A Hebrew Book Travelling from Berlin To Baghdad

January 12, 2013

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A Hebrew book printed in Warsaw, kept in a library in Berlin, probably immigrated to Mandate Palestine, shipped to Baghdad, and returned back to Israel.

Posted in: Uncategorized

A Mother’s Obituary for Her Fallen Son: The Pogrom of Orsha 1905

December 4, 2012

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For fourteen years I had been a childless Jewess, I prayed God for a son, and he gave him to me in the fifteenth year of my marriage. It was my long-awaited yearned son. God has blessed me, for I had a pure and noble son, full with love for his family and passion for his people. He was only seventeen years old, but he dedicated himself entirely to the service of his brethren.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Who-is-a-Jew Algorithm

November 24, 2012

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I present an algorithm that I developed to identify who was Jewish and who was not from among a population of immigrants who arrived in Ellis Island from the Russian Empire during the pre-WWI Age of Mass Migration. The algorithm has two main steps: Determine how “Jewish” were each first name and last name Determine whether each immigrant was Jewish or not based on his first and last names I explain how this algorithm works and show evidence indicating that this identification process works well.

Occupations of Jews in the Pale of Settlement

September 30, 2012

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What were the occupations and trades the Jews were holding in the old country? The 1897 census of the Russian Empire tells us a lot about that, and in great detail. The summary data have been studied in the past, and the major facts are well known by historians. Based on my work on this census I present here the basics, for those who are less familiar with the case, and I also add a few of the interesting insights that come out of studying the more detailed data that I have recently coded from the census. The purpose is to expose the data and some of the patterns that it shows, and thus the discussion is more descriptive rather than interpretative.

Dudu Geva: A Childhood Hero and a Prophet

September 11, 2012

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Great art remains relevant for years. Real masterpieces can gain relevance over time. But these two pieces by my childhood comic books writer idol, Dudu Geva z”l, that I clipped from Kol-Ha’Ir (Jerusalem’s local newspaper) as a child some 24 years ago, are nothing short of divine inspiration and prophecy.

Posted in: Personal

A wild Encounter with a Zoroastrian Taxi Driver

August 25, 2012

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Every time I do something good, something bad happens. I can’t be happy. I’m afraid to be happy because I know that something bad will happen. I’m not superstitious, but lately these things happen. I took in some guy, he was drunk, suddenly he started speaking crazy shit, then he banged the window. It broke, […]

Posted in: Personal

Edward A. Steiner: A Writer on Immigration

August 24, 2012

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Steiner (1866–1956) was a professor of Applied Christianity, for what it means, in Grinnell College in Iowa. He was born to a well-to-do Jewish-Slovak-Hungarian family in a Carpathian village, and was educated in Vienna and Heidelberg, from where he made a pilgrimage to his venerated Tolstoy in Russia. This pilgrimage was followed later by five more, as well as by a written biography

Most Common Jewish Names

July 24, 2012

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I present here an analysis of the distribution of Jewish and non-Jewish names among immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a by-product of my work on the Jewish immigrants from the Pale of Settlement. The first sections explain a few technical details about the data. It is followed by the lists of most common Jewish and non-Jewish names and a few comments.

A New Map of Jewish Communities in the Russian Empire

July 22, 2012

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This map shows the precise place of residence of over 4.3 million Jews at the time of the Russian census of 1897. The census enumerated over 5 million Jews living in the Pale of Settlement, the 25 western provinces of the Russian Empire in which Jews were generally free to reside. Together with the Jewish communities that existed beyond the boundaries of the Pale, the Russian Empire was home to some 5.3 million Jews, more than half of world Jewry. It is the best source of statistical information on this population, and probably on any other large Jewish concentration prior to WWII. The map represents a new database that was recently created by Gennady Polonetsky and I, mainly from figures published in the 1897 census. It is posted here, along with a few notes, in order to make this visualization of the patterns of Jewish settlement in the Russian Empire available to the interested readers. Other pieces of analysis pertaining to this database will be posted soon.