A call for Zamlers
- Dear Fellow Keidaners:
As I was thinking of something new and different to say, two pieces
of news came to me.
The first was an email from Sam Schleman. He has already contributed
generously to our Vital Records Indexing project, but he expressed
the wish to help generate more funds to expedite the progress of
Sam had tallied up his known living relatives and came up with some
200--all of them descendants of Keidaners. "What I would like to do
is to send out an email to all these relatives, describing the
Keidan Vital Records project and asking them to make contributions
to the project," wrote Sam. "Of course, if other Kedainers were to
also do this, we might raise additional [monies] for the project."
Sam went on to explore the possibility of allocating the individual
contributions of his relatives to a cumulative Schleyerman Family
As I reflected on Sam's touching gesture I realized he was
responding to the ancient call for Zamlers.
In the 19th century the great Jewish historian Simon Dubnow issued
an appeal for Zamlers to round up communal records and historical
documents in the remote shtetlach of the Russian Pale. Were it not
for these Zamlers, the "History of the Jews in Russia and Poland"
and "The World History of the Jewish People" might never have been
When YIVO was founded in Vilna in 1925, hundreds of Zamlers answered
their call, collecting documents and records for the YIVO archives.
And much more recently Aaron Lansky, the founder of the National
Yiddish Book Center, said he owes his greatest success in collecting
1.5 million Yiddish books to his team of energetic Zamlers.
In Yiddish "zamler" means "a collector." The ancient Zamlers
traveled on foot or, if they were lucky, by horse and buggy. Today's
Zamlers can network on the internet.
If the Keidan VRI project is going to blossom in 2005, we need the
help of Zamlers. You can be a contributor, you can be a Zamler, or
you can be both. If you select "Both," you will immediately qualify
for the "Mentsh of the Month" award.
As Joel Ratner has already posted on the LitvakSIG digest, a
translator has been assigned to the Keidan vital records, and work
is about to begin. But the challenge will be to keep the translator
translating. We have sufficient monies to pay for the translation of
an initial batch of records. But thousands more records are
waiting for your funding. Make it happen. Email me to receive the
easy VRI donor form and send it with your contribution to:
LITVAKSIG, Inc., Department 77-9253, Chicago, IL 60678-9253.
And then go out and be a Zamler!
Olga Zabludoff, Coordinator
Kedainiai/Keidan VRI Project