Jewish Genealogy Society
of Cleveland

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About Us

Who We Are

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland (JGSC) is an active volunteer organization and leader in Jewish education and research.  In 2019, we proudly co-hosted the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference under the leadership of Ken Bravo and Sylvia Abrams. Please check our Frequently Asked Questions for a quick overview of who we are and what we do.

Who We Are

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland (JGSC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023. We promote partnerships with selected local, state, and national groups to foster the study of genealogy and immigrant Jewish history with a focus on Cleveland. In 2019, we proudly co-hosted the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference under the leadership of Ken Bravo and Sylvia Abrams. Please check our Frequently Asked Questions for a quick overview of who we are and what we do.

History of JGSC

There is an old Hebrew saying—L'dor v'dor--which translated literally means from generation to generation and is understood as the passing of a culture's values, rituals, traditions, and history to the next generation. You could certainly say that this perfectly describes the ongoing pursuit of Jewish genealogical research.

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland traces its origins back to the fall of 1983 when a group of individuals with a common interest met to discuss the formation of an organization to promote and encourage the research of family histories. An article published in the Cleveland Jewish News stated the mission was to "serve as the center for the exchange of materials and information, genealogical problem-solving, and community education about Jewish family history research.”

We are told the Society grew out of a College of Jewish Studies class, “Introduction to Jewish Family History” taught in the summer of 1983 by Scott Cline, archivist of the Cleveland Jewish Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society. It was then reorganized in November of 1985 under the leadership of Arlene Blank Rich who would go on to serve as President and Kol editor for the better part of two decades.

The early pioneers were largely non-professionals with varying degrees of genealogical experience, meeting monthly to share specific and general genealogical research techniques as well as resources. Membership was open to people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, but the common bond was an interest in genealogy. The Society would grow from 40 to over 100 dues paying members by 1996.

Today the stated mission of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland is to foster Jewish family history and genealogical research through the dissemination of Jewish records, sources, techniques, archives, and libraries.

Our Lifetime Members:

  • Deborah A. Katz, JD, PhD
  • Add your name to this list? Join Us today.

Leadership:  Board of Trustees


  • Amy Wachs, Esq (2016-17)
  • Charles Lissauer, Esq (2014-15)
  • Helen Wolf (2012-13)
  • Ken Bravo, Esq (2010-11)
  • Richard Spector, Esq (2008-09)


JGSC Bylaws

Copyright 2022.  The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland, Inc. (JGSC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (EIN: 34-1648203).  All Rights Reserved.