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Class Descriptions, Janette Silverman

Following are the class descriptions for classes taught by Janette Silverman.


Illegitimacy in the Jewish Communities of Galicia

The many punitive and restrictive laws in the Austrian Empire resulted in choices made by the Jewish community to circumvent these. Originally instituted to curtail the size of the Jewish community and create boundaries, the communities themselves changed and found ways to work around the laws. Many birth, marriage and death records in the Jewish community use terms like “illegitimate” and “ritual marriage”. Sometimes our ancestors had multiple surnames, or even hyphenated surnames this session will discuss these and the insight we can gain about the lives of our ancestors.


Unpacking Jewish Gravestones

Jewish gravestones use symbols that are different from those on non-Jewish gravestones. Jewish gravestones often include inscriptions in Hebrew. These inscriptions may hold the clues for finding earlier generations. In this this session we will unpack the mysteries of the Hebrew on the stones and understand something about Jewish traditions and reading the gravestones. We’ll look at symbols, and at connections between names.


Foundation of Hebrew for Beginners (workshop)

Among the Eastern European Jewish community, Yiddish was widely spoken, Hebrew was used for prayers and study of sacred texts, and Aramaic may have been used for ancient contracts. Yiddish, Hebrew and Aramaic are all written in the Hebrew alphabet. Hebrew is one of the Semitic languages. This short course will cover some of the basics of the alphabet and pronunciation, and discuss the differences in pronunciation between modern Hebrew and Eastern European pronunciations. We will review some Jewish records such as gravestones, circumcision books (mohel buchs) and marriage contracts (ketubot) and tools to assist in identifying names of people and places in these documents. We will also discuss other types of records which may include Hebrew.