jsilt, Family Histories
' he Preserve Memories
By MIRIAM WEINER
Although it is unlikely the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences which dispenses the
coveted Oscars will create a new
category for video family histories,
companies such as Nostalgia
Productions in Los Angeles have
emerged to convert old home-movie
footage and stills, along with photos
and documents into "Your Family
History: See It Now." The family
documentary includes appropriate
background music, interviews with
family members, a nostalgic look at
old photos interspersed with family
film footage, and a look at
documents which chronicle the
history of the family such as the
passenger ship manifest record,
"first papers" of the immigrant,
passport documents, school records
and other memorabilia.
Certainly the legacy for
grandchildren and future
generations is worth the effort to
preserve a family history. Even more
importantly, old family photos and
documents are frequently lost
during transitions such as a move,
death or divorce.
A recent flood in the Montreal
area resulted in the loss of many
unique photo albums, letters,
scrapbooks and documents,
according to Judy Nefsky, director of
the Canadian Jewish Congress
National Archives in Montreal.
"People should consider the safety
of the material in their homes and
its preservation for future
generations," she said.
Why is it that we never seem to
get around to these things. Photos
collect in shoe boxes, frequently
without names and dates on the
back. Important documents are put
away in a "safe place" and many
years later, who can remember
where the "safe place" is?
Many old and priceless photos
of ancestors have become damaged
through the years and are fading
quickly. The restoration of photos is
accomplished with dramatic results
by skilled photographers and many
large department stores include this
specialty in their photography
An excellent family project —
which can be done right away — is
assembling old photos in a way that
can be understood by future
generations. Using a Stabilo Art
pencil, available at art stores for
about $1, or gummed labels, record
names, dates, and personal
recollections on the back of each
photo. And don't forget to put them
in a safe place!
FRIDAY, OCT 16, 1987
Holocaust survivors have a
unique history of their own.
Survivors are increasingly willing to
be interviewed about their
experiences and Holocaust resource
centers throughout the United
States have programs for
conducting these interviews and
preserving them in their archives.
The Center for Holocaust Studies in
Brooklyn will send an interviewer to
homes in the New York area. In
West Bloomfield, the Holocaust
Memorial Center has amassed a
significant collection of oral
histories. At Yale University, the
Video Archive for Holocaust
Testimonies records the
recollections of survivors and
witnesses of the Holocaust.
Original documents such as
marriage licenses, ketubot, birth
certificates, naturalization records,
passport documents and family
letters should be preserved in a
safe-deposit box, preferably each
document being encased in an acid-
free envelope. Photocopies of each
document should be available for
reference when needed, thereby
reducing the handling of the original
The art of interviewing people
on video tape for the purpose of
revealing family history and
recording personal experiences for
the future requires special skill and
techniques. Keep in mind that you
are the producer and director of this
show and you should have a mental
picture of how you want the finished
program to look.
The video should be taped and
edited in a documentary film style
incorporating interviews with family
members and focusing on those
who are the most articulate and
knowledgeable about the family
history. Old photographs and
mementos should be interspersed
with comparisons between jobs and
lifestyles of family members today
and those of their ancestors, all
woven together to tell each family's
unique and personal story.
We can't all be movie directors
and produce "Oscar" contenders.
However, we can still record and
preserve our family histories utilizing
the many inexpensive forms of
recording equipment available. A
small recorder and a quiet place
with a senior member of the family
can produce a monologue of
memories and history.
Miriam Weiner is an authority on Jewish
genealogy and a syndicated columnist.
Rehov Sumsum — Five different episodes of the Israeli
version of Sesame Street, featuring Itzhak Perlman, Ed
Asner and Bonnie Franklin, among others. In Hebrew,
VHS format. Available at Spitzer's.
Sing and Celebrate, featuring Shavuah Toy and songs
about the Jewish holidays and Israel. Includes activities
for the classroom and home. Available at Spitzer's.
TOYS AND GAMES
Mitzvah Monopol — A game for two-four players, age 8
and up. Learn mitzvot as you land on the spaces around
the board. Available at Borenstein's and Spitzer's.
Noah's Ark inflatable bath toy, with sponges in the shape
of animals. Available at Borenstein's.
Aleph bet colored blocks. Fit colored Hebrew letters into
appropriate spaces in wooden board. Available at
Soft Blocks. Sponge blocks adorned with traditional
Jewish symbols: Hebrew letters, candles, Sefer Torah.
Available at Borenstein's.
Jewish crib mobile. Available at Spitzer's.
pitzer's is located at 21770 W. 11 Mile, Southfield.
Borenstein's is located at 25242 Greenfield, Oak Park.
1.1.0 ■0 ".11
va ifts Want A Pen Pal? Find One
In This Special Listing
One way to learn about Jewish
life around the world is to write to a
Jewish family in another country.
What is daily life like in the pen
pal's country? What is Jewish life
like? How are the holidays
celebrated? To help our readers
learn about Jews around the world,
L'Chayim is making available
addresses of Jewish families in
This month, L'Chayim has
received from Rabbi Roberto D.
Graetz of the Associacao Religiosa
lsraelita synagogue a list of Jewish
families in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
who would like to correspond with
their American counterparts.
Following is a list of names and
Robert Bull, Estrada do Joa,
298/1302, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Jose Gandelman, Rua General
Urquiza, 44/1103, Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil, 22431; .
Mario Mannheimer, Rua Hilario de
Gouveia, 15/501, Rio de Janeiro,
Silvio Harburger, Rua Julio de
Castilhos, 68/701, Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil, 22081;
Samuel Ostrower, Rua Barao da
Torre, 445/702, Rio de Janeiro,
Tomas Beildeck, Rua Almirante
Sadock de Sa, 370/201, Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil, 22411;
Alfred Lemle, Rua Fadel Fadel,
20/1402, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Oren Boljover, Rua General Urquiza,
43/102, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Paulo Bruck, Rua Gal. San Martin,
317/401, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Jose Daye, Rua Dias da Rocha, 20
Cob. 01, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Jose Erlich, Rua Assis Brasil, 2/101,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22030.