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Marshall Weiss part of lecture series on Dayton’s Jewish history

By Katie Jones, The ONEIL Center

Marshall Weiss, editor and publisher of The Dayton Jewish Observer, started 2020 by presenting a talk about the 1920s on Sunday (Jan. 26). Weiss spoke during the “Jewish Dayton in the Roaring 20s” event at Temple Israel, which was hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. The event was the first in the Mysteries of Dayton Jewish History lecture series.

Sunday’s talk was organized through the Jewish Foundation of Greater Dayton’s Jewish Genealogy and History project. Launched last year, the project collects and shares information on the Miami Valley’s Jewish genealogical and historical information.

Weiss highlighted stories experienced by Dayton’s Jewish community in the 1920s – how families confronted prejudice and anti-Semitism while navigating prohibition. He also touched on how the struggles of Jewish immigrants mirror issues faced by immigrants today, such as immigration restrictions and how many Jews Americanized their belief practices.

“It’s important for each generation to come face to face with its history," Weiss said at the event. “Progress sometimes is two steps forward one step back. It’s up to each generation to do their best to make things better."

He believes learning from the past can inform, empower and improve communities.

Weiss’ knowledge is founded on nearly a decade of research on Jewish Dayton. He  authored the book “Jewish Community of Dayton (Images of America)” and serves as project director for the Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy and History, a project of the Jewish Federation of Dayton. He’s been with the Federation for 24 years.

Along with its own programs, the Federation encompasses the programs of the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services and the Jewish Foundation. They also fund the Jewish Foundation of Greater Dayton and support The Dayton Jewish Observer, a monthly newspaper.

Later this year the Federation will present two more community events. The second is a collaboration with the Jewish Community Center’s Cultural Arts and Book Series, with the date to be determined. The third, “Comparing Jewish Resources on the Genealogy Giants,” will be in November.

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