What’s NEW ON OUR WEBSITE for members:  Family Finder and Har Jehuda cemetery data which is being updated monthly until we are finished!

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.








Date:  Sunday, October 22, 2023

Time:  2:00 pm EST Check in, Chat, and Schmooze

            2:30 pm EST Official start time

In Person Venue: Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave Wynnewood, PA 19096

Hybrid Meeting: Zoom link will be sent out prior to the meeting for members only.  The Zoom link will be posted on our website on Sunday morning for guests.

Speaker: Dr. Polly Zavadivker, Assistant Professor of History and Director, Jewish Studies Program, University of Delaware

All guests are welcome to attend in person free of charge.




Pol­ly is Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of His­to­ry and Jew­ish Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware. She is the edi­tor and trans­la­tor of the recent­ly published The 1915 Diary of S. An-sky: A Russ­ian Jew­ish Writer at the East­ern Front. Her work has been pub­lished in jour­nals includ­ing East Euro­pean Jew­ish AffairsThe Simon Dub­now Insti­tute Year­bookRuss­ian Review, and oth­ers. She is cur­rent­ly at work on a man­u­script enti­tled ​“Blood and Ink: Jew­ish Chron­i­clers of Cat­a­stro­phe in Twen­ti­eth Cen­tu­ry Russia.”




She has a Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Cruz, a M.A. from New York University and a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley.


Topic: The Golden Torah, or how Russian Jews Set out to Rescue Sacred Objects during World War I


When Russia’s Pale of Settlement became a battleground and site of military atrocities during World War I, it was not only people but also Jewish sacred objects and spaces that became the targets of pogroms, iconoclastic violence, arson, and theft. Setting out to rescue the centuries-old sacred treasures of the shtetls, the Jewish Historical-Ethnographic Society in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) waged a brief but dynamic campaign in 1916 to evacuate Jewish material heritage from front zones. Its organizers visited 25 shtetls in regions that are now part of Belarus and Ukraine, where they rescued nearly 500 Torah scrolls and hundreds of manuscripts, community record books, and other sacred objects. This presentation sheds light on this little-known campaign and its importance for understanding the transformations and conflicts within Russian Jewry in a time of global war and revolution.


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. 

Please go to this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N9BVYXT  to respond to our 2023 new survey.  Your name will be kept confidential, and results will only be shared among the board members to help guide our organization.  Thanks for your cooperation and speed in completing the survey. 


Don’t forget to update your address and e-mail if it’s changed!


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!

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.