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.
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.
Board of Trustees
Research Committee Chair Russ Maurer
Founding Board President Arlene Blank Rich
40th Anniversary Co-Chairs Russ Maurer and Amy Wachs
JGS Cleveland is a recognized leader in genealogy research and provides world-class programs, resources, and support to those interested in learning more about Old Jewish Cleveland and family heritage. This year, we are proud to celebrate our 40th Anniversary and invite you to meet our honorary co-chairs, Russ Maurer and Amy Wachs, congratulate our inaugural Hall of Fame honorees, and enjoy our official Hall of Fame and Friends photo taken at Western Reserve Historical Society on June 9, 2023 program and open house. Interested in learning more? Please meet our members and check out our new 40th anniversary brochure. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the past and plan for the future!
3rd Row, L-R: Janet Ghiandoni, Ken Bravo, Barry Goloboff, Stewart Hoicowitz, Nate Arnold, Jeff Morris
2nd Row, L-R: Phyllis Bravo, Fran Golden, Noreen Goldstein, Sylvia Abrams, Amy Wachs, Marlene Englander, Sherri Routman, Arnie Berger
1st Row, L-R: Donald Golden, Barbara Davis, Charles Lissauer, Deborah Katz, Marilyn Perkul, Natalie Landy
Our membership is currently 202 strong. Two-thirds of our members call Ohio home and one-third live out-of-state with two people in Israel.
Click HERE to see the breakdown by country and state.
Our Lifetime Members: