Schedule of Upcoming Events

Please note: Meeting times, dates, locations and speakers are subject to change.

Information is regularly updated. 

Our meetings will be in-person AND online whenever possible and safe, and for members who do not live near the Philadelphia area.



Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 2:30 pm

Hybrid Meeting

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




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



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.

Sunday, November 12, 2023 at 1:30 pm

Hybrid Meeting

In Person Venue: TBD


Speaker: Meryl Frank, Author and former Mayor of Highland Park, NJ



Frank was appointed as the United States Representative, and subsequently, as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) by President Barack Obama in February 2009.


She was selected as one of “The Fifty Most Influential Jews in the World” by the Jerusalem Post (2012) for her work on behalf of women around the world.


Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, Frank was elected Mayor of Highland Park, New Jersey. She served in that capacity for ten years, from January 2000 to January 2010.


Topic: Unearthed: A Lost Actress, a Forbidden Book, and a Search for Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust (the title of her book)


A thrilling mystery woven into a beautifully constructed family memoir: Meryl Frank’s journey to seek the truth about a beloved and revolutionary cousin, a celebrated actress in Vilna before World War II, and to answer the question of how the next generation should honor the memory of the Holocaust.


Sunday, December 10, 2023 at 1:30 pm

Hybrid Meeting

In Person Venue: Congregation Rodeph Shalom. 615 North Broad Street Philadelphia


Speakers: Gary Pokrassa, Data Acquisition Director and Joel Spector, Director of Metric Record Projects for the Ukraine Research Division of JewishGen



Gary is the Data Acquisition Director for the Ukraine Research Division of JewishGen, Treasurer and Director of JRI-Poland, and town leader for 4 shtetls. He is a member of the JGS of Long Island. At the 2020 IAJGS Conference, he presented on Alex Krakovsky and his Wiki and was a panelist on the Ukraine Research Division Meeting. Gary has authored an article on the Alex Krakovsky project published in AVOTAYNU Summer 2020.


Joel Spector is a Past President of the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia, where he has also been chairperson of its Russian Special Interest Group. Joel is a former Secretary of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) and now serves as its Archivist. Currently Joel is a member of the Ukraine Research Division and serves as its Director of Metric Record Projects.


Topic: The Alex Krakovsky Project: Navigating the Wiki to Locate Town Records


For several years, Alex Krakovsky, a Ukrainian Jew, has been scanning metrical and census records found in long-closed Ukranian archives. He has placed the indexes, in Cyrillic, on a webpage where they can easily be accessed by anyone interested. This presentation will discuss the origin and method of Alex’s data acquisition, and then give an overview of the contents of his site.