Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland

Between December and March, we normally meet at 1:30 pm on the first Sunday of each month in the Men's Club Lounge at Park Synagogue East, 27500 Shaker Blvd, Pepper Pike. For a MapQuest map, click here.

Between April and November, unless noted otherwise, we meet at 7:30 pm on the first Wednesday of each month in the Miller Board Room on the second floor of Menorah Park, 27100 Cedar Road, Beachwood. For a MapQuest map, click here.

Meetings are free and open to members, their guests and other interested persons.

Upcoming programs

January 7, 2017
1:30 PM
Park Synagogue East

Installation of Officers
Learn how to “Break down Brick Walls”

A panel of experts, past presidents of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland, will give advice on how to break through a brick wall while researching your family tree. Ken Bravo, and Richard Spector will share research strategies and examples of how they have found missing ancestors.

Questions for the panel may be submitted in advance by January 1 to Please be specific about what you are seeking and what you have already tried. Give as much background information as possible, so that the panelists can suggest ways to move your research forward. There will also be an opportunity for questions from the floor.

Ken Bravo is the current President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). Ken has spoken at local, national and international genealogy societies, including RootsTech, the Ohio Genealogical Society, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Annual International Conference. Ken’s forty years of genealogy research has located relatives in the United States, Canada, South America, Russia, Great Britain, Israel and Australia. He retired as a partner at the Cleveland based law firm of Ulmer & Berne.

Ken Bravo

Richard Spector has been investigating the genealogy of his family for nearly 20 years and has found more than 1,600 certain relatives, some born about 300 years ago. He has frequently spoken to groups interested in genealogy in the northeast Ohio area and has published a number of articles in Avotaynu, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, on various genealogical topics including DNA. He presently serves on the board of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland. He is a retired attorney.

Richard Spector

February 4, 2017
1:30 PM
Park Synagogue East

Mitchell Balk
President, Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation

Whither Jewish Hospitals - the Mt. Sinai Legacy

Mitchell Balk will discuss the history of Jewish-sponsored hospitals in the United States, with a focus on Cleveland’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center, In his presentation, he will explain how the medical institution has had a lasting impact on the community through the grantmaking Foundation formed from its sale in 1996 and the people who fondly remember the history of the hospital.

Balk spearheaded the emergence of the Foundation as an independent health grantmaker. As of June, 2017, the Foundation had assets of approximately $150 million and had distributed more than $120 million in its 20 years of grantmaking.

Balk and Mt. Sinai were the recipients of the 2017 Case Western Reserve University President’s Award for Visionary Achievement. He previously served as Vice President of the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Cleveland and Vice President of Sinai Health System, Chicago. Balk earned a Masters Degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and holds a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Among his many professional activities, Balk was the founding board chair of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, a non-partisan information resource for policymakers, founded by Ohio foundations.

Mitchell Balk

To see a listing  of our past programs
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