Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

“The Greenebaum Family: From the Rheinpfalz to Chicago” by Joan Adler

  • 25 Oct 2015
  • 12:30 PM
  • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook
Program: Sunday, October 25, 2015

Program starts 2:00 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook.

“The Greenebaum Family: From the Rheinpfalz to Chicago” will be the topic of a presentation by Joan Adler, executive director of the Straus Historical Society in New York, at a special joint meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois and the Chicago Jewish Historical Society. The program will begin at 2 p.m. Oct. 25, 2015, at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill.

The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:30 p.m. to accommodate those who want to use or borrow genealogy library materials, get help with genealogy websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 2 p.m. For more information phone 312-666-0100.

Joan Adler

The Greenebaum family originated in southwestern Germany in the Rheinpfalz. They were a large and observant family, pious in all ways. They were prosperous merchants who suffered many hardships due to changing political conditions in their region. After immigrating to Chicago in the mid-1840s, they became the founders of some of the city’s outstanding financial, religious and philanthropic institutions, including KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation. Adler’s talk will illuminate the Greenebaum family’s history, both in Germany and then in America and will touch upon the factors that contributed to their success.

Joan Adler, executive director of the Straus Historical Society, has spent the past 25 years researching, documenting and disseminating information about the Lazarus Straus family from the Rheinpfalz area of Germany. The Greenebaum / Gruenebaum family are progenitors of the Straus family.

In describing her work, Adler said, “I have come to think of my work as ‘social history.’ By this I mean, placing the details of people’s lives into context: learning about the times in which they lived, the political, social and economic conditions that affected their daily interactions, and how they chose to deal with these factors.”

She writes extensively about the Straus/Gruenebaum family in a semiannual SHS newsletter that is distributed in paper form and can be found on the Straus Historical Society website,  Adler frequently speaks to large groups at historical and genealogical societies, schools and museums. She is the author of “For the Sake of the Children: The Letters Between Otto Frank and Nathan Straus, Jr.” and compiler/editor of several other books about the German Jewish families she researches.

The Straus family were early owners of R. H. Macy’s & Co. Adler was asked to research the family in 1990. As a result of her efforts, a project was begun to read, translate, transcribe and organize more than 100,000 pages of Straus family personal papers.

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