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A Little Genealogy Goes a Long Way!

By | news, Voices From the Board | No Comments

One afternoon in early 2013, I received a phone message from Rabbi Zell of Tiferet Israel. He said to call him back on his personal cell phone, so I did. He had received an odd e-mail from a man identifying himself as Douglas Parker from New York who believed he was a cousin of a congregant named Bill Pakowsky. The rabbi, not knowing my maiden name, asked around to see if anyone knew of a Bill Pakowsky, to which Tina (Tobolowsky) Israel replied that the Pakowsky family had been very active at Tiferet Israel. Tina had provided the rabbi with my married name and phone number. The rabbi wanted to know if it was OK to forward this e-mail to me and I said that was fine. I read it over very carefully. There were several details in it about my grandfather, Morris Pakowsky, and his family; things I didn’t know about, but Douglas Parker did. For example, my grandfather and father kept the original spelling of their last names, but the rest of the siblings (there were 7) didn’t. They ended up with “Parker,” “Parks” and a few other last names. This was all news to me, and I…

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From the DJHS President – Join us on May 3 to honor the Genecov family for their service

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All of us want our children to be happy, healthy, and successful in whatever they chose to do with their lives. If we are lucky, our children will not only bring us “nachas”, but will make a difference in the lives of others. If your name is Sally and Ed Genecov, you are very lucky. Sally is the mother of Dr. Jeff Genecov, Julie Genecov Shrell, and Dr. David Genecov.   On May 3rd at 5:30 PM at the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dallas Jewish Historical Society is honoring these 3 siblings with its Ann Loeb Sikora Humanitarian Award. This highly selective award is given bi-annually to Dallas-area Jewish individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to public service and who stand as role models for future generations. Dr. Jeff Genecov, a Master Orthodontist, and Dr. David Genecov, a world-renowned Cranio-Facial Surgeon, volunteer with Smile Train, an international children’s charity that provides 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children in over 85 developing countries, Julie Genecov Shrell, an ovarian cancer survivor, co-founded the Be the Difference Foundation, which has raised over $2 million for ovarian cancer research. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. We are also selling individual…

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From the DJHS President: Do you watch the “In Memoriams” every year on TV?

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At the end of each year, I always take great interest in watching one thing on TV – the memorial tributes by the networks and awards shows honoring the many great people who passed away that year. Yes, it sounds a bit gruesome, but to me, it provides me with a moment to reflect on 1) the great contributions made by these people to society and 2) the effect many of them had on my life. Whether I enjoyed watching them in a favorite TV show or a funny movie or cheered them on as they won the Masters or made history blasting into space, almost all invoked some special time in my life that I will always remember. I also take time at the end of the year to remember those who may not have been as rich or as famous as those people mentioned above. These may be personal friends, work colleagues, shul friends, and on occasion family members. These people knew me, my family and I knew them and their family. If they were Jewish, I went to their funeral or attended a shiva minyan. Since I grew up in Dallas, I probably knew them for decades,…

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Treasures from the DJHS Archives – Skibell/Goldstein Collection

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Among the many collections to explore, the archives of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society (DJHS), located in the Aaron Family JCC, houses a collection from the Skibell-Goldstein family, chronicling the history of this large Jewish family from the late 1800s to early 1970s.  The collection includes a large number of photographs (some from the 1870s) and documents (letters, government certificates, two wedding ketubahs – one from 1911 and another from 1941), as well as a number of artifacts, including a Russian Chumash, dating back to the 1800s. The Goldstein family traces its roots in Dallas back to the late 1800s when the patriarch of the family, Jacob Goldstein, immigrated to the United States from Russia through the port of Castle Garden, NY in 1882.  In 1910, one of Jacob’s five children, Isaac Goldstein, married into another prominent immigrant family, the Skibelski family, who changed their name to Skibell upon entry into the United States.  Isaac and his wife, Ida, had five children – Jacob, Hilda, Sylvan, Mitchell, and Rhea Leah.  All three of the sons served in the military during World War II. A notable artifact in this collection – a World War II medical kit – belonged to Isaac…

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JOIN US AT LEARNINGFEST 2016!

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EVERY HOME HAS A STORY . . . Sunday, November 6, 2016, 3:15 p.m. at the Aaron Family JCC Do you have old family photographs in boxes in a spare room or garage? Do you have Bubbe and Zayde’s old love letters in a box in the attic?  Do you have your parents’ wedding pictures and Ketubah?  Are you unsure if your family heirlooms and documents might have any value?  Do you know you have something great and want to preserve it, but just don’t know where to start? As part of Learning Fest 2016, The Dallas Jewish Historical Society will host an introductory preservation workshop to help provide information about basic preservation, practical advice for handling, storing, and caring for personal collections, and to raise awareness of the value that personal family collections can hold for historical or cultural heritage institutions. Join us and learn what you can do to start organizing and preserving your family’s incredible story. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 2016 LEARNINGFEST SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AND TO REGISTER Speakers Alexis Joanna Ferguson, MLS, DJHS Archivist Alexis provides leadership of our Archive Management program. Alexis received a BA in Anthropology from TCU and an MS in Library…

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From the DJHS President: Do You Want to be Part of History?

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I admit it. I am a history buff. I like going to history museums, watching Ken Burns documentaries on PBS, and looking up famous people on Wikipedia. I remember going to the Library of Congress on a trip to Washington DC and seeing all the great artifacts from decades of American culture and government. On that same trip, I went to the Newseum where I viewed hours of video from war correspondents and seeing documents that I previously only saw in textbooks or online. It made me feel great to be an American. Did you know that as a Jew in Dallas, you have something similar that showcases the history of Jews in Dallas? The next time you are in the JCC, take a left at the front desk and go by the office of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. You will see volunteers cataloging pictures from the earlier to mid-20th century of Jewish families who settled here. In the humidity-controlled Archive, you will see BBYO pictures from conventions in the 1960 and 1970s (yes I had hair back then) and collections of books, magazines, and other treasurers from decades of family collections. There are over 10,000 artifacts from people…

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In memoriam – Ginger Chesnick Jacobs z”l

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BARUCH DAYAN EMET It is with deep sadness that we extend condolences to the family of Ginger Chesnick Jacobs on the death of their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, on Thursday, June 16, 2016. Ginger was the wife of Mike Jacobs z”l; mother of Mark Jacobs, Deborah Linksman, Andy Jacobs and Reuben Jacobs; grandmother of Rivka (Brad) Altman, Leeza (Joe) Sanderson, Sarah (Jeffrey) Verchow, and Aviva Linksman; great-grandmother of Devon Altman and Elijah Verchow. Founder of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Ginger tirelessly from 1971 up to the last several months to ensure that the rich history and the many contributions of the Jewish community in Dallas will be remembered. Services will be held at Congregation Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave., at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 17, 2016, in the Aaron Family Main Sanctuary; internment to follow at  Shearith Israel Cemetery, 4634 Dolphin Road in Dallas. Shiva minyan will be held at the home of Rivka & Brad Altman, 9317 Faircrest in Dallas, beginning on Sunday, June 19th at 6:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ginger Chesnick Jacobs Historical Tour and Outreach Fund at the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. May Ginger’s memory be for a blessing on all who knew her, may her soul be bound up in the bonds of eternal life and…

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