Genealogical Adventures in Shtetland


Monday, February 11, 2013 – 7:30 PM

Genealogical Adventures in Shtetland

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Boulevard
Los Angeles 90049

To Heller and Back: From home office to Grandpa’s home in five crazy weeks


Lauren Farasati at her ancestral shtetl Bukaczowce, Ukraine

Lauren Farasati had never dabbled in genealogy until last August when she cleaned a closet and found a treasure. That treasure sparked her curiosity and launched her into a whirlwind of research, new friends, new family and the trip beyond her wildest expectations. Within five weeks of discovering that treasure and the clues it contained, she was standing in front of her grandfather’s ancestral home in the town of Bukaczowce, Ukraine. In her presentation, she’ll share her approach to warp-speed family research, planning a genealogy trip and enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.

The Originals: A Story of Origins


Randall Babtkis

Author Randall Babtkis began writing a novel about his father, a Los Angeles automobile mechanic said to be in possession of an “original” mind. When an excerpt from this work won a small prize, he seized the moment and found himself boarding an airplane after 10 years of “flight abstinence.” He traveled to shtetl villages his ancestors fled along the endless belt of grassland, which today makes up Ukraine. At least two strands of his “tribe” vacated that familial realm – what was then known as Galicia – at the end of the 19th century. One strand would emerge as Hollywood moguls, the other, esoterics, authentic Landsmanshaftn of a world gone by.

Sneak Preview: The USHMM & the ITS Database at the Skirball with Lisa Zaid


The US Holocaust Memorial Museum

This year the United States Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC is celebrating 20 years of honoring memory and inspiring action. To mark this milestone, the Museum will be going on a national tour. All in LA are invited to join us for a free, daylong public event at the Skirball Cultural Center on February 17, 2013.

Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a special tribute honoring Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans with the U.S. Army Honor Guard, discuss profound questions about the Holocaust with distinguished panelists, view rarely seen archival films and learn about the fascinating stories behind artifacts in our collections, conduct family research in the ITS International Tracing Service Archives (archives which have never before been available in the United States outside of the Museum), meet one-on-one with curators to discuss or donate family collections, watch the one-man theatrical performance “Time Capsule in a Milkcan” about Jewish cultural life and identity in the Warsaw ghetto.

This event is free and open to the public of all ages but advanced registration is required. To attend, guests should register online at A full schedule of the event is also available on our website. Free transportation may be available for Holocaust survivors and WWII veterans. Please contact Lisa Zaid at for more details. Or…you can register on February 11 at our meeting!

Speaker Biographies

Lauren Heller Farasati is a practice management coach to financial advisors and wealth managers. Her focus is on designing, recruiting and developing world-class teams for her clients. Lauren used her coaching skills – to quickly uncover data and develop a plan of action – when she entered the world of genealogy last year. Lauren lives in Pleasant Hill, California, with her husband, Reza, and has two grown children, Adam and JoJo.

Randall Babtkis is the author of a poetry chapbook, Banister, and The Originals, a novel-in-progress. Randall is the founder of an early free media/cross-genre work, The Telephone Project, produced in Venice, CA. He has contributed work to national literary magazines, including Five Fingers Review and The Quarterly (Vintage). He currently teaches literature and writing courses in a graduate Master of Fine Arts program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco where he serves as editor of Mission At Tenth

Lisa Zaid is Special Projects Manager of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and based in Los Angeles. She previously worked in the Museum’s Washington, DC headquarters at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies where she engaged in a broad range of research related projects. Lisa was also part of the research team assembled by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to help substantiate Holocaust survivors’ claims for compensation. A graduate of Scripps College, Lisa is the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors.

Reservations required.  JGSLA & Skirball members will be provided with a code by February 8.  Members are free and can reserve for one free guest.  Additional guests are $10.