Our Past 2023 Events

Date: Sunday, January 8, 2023 via Zoom
Time: 1:00 PM check in, chat, and schmooze (Optional) Official program starts promptly at 1:30


A joint presentation of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal and the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia

Speaker: Menachem Kaiser, author,  in conversation with Dan Rottenberg

Topic:  Book Talk: Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure

Location: ZOOM co-hosted with JGS of Montreal


Menachem Kaiser is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. His debut memoir, Plunder, won the 2022 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and was named a New York Times’ Critics Best Book of the Year.


Dan Rottenberg, a member of JGASGP, is an author, editor and journalist. He is best known to us as the author of Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy published in 1977. This book was instrumental in the growth of pursuit of Jewish family histories.


Topic: In Conversation with Menachem Kaiser, award winning author of Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure


This book describes the author’s quest to reclaim his family’s apartment building in Poland — and of the astonishing entanglement with Nazi treasure hunters that follows.



Date: Sunday, January 29, 2023 at 1:30 pm via Zoom

Time: 1:00 PM check in, chat, and schmooze (Optional) Official program starts promptly at 1:30
Speakers: Jacky Comforty, Award-winning documentary filmmaker, oral historian and media creator and Martha Bloomfield, Award-winning author, oral historian, and artist

Jacky is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning documentary filmmaker, oral historian and media creator who has worked for over thirty-five years creating films and videos in the United States, Germany, Israel and Bulgaria. He has worked on groundbreaking films in Holocaust Studies. He is the director, editor, producer and distributor of three full-length documentaries and a dozen short videos about the Holocaust.

Martha is an award-winning author, oral historian, artist and independent scholar who has written several books about immigrants, migrants and the formerly homeless. In an effort to help dissipate prejudice and discrimination, she conducts oral histories to discover people’s voices and stories to share within the social historical contexts with other people.

Topic: Book Talk – The Stolen Narrative of The Bulgarian Jews and The Holocaust

The speakers share a complex tapestry of voices and memories previously underrepresented, ignored and denied. It is an alternative perspective that includes stolen, silenced but now reclaimed Jewish narratives based on our peoples’ experiences. It contextualizes and personalizes the history, reconstructs the puzzle, praises those who helped the Jews and shares their exemplary acts of humanity for future generations. It fills a void in the Bulgarian Holocaust literature–specifically first-hand accounts of memory of survivors, eyewitnesses, photographs, official publications, laws and newspaper articles. They will also talk about the importance of oral histories and their journey together to write this ground-breaking book. Jacky will also share an excerpt of the movie he is working on based on their book.

Sunday, February 26, 2023 at 1:30 pm via Zoom

Speaker: Emily Garber, Writer, Speaker and Professional Genealogist


Genealogy researcher, writer and speaker, Emily is an anthropological archaeologist by training and has been researching her family history since 2007. She holds a certificate from Boston University’s Genealogical Research program and owns Extra Yad Genealogical Services. Emily blogs at https://extrayad.blogspot.com/, has written two books and several articles on genealogical research that have appeared in Avotaynu. She serves as chair of the Phoenix Jewish Genealogy Group, and a member of the Board of Directors of both the IAJGS and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.


Topic: It’s Hard to Say, ‘Good-bye’: Russian Jews Emigration to the United States


There were times when it was more difficult for many Jews to leave the Russian Empire than to enter the United States. What did emigrants have to do to get from their towns of origin to their ports of departure? What were the steps they had to take before leaving their communities? What did the Russian government require of potential emigrants? How and where did emigrants acquire tickets to sail? What routes might our ancestors have taken to get from their homes to ports of departure?


This presentation will answer these general questions and suggest how we can find likely answers for our relatives.