I grew up in a family where my father was — and still is — very connected to the Jewish community of Omaha.
While most kids had social connections from their places of worship and school activities that established community, me and my brother and sister had some of that, but it was fractured by the fact that we had a very 1970s, nomadic childhood.
We took the bus to and from Omaha from Lincoln — where we lived with our mom — to visit our dad in Omaha. We did this pretty much 10 years straight for every weekend of our childhood, from around 1970/1971 (when they got divorced) to 1981 (when we moved to Omaha). Continental Trailways on Saturday mornings and Greyhound on Sunday afternoons.
So that cut into a lot of time when I think we would have been a bit more connected to our community in Lincoln. And made us weirdly constant and familiar visitors to Omaha, but not necessarily tied and connected….
But also it put a very focused emphasis on our dad’s life in those intense two days every week that we spent with him. He would pick us up from the Continental Trailways bus station in Omaha and we would go to Bishop’s Cafeteria, 1414 Douglas, for breakfast. Then we’d spend the day with him at his office. And back to Lincoln on Sunday after the 3:00pm movie I always seemed to watch. Hopalong Cassidy was a consistent favorite.
I always knew we were Jewish, but in Lincoln especially it wasn’t something we talked about a lot. Like having divorced parents. It was the 1970s when this type of thing wasn’t as common. We weren’t observant but I definitely knew — especially when it came to our dad’s life in Omaha — that there was a bubble of Jewish community in Omaha that we were tangentially a part of.
One of the things I have always experienced with my dad was what we jokingly refer to as Jewish Geography — my dad would tell stories about some of the people in the Jewish community in Omaha that his parents knew and socialized with, or that he grew up and went to high school with, or knew from living in Omaha. Maybe it’s the fledging librarian and genealogist in me, but I was always very interested in hearing the stories about all the people, imagining the glamorous lives of my grandparents. My Grandpa Irv had these shiny suits in some of the pictures we had of him, which I thought were super cool.
There was just this constant influx of names and stories of people from the community. And going to Bishop’s we would meet a lot of these characters. During high school after we had moved to Omaha, I would get a ride from my dad every morning and continue the Bishop’s breakfast tradition, sitting with my dad and his friends who I remember told terrible jokes and didn’t seem to mind having a high school kid in their midst.
I ended up knowing the parents of some of the Jewish kids in Omaha — and not really the kids themselves. It was odd, but it was history and Omaha and our dad and just sort of how things were.
So in talking with my dad recently he told me that he had a great honor. I could hear in his voice how touched he was. He had been asked to be one of the pallbearers who carried Rabbi Kripke’s casket, for his funeral.
Rabbi Kripke conducted my dad’s bar mitzvah, and was the rabbi at the synagogue his family went to, Beth El, in Omaha. Over the years my dad would often refer to Rabbi Kripke as a huge influence in his life. And when my Grandma Pearl went into The Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, my dad would always point out Rabbi Kripke (as well as many other Jewish Geography folks who were there and who I had heard stories about) with reverence.
To spend more time with Grandma Pearl my dad volunteered at the Saturday services, assisting in conducting them. Sometimes Rabbi Kripke led but towards the end I just remember the Rabbi being there, enjoying the services. My dad still does this volunteering, and I know it means a lot to him — even though Grandma died.
So I have this weird reverence — and semi-skewed connection — to the Jewish community that is essentially my father’s (and grandparents). Names and some faces are very familiar to me, like Maury Katzman.
My dad would always talk of these people, after they passed, and say, “of blessed memory.” Like he would tell a great story about his father, and say, “my father, of blessed memory.” I always loved that, how there was a small moment of time where there was remembrance of this person within the conversation.
There was another article in addition to an official obituary about Rabbi Kripke in the New York Times recently that triggered me writing this post (and adding the cite to Wikipedia). I think the article on Rabbi Kripke was due to Warren Buffett’s annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting in Omaha that just happened. Rabbi Kripke died this year at age 100.
I have been editing Wikipedia now for a while. I do it to relax and really enjoy the quick publish factor — as well as connecting to my former profession as a word processor for 15 years. Very satisfying.
So in homage to Rabbi Kripke I created a Wikipedia article about him. In his blessed memory.
Rabbi’s wife, Dorothy, as an author of Jewish books, already had her own page, but as usual it needed citation and format cleanup. While creating the Rabbi’s page, I did that. But I hope to add more to her page at some point.
But really, Rabbi Kripke needed his own page, in honor of his accomplishments and years of service to the Jewish community in Omaha. I was so glad — and honored in my own way — to do that.
I have been meaning to mention I did this to my dad when we talk next. I think it continues the tradition “of blessed memory” — and hopefully commemorates a small part of the Omaha Jewish community that yeah I guess I sort of am a part of. At least a little bit.
Started a steady temp job and coupled with the volunteer work with IAJGS I had no time or leftover energy to blog for what turned out to be four to five months. Then I ended up so overwhelmed and exhausted from the intense learning curve of the job that I had to make the painful decision to stop the volunteer work. Not surprised by this difficult decision but definitely feel a lot of guilt.
Feel blessed and very lucky to have found this steady gig, though of course the “temp” part of the job is a little scary in this economy. As a workaholic, a trait both inherited and not-so-proudly earned, I would like more security that comes with a full-time status of course, but I am grateful so grateful to have a job.
It’s definitely a pickle, to be a workaholic who ties so much to the job, but I am trying to work hard but not too hard, do a good job but not be too OCD (difficult for me), and look forward with a semi-positive approach (newish for me).
This is Grumpy SXSW Week, when most of my online friends are in Austin going to see loads of great bands and eat amazing food. I am always semi-tortured by wishing I could join in the glut of music-going and incredible fud eating good times, surrounded by a lot of folks who have made such an impact on my music-listening recent past. But the rub of wishing I could be there is countered by the fact that in New York, most bands come through here if I really wanted to see them. And it’s a physical and mental feat of strength to see so many shows in such a concentrated amount of time, standing on cement and walking all over the place. So that’s another pickle.
There have been some recent stories in the New York Times about this hoarder who has to vacate his apartment. And today I spent the day with my friend Jafe helping him with his apartment. He’s a fellow collector and clutter addict. I admire him for the hard work he’s done to improve his environment. Slowly but steadily things are getting really good for him, and I’m so happy for him.
Having some continuing sleep issues, but I try to listen to this Keith Jarrett Köln Concert segment. It helps a lot. But the sleep problems are still there. I tend to pass out early, sleep for a little while, then wake up and not be able to get to bed and get the full 8 hours or whatever would be ideal. Hope to figure it out and get over this but it seems like the sleep things might be ongoing for a while.
Wikipedia editing has continued, which has been a really nice way to do a bit of volunteer work, as it were, while only doing it when I get inspired or have pockets of energy.
Was going to write something more personal and hand-wring-y, but can’t seem to put pen to paper here, so it stays bottled up while I think on it.
Favorite movie of recent past, In A World… by the surprisingly fully-hatched talent, Lake Bell. Here’s the trailer.
Aaron’s beard is red, full, and magnificent.
So it’s the very end of October and during this extremely frustrating time — career and life-wise — I have been living like a church mouse, not spending money. Which means a lot of time spent Hovel Chez Moi. With the TV to keep me company. Which means it is a Wednesday night in October and I am watching baseball while trying to whittle away on my various passion projects semi-successfully.
Is it just me or has the television gone all hillbilly? I am just loving this — it’s like saying “add more banjo” to any good country song: “Add more beard!” And the woollier the better.
Omaha-Kansas City Royals
The TV experience — especially the audio of a baseball game being played — brings me back to my childhood, where one of the great things we used to do on Saturdays (after spending the day at my dad’s office) was go see the Omaha-Kansas City Royals play night games at Rosenblatt Stadium (RIP).
Even though they were an expansion team, I loved the Omaha-Kansas City Royals. The games were hypnotizing, the rhythm of the pitching, runs, strikes. And the snacks were great. The peanuts that left crunchy shells on the ground. And those frozen ice creams that came in the circular tub with a flat wood spoon-like thing.
I think we sat near third base in my dad’s partner’s box — we almost always had these great seats. Bless Bob Fromkin. I have fond memories because of his generosity.
Today the team has been renamed (a time or two) to the unrecognizable and sort of dumb — in my opinion — Storm Chasers and they play at some other stadium in Sarpy County. Rosenblatt Stadium is no longer.
Johnny Rosenblatt, Camelot
The stadium was named after former Omaha Mayor Johnny Rosenblatt, who was the first Jewish mayor of Omaha and was, per Wikipedia, responsible for bringing the Omaha-Kansas City Royals to Omaha (along with the College World Series).
The Jewish community in Omaha is (and was) small. And it is weird but when people are shocked that I grew up in Nebraska, I guess a good part of that time I grew up within the loose framework of that community, though we weren’t religious and weren’t only friends with other Jews.
I know I definitely felt like an outsider, maybe not just the Jewishness but my mom came from Brooklyn and we definitely didn’t have a conservative upbringing. At all.
Though these pictures sure tell a different story.
This Camelot like image didn’t last long, though I like the way it looked later, when I was a little girl.
This was supposedly at an Anti-Vietnam War Protest at Memorial Park — not far from the house on W. 53rd and Farnam where we lived during that time (yes, a couple of blocks away from where Warren Buffett lived/lives). But to me it looks more like a picnic (it’s probably mis-labeled).
We moved to Lincoln in 1970 or 1971 after my parents separated and got divorced. But we’d visit Omaha on the weekends and go to these great baseball games with our Da. It was a pretty great part of my childhood….
I wrote this for the local neighborhood association. Since I haven’t been working nights I have been able to go to the last couple of monthly local community meetings, officially, the 24th Precinct Community Council.
I have been really impressed with how much information is communicated, and it seems like Inspector Barry works really hard to maintain good relations with the community. From a cursory search, it looks like she was previously posted to the Lower East side.
This is the version I wrote that has more details. For the “official” much-edited version, see The West 102nd-103rd Street Block Association’s blog entry.
The next 24th Precinct Community Council meeting is on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm. The meetings are public and are very interesting, especially if you live in the neighborhood. Meetings are held in the upstairs meeting room at the Bloomingdale Public Library — across from the police and fire department stations on W. 100 Street.
Fingers crossed <knock wood> my long-term temp position will start before then so I won’t be able to go to meetings going forward. #sad. The West 102nd-103rd Street Block Association will continue their great reporting on the meetings.
CRIME CORNER: News from the 24th Precinct
Missing Autistic Boy – Search Continues
Inspector Nancy Barry said the NYPD are still looking for the autistic boy, Avonte Oquendo, who has been missing since October 4. Flyers are located here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Avonte-Home/414437158656906?sk=photos_stream. NYPD is asking for anyone’s help if anyone has seen him please contact the detectives.
Spike in Crime in the 28 Day
Inspector Nancy Barry from the 24th Precinct went over the CompStats (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/crime_statistics/cs024pct.pdf).
Highlights of Spike in Crime
- A homicide in the Douglas Houses (875 Columbus Avenue) on September 17. Victim Jose Gonzalez found in apt by home attendant with bullet hole to his head. Detective squads working very hard to make an arrest
- Shooting in the Douglas Houses (840 Columbus Avenue) on September 28, 11:30 pm. Corner of West 100 & Amsterdam. Victim shot 3 times, a group of people had a dispute. An arrest not made at this time
- Shooting October 15, 12:30 am at 88th & Amsterdam. Victim Javier Rodriguez in critical condition in the hospital
- Any information please contact the 24 Detective Squad
The Precinct is not used to having shootings, just so happens they have happened recently. The Precinct is getting additional resources, are working closely with the Housing Police, Narcotics.
Additional Incidents / Patterns
- With the shootings two individuals with guns were arrested, one incident involved a police officer taking a .38 loaded gun off an individual (repeat offender) on the street
- Following up grand larceny on supermarkets discussed last week. They were able to make two arrests, have another person ID’d. This was a “pick team” that targeted the elderly. Have picture of another gentleman they expect to arrest. They are closing in on some of these patterns, making good progress
- Three transit patterns where cell phone snatchers in the train. They have someone identified, have his picture, so should be apprehended shortly, a repeat offender
- A chain snatch – two incidents in 28 Precinct, two incidents in the 24. One arrest of a 14 year old, where they had his picture and his principal was able to identify him; another 16 year old, will be arrested soon
- Up in assaults: 12 assaults, but the good news is that 9 of them have arrests tied to them. 3 are open (one is the shooting listed above). 3 were domestic related
- Other two open, one was a friend, swung a bat. Assailant is a known perp.
- Grand larcenies
- Increase in car break-ins, arrest last night officers on Riverside Drive apprehended crime in progress. Midnight officers apprehended 3 juveniles. So are making arrests. Again, some break-ins are classified as grand larcenies because amounts are over $1,000
- A few in restaurants lower end of Broadway (McDonald’s, pizza parlor), victims left bags and pocketbooks unattended. Male and female caught on video so will hopefully apprehend them. Crime prevention: Do not leave bags unattended
- 2 Rapes (SVU investigating both)
- 1 rape, an arrest was made by Housing. In Douglas Houses, female entered elevator, man approached and grabbed her, screaming, got assistance, police arrested suspect and he’s still in jail
- 1 rape, a Not-A-Stranger rape, someone she met, had drinks with, she said she was drugged, so she knows who she is. Still to determine if an arrest will be made
- Farther north of our precinct people are jumping out in the woods on people on bikes
- In 24th Precinct only crimes were unattended property petty larceny at the soccer fields, which turned out to be one of the teen team members, who was arrested
- Below 24th Precinct, Robbery on Riverside and 83rd Street. 70 year old man assaulted by 4 teens who took his wallet and phone, threw rocks
Officers are being deployed into the precinct in and around the area. They are giving the neighborhood a Scooter Taskforce, so you may see police on scooters. The Scooter Taskforce will be going up and down Riverside Drive. Because of spike in crime, on Wednesdays and Fridays you will see anywhere from 15 to 25 foot posts (uniformed police) on Broadway from 86th up to 110th and also on Amsterdam and other areas. At Deployment Meeting asked for and got additional help.
Russell Schmidt, Outreach and Public Coordinator, MTA presented information about the Access-A-Ride service that the MTA provides.
The Access-A-Ride Service website is: http://web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/guide.htm.
The Access-A-Ride newsletter website is: http://web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/onthemove.htm
Access-A-Ride program is for any person who has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from using the mass transit system. The service is mandatory, is a civil right. Any municipality that has a train or bus system must have a para transit system. NYC’s is the biggest in the country, most people registered, most vehicles on the road, most trips. Very innovative to simplify system for the users.
There’s no age limit on using the service. Approximately 19,000 vehicles on road every day, marked with Access-A-Ride, blue and white transit colors. Subcontract service to 14 companies, companies who work for NYC Transit. Each carrier has different name, but is numbered, have Automatic Vehicle Location Monitoring (AVLM) system so they know where the vehicle is at all times. Can go back 15 months into the tracking system to find out exactly where vehicle was, etc.
Operates 365-days 24/7 because the trains and buses also run (i.e., if the trains and buses are running, Access-A-Ride runs). Costs $2.50 each way (same fare as trains and buses). Can be taken one way or round trip.
How does one apply? There is an application process. Call M-F (9a-5p) 877-337-2017, 718-393-4999, TTY 718-393-4259 or TTY Relay 800-662-1220 or go onto website (http://web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/). They will mail application form within 5-7 days (don’t use the online form, it isn’t official, is for reference only!). They require a scheduled face-to-face Assessment Session after receipt of the application and a photo where they will assess eligibility. Must bring doctor’s note / information / diagnosis. They will pick you up and drop you off to get to the interview. You can bring a Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) with you, free of charge. Bring your walker, whatever mobility device you use to get around. They will ask you to show how you get around. Once you have gone through the assessment and have gotten an ID number you can begin using the service, even if ID card is being processed and is coming.
Access-A-Ride goes anywhere in five boroughs, is not only for medical purposes, so you can go to a ball games, museums, etc. If you have ambulette service use that, as it will only take you for the doctor, unlike Access-A-Ride, which will take you anywhere. Save the ambulette service for the doctor and use Access-A-Ride for other trips.
There is a new program, Access-A-Ride (AAR) MetroCard (http://web.mta.info/accessibility/access_metrocard.htm) that is an incentive program that provides a total of four free trips a day using the subways, local buses, and Staten Island Railway (SIR) for free.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ANNOUNCEMENT
This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more information: http://manhattanda.org/resources-victims-domestic-violence
I saw this on The View today. Dan Savage is so on target. It builds but gets really good at 34:35.
he had this to say about it….
Just did The View. Had a blast! But glad Barbara wasn’t sitting next to me – I think she wanted to slap me. Not that I shouldn’t be slapped.
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) October 3, 2013
i am a firm advocate of open access, creative commons licensing, freedom of speech on the internet. i am old enough to remember life before the internet, before a small computer in my pocket that lets me make phone calls and do almost all of my computing — and also plays songs and movies effortlessly — before any of this existed.
the analog world wasn’t so bad. in many ways my childhood years in Lincoln, Nebraska, at least how i look back at this idyllic time, was about innocence and possibilities and living a happy life.
the digital world isn’t so bad either. i have made friends and have reconnected with the various threads of my life because the internet exists. in many instances information is now widely available and free and share-able in a way that it was impossible to dream about 30+ years ago.
but often the cost of this openness is you get the good with the bad. the bad can be people being obnoxious on a mailing list that is more like a community than a bunch of posts. the bad can be mistakes of politics and restriction of a truly open conversation.
because really who wants to have a truly open conversation?
i say to myself that i am my mother’s daughter. that is both a compliment and a criticism. hey, i wouldn’t be delving into that side of my family (really any of my family) without a healthy dose of criticism and judgment. apply hair shirt here.
it’s not the end of the world, it’s not the sum total of my existence (although on the internet things become laser tilted out of proportion a lot of the time). but these hiccups and bumps are not without psychic pain and cost.
so what, this hand-wringing about the parts of the internet that are uncomfortable and that i don’t like or agree with — except in concept — what does it get me to post this post. on a blog that few people read or care about.
i guess that is my point. i’m not deluded enough to think that i am this special precious presence online. no one cares what i have to say or post. the traffic on this website is laughable compared to most other blogs.
i claim this blog (and my other blogs) as a public space that i occupy, that is open and free — or as open and as free as my mind will allow.
if it’s not what you are looking for or if what i post / say is an issue, move on. i’m not really worth the agita. i mean, what really in the analog of my life is worth the digital drama? if i was more important or affiliated somehow then maybe, but this dusty corner is just dust.
so at this recent IAJGS 2013 Boston conference on Jewish genealogy i was so excited there was going to be a Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) group that included many of my shtelach (sp?).
however as i have waded in the deep end to corral and collocate the information into a quick blog, it has become really clear that the geographic locale included in the BoF — unless it is expandable — is not going to cut the mustard for me.
unfortunately i think this means i will need to set up my own research group. which makes me really nervous because even with the full time job searching and applying for temp positions and the revving up of applications and teaching myself new technologies i have already committed to a lot of volunteer work for IAJGS.
and then there’s the bigger and higher priority issue of getting Frank’s stuff in a better organizational structure. i talked to Frank tonight and he’s amazingly patient given i went to Grad School (!) during our work but he did say, bluntly, that he’s not going to be around forever. it’s a shanda. and is starting to be upsetting to me. so it is clear priorities will need to be reshuffled.
anyway, here’s the google map [i created that lists the 30 towns listed] for the Kolo-Rypin-Plock (“KRP”) Area Research Group
Google Map [i created that lists the 30 towns listed] for Kolo-Rypin-Plock (“KRP”) Area Research Group
This is a clickable Google Map of the towns listed in Kolo-Rypin-Plock (“KRP”) Area Research Group
this is Ken D’s map [REMOVED]– which instantly seemed wrong to me because (a) neither Frank nor i were connecting to the Kolo town name — it’s very far south and (b) the lines are too straight. the districts are a lot more curvy (if that is the divining principle). even if geographic elements like the rivers are used, it’s still curvy, not straight lines like this.
also, mission critical is that Frank, a native born Jew from this region in Poland — he really needs to give the selection an okay. he just knows the region so well. heck, he walked it — that’s what they did back then. so his viewpoint is a mandatory part of this conversation in my opinion.
and compare and contrast, this is the Polish Provinces and Districts map (Voivodeships (provinces) and Powiats (districts or counties) in Poland). Administrative districts of interest for my Jewish genealogy — area is north / northwest of Warsaw.
Google Map for Polish Provinces and Districts (my areas of interest)
This is a clickable Google Map of the towns listed in Polish Provinces and Districts in my areas of interest
so basically what i am doing is going through a list of all of the Voivodeships (provinces) and tagging them on this new google map to try and trace the geographic areas that are important to both me and Frank’s trees.
and select the individual smaller Powiats (districts) from this map (below).
Easy Peasy — NO PROBLEM!!!
i’ve had a stress headache for a few hours now realizing the magnitude and issues involved. i think once i get going it won’t be so bad but right now it feels sort of insane.
Frank will give the region a good eye. it looks like the region of interest for me and Frank overlaps the KRPARG (blech on this acronym) only across the northern swath — and there are a lot of towns that are missing. namely my “home” shtetl of Radznow. and Mlawa is not included either, which is where a lot of family lived — as well as being where the region was funneled during the War into the Mlawa Ghetto — before that got liquidated. very important geography. so that is really critical.
the good news is that i can use this list from my genealogy website as a rough guideline of place names in all of the trees i host. oy.
this post has been adjusted (see brackets) to remove the map from the “official” group and edits are made to clarify the google map i created with the towns listed in the group was a map i created myself.
i am getting very very excited for the upcoming IAJGS 2013 Boston conference:
3rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy August 4-9, 2013
Co-Hosted by International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston
i’ve put together a schedule on Google like i do each conference i attend — have done this for Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Philadelphia, i think.
if you would like to see it i’ve made it public (send me your email to view it).
the idea is that all of the information is in one place, collocated, with the minimum amount of clicking around. and then also end-users can copy events to their personal calendar and use that as a tool to make the most out of the schedule, which is very deep and rich.
i also use the therapeutic tool of a Google Map to reduce my own travel anxiety (don’t love traveling).
here’s a view of the map. it’s pretty extensive. have been very grateful that folks have offered such great suggestions.
if you look on the larger map you can see that there are a lot of Jewish genealogical resources for the region. blue snowflakes represent cemeteries — which was culled from an incredible resource created by the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts. just beyond words great information. i wish the New York region had such an easy to use and thorough resource.
the cutlery symbol is for sit down restaurants, and hopefully the rest of the icons are somewhat self-explanatory in their groupings. not being a Boston native i am sure i have some things in the wrong categories but hopefully it can be a starting point for those interested in making the most out of their trip.
i recently got my 23andme results back so all of this DNA stuff is very new. hope to learn a bit more at the conference.
here’s a little bit on Michael K. Williams’ story, discovering his African ancestry. very cool.
and a little music they posted on okayplayer….