogical research and illustrates an important principle: the more you know, the easier it is to put things together. In addition to researching your genealogy, I can show you how to use Facebook to share your findings, help you set up a website, share photos online, and show you how to use online tools such as google drive to help make your work more efficient If you prefer to do the work yourself, I would be glad to teach you the tricks of the trade. Genealogy is not just family trees. It is also understanding the history that influenced decisions to move or immigrate. I have read extensively about history and can help you understand the factors that affected your family.
I have traveled to Belarus, Russia, and Israel, and may be able to help you with planning a trip.
My rates our modest, and my enthusiasm is boundless. Contact me for references.
Public speaking. Do you need an interesting speaker? I have spoken about my work restoring a Jewish Cemetery in Belarus and about Jewish Genealogy. I can also speak about how I became the most prominent opponent of plasticized body exhibits such as Body Worlds and its many imitators. I would also be happy to speak about many topics involving Jewish, European or World history. I spoke on March 17, 2013 at a men's club breakfast in Sharon, MA and at 70 people it was one their best attended breakfasts. Some recent presentations, Reuniting Families, tales and techniques for theFederation fo Jewish Men's Clubs genealogy affinity group; The Joint: What Is It and How Can I Use Its Archives? for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, Introduction to Jewish Genealogy for Touro Synagogue, Newport RI; Oy Vey, Curing the I can't find my shtetl syndrome for the 2020 International Assocaition of Jewish Genealogical Societies convention; Reunion for Mach for Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston; A Visit to Egypt, Temple Israel, Sharon, Massachusetts, A Jewish Odyssey in the Ukraine at Temple Israel, Sharon; A Trip to Greece, Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus, Temeple Emunah, Lexington, MA; Remebering Dokshitsy video and talk, Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI.
Family Reunification. After I created Yousaypokrassa I realized that I enjoyed helping families reunite. Since then I have done it many times. It is particularly moving for Holocaust survivors or their descendants who have lost contact with their extended families and lost most of their immediate family and for Jews from behind the iron curtain who lost contact under communism with their extended families as well as with their roots. It is exciting to reestablish a connection that was interrupted..after 20 years, 40 years, 80 years, or even 100 years!
Program management. Through my experience with The Friends of Jewish Dokshitsy I learned about managing a project from start to finish including founding a non-profit organization, fund-raising, reaching out to interest parties, inspiring volunteers to donate their services and their advice, and managing a project from inception to completion. In creating stopbodyworlds.org to oppose exhibits of plasticized human bodies I blogged, created a web site, demonstrated, appeared on TV and Radio, wrote op-eds and letters to the editor, and made extensive efforts to speak to the media and to find like-minded people. I refined my skills with Sukkahsoftheworld.org, a site devoted to pictures of Sukkahs. I wrote articles for the local media...and was consulted and featured by the Boston Jewish Advocate.
Advocacy. I am one of the world's foremost opponents of plasticized body exhibits. I have demonstrated against these exhibits and inspired people to consider this issue by creating stopbodyworlds.orgs. an informative website. I believe that human dignity is compromised by the use of real bodies in these exhibits.
6. Photo and video. While not a polished professional, sometimes being in the right location, sensing what would make an interesting picture, and knowing how to share photos is as important as their quality. And don't underestimate the value of cropping. As an advanced amateur, my rates are competitive and I am happy to serve as a back up. I can help you edit your pictures and create slide shows of your best photos for display using a computer, a DVD or the internet. Some of my favorite pictures are from the 2013 World Wide Wrap and A New Generation of European Jewry. Touring: want a tour of the Boston area or nearby Massachusetts and Rhode Island, especially Newport, my hometown? I am an experienced traveler and a knowledgable guide.
Elder care: in the Boston area, I am an experienced home maker and companion... easy going and compassionate. References available.