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May 20, 1988 - Image 145

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-20

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1' Before Shavuot, Take a Trip to a Dairy Farm


Each month in this space, L'Chayim will present a Yiddish lesson
entitled "Du Redst Yiddish (Do You Speak Yiddish?)" whose aim is to
encourage further study of Yiddish. The lesson will include a brief story
utilizing the Yiddish words to be studied, a vocabulary list with English
translations and a family activity which involves using the new words. Two
books which may be helpful for beginning Yiddish students are Yiddish for
Beginners by Dr. Joffen and Der Yiddisher Lerer by Goldin. Weinreich's
English-Yiddish Dictionary also may be useful. At the conclusion of each
lesson will be a suggested list of books for persons who wish to further
their knowledge.
Mary Koretz of Oak Park. She has taught both children's and adult
classes in Yiddish at the Workmen's Circle.
Following is this month's lesson:
On the first beautiful friling day, the family goes tsu gahst to their freind
who owns a farm. They like to be close to nahtur at this time of the yor.
They like to watch the poyer milk the kie. In addition to using the milch in
its usual form, the farmer converts it into several ahndereh zahchehn. He
makes puter. He makes smehtehneh. He macht kehz. The family also
visits the kindel coop. They see the ayer that the hener have laid. Mother
zogt, "Those are all things I use in making blintzes for Shavuot veil on
that Yom Tov we generally eat milchiks."

t e


tsu gahst
milch, milchiks
yom tov

milk, dairy foods

Family Activity

Take the family to a farm, such
as Upland Hills in Oxford. There are
also commercial farms expressly for
public exploration. Have the family
make blintzes and name each
ingredient in Yiddish.


Who Knows Ten? by Cone, a
children's book about Shavuot; A
Bintl Brief Vol. 1 and 2, by I.
Metzker, letters to the advice
column of the Forward newspaper;
Polish Jews, by R. Vishniac,
pictorial essay and commentary
about the Jews in Poland.

Tracing Your Family 'Health Tree' . Can Save Your Life


Knowing your family health
history could save your life.
Researchers are now studying
family trees to get to the root of
genetic diseases.
If the roots of your family tree
are diseased with such common
problems as heart disease, strokes,
high blood pressure, cancer,
glaucoma, or diabetes, it may be
possible for you to take steps to
postpone getting the disease or
maybe preventing it.
Genetic diseases developed as
a result of historical and
geographical circumstances. When
a community has been isolated over
a period of time and there is
consanguinity — a pattern of
marriage among close relatives,
such as first cousins or uncle and
niece — it is not unusual for genetic
conditions and diseases to develop.
In general, all people carry eight to
ten genes for possible diseases, but
they are unaware of it unless a
particular disease strikes.
Many genetic disorders are
found to a greater extent among
members of certain ethnic groups
than in the general population.
Fortunately, most genetic diseases
are extremely rare. However, there
are a few that occur in high
frequency to be of concern, and
there are inexpensive and effective
tests to determine whether you are
a carrier.

As part of its continuing effort
to educate the public, the National
Foundation for Jewish Genetic
Diseases, Inc. distributes a
pamphlet describing seven diseases
affecting Ashkenazi Jews. The
foundation raises funds to
disseminate information and
sponsor medical research, symposia
and publications.
For a free copy of the pamphlet
write NFJGD, 250 Park Ave., Suite
1000, New York, NY 10017.)
Tay-Sachs disease is the most
well-known Jewish genetic disease,

Compiling a medical
genealogy is a good
project for grandparents
whose personal
knowledge of the family's
health history usually
spans five generations.

afflicting about one in every 2,500
Ashkenazi Jewish babies. This
disease is characterized by the
onset of severe mental and
developmental retardation during the
early stages of development of a
baby or child. It will kill its victims
before his or her fifth birthday. At
present, no treatment is available
for Tay-Sachs disease, but there is a
simple blood test to determine if you
are a carrier. Emphasis has been
placed on public education, carrier

screening and prenatal diagnosis for
the prevention of this devastating
Medical research will ultimately
lead to a decline in Jewish genetic
diseases among children. Other
factors leading to a reduction of
these diseases include the dramatic
decrease in consanguinity, even
among Israel's Oriental and
Sephardic Jews, the increase in
intermarriage of Jews of different
backgrounds, genetic counseling,
and the shrinking size of Jewish

Genealogists accumulate data
about family members from U.S.
censuses. Census records from
1850 to 1910 have columns of
information pertaining to the
physical or mental condition of
individuals such as deaf, dumb,
blind, insane or idiotic. The 1880
census also has a column indicating
any sickness or disability and
whether the person was maimed,
crippled, bedridden or disabled.
In compiling a medical family
tree, the 1860-1885 mortality
schedules can be valuable. These
schedules list those who died
during the 12 months prior to the
census (June 1 through May 31 of
1849, 1859, 1869, 1879 and 1885).
Locating these records can be worth
the effort. They provide name, age,
place of birth, profession,
occupation or trade, cause of death
and length of illness.

Both census and mortality
schedules can be found at the
National Archives in Washington,
D.C., or in its regional branches
throughout the country.
The March of Dimes provides a
family health tree chart. It has
places to indicate date of birth,
occupation, significant medical
conditions or disorders, health-
related habits such as smoking and
drinking, cause and age of death of
family members.
Compiling a medical genealogy
is a good project for grandparents
whose personal knowledge of the
family's health history usually spans
five generations — reaching back to
their own grandparents and
extending to their grandchildren.
(Editor's Note: In the January
issue of L'Chayim, an item by
Shirley Hogan suggested Toledot:
The Journal of Jewish Genealogy
as a source for genealogists. The
journal is no longer published, but
back issues may still be available in
genealogical collections. Ms. Hogan
also referred to the genealogical
department of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints as
another source for genealogical
information. It has been renamed
the family history department of the
church and locally can be contacted
at 647-5671, according to L'Chayim
columnist Betty Provizer Starkman,
past president and founder of the
Jewish Genealogical Society of



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