Felshtin Update, 5/7/2009

May 7, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

I am writing to you today, for the first time as President of the Felshtin Society. Our reunion that was held on Sunday, May 3, was a wonderful occasion, attended by 65 members, family and friends.  People came from many states and as far away as California and Wisconsin.  The purpose of this letter is to summarize the results of the meeting and to tell you about our plans for the future.

However, I must first thank all of the people who gave so generously of their time and resources so that this event could be a success. They are, in no particular order: Sid Shaeivitz, Pamela Avraham, Gail Werbach, Mel Werbach, Linda Rosenbaum, Ira White, Beverly Gersfeld, Fran Bernstein, Jackie White, Sondra Shaye, Andrew Bernstein, Rabbi Maurice Novoseller and numerous others. We are fortunate to have been blessed with two outstanding people who have borne the lion’s share of work and effort for the society after the past several years. Both Sid Shaeivitz and Mel Werbach have been instrumental in securing significant parts of our heritage for the future. Mel Werbach with his wonderful efforts to help close our circle of healing by the creation of the monument and his outreach to the local citizens and Sid with his fastidious translation of the Yisker book and all of the other work he has done are owed more than words can describe.

Sid was the recipient of the first annual Felshtin Award, for outstanding contribution to the Society.  The award was unanimously approved by the members.  A facsimile of the award is attached for you to see. It was presented by his daughters, Jackie White and Sondra Shaye, in a most beautiful and emotional presentation.  Everyone there was deeply touched, especially Sid.

If you took photos at the reunion, please forward them for posting.  It would be great for us to have these on the website for all to see.

One of the things that we were not able to accomplish was to process and review the many materials that were brought to the meeting by the members.  Only a few photos were scanned and there were many, many more.  If you have photos that you are willing to share, you can send a scan or send the photos and I will have them scanned and sent to our webmaster for posting.  My mailing address is above and if they are properly packaged, there should be no problem. We will be diligent about returning them promptly and safely.

Plans to move the Felshtin Society into the future are being discussed.  One of these is a trip to Felshtin to physically dedicate the monument and meet with the local residents sometime around May of next year.  We are just beginning to think about what shape this wonderful journey shall take and if you are interested in attending, please let me

know.  Other plans are being discussed to enhance the Web site and expand the means by which we will be able to increase the information that can be gathered and posted on it. Soon we will have the capability of adding names directly to our membership list through our Web site.

As with all of these projects, talk is easy but the work that must be done takes careful planning and time.  In this task there are issues of privacy and confidentiality that must be explored to protect the members and the Society.  If you have experience in this area and can lend a hand, please let me know.

If we are going to put the Society in a more visible position to carry its work forward, there are many things that must done.  They need not be done from a single place. I will take the responsibility for coordinating various activities that will be done locally, inte- grated centrally and then communicated to the membership at large. Due to the wonders of the internet and electronic communications, we will be able to keep membership abreast of events as they transpire and continue to enlist more of you in our activities.

We still, however, face a significant number of challenges. Most notably, we must find a physical place for the archives that Sid has collected over the past 12 years.  At present, we are looking into a few possibilities, but if anyone has an idea, we would appreciate your thoughts. Please feel free to send me your thoughts and ideas regarding this or any other aspect of the Society that is important to you.  We will not be able to act on every suggestion, but they will help us shape our activities in a richer and positive direction.

We have now gathered a group of eight volunteers to help with the future development of the society. They are: Beverly Gersfeld, Linda Rosenbaum, Rachel Kerdman, Burt Bren- man, Laura Goldman, Jordan Goldman and Robyn Doyle. These individuals will function as our virtual steering committee and begin to take on specific tasks as they are developed and clarified through discussion.  If you wish to participate in any way, or feel that you can make a contribution, don’t hesitate to call me or send an e-mail.

Next year in Felshtin!

All the best,

Alan Bernstein, President