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January 08, 1982 - Image 62

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-01-08

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62 Friday, January 8, 1982


Search Begins for Jewish Roots at Heritage Center


World Zionist Press Service

Thousands of Jewish
youngsters in Israel and in
the Diaspora have been dis-
covering their Jewish roots
as they probe parents and
grandparents for informa-
tion about their past, about
their family tree and about
those generations preceding
them, often in quite un-
familiar circumstances and
distant places.
The Jewish Family Heri-
tage Society, an Israel-
centered organization
which aids those in search of

their origins was estab-
lished five years ago . by
Prof. Isaac Halbrecht to
help stop assimilation. "In
the hearts of most Jews in
the Diaspora and in Israel
there is little or no Jewish
heritage. They have mini-
mal knowledge of Jewish
values and traditions," said
Yehuda Ben-David, a foun-
der and now director of the
organization, known in He-
brew as "Moreshet Beit
Saba" (legacy of my
grandfather's house).
The Jewish Family Heri-
tage Society is trying to
bridge the gap between

Jewish identity and the
threat of assimilation.
While making youngsters
aware of their family roots,
the questionnaires also help
them appeciate their
For instance, a young
Israeli boy who grew up
in a secular environment
decided that he wanted to
prepare for his Bar
Mitzva in a heder (reli-
gious school), after learn-
ing from his parents that
in Jewish tradition this
aspect of Jewish educa-
tion was considered an
honor and an obligation

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in their family for count-
less generations.
Other unknown stories
have emerged as a result of
filling out the question-
naires. For instance, a 17-
year-old Israeli girl learned
that her parents were mem-
bers of the underground
Zionist organization in
A young Moroccan boy,
upon questioning his
grandfather, discovered
that when he worked as a
merchant he had to sur-
round himself with car-
riages and defend himself
with arms to prevent hostile
tribes, which he
encountered, from attack-
ing him as he crossed the
The Jewish Heritage
Society is also involved in
obtaining documentation
on Jewish communities
around the world. Racing
against time, researchers
are photographing
cemeteries and monuments
before they are destroyed.
Valuable archives are also
being purchased, such as
one from Portugal which
contains extensive informa-
tion on Jewish families dur-
ing the Inquisition. The
archive revealed the names
of many Jews who recon-
verted to Judaism and were
burned alive by Catholic
All of the information
sent to the organization is
being fed into a computer
at the Museum of the
Jewish Diaspora, located
on the Tel Aviv Univer-
sity campus. Once the ex-
tensive information is
categorized, thoge who
have sent in the ques-
tionnaires can come to
the computer and receive
a printout of the informa-
tion they gave plus data
on their ancestors' town
and even information on
unknown relatives.
"The computer will be-
come a world center for
Jewish families. But a corn-
puter can only give out what
it digests," noted Ben-
David. Every effort is now
being made to publicize the
importance of filling out the
questionnaires to corn-
munities in Israel and
abroad. Following the suc-
cess of its first world con-
gress in Israel last summer,
hundreds of educators, ar-
chivists and representa-
tives of Jewish organiza-
tions agreed to help in dis-
tributing questionnaires.
"We want to have a popular
movement concerning

Jewish family heritage, in-
volving everyone in kinder-
gartens to senior citizen
homes," Ben-David said.
The questionnaires some-
times have unexpected re-
percussions. A youngster,
whose grandparents were
killed in the Holocaust,
learned that their last name
was Saloman. Later he
found out that Joel Moshe
Salomon, founder in 1878 of
Israel's first village
(Moshava) Petakh Tikva,
bore the same name.
Whenever he hears the
name mentioned he feels
great pride that perhaps one
of the great personalities of
Israel was his relative.

Rabbi Tawlicki

Rabbi Bencion Tawlicki,
who held several pulpits
prior to coming to Detroit,
died Jan. 5 at age 96.
Born in Poland, Rabbi
Tawlicki lived 52 years in
the U.S., 17 of them in De-
troit. He studied at the
Yeshivot of Radun and
In Warren, Ohio, Rabbi
Tawlicki held a pulpit until
1948 when he moved to
Pittsburgh, Pa., serving
there until 1950. He went to
Toledo, Ohio, where he held
a pulpit until 1964 when he
moved to Detroit and made
his residence at Borman
Rabbi Tawlicki is sur-
vived by nieces and
nephews. Interment New

M. Wishnetzky

among the leading dis-
tributors in the country of
Manischewitz products,
died Dec. 31 at age 92.
A resident of New York,
Mr. Wishnetzky was a
leader in Labor Zionist and
Yiddish cultural circles.
He is survived by his wife,
Helen; two sons, Edward
Wishnetsky of Detroit and
Dr. Theodore Wishnetsky of
East Lansing; a daughter,
Mrs. Myra Dromi of Yamit,
Israel; seven grandchildren
and two great-grandchil-
dren. Interment New York.

Ethel Canvasser

Ethel Canvasser, a
member of Jewish women's
and communal organiza-
tions, died Dec. 20 at age 91.
Born in Lithuania, Mrs.
Canvasser was a life
member of Hadassah, Pis-
gah Chapter of Bnai Brith
Women, Cong. Shaarey
Zedek Sisterhood and
Device Aids Deaf Pioneer
She leaves a son, George
With Telephone
of Westhills, Calif.; two
NEW YORK — Johns daughters, Mrs. Julius
Hopkins University has (Rose) Meskin and Mrs.
awarded $10,000 to Dr. Ralph (Ruth) Greenbaum;
Harry Levitt for his inven- eight grandchildren and 11
tion of a device that allows great-grandchildren.
deaf persons to communi-
cate with each other by Actor Dies at 58
NEW YORK — Char-
Dr. Levitt, of City Uni-
versity of Neyc'i York, mod- acter actor Harvey Lem-
ified a pocket computer so beck, who appeared on
that it can show messages Broadway as Harry Shapiro
on its display area. Dr. in "Stalag 17" and on the old
Levitt expects the profitable Phil Silvers comedy show,
telecommunicator to be "You'll Never Get Rich,"
died Jan. 5 at age 58.
available for about $200.

James Cutler

James P. Cutler, a com-
mercial artist who also was
affiliated with the broad-
casting field, died Jan. 1 at
age 48.
Born in Peoria, Ill., Mr.
Cutler came to Detroit
about 10 years ago. He was
a commercial artist known
for his pen and ink render-
He was in professional
radio for more than 20
years, having worked at the
former WKNR as a disc joc-
key, at WOMC as produc-
tion manager for four years
and at WCZY as a disc joc-
key for one year. He hosted -
a show from Healthy Jont
on WCAR.
He was a disc jockey in
Peoria and in Atlantic
City, N.J. In 1966, he
came to Ann. Arbor
where he was the opera-
tions manager for radio
station WAAM.
Mr. Cutler was a member
of the Model Railroaders
He leaves his wife, Marcy
Leeds-Cutler; a son, John;
and a daughter, Suzanne.

Harold Somlyo

Harold M. Somlyo, a re-
tired comptroller and trea-
surer for Kasle Steel, died
Dec. 31 at age 65.
Born in Detroit, Mr. Som-
lyo was with the company
for 45 years. He was a
member and past president
of Temple Israel and was
involved in the construction
effort for the new temple


He was a member of
Mosaic Lodge of the Masons
and Moslem Shrine Club.
He attended Dartmouth
College and the University
of Michigan and was
graduated from Walsh In-
He leaves his wife, Sarah;
two sons, Barry and Carl;
two brothers, Paul and Roy
of New York; two sisters,
Emily of North Miami Be-
ach, Fla., and Mrs. William
(Caroline) Miller; and one

Ruth B. Goldman

Ruth B. Goldman, a
member of Jewish women's
and communal organiza-
tions, died Dec. 29 at age 84.
Born in Sault Sainte
Marie, Mich., Mrs.
Goldman was a member of
Temple Beth El, Hadassah,
Franklin Hills Country
Club, National Council of
Jewish Women and
Women's American ORT.
She leaves a son, Dr.
Hubert M. of Northridge,
Calif.; and three grand-

Goldie Neumann

Goldie Neumann,
former member of Temp-.
Beth El, died Dec. 23 in
Scranton, Pa.
Born in New York City,
Mrs. Neumann lived 65
years in Detroit. She moved
to Scranton five years ago.
She is survived by her
husband, Maxwell; a
brother, Jess Abrin of
Southfield; a sister, Mrs. Hy
(Beatrice) Strutin of Scran-
ton; two nephews and one
niece. Interment Scranton.

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