Welcome to the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia (JGASGP). We invite you to enjoy our site. There is content for paid-up members only. If you are a member, please register for access. (Click Register at the right under “Logon Status”.) If not a member, please join.

Click here to view slide show of the outstanding Har Jehuda Digitization project.

Date:  Sunday, July 14, 2024

Time: Official meeting starts at 1:30 pm     

(1:00 pm for Schmoozing and Mentoring)

Location:   Zoom only: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/8791908192?pwd=N0JUb01tZ3p3WTFuOEl6aVEwNFVFZz09&omn=87306520217 Meeting ID: 879 190 8192 Passcode: JGASGP2024

Speaker:  Ellen Kowitt, JewishGen USA Research Division Director and D.A.R. Jewish Specialty Research National Vice Chair


Ellen Kowitt is founder and principal genealogist at Sole Searching Genealogy & Historical Research. Specializing in American records and Jewish ancestry, she is a frequent presenter at national conferences and has published articles in Family Tree Magazine and Avotaynu: The International Journal on Jewish Genealogy. Topics include getting started in Jewish genealogy, methodology, Jewish institutional records, comparing Jewish resources on the genealogy giant websites, Russian Empire research, and Holocaust in Ukraine. Ellen received her B.A. from Alfred University and spent twenty-five years working in marketing management and communications before transitioning into full-time research. She has completed the ProGen study program and several genealogical institutes, and Ellen is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. While accepting clients, she continues to volunteer and is JewishGen USA Research Division Director and D.A.R. Jewish Specialty Research National Vice Chair. In 2022, Ellen launched Shul Records America for JewishGen which is a unique finding aid pointing to the location of synagogue records in over one hundred repositories. She has spent thirty years studying her paternal Jewish origins in Ukraine which are documented back to the mid-1700s prior to the assignment of Jewish surnames. Ellen has organized extensive volunteer town research projects for her ancestral shtetl towns of Lyubar and Chudnov, as well as across the former Volhynia Guberniya, and she has partnered with scholars in five countries on projects about Babyn Yar and Holocaust in Ukraine. Originally from New York and Washington DC, Ellen resides in Colorado with her Israeli-born husband and is mother to two college students. For more information and lecture dates, visit www.EllenKowitt.com.

Topic: U.S. Synagogue Records as a Genealogical Resource

A primer on how to find synagogue records, what genealogical material they include, and what they look like. Finding synagogue records can be problematic and time consuming as they are hard to find, sometimes with errors in catalogs and a variety of ways materials are described. To make it easier, and in one place, JewishGen starts the search for you with Shul Records America. This new finding aid points to the location of American synagogue records. Launched in fall 2022 with over 1,000 collections identified to date and held at over 100 repositories, about 10% include URLs for digitized materials. Not only a historical resource but important as modern-day synagogues merge or close, Shul Records America also encourages congregations to preserve records with genealogical value.

Handout: https://jgasgp.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/2024-Kowitt-Handout-Synagogue-Research-Philadelphia.pdf



Our society has grown so much since the start of my term, one month before the onset of the pandemic.  We have mushroomed to over 400 paid members and over 1500 members of our Facebook page.  This is tremendously exciting!  Although some of you have been members for decades, many are newcomers.  It is wonderful to see our society in a new phase of growth.

In response to this surge in membership, the board wants to get a pulse on our members’ thoughts about the future activities of our society AND find out how each of you might be able to lend a hand. 

If you have questions or comments for the JGASGP Board, just email President Felicia Mode Alexander at president@jgasgp.org.


  Don’t forget to update your address and e-mail if it’s changed! 
Email the changes to Marilyn Golden, membership@jgasgp.org


Our recent awards

Click on an image to enlarge it.  

Our Book Club

JGASGP has a book club for members. We are meeting on Zoom every month except for July and August. Meetings are on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 7:30. Click here to learn about upcoming meetings.

Members take turns leading our discussions. We are reading books by Jewish authors or books with Jewish themes. The link will be sent out the day of the meetings. Please mark your calendars and join us. Thanks to Beth Steiner for leading our discussion of The Book of Lost Names. We all said we liked historical fiction.  * These books are available free to read at most free libraries in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Please consider joining us on our reading adventures. Any other suggestions??? Send your suggestions to Marilyn at membership@jgasgp.org (No meetings in July and August.)

  • South 4th Street looking from Monroe to Fitzwater Sts. circa 1930
If you would like to share (un-copyrighted) images from your research, please forward them to webmaster@jgasgp.org. We will “rotate” through our collected images.


The Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC) was formed through the efforts of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia many years ago. Its’ mission was to collect, preserve, facilitate research and share the story of the Jewish communities of the Greater Philadelphia area. In 2009 the holdings of PJAC were transferred to the Special Records Collection at Temple University Libraries. With the support of many philanthropic individuals, an archivist position was endowed by PJAC. With our new name (Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia) and mission we will continue the great work of PJAC.

We encourage you to support the archives with donations and archival material. Donations may be made to the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection Endowment at: Temple University Libraries PO Box 71340 Philadelphia, PA 19176-9761

Donations can also be made through the library website: https://library.temple.edu/policies/10

Those interested in offering a donation of books or archival material to the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Collection should send a description of those materials to:

Margery Sly, Director of Special Collections Research Center

Email: msly@temple.edu

What’s New On Our Site!

December 2023 We have a group of 29 volunteers working to digitize the burial records of Har Jehuda Cemetery in Upper Darby. The records will be part of JewishGen.org (JOWBR). The first 29,000 records (A to Sc…) are available NOW on our website under cemetery data.

December, 2022 The Society celebrates our 40th anniversary and our first president Harry Boonin. Pictures are located here.

November 2021 Our president is interviewed in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the ongoing cleanup of Har Nebo Cemetery and the problems of cemeteries that are not maintained or are vandalized. The article is at https://www.inquirer.com/life/jewish-cemeteries-philadelphia-conservation-pilot-project-nebo-oxford-circle-20211109.html

JGASCP supported the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center (HAMEC) Gala on November 6, 2021.   Click the photo to enlarge

October 2021 Our president, Felica Mode Alexander, was interviewed at the IAJGS2019 convention is Cleveland by Jarrett Ross, the GeneaVlogger, about her work with Holocaust education. The video is at https://youtu.be/tS3d3eeiwDw

October 2020

Goldstein’s Landsmanshaftn Cemetery data has been added to the Resources > Cemetery Data page. Landsmanshaftn organizations provided, among other things, burial societies.

August 2020 Meeting

Judy Baston: “Finding your Litvak Family” A handout is available by accessing the menu item, Archives>Meeting Summaries and Handouts.

Cemetery Records for Har Nebo Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA. You can find these under the Menu item “Resources”, then click on  “Cemetery Data”

Miriam Weiner, our December meeting lecturer, was the subject of a recent article that appeared in the Jewish Exponent; “Genealogy Rock Star Discusses Digging Up Jewish Roots”.  The article can be found under menu item “Archives”, then click on “Newspaper Articles”.

January 2020 Meeting

For Frederic Blum’s Handout, “How to locate Holocaust Survivors Through Genealogy”, please go to the menu item, “Archives”, then click on “Meeting Summaries and Handouts”

November 2019 Meeting

A handout from Deborah Long’s Lecture can be found on our website under menu item, “Archives”, then click on “Meeting Summaries and Handouts”

October 2019 Meeting

A handout from Jordan Auslander’s Lecture can be found on our website under menu item “Archives”, then click “Meeting Summaries and Handouts”

September 2019 Meeting

Sarina Roffe’s Lecture Handout can be found on our website under menu item “Archives”, then click “Meeting Summaries and Handouts”

Rabbi Shalom Bronstein’s reflections of Congregation Beth Am Israel during the 1940’s to the 1960’s can be found under the menu item “Resources”.The synagogue was originally located in SW Philadelphia.  In 1973, the congregation moved to Penn Valley.

W. Todd Knowles’ Power Point Presentation on “Making the Most of FamilySearch for Jewish Research” can be found by going to the menu item “Archives” and clicking the “Meeting Summaries and Handouts” button.

Check out “An Ongoing History of Beth Emeth-B,nai Yitzhok Congegation” by Al Feldman. The synagogue was located in NE Philadelphia.  You can find this document under the menu item “Resources”

Other Information

“A Service to the Jewish Community Award” was given to JGSGP on May 2, 2019 by the B’nai Brith Educators Unit Charter 5290.

For information on the JGSGP (JGASGP) Library at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) look under the menu item, “Resources”. To go directly to the our library collection at the  HSP, click here.