Beth Israel Center: Before Charter

Add to Calendar03/21/2021 11:00 AM03/21/2021 12:00 PMAmerica/New_YorkWho’s Cooking, What’s CookingGet ready for Passover with the Westmoreland Jewish Community Council and the Rauh Jewish Archives. Online – ZoomJWestmoreland Jewish Community Council , Rauh Jewish History Program & ArchivesfalseMM/DD/YYYY

Throughout the 1950s, the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pa. and the Westinghouse Astronuclear Laboratory in Large, Pa. attracted Jewish engineers and scientists to the boroughs and townships along Route 51 in the South Hills. Together, they formed Beth Israel Center in 1958 and maintained the congregation for 60 years.

Before it closed in 2018, Beth Israel Center donated a wonderful collection of records to the Rauh Jewish Archives. Using those records, we’ll reconstruct the early years of Beth Israel Center, starting with the initial gatherings in 1957 and culminating with the incorporation of the congregation in February 1959. We’ll also look at the larger development of Jewish life in the South Hills at that time, including the arrival of Beth El Congregation to the area and the expansion of Temple Emanuel of the South Hills.


This virtual program is free and will be presented as a Zoom meeting. Please register online.

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“Muestro Yerusha: Jewish Heritage and Identity in the Ottoman Empire” with Michael Waas

Add to Calendar06/27/2021 01:00 PM06/27/2021 02:00 PMAmerica/New_YorkHow to Improve Your Family Tree with Collaboration on with Randy SchoenbergIn this talk, Schoenberg will provide insights into using the Geni platform to make connections and conduct genealogical research.Online – ZoomJewish Genealogical Society, Rauh Jewish History Program & ArchivesfalseMM/DD/YYYY

Sephardic heritage and history can be presented in radically different ways in different places. Michael Waas, co-administrator of the Sephardic Diaspora group on Facebook, will discuss three heritage projects in the former Ottoman Empire—Salonika, Izmir and Tire—which have each taken a different approach to the task. Each of these cities has vibrant and active Jewish heritage projects. However, their shared history as Ottoman Jewish communities and the fact that they each have ongoing projects is where their similarities end. Learn about these historic communities and how others see us.

This program is made possible by support from the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation.


This virtual program costs $5 per person. It’s free for Jewish Genealogical Society members. Please register online.

This program is a collaboration between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Heinz History Center. The program is free for JGS-Pittsburgh members and $5 for the general public. To become a member of the JGS-Pittsburgh and receive a free membership code, please visit their website.

Register now

For more information, please contact the Rauh Jewish Archives at

Michael Waas

Michael Waas is a heritage professional, specializing in site research and evaluation, and archival research. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with a specialization in Historical Archaeology from New College of Florida, and the subject of his Senior Thesis was “The Archaeology of Ethnogenesis of the Seminole People of Florida.” He then received his Master’s Degree from the Department of Jewish History at the University of Haifa and the subject of his MA thesis was “Istorya i oy: A comparative study on the Development of Jewish Heritage of the former Ottoman Empire.” He received the Gaon Prize for Outstanding M.A. Thesis research for the academic year 2017-2018 of the Moshe David Gaon Center for Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) Culture as well as the Prize for Research into the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewry, awarded by the Ben Zvi Institute and the Israeli Ministry of Education, for the year 2017-2018. He has presented papers at multiple international conferences on Sephardic Studies, including most recently, the Terras de Sefarad conference in Bragança. Portugal, and the annual Society for Sephardic Studies conference in Lisbon, Portugal, both in June 2019. He also volunteers his time as the anthropologist and historian of the Avotaynu Genetic Census of the Jewish People Project.

Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh