Jewish Genealogical Society of Broward County
Trace your Jewish roots and discover your family's unique history
The Carpathia

Red Star Line, Gateway to the New World

The shipping line that Clement A Griscom (1841-1912) created and financed as a gateway between Philadelphia and Antwerp also transported an estimated 2.5 million emigrants to the New World from its base in Antwerp, Belgium between 1873 and 1934.  Approximately 1 million of these passengers were Jews in search of a better life and future.  Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875-1930) was an Antwerp artist who provided an artistic testimony of those who passed through the second largest port of departure for European Jews (after Hamburg-Bremen). 

Erwin Joos, curator of the Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum, will describe this era in vivid terms.  Rand H. Fishbein of Los Angeles described Van Mieghem's art as the missing link between the photographs of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990) who recorded the lives of German and Eastern European jews in the years immediately preceeding the Holocaust, and the photographs of Jacob Riis (1849-1914), who exposed the misery of the underprivileged Jews living in the crime-infested slums on the Lower East Side. 

The work of Van Mieghem provides artistic testimony of the stay of those same Jews in the port of departure, which included Irving Berlin, Albert Einstein and Yuri Suhl, who wrote in his book, "One Foot in America," "...When we arrived in Antwerp my father heaved a deep sigh and said, "Now, thank God, we are with one foot in America already.  Next stop is New York."

Share Your Story

 Whether in person at our monthly meetings or in writing as a submission to Family Gatherings, our monthly newsletter, we'd love to hear your story.

If you'd like to submit an article or story of interest to Jewish genealogists for possible inclusion in Family Gatherings, please contact


Hitting a Brick Wall?

OR, do you want to share a breakthrough?  We're here to help.  Member volunteers with a broad range of understanding and experience are available for consultation the first 30 minutes of every JGSBC monthly meeting.  If you've had research success, please share your methodology with our group.  Your experience may help someone else!

Speaker's Bureau

Are you interested in having a speaker from the Jewish Genealogical Society of Broward County speak to your organization? Whether you're a synagogue, social group, club or school, Jewish genealogy is a popular topic for all age groups.

Contact the JGSBC Speakers Bureau at to discuss designing or scheduling a talk.



July 4, 1927 ~ April 9, 2013 
"Bernie Kouchel"
Sadly, we must mark the passing of our Founder and President Emeritus, Bernie Kouchel, who has guided this organization for the past 25 years.  Bernie was buried April 11, 2013 in the Veteran's section of Vista Memorial Gardens, with military honors.

As one of the pioneers of Jewish genealogy, and a member of the JewishGen Board, Bernie has left his indelible footprints on the pages of JewishGen. Recognized in a proclamation declaring the month of December, 2001 to be "Bernard Israelite Kouchel Month," the award read, "Such honor [is] bestowed upon our friend and loyal member of the JewishGen Board for his illustrious service rendered over a long and productive tenure and his accomplishments both outstanding and unforgettable to this virtual community."

More recently, in 2012, he was beyond thrilled to be the recipient of the Outstanding Program or Project Award from IAJGS for the conception of the popular ViewMate Project, which by now must have close to 20,000 images archived.

As the Jewish Genealogical Society of Broward County marks its 25th year, having been founded by Bernie Kouchel in 1988, I published in our March newsletter, greetings from renowned genealogist, Miriam Weiner (Roots to Routes) who wrote, "His leadership, innovative ideas, continuing quest for new resources and involvement in Jewish genealogy on both a local and national level led to the establishment and continuing growth of your society."

His accomplishments are far too numerous to mention, but included the chair of the Broward County Research Committee for MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida, an important Florida project which is now a part of the Jewish Museum in Miami.

After retiring as a buliding contractor in New York and Florida, Bernie authored a book entitled, Book of Israelite Family History. From his mother, he inherited the candlesticks his grandmother, Sarah Israelite brought with her from Novogrudok, Belarus in 1902, arriving in Brooklyn with three children to join her husband, Michl. "I envision Shabbat candle lighting rituals with Bubba waving her hands over the lit candles,"  he wrote, "it endures in my memory."  He now joins them, and Bernie will endure in our memories, having well-earned his rest on earth.
The JGSBC extends our condolences, love and profound sympathy to the family of Bernie Kouchel.
Nancy Wyman
JGSBC President

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