Judaic Studies

Research Projects

Works in Progress

  • Major research project on Landjudentum is underway since 1999.  The research for this project is conducted in collaboration with Werner Runschke, Stadtarchivar, City of Süssen, Germany.  Other archival sources include the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., the City Archive of Göppingen, District Archive of Göppingen, Main State Archive in Stuttgart, and State Archive in Ludwigsburg, GermanyYad Vashem, Jerusalem; and National Archives (NARA), College Park, Maryland.  Three different book publications are envisioned over time.
    • A book-length chronicle of Jewish life in Süssen, Germany, and a close look at the two Jewish families who were living and working there before and during the Holocaust has been published by Fordham University Press in 2012.  While there is a history of the Jews in Baden-Württemberg and in the district of Göppingen to which these families belonged, the history of these two families has never been written nor had they been mentioned in the post-Holocaust writings until I began my work.  This micro-history project is a contribution to the study of Landjudentum in southern Germany.  I received a research grant from the Graduate Office, University of Tennessee, to support January-March 1999 research in the newly relocated Suessen City Archives.  Since the 1999 research, additional sources became available and I returned in May-July 2002 to collect additional material and to expand my area of research.  Additional research was conducted in summer 2006 and spring 2007. 
    • A second book on Landjudentum, tentatively called “Kaddish for Swabian Jews, including family histories, cemeteries and former Jewish buildings from about twenty Swabian villages and towns.  During the 2002 research trip, I visited some of these sites and photographed all of the Jewish cemeteries and surviving buildings that used to be owned by German Jews.  Yet to be collected are pictures and stories of some of the families and people who lived there.  This will require additional inquiries and research trips in the near future.  To date I have taken about 3,000 photographs and collected all of the available writings on these communities.  Additional holdings are in the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, Yad Vashem, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Staatsarchiv in Ludwigsburg. Additional archival research was undertaken at the Ludwigsburg State Archive in summer 2013.
    • A coffee-table book with selected photographs of tombstones, buildings, and people with introduction and short German-English bilingual text on facing page.
  • Monograph of Cantor Mordecai Gustav Heiser, Berlin/Pittsburgh.  In 1995, I completed a memorial recording and short biography of Cantor Heiser.  This will be an extensive study of his life in Jewish Berlin before World War II as well as the continuation of his life and work in Pittsburgh.  This study is significant for Cantor Heiser's contribution to Jewish sacred music (hazzanut).  Some family research carried out in Berlin in 1999, and Pittsburgh 2004.  Preliminary liturgical studies were carried out in Israel February-April, 2002; April 2007, and April 2010.  Archived samples of Cantor Heiser’s music will be mounted on a corresponding website.


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