Join us these upcoming JGSLA programs

Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 2:30PM

German Special Interest Group:
Ask the Experts

Presenters: Werner Frank & Karen Franklin

American Jewish University

15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90077

Curious about your German roots? Come learn from two experts. Werner Frank will provide an overview of AJU Library holdings that deal with researching your roots in the German, Alsatian, Swiss and Austrian areas with focus on his personal collection housed in the Library. He will also identify less well-known German resources of genealogical value, including Internet sites that facilitate research from your home computers. Karen will share new strategies for German Jewish research and give an update on what’s new for genealogists at the Leo Baeck Institute. They will cover research strategies and materials ranging from the Middle Ages through the Holocaust era.

Our meeting space, the Phoebe & Werner Frank Family Learning Center, is dedicated to the exploration of Jewish communities around the world. The inaugural exhibit focuses on the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe and includes an original German wimple, used to swaddle a Jewish baby boy at the time of his Brit Milah and later as a sash to bind the Torah Scrolls. The wallpaper in the Center echoes the original wallpaper found in the home of Werner Frank in Eppingen, Germany. Future exhibits will include a virtual tour of world synagogues and Jewish communities in the Near East, Asia and Africa and the JGSLA will be holding SIG meetings in this space for many different regions over the course of the year.

Werner Frank is a founding board member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and was one of the founders of GERSIG, the German Special Interest Group of JewishGen, Inc. He has written articles for ROOTS, Maajan, Avotaynu and Stammbaum (of which he was a former editor). He has delivered talks related to his research at a number of annual meetings of the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and lectured on genealogy to schoolchildren and to adult education courses. Beginning in 1996, Frank has been researching his family’s history, amassing a genealogical database of over 36,000 names. This research has led to authoring a comprehensive book devoted to the 800-year history of his family, “Legacy: The Saga of a German-Jewish Family over Time” and Circumstance. A follow-on book is “The Curse of Gurs: Way Station to Auschwitz” that deals with the impact of the Holocaust on his family.

Karen S Franklin is the director of the Family Research Project at the Leo Baeck Institute of New York City. She was previously an exhibit researcher at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, director of the Lehman Family Rescue Activities Project, co-chair of the Board of Governors of JewishGen, past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and past chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums.

JGSLA members free. Guests $5.00. For directions:

PARKING: There are some handicap spaces near the building, but that area may be full due to another program taking place there. If so, proceed to the Parking Structure #1. There is plenty of parking on all levels, including handicap. Enter the building off the parking lot and you will be on the 3rd floor. Go down to the second floor, turn right off the elevator and proceed out the glass doors to the patio. Turn left on the patio to room 224, The Frank Family Center to check in. There will be signs and personnel in the parking area to provide directions and assist you. Allow extra time for traffic and to walk from the parking structure to the event space.



Monday, March 16, 2015 at 7:30PM

Da Doo Ron Ron: Jews in Rock n’ Roll in the 50s & 60s

with Nigel Grainge

Nigel Grainge

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Did you ever ask what was the first Rock & Roll record?
Most people would say either Bill Haley or Elvis. Wrong!

The first REAL rock and roll record was ‘Good rockin’ tonight’ by Wynonie Harris on the King label, out of Cincinnati, and owned by Sid Nathan. (who later signed James Brown in 1956.)

The evolution of recorded music that led to that monumental release illustrates the sheer force of creativity by Jewish songwriters, artists, publishing and record companies since their arrival en masse from Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th Century, and who have been at the forefront of every decade of recorded musical history ever since. n Just as it happened in the burgeoning film industry in Los Angeles in the early 20th century, Jews had a phenomenal creative input in this “new” music monster, with many songwriters and recording artists, and by the late 1950’s over three-quarters of the US record companies were either run by, or owned by (mainly immigrant) Jews, or their sons! “Da Do Ron Ron” will cover the Jewish influence on rock n’ roll from the time Alan Freed first coined the phrase, to the careers of Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka and more. Nigel will discuss the history of Jewish-run record labels such as Chess from Chicago (Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Etta James etc), King in Cincinnati (James Brown, Hank Ballard), Modern Records in LA (BB KIng, John Lee Hooker etc), and Scepter Records in New York (Shirelles, Isley brothers, Dionne Warwick.)

Spend an evening discovering the amazing, true stories behind the Jewish contribution to rock music and tap your feet to the beat of the magical era in musical history that was the 50s and 60s.

Nigel Grainge: A&R Man, record label owner, record collector and archivist will present a lecture featuring many obscure and exciting tunes and music clips that will illustrate in depth this phenomenal Jewish output. This first lecture will discuss the arrival of Eastern European immigrants and needing to explore new possiblities, that led to the creation of the movie and music businesses, through the Broadway musical era, the birth of Rock & Roll, into the early ’60’s around the New York ‘hit factory’ that grew out of the Brill Building near Times Square, and taking us up to 1966, and the dawn of the new Rock movement. Originally from London, Grainge is a former music executive (Mercury Records and Ensign) who developed acts like The Boomtown Rats, Sinead O’Connor, and World Party. He relocated to Santa Monica to create a web utility to expand music searching into a 3-D cultural context, using the thousands of tunes and historic, never-before-seen video clips in his library. He also acts as a musical film consultant and plans lectures encompassing all types of music covering many eras.

JGSLA member free. Guests $5.00. No reservations necessary. Leave extra time given traffic issues in Los Angeles!

Click here for more program details and a video.
Click here for directions to the Skirball.



Sunday, April 12, 2015 – 12:30PM – 6:00PM

Assisted Research Day at the Los Angeles FamilySearch Library

Mentor-guidance, free subscription databases, classes and translations. Crista Cowan from will be our special guest speaker, giving two classes. Open to JGSLA member only, so renew your membership today!

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles (JGSLA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sharing of genealogical information, techniques and research tools with those who are interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.

Founded in 1979, the Society has grown to over 500 members and is governed by an elected Board of Directors. We publish a quarterly journal, “Roots-Key,” and hold monthly meetings and twice-yearly research workshops which provide a varied mix of lectures and films to assist our members in their family history research.


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